HÀ NỘI — Immigration officials at Nội Bài International Airport found no Italian immigration stamp in the passports of Việt Nam’s 17th COVID-19 patient, who allegedly did not report her travel to virus-hit Italy so she could avoid concentrated quarantine.
Colonel Nguyễn Thị Bình Phương, head of Nội Bài International Airport's police, made the statement on Wednesday afternoon, adding that she held two passports – British and Vietnamese.
She returned Việt Nam from a trip across three European countries – the UK, France and Italy – on March 2 on Flight VN54.
Phương said that the woman, however, used a Vietnamese passport when entering the country.
“Immigration officials thoroughly checked all pages of the passport and did not see an Italian immigration stamp,” she said.
“It’s possible that when travelling to the UK, she used her UK passport to travel to other European countries, including France and Italy, where she does not need to apply for a visa or immigration stamps,” Phương said.
With the two passports, the patient did not provide an accurate travel history, which made it difficult for immigration officers to know she had travelled through areas hit by the new strain of coronavirus.
At the quarantine check point, her body temperature was normal and at that time, health declarations were not compulsory, so authorities let her enter the country, Phương said.
Now, 11 officers who worked with passengers from flight VN54 were under 14-day quarantine and initially tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. There were 217 people on flight VN54, including 21 in Business Class, 180 in Economy Class and a crew of 17.
Besides the 17th patient, another 12 people from the flight tested positive for the virus including a Vietnamese man and 11 foreigners.
About 200 people in close contact with the 17th patient are under quarantine. Her aunt and the family driver have tested positive for the virus. — VNS