By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

On Saturday, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc just signed a decision declaring the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) an epidemic in Việt Nam, according to a Viet Nam News report.

Image/Robert Herriman

The declaration notes the starting date of the epidemic as January 23, when the first cases were confirmed in the country. The scope of the epidemic is currently limited to three provinces – the south-central coastal provinces of Khánh Hoà, the central province of Thanh Hoá and the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc.

Since the declaration this past weekend, two additional cases have been reported–a 73-year-old American Vietnamese had a two-hour transit in Wuhan, China on his China Southern Airlines flight from the US to Việt Nam on January 15.  He developed symptoms on the 26th and was hospitalized on January 31 with a positive result for a new coronavirus. The man is currently being treated in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tropical Diseases Hospital.

The 8th case, reported today, is a 29-year-old Vietnamese woman from Vĩnh Phúc Province’s Bình Xuyên District. She is in stable condition.

Globally, more than 17,000 confirmed cases have been reported from 27 countries, including 362 deaths, with all but one from China.