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(LEAD) S. Korea to dispatch teams to Vietnam Thursday to help some 270 citizens in coronavirus quarantine

All News 22:34 March 04, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will send three "rapid response" teams to Vietnam this week to help some 270 citizens in quarantine over coronavirus concerns, Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The teams are set to depart for Vietnam on Thursday morning to provide consular support to the Koreans who have been quarantined at military installations, health care facilities or hotels.

Each team consists of four people, mostly from the foreign ministry and the National Police Agency. The teams will be dispatched to three areas of responsibility for the South Korean Embassy in Hanoi and consulate generals in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

Vietnam has recently enforced entry restrictions on people arriving from South Korea, as the number of COVID-19 infections here has risen to 5,621, with the death toll standing at 33.

"The foreign ministry decided to send the teams to have talks with Vietnam over the lifting of the quarantine program for our citizens who are already in Vietnam or will arrive there, to support those who want to return home and to address their difficulties," the ministry said in a press release.

The teams plan to stay in Vietnam for about a week. But they could later decide to extend their stay.

The Southeast Asian country has banned the entry of people who have traveled in the last two weeks to Korea's southeastern city of Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province, where the bulk of the nation's infections occurred. Those from other parts of Korea are to face a 14-day quarantine.

The top priority for the teams will be to help those quarantined at public facilities shift to self-quarantine and provide sufficient consular support for those who want to return to South Korea, a ministry official said.

In China, there are about 830 South Koreans in quarantine. But the ministry does not plan to send any support teams as its staff at the China-based missions can handle the consular and other affairs related to them.

(LEAD) S. Korea to dispatch teams to Vietnam Thursday to help some 270 citizens in coronavirus quarantine - 1


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