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Vietnam locks down 10,000 people over coronavirus

Vietnamese police stand guard at a checkpoint set up at the Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province amid concerns about a Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

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BINH XUYEN, Vietnam: Villages in Vietnam with 10,000 people close to the nation's capital were placed under quarantine on Thursday after six cases of the deadly new coronavirus were discovered there, authorities said.

The locking down of Son Loi, about 40 kilometres from Hanoi, is the first mass quarantine outside of China since the virus emerged from a central Chinese city late last year.

"As of February 13, 2020, we will urgently implement the task of isolation and quarantine of the epidemic area in Son Loi commune," said a health ministry statement.

"The timeline... is for 20 days".

The health ministry previously said five people in Son Loi had been infected with the virus, and on Thursday reported a sixth case.

On Thursday, checkpoints were set up around the commune, according to AFP reporters in Binh Xuyen, a district on the outskirts of Son Loi.

Health officials wearing protective suits sprayed disinfectant on vehicles by the checkpoints.

Villager Tran Van Minh told AFP that authorities had already advised residents to avoid large gatherings.

"Life has been badly affected," he told AFP by phone, adding that much of the labour force is reliant on jobs in construction and house painting.

"Now we cannot get out and even if we do, clients don't welcome us that much as before."

More than 1,350 people have died in China from the virus, and nearly 60,000 others have been infected, since it was first detected in the Hubei province in early January.

China has imposed unprecedented quarantines across Hubei, locking in about 56 million people, in a bid to stop it spreading.

Vietnam, which shares a border with China, has 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, inclyding those in Son Loi.

Vietnam had banned all flights to and from mainland China in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

It also suspended new tourist visas for Chinese nationals or foreigners who had been in China over the past two weeks.

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Vocabulary:

checkpoint : a place where people are stopped and questioned and vehicles are examined, especially at a border between two countries - ด่านตรวจ

detected : noticed, discovered or found out - จับได้ พบได้

disinfectant : a chemical substance that kills bacteria and is used for making things very clean - สารที่ใช้ฆ่าเชื้อโรค

epidemic : a large number of cases of a particular disease happening at the same time in a particular community - โรคระบาด

gathering : a party or a meeting when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม

isolation : set apart from; disconnected from - แยกออกมา ตั้งอยู่เดี่ยวๆ

lockdown (noun): an official order to control the movement of people or vehicles because of a dangerous situation -

mass : a large amount of something - ปริมาณมาก

quarantine (noun): a situation in which a person or animal that might have a disease is kept separate from other people or animals so that they do not catch the disease - การกักบริเวณ, การจำกัดบริเวณ

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