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New coronavirus cases found in Vietnamese city where San Diego-based USS Roosevelt is docked

COURTESY: DVIDS - USS Roosevelt dorthea project.jpg
COURTESY: DVIDS -USS Roosevelt.jpg
Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 09:44:34-04

(KGTV) -- New cases of the coronavirus are being discovered in Vietnam, in the same port as where 6,500 sailors and Marines on the USS Theodore Roosevelt are docked.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt left Coronado on Jan. 17, 2020, for a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific. Now, seven weeks later, she is docked in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Former U.S. Army Sgt. Patrick Furman lives in Hanoi. He still keeps up with military affairs in Vietnam.

"This is only the second time that a carrier visited Vietnam post the war," Furman said.

He said this special visit on March 5, 2020, celebrating 25 years of normalization, is being overshadowed by fears of the coronavirus.

The country went 22 days with no new infections, but on Friday, Vietnamese health officials discovered nine new cases, all from foreign tourists.

"Literally, the country was ready to announce that they had conquered this virus. That it had been eradicated. And then within 24 hours, all of this happens," Furman said.

Vietnamese media reported that two British tourists who tested positive for coronavirus were intercepted and quarantined in Da Nang. It's the same city that now hosts the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

"The British, being tourists, most likely went to all the same places that sailors and Marines on liberty would probably want to go," Furman said.

According to the USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs, Sailors were scheduled to participate in cultural and professional exchanges, community service projects, sports competitions, and receptions during their port visit.

It is unclear if any of the 6,500 sailors and Marines came into contact with the infected individuals in Da Nang.

10News reached out to the US State Department to ask if any of the service members fell ill or if they had to cancel any of their visitation schedules because of the virus. As of Sunday afternoon, we have not heard back.