Kamala Harris flight to Vietnam delayed for ‘possible health incident’ amid report two diplomats evacuated with ‘Havana syndrome’ from Hanoi

VP’s trip to Vietnam delayed following possible reports of alleged illness involving US diplomats

Alex Woodward
New York
Tuesday 24 August 2021 21:40
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<p>Vice President Kamala Harris waves as she departs Singapore to Vietnam on 24 August. </p>

Vice President Kamala Harris waves as she departs Singapore to Vietnam on 24 August.

A flight carrying US vice president Kamala Harris from Singapore to Hanoi departed nearly three hours later than scheduled due to a “recent possible anomalous health incident” in Vietnam, according to the State Department.

Two US diplomats in Hanoi were set to be medically evacuated following incidents over the weekend allegedly involving “Havana syndrome” symptoms, according to NBC News.

“Earlier this evening, the vice president’s traveling delegation was delayed from departing Singapore because the vice president’s office was made aware of a report of a recent possible anomalous health incident in Hanoi, Vietnam,” read a statement from the US embassy in Hanoi today. “After careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the vice president’s trip.”

The designation of “anomalous health incident” has been used by State Department officials to describe so-called “Havana syndrome”, an alleged illness reported by US diplomats and other officials abroad.

More than three hours after a pool of reporters travelling with the vice president was called back to a hotel, reporters returned to the motorcade heading for Paya Lebar Air Base at 6.42pm. Take-off was scheduled for 4pm.

The vice president’s senior adviser Symone Sanders, who is traveling with the vice president, told reporters that “she is well, all is fine”, according to pool reports. “This has nothing to do with the vice president’s health,” she told reporters on Air Force 2.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the administration takes “every reported incident of Havana syndrome seriously” but clarified that “this is not a confirmed case at this point in time.” She did not confirm whether two diplomats were involved

Roughly 200 people – mostly American and Canadian diplomats, intelligence officers and State Department staff – have reported symptoms related to the “Havana syndrome” that reportedly included a loud piercing sound and head pressure, along with nausea, dizziness and brain fog.

Ms Harris concluded a three-day trip in Singapore, where she delivered remarks on US foreign policy, including issuing a warning about China’s encroachment in the South China Sea.

“Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate, and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,” she said in a speech today. “These unlawful claims have been rejected by the 2016 arbitral tribunal decision. And Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.”

Her office also announced that the US has offered to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2023 to demonstrate the “importance the United States places on the region and multilateral cooperation”, according to a statement from Ms Sanders.

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