Possible Havana syndrome incident delayed Harris flight to Vietnam
At least two U.S. diplomats will be medically evacuated from Vietnam after “Havana Syndrome” incidents were reported over the weekend in the capital city of Hanoi ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris’ arrival, according to two senior U.S. officials.
The cases caused a brief delay in Harris’ scheduled trip to Vietnam late Tuesday evening local time. The vice president’s office said Harris’ delegation was delayed from departing Singapore because of a report of a “recent possible anomalous health incident” in Hanoi.
The two officials confirmed that Harris’ office was referring to Havana Syndrome, the term used for a rash of mysterious health incidents that have afflicted U.S. personnel in Cuba and elsewhere.
“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. After careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the Vice President’s trip,” said Rachael Chen, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Hanoi, in a statement.
Aboard Air Force Two, Harris’ chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders told traveling reporters that Harris is “well, all is fine and looking forward to meetings in Hanoi tomorrow.” Later she said of the delay: “This has nothing to do with the vice president’s health,” according to a pool report.
White House officials say Harris’ overarching mission of the trip is to shore up relationships with regional partners. She is expected to focus on regional security issues amid concerns over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea; economic priorities, including supply chain issues like global chip production; climate change; and the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s her second trip abroad as vice president. Earlier this year, she traveled to Central America — a trip that also saw travel issues as Harris had to switch planes moments before leaving for Guatemala due to a technical glitch.