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VP Kamala Harris’ Vietnam visit delayed by possible case of Havana Syndrome

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Vice President Kamala Harris was delayed from traveling to Vietnam Tuesday after her office was made aware of a possible case of the so-called Havana Syndrome, a mysterious illness that has plagued U.S. diplomats across the world.

A statement released by the State Department said Harris’ office was made aware of “a report of a recent possible anomalous health incident,” in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, referring to what the U.S. government has previously described as Havana Syndrome.

“After careful assessment, the decision was made to continue with the Vice President’s trip,” the statement said, without offering any further details.

Harris was wrapping up a three-day trip in Singapore, where she delivered a foreign policy speech accusing China of coercion and intimidation for its military provocations in the South China Sea. She also announced the U.S. is offering to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2023 as a sign of U.S. commitment to the region.

Harris is scheduled to meet Vietnamese leaders including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to discuss regional security and economic cooperation as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vice president’s first foreign trip in June to Guatemala was delayed when her plane was forced to return to Joint Base Andrews after a technical issue. Presidential and vice presidential trips frequently run behind schedule but Harris’ delay in Singapore was more than three hours.

More than 130 people have fallen ill with Havana Syndrome, The New York Times reported. Cases have been suspected in Cuba, China, Europe and in the U.S. among spies, diplomats, soldiers and other U.S. officials,

Most of the people who experienced Havana Syndrome had an onset of a perceived loud noise, a sensation of intense pressure or vibration in the head, and pain in the ear or in the head, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences.

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