Harris trip to Vietnam delayed hours likely over Havana syndrome case

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris departs Singapore for Vietnam, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)

SINGAPORE (AP) — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip from Singapore to Vietnam was delayed several hours Tuesday by a “recent possible anomalous health incident,” the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said.

The U.S. government uses that phrase to describe what’s known as “Havana syndrome,” a rash of mysterious health incidents first reported by American diplomats and other government employees in Havana, Cuba, beginning in 2016 and 2017.

No cause has been determined, but similar unexplained health ailments have since been reported by Americans serving at diplomatic posts in other countries.

Harris was set to depart for Hanoi on Tuesday evening after delivering a speech in Singapore, castigating China for its incursions into the South China Sea, and a discussion of supply chain issues with business leaders.

But the flight was delayed for more than three hours and Symone Sanders, Harris’ chief spokesperson, refused to explain. Unprompted, Sanders volunteered that Harris was “well” although reporters had seen the vice president several times Tuesday and had no reason to be concerned about her health.

Harris’ office referred questions to the State Department. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi issued a statement after Harris’ departed Singapore.

“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.”

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