Vice President Kamala Harris’ flight departing to Vietnam was delayed by more than three hours Tuesday after her office was informed by the U.S. embassy in Hanoi “of a recent possible anomalous health incident.”
Harris was scheduled to travel from Singapore to Vietnam as part of a multiple-day trip to Southeast Asia. Members of the press accompanying the vice president were sent back to their hotel rooms before being shuttled back to the airport several hours later, according to Politico.
“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,” read a statement posted on the U.S. embassy in Hanoi’s website.
Departure of @VP from #Singapore to #Vietnam was delayed due to an apparent concern about #HavanaSyndrome, according to the US Embassy in Hanoi. pic.twitter.com/DGNsimIeqb
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) August 24, 2021
The term “anomalous health incident” is used by the U.S. government to refer to the mysterious onset of medical symptoms more commonly referred to as “Havana syndrome.” The illness was first reported by U.S. officials stationed in Cuba in late 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Individuals affected by “Havana syndrome” have described symptoms such as hearing loss, memory loss and nausea. The illness is commonly reported among U.S. diplomats and other government officials overseas, and has been previously reported in cities like Moscow and Vienna. (RELATED: Diplomats Who Say They Have Mysterious Brain Injuries Called ‘Havana Syndrome’ Condemn Biden For Denying Treatment)
The cause of the health incidents, which number around 130 possible cases, remains unknown. A government-wide probe led by the CIA, State Department and National Security Council has been investigating the origins of “Havana syndrome.”
Harris’ first trip to Asia as vice president was meant to bolster U.S. commitments to partners in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of a rising China, but has largely been overshadowed by the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Harris will become the first vice president to visit Vietnam since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1975.