In an unusual health issue, the US embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, informed Kamala Harris’ office about a possible anomalous health incident Tuesday afternoon, leading to a delay of several hours in her departure to Vietnam.
It is usually referred to as Havana Syndrome by the government, which has sickened hundreds of US officials in the past few years.
A report of a recent possible anomalous health incident in Hanoi, Vietnam, prompted the Vice President’s office to delay the delegation’s departure from Singapore earlier this evening. Rachael Chen, the US embassy spokeswoman in Hanoi, said that the Vice President’s trip would continue after careful consideration.
During a reporter trip aboard Air Force Two, Harris’ spokeswoman said the vice president was “doing well, and we look forward to meetings in Hanoi tomorrow. As she explained later, the vice president’s health was not the reason for the delay.
After traveling to Paya Lebar Air Base for an estimated 30 minutes, Harris took off at 7:32 p.m. More than three hours have elapsed since local time.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, Jen Psaki assured reporters that the vice president is in good hands in Vietnam. She said Harris would not travel farther because of concerns about her security there.
Ms. Psaki replied there had been no additional assessment regarding the possibility of an attack on Harris and her staff. His administration will maintain the vice president’s security, but she declined to elaborate.
At this point, we are not aware of any confirmed case. We take any report of an incident, such as this one, which was public, very seriously. Therefore, the vice president has assessed her safety before continuing her travels,” Psaki said.
Harris confirmed that the affected people were not aboard but did not detail the number of people involved. Because she was not on the ground while the incident occurred, healthcare officials did not assess her condition.
Numerous diplomats and spies, and fighters and diplomats have reported Havana syndrome symptoms both physically and psychologically. The condition has sickened hundreds or forced them to retire.
There have been reported cases of Havana syndrome more frequently in Cuba since late last year, and a Senate committee has reported more suspected cases in recent months.
The symptoms of Havana syndrome vary from person to person but include sudden vertigo, nausea, headaches, and head pressure. Some have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and continue to endure debilitating headaches decades afterward.
The mysterious symptoms have baffled US federal investigators. In addition to Russia, China, and other countries around the globe, cases abound. Earlier this month, Austrian authorities announced they were investigating reports of symptoms of Havana syndrome among US diplomats in Vienna.
In May, Pentagon officials told the Associated Press that the Pentagon was drafting an internal memo asking the US military and civilian workforce to report any symptoms of Havana syndrome they experienced.
A tepid response by senior State Department officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, has enraged rank-and-file staffers and diplomats.
Vice President Harris is visiting Singapore and Vietnam during this trip. He seeks to convey to the countries of Southeast Asia that the United States is committed to the region over the long term.
According to White House officials, Harris aims to repair relationships with regional partners on his trip. The Indonesian foreign minister will likely tackle a range of issues, including regional security, economic priority, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic, among other priorities.
The vice president is traveling abroad for the second time. As part of her trip to Central America in early 2016, Harris also encountered travel issues due to a technical glitch that forced her to change planes shortly before departure.