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03 Mar 2020 | 04:47 AM UTC

Vietnam: Authorities and airlines introduce additional measures to contain COVID-19 spread February 28 /update 10

Authorities and Vietnam Airlines implement additional measures on South Korea to limit the spread of the coronavirus starting February 28; anticipate flight disruptions and entry restrictions



Vietnam Airlines announced on Monday, March 2, that it will cease flights to South Korea effective Thursday, March 5, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The airline stated that flight operations will resume when the outbreak will be better controlled.

On Friday, February 28, Vietnamese authorities also announced the suspension of visa-free travel for South Korean citizens.

As of Saturday, February 15, the government has banned entry to individuals that have traveled from or transited through China in the preceding 14 days. Authorities also said that individuals showing signs of symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be quarantined. Travel restrictions to China remain in place as of February 24, with all passenger trains to and from China suspended indefinitely. Vietnam Airlines has also halted service to mainland China as a precaution.

The government has also suspended festivals and sporting events throughout the country as a precaution. Similar business disruptions are possible in the coming days and weeks. 

To date, 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Vietnam. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, prepare for transportation disruptions, and take appropriate health precautions.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue; throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

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