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23 Mar 2020 | 09:59 PM UTC

Vietnam: All foreigners temporarily banned from entering the country March 22 /update 17

Vietnam temporarily suspends entry for foreigners who already have visas from March 22 to prevent further spread of COVID-19; other containment efforts remain in place

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Event

The Vietnamese government announced on Saturday, March 22, that it will suspend entry to all foreigners who already have travel visas due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. Travelers who have already been issued visas for diplomatic or official purposes are exempt from the new restriction. Individuals who are deemed experts, business managers, or highly skilled workers will still be allowed to enter the country but must have a medical certificate showing they tested negative for the virus and will be quarantined upon arrival. A 30-day suspension on issuing new visas that went into effect on March 18 remains in place. All international flights into Vietnam have also been suspended as of Saturday.

Authorities have advised residents to limit large gatherings and to refrain from using public transport to prevent further spread of the virus. Schools will remain closed until Sunday, April 5, while entertainment venues such as cinemas, clubs, bars, massage parlors, karaoke lounges, and online game centers will be closed until the end of March.

As of March 23, 123 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term. 

Context

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 March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.