On Wednesday, April 1, authorities closed Vietnam's borders with Cambodia and Laos in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Authorities also imposed a nationwide lockdown effective Wednesday. Residents are ordered to stay home for all but essential reasons, including purchasing food and medicine, seeking medical attention, or carrying out government-approved work. Public gatherings of more than two people are prohibited and at least two meters distance must be maintained from other people in public.
Previously, on Monday, March 30, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the suspension of public transportation services across the country to limit the spread of the virus within Vietnam's borders. The projected date of public-transportation reopening was not immediately reported. Notably, Phuc also called for state officials to work from home and for a cap on the use of private vehicles for transportation.
Phuc had previously introduced additional domestic restrictions effective from Saturday, March 28, to Wednesday, April 15, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. All cultural, sports, and entertainment activities are prohibited, while religious activities of over 20 people had been suspended. Most businesses are to halt services, except for those selling essential goods and services.
The Vietnamese government has also suspended entry to all foreign nationals who were previously granted travel visas effective Sunday, March 22. Travelers who were granted 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 Wednesday, March 18, remains in place. All international flights to Vietnam have also been suspended as of March 22.
As of Thursday, April 2, Vietnam has 222 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with no associated fatalities and 64 recoveries.
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 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.
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 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 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.