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16 Feb 2020 | 01:25 AM UTC

Vietnam: Government issues new coronavirus-related travel restrictions February 15 /update 8

Authorities ban entry to individuals traveling from China as of February 15, due to ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19); confirm travel itineraries

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Event

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, due to the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 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 Sunday, February 16, with all passenger trains to and from China suspended indefinitely. Vietnam Airlines has also halted service to mainland China as a precaution.

Officials began a 20-day mass-quarantine of individuals in Son Loi (Vinh Phuc province), 40 km (25 mi) north of Hanoi, on Thursday, February 13, after six confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the area. The restriction is expected to impact around 10,000 individuals until Wednesday, March 4.

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.

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 (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 28 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

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

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.