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15 Apr 2020 | 01:02 PM UTC

Vietnam: Authorities to extend lockdown in 12 provinces through April 22 due to COVID-19 /update 24

Vietnamese authorities extend lockdown in 12 provinces through April 22 due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns; follow authorities’ directives

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Event

On Wednesday, April 15, Vietnamese authorities announced that the current nationwide lockdown measures will be extended in 12 provinces through Wednesday, April 22, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Aside from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced that the extensions will take place in Bac Ninh, Binh Thuan, Da Nang, Ha Tinh, Khanh Hoa, Lao Cai, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, and Tay Ninh. The government cited these areas as being at a heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission. It is possible that these restrictions will be extended through Thursday, April 30; however, this has not been officially confirmed. The government stated that 15 other provinces and cities remain classified as being at medium risk and, although restrictions have not yet been extended in these areas, local authorities are required to strictly enforce lockdown measures. Authorities have requested that all cities and provinces suspend any services deemed unnecessary.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the suspension of public transportation services across the country on Monday, March 30, to limit the spread of the virus. As of April 15, it remains unclear when services will resume. Notably, the prime minister also called for state officials to work from home and for a cap on the use of private vehicles for transportation. All cultural, sports, and entertainment activities are prohibited, while religious activities of over 20 people have been suspended until at least April 15. Most businesses are to halt operations, 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 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 April 15, 267 cases of COVID-19 and no associated deaths have been confirmed in Vietnam. 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 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. 

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 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.