Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Vietnam continues to ban entry for most foreigners as of July 1. Other COVID-19 measures remain in place.

  • Alert Begins: 01 Jul 2020 09:13 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, travel and business disruptions, quarantine measures

Summary
Vietnamese authorities continue to bar entry for foreign nationals, with limited exceptions, as of July 1 to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities stated June 24 that Vietnam was not ready to admit foreign tourists back into the country, even though officials are starting to issue electronic visas to foreign nationals from 80 locations July 1. These locations include Australia, mainland China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK, and the US. Foreigners who can still enter Vietnam include essential and skilled workers. Individuals who can enter the country will undergo a 14-day quarantine at government-run facilities. Authorities have approved visa extensions for foreigners already in Vietnam through July 31.

At the domestic level, the central government is not classifying any province or municipality as high-risk areas. Authorities have previously declared Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bac Ninh and Ha Giang provinces as medium-risk areas. Officials in medium-risk areas restrict gatherings outside of workplaces to 10 people and require residents to maintain a physical distance of 2 meters (6.5 feet). In all other localities, which are considered low-risk areas, authorities limit gatherings to 30 people and enforce a 1 meter (3 foot) distancing rule.

Officials have allowed all nonessential businesses, including entertainment outlets, to resume operations nationwide. Sports events and festivals can also take place. The central government has given provincial or city authorities discretion to modify the restrictions to local conditions. Authorities have allowed buses, taxis, trains, ships, and planes to operate at full passenger capacity nationwide; precautions, including the requirement for passengers to wear protective masks, complete health declaration forms, and sanitize their hands frequently, remain. In parts of Vietnam, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc Island, and Binh Dinh Province, tourism sites have reopened for domestic travelers, with precautions in place. Safeguards include requiring all visitors and workers to use protective masks and sanitize their hands frequently. Officials may reintroduce or implement restrictions in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.
 

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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