Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Vietnam extends social distancing measures through at least April 22 due to COVID-19. Restrictions vary by locality.

This alert affects Vietnam

This alert began 16 Apr 2020 05:28 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, travel and business disruptions, mandatory quarantines

Summary
The Vietnamese government has extended social distancing measures nationwide, with different measures by locality, through April 22, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities have continued implementing strict restrictions in 12 high-risk areas, including Da Nang, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh cities, and Bac Ninh, Binh Thuan, Ha Tinh, Khanh Hoa, Lao Cai, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, and Tay Ninh provinces. The measures include a ban on public gatherings of over two people, suspension of public transport, and for people to remain at home except for essential activities, such as buying food and medicine. People are also to maintain a distance of at least two meters from one another. Less strict measures, including a ban on public gatherings of more than 20 people and a suspension of nonessential businesses, are in place in all other areas of Vietnam.

Additionally, the central authorities are allowing local officials to assess and determine additional restrictions in their respective areas. Some local-level measures that are already in effect include movement restrictions and quarantine requirements. Authorities in Hanoi have banned movement in and out of Ha Loi Village through May 5, while similar measures are in place in Ngo Khe 3 Village in Ha Nam Province. Officials in Da Nang are quarantining arrivals from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, including Da Nang residents, at government facilities for 14 days.

Most domestic flights also remain suspended through April 30, with limited exemptions for key routes, such as between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Travel Restrictions

Authorities have banned foreign nationals from entering the country, with exemptions for essential and skilled workers. Individuals who can enter the country will need to undergo quarantine for 14 days at designated government-run facilities. The state carrier Vietnam Airlines (VN) has also halted international flights through at least April 30. Land borders with Cambodia and Laos remain closed for passenger travel. Officials could expand restrictions in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by Vietnam correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int