Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Vietnam to issue visas to foreigners from 80 countries from July 1 due to reduced COVID-19 activity. Other measures remain in place.

This alert affects Vietnam

This alert began 27 May 2020 04:49 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jul 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, travel and business disruptions, mandatory quarantines

Summary
Authorities plan to issue electronic visas to foreign nationals from 80 countries from July 1 following a reduction of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. The countries include Australia, mainland China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, the UK, and the US. Citizens from these countries will be able to enter Vietnam through selected land, air, and sea border gates.

At the domestic level, authorities are not classifying any province or municipality as high-risk areas; Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bac Ninh and Ha Giang provinces remain as medium-risk areas. Officials in medium-risk areas are restricting 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 are limiting gatherings to 30 people and enforcing a 1-meter (3-foot) distancing rule.

Nonessential businesses, except for karaoke parlors and clubs, have resumed 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. Officials have allowed buses, taxis, trains, ships, and planes to operate at full passenger capacity nationwide; precautions, including the requirement for passengers to wear masks, complete health declaration forms, and to 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 masks and sanitize their hands frequently. Officials may reintroduce or implement restrictions in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Travel Restrictions

Foreign nationals remain banned from entering the country through June 30, with exceptions for essential and skilled workers. Individuals who can enter Vietnam will undergo quarantine for 14 days at government-run facilities. Land borders with Cambodia and Laos remain closed for passenger travel. Authorities have approved visa extensions for foreigners already in Vietnam through June 30.

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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