Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Vietnam tightens domestic measures as of July 30 due to recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Entry ban for most foreigners remains in place.

  • Alert Begins: 30 Jul 2020 08:50 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 13 Aug 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 are tightening domestic measures as of July 30 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The policies come after officials in Da Nang confirmed new COVID-19 community transmission cases in late July; the cases were Vietnam's first since April. The government requires people arriving from Da Nang to isolate at their residence for 14 days. Authorities in several areas are also implementing localized measures. The local government in Da Nang has suspended travel to and from the city, nonessential businesses, and gatherings of over 30 people. Authorities in Hanoi have banned businesses and activities involving crowds since July 29. Officials in the capital are also limiting mass gatherings to 30 people. The local governments in several places, including Phu Yen and Quang Nam provinces, have suspended tourism activities.

The central government has previously eased measures nationwide, though several areas may reintroduce some restrictions due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Authorities have allowed nonessential businesses, including entertainment outlets, to resume operations nationwide with health protocols in place. Controls include requiring businesses to close at midnight. While the central government has announced plans to allow businesses in major cities to operate until 0600 daily, the start date of the policy is unclear. Buses, taxis, trains, ships, and planes can operate at full passenger capacity nationwide with precautions in place; safeguards include the requirement for passengers to wear protective masks, complete health declaration forms, and sanitize their hands frequently. Central authorities have given provincial or city authorities discretion to modify restrictions to local conditions.

Travel Restrictions

Officials continue to bar entry for foreign nationals, with limited exceptions. Authorities stated, June 24, that Vietnam was not ready to admit foreign tourists back into the country, even though officials started 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. Flights to Vietnam remain operational, though only Vietnamese citizens and limited groups of foreigners can board. 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.

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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