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Vietnam COVID-19

Vietnam based 'Dezan Shira & Associates' provided the following briefing on business operations and the coronavirus:

  • From March 18, Vietnam will stop issuing new visas to all foreign nationals for 30 days in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. Travelers from countries with visa exemptions will only be allowed if they can show medical documents certifying they are free of the virus. The suspension also does not apply to diplomats and those entering on government business, however, they will be required to follow quarantine protocols.
  • In addition, all travelers from the US, Europe, and ASEAN countries will be required to undergo medical checks and a 14-day quarantine when entering Vietnam.
  • As of March 18, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 67 cases of COVID-19. The latest cases were reported in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Ninh Thuan province after travelers returned to Vietnam on international flights.
  • Vietnam Airlines will temporarily suspend flights between Vietnam and Malaysia until the end of March from March 18. In addition, flights between Vietnam and France have been indefinitely suspended.
  • As of 12:00 pm on March 15, Vietnam suspended all visas and will deny entry to travelers from the UK and the 26 Schengen countries; this includes travelers that have visited or transited through these countries in the past 14 days. This will be effective for 30 days.
  • In addition, Vietnam has suspended visa on arrival for all foreign nationals except for those on official or diplomatic trips. Those who currently hold visas to enter Vietnam will need to undergo screenings and may be quarantined when entering the country.
  • For restrictions on visitors from the US – Vietnam will consider stopping issuing tourist visas to visitors from the US on a state by state basis, depending on the development of the epidemic in the US.
  • Ho Chi Minh City officials have announced restrictions on organizing meetings attended by over 1,000 people. In addition, all bars, clubs, cinemas, massage parlors, karaoke shops, and online gaming centers will be closed from 6:00 pm on March 15 until March 31. Officials in Hanoi have implemented similar measures until March 31.
  • Vietnam railway authorities have suspended several domestic routes from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from March 16.
  • Authorities in Binh Duong and Long An provinces have shut down all entertainment facilities such as cinemas, discos, massage parlors, and karaoke clubs.
  • Health officials announced changes to mass lockdowns – they would enforce a small-scale lockdown applicable to households in the immediate vicinity of confirmed patients.
  • Vietnam has mandated that people wear face masks at crowded places such as airports, bus stations, supermarkets and on public transport.
  • The Formula 1 (F1) Vietnam Grand Prix in Hanoi scheduled for April 5 has been postponed due to the epidemic.
  • Authorities have shut several tourist sites in Hanoi as well as Hoi An. All tourist activities in Quang Ninh province have also been suspended.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11 declared COVID-19 as a pandemic which is an “epidemic occurring worldwide” as per the WHO. To put this in context, the latest pandemic was declared in 2009 caused by the H1N1 swine flu.
  • From March 12 to March 26 tourist attractions such as Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and Yen Tu Complex will be closed to visitors.
  • Vietnam Airlines stated that all flights from London, Paris, and Frankfurt will be suspended from March 15 but reversed the ban allowing passengers meeting strict requirements to board flights. 
  • Two communes – Viet Hai and Gia Luan in Hai Phong were put under lockdown on March 9 after a British tourist with the virus visited there. This is in addition to four residential areas already under lockdown.
  • Authorities have restricted all foreigners from the tourist destination of Ly Son island in Quang Ngai province from March 9. Vietnamese tourists entering the island will have to fill out health declarations. In addition, authorities have also barred tourists from Cham islands, off the coast of Hoi An from March 10.
  • Vietnam launched a mobile app that will allow all Vietnamese to declare their health status. The government has urged citizens to update their health status on the app.
  • Around 300,000 residents of Ha Long town were required to fill out health declaration forms from March 8 after 52 tourists traveled to Ha Long due to the epidemic.
  • City authorities in Hanoi disinfected Truc Bach street where the first COVID-19 patient was detected, as well all main streets in Ba Dinh district as a precaution.
  • The Vietnamese government is expected to unveil a credit package of US$10.8 billion and a fiscal package of US$1.3 billion in March for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Health authorities will require all passengers arriving from any country into Vietnam to fill out health declaration forms from March 7.
  • The Vietnamese Prime Minister has asked ministers and government officials to consider canceling foreign trips to the epidemic.
  • Instant noodle demand has surged by 67 percent due to the COVID-19 epidemic. This was preceded by mouthwash at 78 percent as per a market study by Nielsen Vietnam.
  • Vietnam will produce 10,000 COVID-19 test kits daily after a successful pilot and approval from the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The authorities lifted the lockdown in Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on March 4. The commune was put under lockdown on February 13 after six cases of the virus were found there. The commune comprises of several villages and is around 40 kms north of the capital Hanoi.
  • Ethnic Vietnamese from South Korean and Italy will longer be granted visa-free entry from March 8.
  • From March 1, all flights from South Korea will not be allowed to land at Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City airports, instead they will be directed to Van Don (Quang Ninh province) and Can Tho airports for processing and quarantining of passengers. 
  • Vietnam on February 29 suspended the visa-waiver program for South Korean nationals. In addition, all incoming travelers from South Korea will be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation. 
  • Vietnam Airlines and low-cost carrier Vietjet will temporarily suspend all flights to and from South Korea from March 5 and March 7 respectively. Earlier on February 26, Bamboo Airways had suspended all flights to and from South Korea.
  • High school students in 58 provinces resumed classes from March 2, while elementary school students will resume classes on March 8. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City schools are expected to remain closed until the end of March.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 27, removed Vietnam from the list of destinations vulnerable to community transmission of COVID-19 citing Vietnam’s comprehensive actions against the epidemic. The CDC will also send a delegation in March to enhance medical cooperation between the US and Vietnam. It also plans to establish a CDC regional office in the country.
  • Vietnam’s Prime Minister has ordered the tax authorities to reschedule tax payments to support businesses affected by COVID-19.
  • Vietnam and China have agreed to reopen further border crossings to ease restrictions and normalize trade. Several border crossings in Quang Ninh, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Lang Son, and Ha Giang have reopened. However, backlogs remain, and other border crossings remain closed.
  • Khanh Hoa province, home to the tourist destination of Nha Trang has been declared COVID-19 free as of February 26. The province has not reported any COVID-19 cases since February 4. Despite the epidemic, Russian tourists have continued to visit the tourist destination of Nha Trang with just a slight dip compared to last year in the same period.
  • Vietnam’s labor ministry announced that it will stop issuing new work permits to foreigners who come from areas hit by COVID-19.
  • Vietnam’s Prime Minister has barred all travelers coming from areas that have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. The policy includes travelers from South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran.
  • Due to the increase in cases in South Korea, Vietnam has implemented mandatory health declarations at all international border gates for passengers arriving from South Korea.
  • Vietnam’s civil aviation authority suspended all flights to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan on February 1. However, the authority lifted the ban for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan from February 2. Flights to and from mainland China (including transit) remain suspended.
  • The northern province of Cao Bang, which shares its border with China has run out of rooms for quarantining people for those returning from China. Authorities there have had to send patients to neighboring provinces of Bac Kan and Thai Nguyen for isolation. Around 700 Vietnamese that arrived from China between February 4 and 22 have been kept in isolation in Cao Bang.
  • Up to 300 businesses in Vietnam have temporarily suspended operations while others have downsized due to the outbreak.
  • The south-central province of Khanh Hoa, home to the tourist destination of Nha Trang is preparing measures to declare itself virus-free after no new cases were recorded in the past 30 days.
  • The novel coronavirus has been renamed as COVID-19 as per the World Health Organization (WHO). The Co and Vi come from coronavirus, with D meaning disease and 19 for 2019.
  • The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced a list of medical supplies including masks, dry hand sanitizers, filters, epidemic prevent suits, among others exempt from tax until the epidemic ends.
  • We are hearing accounts of travelers in more remote border crossings into Vietnam being denied entry if they possess any China visa history in their passport. While this may not be an official policy, it appears to be implemented at certain border crossings in more remote areas. If travel into Vietnam is required we recommend using the main border entry-exit points.
  • Vietnam issued Decision No.173.QD-TTg declaring coronavirus as an epidemic – in line with the World Health Organization’s declaration of the virus as a global health emergency.
  • The government has ordered the health ministry to supervise and early detect infected cases, monitor border crossings, airports, and seaports, particularly for passengers coming from affected areas.
  • Vietnam stopped issuing visas for Chinese tourists on January 30 as a temporary measure. Foreign visitors who have visited mainland China (including transit) in the past 14 days from arrival will also be denied entry into Vietnam.
  • Passenger train services between Vietnam and China have been suspended until further notice, however freight train services between the two countries continue to operate.
  • On February 4, more than 200 passengers from China were denied entry at Ho Chi Minh City airport by border officials. The passengers were sent back on respective flights.
  • The labor ministry has also asked businesses to keep names and other information of Chinese and foreign workers who have visited virus affected areas. In addition, they must be quarantined for two weeks for health checks.
  • Vietnam’s airports have been ordered to deploy additional personnel and coordinate with local health agencies to deploy body temperature scanning equipment as well as a screening of passengers.
  • Building management of some apartment buildings in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have begun body temperature checks for people entering the building. Ho Chi Minh City officials have asked building authorities to strengthen preventive measures at apartment buildings.

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