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Vietnam Imposes 30-Day VoA Shutdown
18 March 2020 | Written by Chris Alexander

In a concerted effort to stop COVID-19 entering the country, Vietnam has suspended Visa On Arrival (VOA) services to all foreign nationals. This applies to all new applicants, except those travelling for diplomatic or official purposes. Those who currently hold visas to enter Vietnam will need to undergo medical checks and may be quarantined before being allowed to enter the country.

The restrictions will last for 30 days, starting from today (18th March, 2020). Travellers from countries with visa exemptions will only be allowed to enter if they can confirm they are free of the virus by showing official medical papers. All incoming travellers from the United States, European and ASEAN nations must undergo medical checks and 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Vietnam.

All travellers are advised to contact the Vietnamese Embassy in their home country prior to departure, to make sure they are permitted to enter the country and have all the correct documentation prepared.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Defence, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Transport have also outlined a plan to cancel flights from countries currently affected by COVID-19. The Ministry of Health is currently conducting COVID-19 screening for entrants at the nation’s airports and making preparations for re-routing the flight cancellations.

As an extra precaution, Vietnam has also issued an order that face masks are mandatory on all flights, and must also be worn in public places such as airports, supermarkets, stations and public transportation.

At the time of writing, there have been 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vietnam, with zero deaths. 16 people have made a full recovery, while a total of 31,659 are currently in quarantine as a precaution against further spread of the virus. The first confirmed cases appeared in Vietnam on 23rd January, 2020. Since then, the nation has been commended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its swift and decisive response to containing the virus.

Vietnam has been quick to impose screening, along with immediate lockdowns of individual provinces and tourism objects following the confirmation of new cases. Earlier this week, they country imposed a partial blockade, specifically for visitors arriving from Schengen countries. The latest measures take this approach to a new level, effectively closing Vietnam’s borders to undocumented international arrivals for a month.

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