Earlier this month, Vietnam was officially removed from the CDC list of countries where community transmission posed a threat (read the full news here). The country was also on the verge of being declared officially virus-free, as there had been no new cases for 22 days. However, this past weekend, several travellers returning from Europe tested positive and are currently being treated in quarantine. In response, officials are imposing a range of new measures, designed to protect the safety of visitors and contain any potential spread of the virus.
In the past 28 days, Vietnam has recorded 23 new cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19). Each case came from visitors who had arrived from Italy, the UK, France, South Korea and North America. There have been no examples of community transmission in Vietnam. As of today (12/3), the total number of cases in Vietnam is 39, of which 16 have been successfully treated and recovered, while the other 23 are currently in a stable condition.
It is important to note that Vietnam is still considered a safe place to travel; the following developments are a precaution against further spread. Although the risk of infection is extremely low, the government has been taking extra steps to control the spread and keep Vietnam a safe destination for travellers to enjoy:
1. Effective immediately, all passengers arriving in Vietnam will be required to fill out a declaration of health form. This can be done online, via a mobile app, or on paper upon arrival.
2. Vietnam has temporarily suspended its visa-waiver programme for EU countries (including Italy, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.
3. Any visitors who have travelled to Italy, Iran, South Korea or mainland China in the 14 days prior to their arrival will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
4. Several tourist sites will be temporarily closed in March, in order to ensure their cleanliness and safety. All are expected to re-open again soon.
So what are the implications for travellers planning to visit Vietnam? Firstly, EU citizens will need to obtain a Vietnam visa BEFORE their departure from home. Secondly, they will need to declare their current personal health situation and share their recent travel history before they can enter Vietnam.
Agents and travellers alike are advised to check with their local Vietnamese Embassy for the latest information, and to ensure that all travellers have the correct documentation before they fly.
Vietnam has been commended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its proactive approach and firm stance against the spread of Covid-19. Considering the relatively low number of cases and extra-ordinary efforts shown by the authorities, we believe Vietnam remains a safe and welcoming destination for travel. We also stress that travellers intending to visit Vietnam can further protect themselves by following the official WHO guidelines for combatting the virus:
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- When coughing or sneezing, cover the mouth and nose with a flexed elbow
- Avoid prolonged contact (within 2 metres) with anyone who has a fever and a cough
- If you develop a fever, a cough, or experience breathing difficulties, seek medical attention
Panorama Destination continues to monitor the situation closely and will keep you updated with the latest official information as it is released.
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