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Mar 22, 2020 / 13:33

Vietnam closes borders to foreigners as coronavirus infection toll nears 100

Vietnam's spokeswoman said all protective measures are based on the virus situation and with no discrimination against anyone.

Vietnam has barred the entry of all foreigners from March 22 as the latest tough move to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases that originated mostly from outside the country.

The restriction made at Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s request is applicable to people of Vietnamese origin (who benefit from visa exemption) and their family members.

 Foreign visitors in Vietnam. Photo: Zing

The temporary suspension is not applicable to entrants holding diplomatic and official passports, as well as others who are experts, corporate executives, skilled laborers, and guests of important foreign affairs.

Foreign diplomatic missions in Vietnam shall commit to conduct medical supervision over their citizens during their stay in Vietnam.

Overseas Vietnamese (students, laborers, and people of Vietnamese origin) are advised not to flock home and closely follow other countries’ regulations on pandemic prevention. Vietnamese who want to return to the home country need to register for flights that will be arranged by the Ministry of Transport and make medical declarations and follow quarantine requirements.

Authorities are asked to strictly control the entry by land, air, sea, and inland waterways.

Gradual entry suspension

A Vietnam Airlines flight attendant. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

Since the breakout of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in China, Vietnam has prepared for the control with a number of protective measures.

On January 30, Vietnam imposed visa suspension on Chinese visitors and halted flights from and to China.

On February 29, Vietnam halted visa-free entry to South Korean citizens and quarantined all people coming from or traveling across South Korea within 14 days by the date of entry after President Moon Jae-in raised the country’s infectious-disease alert level to the highest.

On March 3, Vietnam stopped applying visa exemption to Italian nationals after this European country reported more than 2,000 people infected.

On March 12, Vietnam suspended visa issuance to nationals of eight European countries namely the UK, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, and Spain.

From March 15, Vietnam suspended entry of citizens from the UK and Schengen Area that comprises of 26 European countries.

On March 18, Vietnam ceased visa issuance to all foreigners for 30 days. The restriction is not applicable to entrants holding diplomatic and official passports.

From March 21, the country applied visa suspension to citizens from Japan, Russia, and Belarus.

Seeking sharing and collaboration

Temporary suspension of foreign visitors is one of tough measures that Vietnam must take over the past time to prevent the spread of the pandemic. “It’s a hard decision to make” as Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Vietnam’s protective measures, including mandatory quarantine, applied for both Vietnamese and foreigners are based on the complexity of the virus situation and in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR) and without discrimination, Hang said in a statement on Saturday.

Vietnam expects to receive the sharing and collaboration of countries and territories in implementing the measures, Hang said, adding that the country will make changes depending on the situation.