Covid-19 protocol no problem, say foreigners keenly awaiting Vietnam return

By Viet Anh    April 17, 2021 | 08:00 am GMT+7
Covid-19 protocol no problem, say foreigners keenly awaiting Vietnam return
Foreigners arrive at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi in March 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
Foreigners from many countries are eagerly awaiting a chance to return to Vietnam, buoyed by news that the country's considering entry permission for vaccine passport holders.

"I have been fully vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine mid-February and I long to go back to Vietnam soon," said Charlie Bowland, a resident of Maryland in the U.S.

Bowland's eagerness has been given an edge this month after Vietnamese authorities said three groups might be able to enter Vietnam with a vaccine passport, including Vietnamese stranded abroad, foreign investors, and vaccinated tourists. They said the country's information technology infrastructure for handling Covid-19 vaccine passports was basically ready and fully adapted to international preparations for vaccine passport deployment.

 Charlie Bowland with a nun at a church in HCMC in 2019. Photo courtesy of Charlie Bowland.

Charlie Bowland with a nun at a church in HCMC in 2019. Photo courtesy of Charlie Bowland.

Bowland, a veteran and semi-retired insurance agent, has visited Vietnam every year since 2011 to do different charity works on his own.

He has made donations to poor people and taught children English in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc. He said he had made many friends and felt like Vietnam was his second home.

However, he could not keep to his regular schedule in 2020 because of the pandemic. After getting vaccinated, Bowland sent a letter to Vietnamese embassy in Washington DC to ask to return to HCMC at the end of April. He attached documents showing his health status.

"This time I may look at buying property in Vietnam so I can have a longer stay."

Bowland said he would be willing to take tests and be quarantined if he can return to Vietnam. Though he has been infected with the virus, he has proof of negative tests and subsequent vaccination.

In England, Rebecca Jennings received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine in February. She wants to come back to Vietnam to work as a teacher, she says. Jennings is currently a babysitter.

"I miss teaching, I miss a wonderful country with amazing people, weather and food," she said.

With a Covid-19 vaccine card, Jennings looked at the chances of her return to Hanoi, but found it would be very expensive at this time. She is now hoping to get back in July or August with a business visa.

Rebecca Jennings (L) with her friends in Thanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam in 2019. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Jennings.

Rebecca Jennings (L) with her friends in Thanh Hoa Province in central Vietnam in 2019. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Jennings.

Jennings thinks it is reasonable for overseas Vietnamese people to be prioritized for return ahead of foreigners. She is also okay with undergoing tests, quarantine and "anything else I have to do." She hopes everything will be back to normal soon.

Working as an immigration consultant in HCMC, Rey Concepcion of the Philippines has heard that it’s not easy to get vaccinated in Vietnam. So he flew to Canada and get himself vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine. He got two shots in March and has a certificate issued by Vancouver. He is waiting to get back to Vietnam to run his business with partners.

Concepcion said he would prefer that vaccinated are not quarantined, but he is ready to accept it, along with testing and contact tracing.

"Covid-19 in Vietnam is under control thanks to those rules. I am happy to see that."

In the queue

Yuliana Leon, a teacher in Hanoi, returned home to Mexico for her holiday last February and has not been able to return since. All of her family members have been vaccinated and have certificates. Nonetheless, she does feel that such "simple cards" are not safe enough for traveling.

Leon wants to return to Vietnam, but she has not heard about any official policy. She plans to go to the U.S. to get vaccinated if Vietnam opens its borders. She said she will be prepared to get quarantined, but hoped the authorities are more flexible with hotel options.

"I am still waiting. I miss Vietnam a lot."

Viktor Kryvachok, a Ukrainian living in the UAE, has "urgent" reasons to return. He wants to get married to his Vietnamese fianceé. He has been stuck outside since March 2020. Kryvachok said he will take the first Chinese vaccine shot at the end of April "if everything is fine.

"I'm in the queue and I'm ready to come back to Vietnam".

 
 
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