Health check mandated for people entering Vietnam from Laos, Cambodia

By Viet Anh   February 20, 2020 | 06:21 am PT
Health check mandated for people entering Vietnam from Laos, Cambodia
A general view of the security checkpoint in front of cruise ship MS Westerdam at dock in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, February 17, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Clare Baldwin.
Anyone entering Vietnam from Laos and Cambodia should have their health checked at the border, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

"Those who have gone to China, through China and areas where there’s been a (Covid-19) outbreak for around 14 days must undergo health checks at the border if they wish to enter Vietnam. This policy also applies to those who cross the border from Cambodia and Laos," the foreign ministry's deputy spokesman Doan Khac Viet said at a press meet.

He was responding to an inquiry regarding border management for the novel coronavirus between Vietnam and Cambodia after the latter allowed the MS Westerdam cruise ship, operated by Carnival Corp unit Holland America Inc, to dock in the country February 13.

Malaysia later confirmed that one American passenger on the ship was infected with the Covid-19 virus.

Vietnam’s mandatory medical check-up policy applies to all border gates with all countries and territories, on land, water and air, Viet said.

On the February 17 request made by the Ministries of Health and Culture, Sports and Tourism to deny entry to people who have gone through areas affected by the epidemic for around 14 days, including those on the MS Westerdam, Viet said their suggestion "was not outside of what Vietnam is (already) doing.

"Vietnam’s preventive measures against the epidemic are being carried out properly and strictly," he said.

As of Thursday, Vietnam had 16 confirmed infection cases, of whom 14 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

The global death toll of the epidemic has reached 2,130 – one each in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, France and the Philippines, two each in Hong Kong, Iran and the Diamond Princess cruise ship currently quarantined off Japan, and the rest in mainland China.

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