Health ministry wants quarantine for vaccine passport holders halved to 1 week

By Viet Tuan, Nhat Linh   April 16, 2021 | 09:09 am GMT+7
Health ministry wants quarantine for vaccine passport holders halved to 1 week
Foreigners arrive at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, March 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
The Ministry of Health has recommended that the centralized quarantine period for those entering the country with a Covid-19 vaccine passport should be halved to seven days.

In a proposal it sent to the Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, it said those with a vaccine passport would be tested for the coronavirus once on arrival and again on the sixth day. If both tests are negative, they could leave quarantine facilities but remain at home or their place of work under the supervision of local authorities until they complete the mandated 14-day quarantine period.

They would be tested a final time on the 14th day.

People entering the country have been required to undergo 14 days of quarantine since last year.

Associate Professor Nguyen Viet Nhung, director of the National Lung Hospital, agreed it is necessary to reduce the quarantine period for those holding a vaccination certificate and even waive the requirement if visitors have a vaccine passport and test negative for Covid on arrival.

Tran Dac Phu, a senior advisor at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center, said the pandemic has been controlled, but the vaccination rate is not high yet and immunity at the community level is low. Therefore, the risk of community outbreaks is very high if someone enters the country with Covid.

Furthermore, the virus has been mutating and vaccines may be ineffective or less effective against new strains, he said.

So, for now, Vietnam should focus on "low-contact tourism," allowing foreign visitors with a vaccine passport to travel to places without crowds, he said.

It needs a strategy to recognize vaccine passports with countries under bilateral or multilateral agreement or pilot the implementation of passports with countries with high vaccination rates or with vaccines reaching high immunological efficiency, he added.

Earlier this month the government said Vietnamese citizens stranded abroad, foreign investors and tourists could enter the country with a vaccine passport. But specific quarantine measures have not been decided.

Vietnam plans to admit tourists from countries and territories that have controlled the pandemic well and have mass vaccination campaigns.

The government closed the borders and canceled all international flights in March last year, allowing in only certain categories of people and with stringent conditions.

 
 
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