Vietnam mulls health declaration for all Vietnamese citizens

By Viet Tuan    March 8, 2020 | 07:09 pm PT
Vietnam mulls health declaration for all Vietnamese citizens
Foreign tourists show their online health declarations at Tan Son Nhat Airport, HCMC, March 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress.
All Vietnamese citizens should be required to fill out health declaration forms starting Tuesday as the Covid-19 crisis deepens, officials have proposed.

The National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 made this proposal in the context of Vietnam recording 14 infections in just three days, raising the national total to 30.

The committee said Sunday that Vietnam asking health declarations from everyone arriving in the country from overseas is not enough. The declaration needs to apply for Vietnamese residents as well, it said.

This is "not only a responsibility but also a specific action for all Vietnamese people to join hands and unite to fight the epidemic," the proposal said.

The declared information will be strictly managed, exclusively serving the anti-epidemic agenda and will not be used for any other purpose, the committee added.

The Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Health, the Vietnam Social Insurance and other relevant agencies have been asked to complete the proposal that could take effect on Tuesday.

Visa suspension

The committee also proposed that Vietnam suspends visa-free entry for European Union (EU) members and the U.K.

Countries outside the EU with more than 500 infection cases or more than 50 cases each day should also have their visa exemptions suspended, the committee suggested.

If a foreigner shows symptoms of Covid-19 infection, he/she should be denied a visa to enter Vietnam, it said.

The latest proposals and moves came after nine foreigners, including seven British, one Irish and one Mexican aged between 58 and 74, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Vietnam after boarding the same Vietnam Airlines flight VN0054 as Hanoi’s first Covid-19 patient, Nguyen Hong Nhung.

Earlier, Vietnam already required those arriving from mainland China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy, the worst-hit countries, to be quarantined for at least 14 days on arrival, apart from suspending visa-free entry for South Koreans and Italians.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the Covid-19 prevention committee, said that after the 17th case, Vietnam had "officially entered the second phase of the war against Covid-19." This stage is more difficult than the first because the epidemic has spread to more than 100 countries and territories around the world, he said.

"We have to prevent the disease from hundreds of sides instead of a few sides like before. In fact, the Covid-19 epidemic has invaded our country and is becoming more serious," Dam said.

However, he expressed his confidence that Vietnam would win the battle. "We have won the first round and will absolutely win the whole battle," he said.

Dam said Vietnam has foreseen all situations, having sketched out scenarios for coping with thousands of infections.

"The most important thing is that we must continue to persistently implement the principle of preventing the virus from spreading, localize it and stamp out the epidemic. Early detection is a very important task," Dam said.

He also suggested relevant agencies recommend that Vietnamese citizens limit overseas travel and avoid countries with high number of Covid-19 infections at the moment, only go when absolutely necessary and fully equipped with knowledge to protect themselves from the epidemic.

The Covid-19 outbreak has thus far spread to 104 countries and territories around the world, with the death toll climbing to 3,806.

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