Vietnam mulls quarantining foreigners in hotels

By Viet Tuan   September 10, 2020 | 07:33 am PT
Vietnam mulls quarantining foreigners in hotels
Arrivals make health declarations at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, March 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tuan Viet.
A new proposal says some foreigners entering Vietnam can be quarantined for "an appropriate number of days" in lodgings like hotels.

The proposal would apply to officials with official or diplomatic passports, international organizations, experts, managers, high-skilled workers, investors and their family members. The proposal has not yet been extended for foreign tourists at this moment.

"Right now, the demand of experts, businesses and investors to come to Vietnam for surveillance purposes is high," Mai Tien Dung, Chairman of the Government Office, said at a Thursday meeting regarding quarantine extensions for foreigners and Vietnamese entering the country.

He noted that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's instruction calls for a step-by-step reopening of international flight routes, ensuring that the process is neither too lax nor too strict to hamper development opportunities.

Specifically, for about three days prior to getting on planes to fly to Vietnam, passengers would need to test negative for the novel coronavirus at their embarkation points.

After entering Vietnam, they would be quarantined in accommodations like hotels and resorts for a period deemed appropriate. During this quarantine period, they would be tested twice. If both test results are negative for the novel coronavirus, they would be allowed to self-monitor themselves at home. They would have to pay for the tests and quarantine fees.

People entering Vietnam after transiting through a third country would have to be quarantined in centralized facilities for 14 days.

The Government Office is expected to submit the proposal to the Prime Minister at a Friday meeting on Covid-19 prevention after consultations with ministries, businesses and tourism associations.

Dung also noted that once international flight routes are reopened, the influx of passengers entering Hanoi and HCMC would be high, so the two cities need to increase the number of quarantine accommodations and make sure that quarantine fees are transparent and made public. Accommodations will be requested to offer discounts, provide good services and take effective measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Vietnam suspended international flights in late March.

After the country managed to bring the second outbreak of the pandemic under control, the Transport Ministry earlier this month proposed reopening flight routes to certain destinations in mainland China, Japan and South Korea starting September 15, followed by Laos, Cambodia and Taiwan starting September 22. The ministry estimates the number of arriving passengers to be quarantined per week at about 5,000 in Hanoi and HCMC.

Vietnam had earlier this month lifted the requirement of 14-day quarantine at centralized facilities for foreign experts, investors, managers, and diplomats entering the country for less than 14 days, but required them to comply with all Covid-19 prevention measures including wearing masks and refraining from shaking hands.

The country has recorded 1,059 Covid-19 cases so far, 128 of which are active. So far, 35 people have succumbed to the pandemic, many of them elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes and/or kidney failure.

There has been no new local transmission case in Vietnam for a week now.

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