Vietnam suspends entry from all coronavirus-hit areas

By Viet Tuan   February 25, 2020 | 06:00 am PT
Vietnam suspends entry from all coronavirus-hit areas
Medical staff in Vietnam's central city of Da Nang spray disinfection over luggage of South Korean passengers arriving on February 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Truc Lam.
No person coming from any area that has experienced a Covid-19 outbreak will be allowed to enter Vietnam, the PM directed Tuesday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply the new policy to South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran and all other countries and territories that have reported cases of Covid-19 caused by the novel coronavirus.

Vietnam has so far achieved positive results in fighting the Covid-19, but the epidemic has entered its next stage, spreading to many other parts of the world and is now developing complicatedly and unpredictably in South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran, the PM noted.

For those who have to enter Vietnam for state affairs or exclusive matters, the government requests them to follow the nation’s health declaration procedure and stay in quarantine for 14 days.

Citizens of countries stricken by Covid-19, but from cities/provinces free of the epidemic, will have to submit a health declaration and submit to further procedures deemed necessary when entering Vietnam.

Vietnamese citizens from China’s epidemic hit areas can return home, but only via international border gates and will have to be quarantined for two weeks on entry, continuing the policy being followed for the past month.

For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on all Vietnamese citizens not to travel to affected areas and if such travel is unavoidable, they have to be quarantined on return.

Vietnamese expatriates in epidemic-hit areas have been told to strictly follow regulations and guidance of the local authorities; and advised not to return to Vietnam at this time.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam had said earlier Tuesday that in order for the country to achieve the positive results it has so far, Vietnam had been proactively implementing measures to prevent and limit the epidemic from mid-December last year, as soon as reports appeared of the Covid-19 in China's Wuhan City.

Staring February 1, Vietnam had suspended all flights to and from China and stopped granting tourist visas to Chinese from epidemic-stricken areas.

After South Korea raised its disease alert to the ‘highest level,’ the Vietnamese government has tightened controls for visitors from that country. Starting Monday, everyone coming in from South Korea has to make health declarations, and those with symptoms like high fever, coughing and breathing difficulties will be placed in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

Now all flights from infected areas in South Korea will be diverted to smaller airports - Van Don in the northern Quang Ninh Province, Phu Cat in the south central Binh Dinh Province and Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.

Saigon and Da Nang are currently quarantining 83 people coming on Monday from South Korea's Daegu City, where a major coronavirus outbreak has been detected. Some South Koreans who refused to be quarantined will be flown home late Tuesday night.

South Korea is making headlines internationally as one of the worst-hit countries and territories by the coronavirus epidemic, recording 977 infections by Tuesday evening, second only to China.

As of Tuesday, the last of the 16 infection novel coronavirus infections detected so far in Vietnam had fully recovered. Over the past 13 days, no new infection case has been reported in the country.

The Covid-19 is affecting 39 countries and territories. Death toll has crossed 2,700, mostly in China, followed by Iran with 15, South Korea with 11 and Italy with seven.

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