Vietnam to suspend visa-free entry for South Koreans amid coronavirus outbreak

By Viet Tuan   February 28, 2020 | 03:00 am PT
Vietnam to suspend visa-free entry for South Koreans amid coronavirus outbreak
Passengers from South Korea to Vietnam wait for medical check-up at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, February 27, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Kim Bui.
South Koreans will no longer be granted visa-free entry starting Saturday as Vietnam aims to contain the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The suspension is a temporary measure to prevent the disease from spreading within Vietnam, protect people’s health and reduce the negative impact on the country’s economy and society, said Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung said at a government meeting Friday.

All South Koreans wishing to enter Vietnam must present a valid visa provided by the Vietnamese government, starting from Saturday. Everyone who either flew from South Korea or have been in the country within the last 14 days will be quarantined, he added.

South Koreans working in Vietnam must have their working status verified by their businesses or organizations.

South Korea has made international headlines as the worst-hit country by the novel coronavirus after epicenter China. It has recorded over 2,300 infections, many in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province.

The Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 has also requested all Iranians and Italians be quarantined for 14 days upon entering Vietnam. Anyone suspected to be infected with Covid-19 on flights coming from areas experiencing outbreaks must be quarantined while authorities determine the correct course of action, it was added.

The committee is also requesting the government to increase the warning level for the Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam. This would help bolster measures to prevent the disease, such as creating more quarantine zones, said Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered Tuesday to suspend entry for everyone coming from outbreak areas in coronavirus-hit countries and territories, including South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy. Those who have to enter Vietnam for state affairs or exclusive matters must follow the nation’s health declaration procedure and stay in quarantine for 14 days.

Vietnam’s last Covid-19 patient out of 16 confirmed infections was discharged Wednesday. The country has recorded no new cases over the past two weeks.

The global death toll has reached 2,859, mostly in mainland China, followed by Iran at 26, Italy at 17 and South Korea at 13.

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