Vietnam suspends visa waiver for eight European countries over coronavirus fears

By Viet Tuan   March 9, 2020 | 07:53 am PT
Vietnam suspends visa waiver for eight European countries over coronavirus fears
Foreign tourists in the coastal town of Nha Trang in the central province of Khanh Hoa, February 20, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.
Vietnam decided Monday that citizens of eight European countries will not be granted visa-free entry as it deals with the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed a directive Monday suspending the exemption of visas for citizens of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain and the U.K.

The suspension is based on a recommendation by the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19.

Vietnam has also suspended its visa waiver for Italian nationals starting last Tuesday and Korean nationals since February 29.

The PM also decided last Friday that ethnic Vietnamese from South Korea and Italy and their family members will no longer be granted visa-free entry.

Starting last Saturday, everyone arriving in Vietnam from overseas will need to fill out health declaration forms.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 31 Covid-19 infections. The country had enjoyed 22 days with no new infection until last Friday when Nguyen Hong Nhung, 26, who had flown to Hanoi from London on Vietnam Airlines flight VN0054, became the capital city's first Covid-19 patient and the nation’s 17th.

Eleven people on the same flight have also tested Covid-19 positive so far. Of these ten are foreigners. Last Sunday, it was confirmed that a 61-year-old Hanoian on the same flight as Nhung had also contracted the novel coronavirus. The man, the nation’s 21st Covid-19 infection, lives in the same neighborhood as Nhung in Ba Dinh District.

One of Nhung’s aunts and her personal chauffeur became the 20th and 19th cases, while a 27-year-old man returning to Vietnam from South Korea’s Daegu City was the 18th case.

The Covid-19 outbreak has thus far spread to 109 countries and territories around the world, with the death toll climbing to 3,867.

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