On Thursday, March 19, the Hanoi People's Committee has advised all residents to self-isolate at home until the end of March, following Vietnam's highest increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in a single day. Authorities have advised residents to limit large gatherings and to refrain from using public transport to prevent further spread of the virus. Schools will remain closed until Sunday, April 5, while entertainment venues such as cinemas, clubs, bars, massage parlours, karaoke lounges, and online game centers will be closed until the end of March. According to authorities, the number of COVID-19 is expected to surge in the coming days as many Vietnamese are returning from overseas.
Meanwhile, visa issuance to all foreigners remain suspended for 30 days as of Wednesday, March 18. Travelers who have already been issued a visa will now also require a medical clearance certificate approved by Vietnamese authorities. The government will also be suspending unilateral visa exemptions for citizens from Belarus, Russia, and Japan from 12:00 (local time), Saturday, March 21. Travelers arriving from the US, European, and ASEAN countries will be subject to mandatory quarantine at designated facilities. An entry ban on individuals who have traveled to or transited through the UK and any of the 26 Schengen zone countries 14 days prior to their arrival in the country remain in place as of Sunday, March 15.
Vietnam's Health Ministry has confirmed 85 cases of COVID-19 nationwide as of Friday, March 20. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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