On Tuesday, April 14, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) announced that domestic flights will remain suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The announcement came in response to statements issued by domestic carriers that they were due to resume flight operations from Wednesday, April 15. Government officials had previously ordered a 15-day suspension of operations in late March, which is set to expire on April 15. Aviation authorities instructed Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, VietJet Air, and Bamboo Airways to submit flight permit requests for the April 16-30 period.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the suspension of public transportation services across the country on Monday, March 30, to limit the spread of the virus. As of April 14, it remains unclear when services will resume. Notably, Phuc also called for state officials to work from home and for a cap on the use of private vehicles for transportation. All cultural, sports, and entertainment activities are prohibited, while religious activities of over 20 people have been suspended until at least Wednesday, April 15. Most businesses are to halt operations, except for those selling essential goods and services.
The Vietnamese government has also suspended entry to all foreign nationals who were previously granted travel visas, effective Sunday, March 22. Travelers who were granted visas for diplomatic or official purposes are exempt from the restriction. Individuals who are deemed experts, business managers, or highly skilled workers will still be allowed to enter the country but must have a medical certificate showing they tested negative for the virus and will be quarantined upon arrival. A 30-day suspension on issuing new visas that went into effect on Wednesday, March 18, remains in place. All international flights to Vietnam have also been suspended as of March 22.
To date, there have been 266 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with no associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
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 labored 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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or 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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