Vietnamese authorities announced on Monday, June 27, that they would evacuate 80,000 tourists from the city of Da Nang, following the identification in the city of the country's first locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since April. The tourists, who are mainly Vietnamese, will be flown home over the course of four days, with domestic carriers operating up to 100 flights a day. Those returning home from Da Nang will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
The Vietnamese government adopted strong lockdown measures early in the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a low number of cases compared to other countries in the region. International commercial flights to Vietnam are banned, and Vietnam's borders with China, Cambodia, and Laos remain closed to all but essential traffic. Visa waivers and the issuing of new visas have been suspended, although foreign experts and skilled workers may enter provided they undergo mandatory quarantine measures, lasting at least 14 days, and pass certain requirements. Exemptions are judged on a case-by-case basis.
The majority of measures within Vietnam have been lifted, and travel within the country is unrestricted. The wearing of masks is no longer mandatory in public, although may be required at hospitals and on some public transport. Social distancing measures are encouraged. Restrictions may be reinstated should new COVID-19 outbreaks be detected.
As of July 27, 420 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Vietnam, with no associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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