Airlines in Vietnam temporarily suspended inbound flights on Thursday, October 8, as they look for clarification on quarantine procedures from central government. Most foreign arrivals in Vietnam remain banned from entry; however, exemptions for foreign experts, investors, skilled workers, diplomats, and other exceptional cases are in place. Flights with China, Cambodia, and Laos were scheduled to resume in September, although very few flights have reportedly taken place so far. Airlines want clarification on exemptions to the quarantine procedure and the length of quarantine. Officials require that arrivals provide a negative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test and quarantine for at least five days at a government-designated facility. However, some visitors are exempt from quarantine altogether and some have reportedly been quarantined for a full 14 days despite providing a negative COVID-19 test every two days. It is not clear when inbound flights will resume at this stage.
Domestic travel has been permitted to resume with certain restrictions in place. Passengers must wear face maks and capacities are limited. The central government has given local authorities the power to ease and enhance restrictions dependent on the situation in their area. Whilst restrictions vary in different locations, curbs have been relaxed in the worst hit areas of Da Nang and Quang Nam province in September and some other areas have begun to resume tourism activities.
As of Friday, October 9, health authorities in Vietnam have confirmed a total of 1100 COVID-19 cases with 35 associated deaths in Vietnam. Further 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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