Việt Nam suspends visas for foreign travellers starting Wednesday

March 17, 2020 - 20:21

In light of coronavirus spread concerns, Việt Nam will temporarily suspend visa issuance for foreigners entering the country for a period of 30 days starting Wednesday (March 18), Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said.


A tourist completes health check procedures at Hà Nội's Nội Bài International Airport. —Photo

HÀ NỘI — In light of coronavirus spread concerns, Việt Nam will temporarily suspend visa issuance for foreigners entering the country for a period of 30 days starting Wednesday (March 18), Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said.

Speaking at the conference on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and control on Tuesday, the Vietnamese Government leader said cases of visa exemption or those travelling for special purposes will have to be certified as negative to the virus.

The certificate must be issued by the competent authority of the host country and approved by Việt Nam.

The measures do not apply to people travelling for diplomatic or official purposes.

Those entering must undergo medical checks according to regulations, he said.

All travellers from outside Việt Nam, both foreigners and overseas Vietnamese living or transiting in ASEAN countries in the past two weeks, will face a 14-day quarantine at centralised facilities, the Ministry of Transport has said.

In the urgent document sent to the Vietnam Aviation Department, the ministry asked airlines to notify passengers who are considering buying international flight tickets to Việt Nam.

The ministry also required airlines to guide passengers taking domestic flights to fill in medical declaration forms and have their body temperature taken before boarding.

HCM City’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said those who participated at a recent religious gathering at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia would be placed under quarantine and quickly inform local health authority or via call the hotline 1900.9095 or 1900.3228 for instructions.

Those living in HCM City needed to contact district-level health authorities for support, it said.

The 61st infection case in Việt Nam had been at the event held between February 27 and March 1, attracting 16,000 people. At least 240 cases have been reported to be infected with the virus, with nine critically ill in intensive care in other countries.

Army gets ready for any COVID-19 situation 

Meanwhile, the army would tighten co-operation with relevant authorities to learn information on flights arriving in Việt Nam in an attempt to prevent the pandemic from spreading further, Deputy Minister of National Defence Senior Lieutenant General Trần Đơn said.

Speaking at the meeting of the ministry’s steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control on Tuesday, Đơn, who is also head of the committee, said many people – up to tens of thousands of people, mostly Vietnamese will be coming home in the near future.

The General Staff Department and the Military Medical Department must have a plan in place to coordinate with relevant units to be ready for prevention and control.

All of the headquarters, agencies and army must also be ready to handle any situation, he said.

Đơn said Việt Nam had been trying to fulfil its treatment goals of having no fatalities and preventing the spread of the disease into the community.

He requested the Military Region, the Military Headquarters in localities and the Border Command to continue promoting the implementation of the ‘four-on-site’ motto in the fight against the pandemic, namely on-site quarantine, on-site treatment, on-site forces and on-site leadership.

In terms of quarantine, the General Staff Department must assign the Military Region to arrange quarantine areas and strictly cordon off suspected areas.

Đơn said in the second phase of the pandemic, the ministry would continuously make efforts preventing the spread of the disease into the army, giving early detection on suspected cases and zoning off affected areas.

The ministry would work with functional forces to implement the prevention of the disease, including receiving people from affected countries and territories for quarantine for 14 days.

By Tuesday afternoon, as many as 158 countries have been reported to be infected by the SAR-CoV-2 virus. At least 7,130 people have died, about half of them outside mainland China.

One more patient to be discharged from hospital

In Việt Nam, 61 cases of infections have been recorded so far. Of that, 16 have been cured and discharged from hospitals.

Among 45 patients under treatment at different hospitals and health clinics, 18 are foreigners and the rest are Vietnamese nationals. Most patients are in a stable condition.

The 18th case of COVID-19 infection has recovered and will be discharged from hospital in the next couple of days.

Dr Chu Thị Giang from Ninh Bình General Hospital in northern Ninh Bình Province said the hospital had applied the Ministry of Health’s treatment regime and the patient’s health had much improved.

The patient has been tested negative to the virus twice.

The patient had returned from South Korea’s Daegu and been quarantined since March 4. Three days later, he was hospitalised for typical symptoms such as fever, cough and heavy breathing. He then tested positive.

The patient would be in-home quarantined for 14 days as required.

Three more foreign patients – two under treatment in Đà Nẵng Hospital and one from the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases – have tested negative to the virus for the first time.

Two patients are undergoing mechanical ventilation due to their old age with background diseases: A 64-year-old Vietnamese woman and a 69-year-old British man are being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Disease.

According to doctors, the woman suffered from vestibular disorders while the man suffered high blood pressure and diabetes. They are currently in intensive care. — VNS