The Vietnamese government has decided to temporarily suspend entry of all foreigners from March 22 due to swift and complicated developments of the Covid-19 pandemic.
| Immigration officers on duty at Noi Bai International Airport on March 13. Photo: Ba Do/VnExpress|
The decision has been made after a growing number of coronavirus infections in the country in recent days have mostly originated from Vietnamese and foreign visitors coming from European countries, mostly the UK and France.
This is a bolder step after the government required all Vietnamese nationals and foreigners entering Vietnam to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine, with effect from March 18. The country has earlier suspended visa issuance to foreign nationals.
The move also applies to all overseas Vietnamese and their relatives granted with certificates of visa exemption.
The latest restriction is not applicable to those entering Vietnam for diplomatic, official and special purposes such as participation in major diplomatic events, or experts, business managers or highly skilled laborers. However, these special cases will be subject to medical checks and mandatory 14-day quarantine.
To further tighten control over the pandemic, the government called on people to refrain from holding or participating in gatherings larger than 50 people, including weddings, funerals and religious rituals, and wear face masks at public places.
Entertainment facilities like bars, karaoke lounges and massage venues are asked to close temporarily.
As of late March 21, Vietnam has reported 94 people positive with the coronavirus, of them 17 have recovered and been discharged from hospital. No death has been reported while two patients with existing illness are in critical status.
The Ministry of Defense is asked to manage and coordinate concentrated quarantine establishments. Hanoi is tasked to set up new quarantine facilities capable of accommodating 20,000 people.
Violators of quarantine measures, failure to declare health status or activities that aid escaping or avoiding quarantine would be severely punished, according to the decision.
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