Q&A: Travelling in Vietnam amid Covid-19 outbreak
Travel has played a great role in our life. Travelling allows each of us to learn so much from life, from different cultures and from beautiful people we have met on the way. And for all of that, our team at Indochina Pioneer is grateful that we are able to travel to new lands, and that we can inspire and assist you, who share the same passion for travel, to do so.
Certainly, the last few weeks have changed our lives with the hit of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only the disease has impacted our everyday life, but it has also caused harm to the global economy, and tourism is one of the first industries to experience the damage.
We are sure you may have some questions about the changes in travelling amid the current pandemic. For this reason, we have prepared an article which will answer your questions about the Covid-19 situation in Vietnam!
- What is the situation in Vietnam?
According to the latest update from the Vietnamese authorities, there are now 249 infection cases(*) in the country, with 16 of them have totally recovered. Of the confirmed cases, 51 are Vietnamese and the rest is foreigners.
There has been no death reported in Vietnam until today.
(*) Last update on 7th of April.
- What are the government’s steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
The Vietnamese government has been closely monitoring and using proactive measures in order to fight Covid-19.
Mass and home quarantine have been placed for the last few weeks to stop the spread of the virus among the community. People are also advised against public gatherings, especially in big cities, as also in places like bars and karaoke parlours.
From the 17th of March, when going to public areas and places such as supermarkets, citizens and tourists need to wear masks, and stores may refuse service otherwise.
Moreover, the authorities have asked for stricter border controls, especially with international flights as the recent cases are those coming from outside of Vietnam.
*The whole country is now under quarantine until 15th of April, yet citizens can still leave the house to shop for food and medicine, and in emergencies. People have to keep a 2 metres distance in public and wear a face mask, otherwise they can be fined.
- How does the outbreak affect foreign travellers to Vietnam?
– Travellers coming from or through Covid-19 hotspots like China, South Korea, Iran and from the 26 Schengen countries, the UK and Northern Ireland, or those who have visited or transited through these countries in the past 14 days, will not be issued visas or allowed entry into Vietnam. This also applies to those who currently hold visas or visa letters.
– Starting Wednesday 17th of March, Vietnam has stopped issuing Visa on arrivals to all foreigners until further announcement. Those who currently hold visas to enter Vietnam will be requested to undergo medical checks and maybe quarantined before they can enter the country.
The restriction applies to arrivals from all countries and territories, except for those who are eligible for visa waivers, including overseas Vietnamese and those who have to enter the country for diplomatic or official purposes, like experts and highly-skilled workers. These people must present an official statement, provided by competent authorities of the host countries, confirming that they are free of the novel coronavirus. The document needs to be approved by the Vietnam government so that they are allowed to enter the country.
- Medical checks and quarantines?
All travellers coming to Vietnam will be required to submit a health declaration upon arrival or they can choose to submit it online in advance.
Those showing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, etc) or those arriving from countries with outbreaks of the virus will be required to carry out medical checks and may be placed in a 14-day quarantine at designated health facilities in Vietnam.
All visitors are required to comply with regulations on epidemic prevention and health screening upon landing in Vietnam’s airports.
- Flight changes/ cancellations?
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, airlines in Vietnam have made significant changes upon flights from/to and through certain countries. Flights to and from mainland China on all airlines have been suspended, following that, Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways have suspended flights between South Korea and Vietnam.
From the 18th of March, Vietnam Airlines will suspend flights between Vietnam – France until further announcement. The frequency of flights between Vietnam and other European countries will also be temporarily reduced, starting the 25th of March. This is one of the latest efforts of Vietnam Airlines to help limit the spread of Covid-19
In Southeast Asia, Vietnam Airlines has also stopped flights from/to Malaysia from 18th-31st of March. The Malaysian government has ordered the border closure due to an alarming increase in new cases. The number of flights from other Southeast Asian countries to Vietnam will as well be reduced to prevent potential spread.
- Closure and even cancellations related to the outbreak?
A number of destinations in Vietnam have announced the temporary closure of their sites like Hanoi and Hue. Some regions have stopped receiving visitors in an attempt to prevent the outbreak, including Halong Bay, Ninh Binh; Hoi An Ancient Town is not selling tickets to visitors until the end of March 2020.
Organizers have announced that several events will be postponed or cancelled:
- Huế Festival 2020 – Postponed to August 28, 2020
- F1 Vietnam Grand Prix – Postponed
- Da Lat Sufferfest – Postponed
- Quang Binh Marathon – Postponed
- Techcombank Ha Noi Marathon – Postponed
- Sunrise Sprint – Postponed to May 3, 2020
- Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2020 – Cancelled
- Da Lat Ultra Trail 2020 – Postponed to June 19-21, 2020
- Health precautions for visitors
Follow these steps to protect yourself and the others:
– Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds
– Maintain social distancing – at least 1m, especially with those suffering a fever or cough
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
– If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
– Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider
In case you are travelling:
– Avoid travelling if you are feeling unwell
– Wear face mask if possible, this will reduce the chance of infecting others in case you are unwell
– Inform crew if you become sick when travelling
*Notice: In Vietnam, you will be requested to wear face mask on flights, in airport terminals, and in crowded public places!
- So when is the time to plan for travelling again?
While it is currently advised to avoid non-essential travelling, especially to other countries at the moment, there is no harm in using the time to plan your future holidays. Experts expect the pandemic to subside around May-June when summer comes. The tourism industry has suffered because of the Covid-19, but it will bounce back when countries have overcome the pandemic. If you want to be sure, schedule for a trip to happen sometime far away from now, maybe around the end of the year. There is no harm in treating yourself a nice holiday after this challenging time!
Your safety is our priority, our team at Indochina Pioneer will do our best to keep you updated and inform you of any changes related to the Covid-19 situation in Vietnam!