UPDATED: March 12, 2020
Since the start of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Vietnam has closely monitored the situation and installed a series of proactive, comprehensive measures to combat the spread of the virus within the country and prepare its public health facilities. Past experience with other epidemics places Vietnam in a strong position to protect its population as well as visitors passing through.
Travellers in Vietnam may have questions about the spread of the virus in Vietnam, as well as which destinations are still safe and open to visit. Below is a full overview of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam as it relates to travellers.
Current snapshot of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam
The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 appeared in Vietnam on Jan. 23, 2020. Of the confirmed cases that have appeared in Vietnam to date, 21 are Vietnamese, and the rest are foreigners.
Confirmed cases were located and quarantined in the northern province of Vinh Phuc (11), in Ho Chi Minh City (5), Hanoi (4), Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province (2), Quang Ninh Province (5), Lao Cai (2), Da Nang (3), Hue (1) and Thanh Hoa (1).
Suspended visa exemptions for travellers to Vietnam
Vietnam has temporarily suspended visa exemptions for citizens of these countries:
Countries with more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, or more than 50 new cases per day, can also expect to have visa exemptions to Vietnam suspended at this time. Vietnam may refuse to grant visas to travellers showing symptoms of COVID-19.
With special exceptions only, all travellers arriving from and who have transited through mainland China, Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk within the past 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam at this time.
Read more: Vietnam visa requirements
Medical checks and quarantines
All travellers entering Vietnam from or having transited through mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, and Iran must carry out medical declarations and medical checks upon entering the country.
From March 7, all inbound travellers coming to Vietnam will be required to submit a health declaration upon arrival. Travellers can fill out the declaration at the airport or submit it in advance at this link. Travellers showing symptoms of COVID-19 may be required to carry out medical checks, and 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.
Read more: New COVID-10 tourism policies in Vietnam
Flights changes related to COVID-19 in Vietnam
Since February 1, all flights to and from mainland China on all airlines have been indefinitely suspended by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam. Flights connecting to Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan are operational with many airlines running reduced routes.
Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways have suspended flights between South Korea and Vietnam, while other airlines have reduced flights between the two countries. Jetstar Pacific will suspend flights from Da Nang to Kaohsiung and Taipei from March 5 to 31, while Vietjet will suspend flights between Vietnam and Korea from July 7.
Read more: A traveller's guide to Vietnam's airports
Closures and cancellations due to COVID-19
A number of festivals and events in Vietnam have been cancelled or postponed in alignment with the government’s directive to avoid public gatherings. Among the cancelled festivals this year are Yen Tu Festival in Quang Ninh, Tam Chuc Festival in Ha Nam, Tran Temple Festival in Nam Dinh and the Huyen Tran Festival in Hue. Activities for Visit Vietnam Year 2020 in Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu have been postponed to a more appropriate time.
Organizers have also announced that several tourism and sporting events will be postponed or cancelled:
Huế Festival 2020 - Postponed to August 28, 2020
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
Vietnam's inaugural Formula One Grand Prix will take place in Hanoi as planned on April 5, 2020.
Pedestrian and walking zones in Hue and Hanoi — common gathering places for locals and tourists — will be closed until the situation improves. Tourism sites across the country are also setting aside closure days to disinfect their premises.
NOTE: From March 12 to March 26, Ha Long Bay and other attractions in Quang Ninh such as Bai Tu Long Bay and Yen Tu Complex will not be receiving guests.
Preventative steps by the Vietnamese government
Vietnam’s Prime Minister officially declared COVID-19 an epidemic in Vietnam on Feb. 1, 2020. Although confirmed cases remain low within the country, authorities are taking swift and strict preventative measures to contain the virus. The government has formed a National Steering Committee to direct efforts and communicate to the public.
Below are the key actions taken by Vietnam to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
In addition to these, many private Vietnamese businesses, residential complexes and tourist accommodations have installed their own preventative measures to keep customers safe.
The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has launched an online management and administration centre for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, that will support medical facilities in treating COVID-19 patients directly or virtually.
On March 6, Vietnam announced it will produce 10,000 COVID-19 test kits daily, after a successful pilot and approval from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health and safety precautions for travellers
Travellers in Vietnam are encouraged to take sensible precautions against COVID-19 during their trips.
The World Health Organization outlines these basic practices to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
Avoid travelling if you have a fever and cough. If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, alert health care services and share with them your recent travel history.
Maintain social distancing. Stay a metre or more away from others, especially those who are sneezing or coughing, or have fever.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer to spray your hands as often as you like.
Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of dirty tissues immediately and wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
Avoid contact with live animals. Wash your hands with soap and water if you touch live animals or animal products in markets.
Eat only well-cooked food. Make sure your meals especially animal proteins and dairy products are thoroughly cooked and prepared in a sanitary environment.
Discard single-use masks. If you choose to wear a single-use mask, ensure it covers your nose and mouth, avoid touching the mask, and wash your hands after removing it.
Any travellers experiencing symptoms of the virus — fever, cough and difficulty breathing — should immediately call Vietnam’s health hotline: 19003228.
Read more: Health and safety in Vietnam
Online trackers and official government sites
Travellers looking for updated statistics on COVID-19 can use the Coronavirus app.
Updates from the Vietnamese government: https://ncov.moh.gov.vn
News updates from Vietnam Tourism: https://vietnam.travel/media-industry