As per the latest updates, Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases of COVID-19 so far. However, nine of the patients have recovered and released after receiving treatment.
The authorities of all 63 provinces and cities have decided to further postpone the reopening of schools and universities until February 29. Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are also preparing a proposal to keep schools closed until the end of March.
Up to 300 businesses in Vietnam have temporarily suspended operations while others have downsized due to the outbreak.
The south-central province of Khanh Hoa, home to the tourist destination of Nha Trang is preparing measures to declare itself virus-free after no new cases were recorded in the past 30 days.
The novel coronavirus has been renamed as COVID-19 as per the World Health Organization (WHO). The Co and Vi come from coronavirus, with D meaning disease and 19 for 2019.
The authorities have put the commune of Son Lai under lockdown after six cases of the virus were found there. The commune comprises of several villages and is around 40 km north of the capital Hanoi. The quarantine of the commune is expected to last for 20 days.
Samsung’s factory in Bac Ninh province resumed operations but the company stated that it will remain alert to avoid infections among employees.
While Vietnam and China are cooperating to ease customs clearance at border crossings, hundreds of containers continue to be held up at border gates.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced a list of medical supplies including masks, dry hand sanitizers, filters, epidemic prevent suits, among others exempt from tax until the epidemic ends.
Authorities have extended the closure of several border gates between Vietnam and China in the northern province of Lang Son until the end of February. Government officials also stated that cross-border trade between Vietnam and China is not encouraged for the time being.
We are hearing accounts of travelers in more remote border crossings into Vietnam being denied entry if they possess any China visa history in their passport. While this may not be official policy, it appears to be implemented at certain border crossings in more remote areas. If travel into Vietnam is required we recommend using the main border entry-exit points.
Dezan Shira & Associates‘, Trent Davies, Manager of our Ho Chi Minh City office, spoke at an AmCham Vietnam event Impact of Novel Coronavirus on Your Health and Business in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. During the event, Trent discussed the broad economic impact of the epidemic in Vietnam, especially in vulnerable industries such as education and tourism. A full summary can be found here.
Vietnam issued Decision No.173.QD-TTg declaring coronavirus as an epidemic – in line with the World Health Organization’s declaration of the virus as a global health emergency.
The government has ordered the health ministry to supervise and early detect infected cases, monitor border crossings, airports, and seaports, particularly for passengers coming from affected areas.
Vietnam’s civil aviation authority suspended all flights to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan on February 1. However, the authority lifted the ban for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan from February 2. Flights to and from mainland China (including transit) remain suspended.
Vietnam stopped issuing visas for Chinese tourists on January 30 as a temporary measure. Foreign visitors who have visited China (including transit) in the past 14 days from arrival will also be denied entry into Vietnam.
Passenger train services between Vietnam and China have been suspended until further notice, however freight train services between the two countries continue to operate.
On February 4, more than 200 passengers from China were denied entry at Ho Chi Minh City airport by border officials. The passengers were sent back on respective flights.
The labor ministry has also asked businesses to keep names and other information of Chinese and foreign workers who have visited virus affected areas. In addition, they must be quarantined for two weeks for health checks.
Vietnam’s airports have been ordered to deploy additional personnel and coordinate with local health agencies to deploy body temperature scanning equipment as well as a screening of passengers.
Building management of some apartment buildings in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have begun body temperature checks for people entering the building.
The government has also urged local authorities to limit festivities and gatherings related to the Lunar New Year Holiday.
Hanoi authorities have planned two field hospitals in case infections rise.
Impact and Summary
Vietnam has currently declared 16 cases of the coronavirus infection; however, we have concerns that more cases will arise. Chinese nationals arriving in Vietnam will face additional checks and screening, particularly as they return after the Lunar New Year holiday.