UPDATED: January 18, 2021
As of December 1, Vietnam has temporarily suspended all inbound commercial flights, except for repatriation flights carrying Vietnamese nationals home. Vietnamese as well as foreign diplomats and experts entering the country must comply with specific health regulations and paperwork, and undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival.
Vietnam has automatically extended its free temporary residence until Jan. 31, 2021 for foreigners who have entered Vietnam on tourist visas on or after March 1, 2020. Foreigners in the country during this time must fill out medical declarations online and temporary residence declarations with their hotels or landlords.
Foreigners and residents in Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Hanoi are required to wear masks in public and may be fined for failure to comply.
The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 appeared in Vietnam on Jan. 23, 2020. Since March 22, the country's borders have been closed to foreign travellers. Only Vietnamese nationals, foreigners on diplomatic or official business, and highly skilled workers allowed to enter Vietnam at this time. Anyone entering Vietnam will need to undergo medical checks and 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Read more: New COVID-19 tourism policies in Vietnam
To staunch the spread of COVID-19, Vietnam is only allowing entry to those foreign experts, and those travelling for official or diplomatic purposes, who must undergo medical checks and 14-day quarantine at their own cost upon arrival in Vietnam. Those staying for fewer than 14 days are not required to quarantine, but must comply with specific health regulations in order to be granted entry.
Vietnam's Immigration Department has announced that all foreigners who entered Vietnam after March 1 on visa exemptions, e-visas or tourism visas will be given automatic stay extensions at no charge until Jan. 31, 2021. Travellers still in the country must declare their temporary residence to local police, through their landlords or hotels, and must complete Vietnam's online health declaration here.
Visitors who entered the country before March 1 may be considered for the extension, provided they can show an official letter from their embassy or consulate stating they were unable to leave the country due to objective reasons. Foreigners who have undergone quarantine or treatment for COVID-19 in Vietnam are also eligible for the extension. They must bring their certification documents to show immigration officials when leaving Vietnam.
Vietnam has officially suspended all visa exemptions. Travellers who have entered the country on visa waivers or tourist visas are given automatic visa extension until Jan. 31, 2021. Those who have entered Vietnam for business, visiting relatives, or purposes other than travel should contact a visa agent to address their visa concerns.
Read more: Vietnam visa requirements
Vietnam has resumed international commercial flights to Guangzhou, Taiwan, Seoul, Tokyo, Phnom Penh, and Vientiane. At this time the country is only offering entry to diplomats, experts, investors and their respective family members, and Vietnamese returning home. All visitors must meet specific health regulations and bring the required paperwork in order to be granted entry into 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.
Read more: A traveller's guide to Vietnam's airports
A number of festivals and events in Vietnam have been cancelled or postponed in alignment with the government’s directive to avoid public gatherings:
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 for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to direct efforts and communicate to the public.
In addition to these, many private Vietnamese businesses, residential complexes and tourist accommodations have installed their own preventative measures to keep customers safe.
Visitors 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
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