UPDATED: April 3, 2020
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, 175 are Vietnamese, and the rest are foreigners.
Confirmed cases were located and quarantined in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa province, An Giang Province, Lai Chau Province, Long An Province, Quang Ninh Province, Quang Nam Province, Thai Binh Province, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan Province, Phu Tho Province, Hai Duong City, Lao Cai, Bac Giang Province, Ha Nam Province, Bac Lieu Province, Ben Tre Province, Ha Tinh Province, Da Nang, Kon Tum Province, Vung Tau Province, Nghe An Province, Hue and Thanh Hoa.
To staunch the spread of COVID-19, Vietnam will not be allowing entry or issuing visas to any foreign nationals, from March 22 until further notice, except for those travelling for official or diplomatic purposes who must undergo medical checks and 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Vietnam. The travel ban also applies to those who currently hold visas or visa letters.
Vietnam has officially suspended all visa exemptions for citizens of South Korea, Belarus, Russia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Read more: Vietnam visa requirements
From March 7, all inbound travellers coming to Vietnam will be required to submit a health declaration and undergo COVID-19 medical checks upon arrival. Travellers can fill out the health declaration at the airport or submit it in advance at this link.
Read more: New COVID-19 tourism policies 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 South Korea, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan are operational with many airlines running reduced routes.
Vietnam Airlines has announced it will suspend all of its two-way international flights from March 25 to April 30, 2020.
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:
To prevent the spread of the virus and disinfect their premises, several top tourism sites have announced temporary closures in the month of March. From now until the end of March, tourism sites in Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba, Bai Tu Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Phong Nha, My Son Sanctuary, Hue Citadel, and Perfume Pagoda will not be receiving guests.
NOTE: Pedestrian-only streets in Hue, Hoi An and Hanoi will be suspended and kept open to vehicular traffic until further notice.
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.
The National Steering Committee has launched an online management and administration centre for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, and on March 6, Vietnam announced it will produce 10,000 COVID-19 test kits daily.
In addition to these, many private Vietnamese businesses, residential complexes and tourist accommodations have installed their own preventative measures to keep customers safe.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health has ordered all Vietnamese and foreigners in the country to wear face masks on flights, in airport terminals, and in crowded public places such as supermarkets, bus stations, and public transport vehicles in an effort to combat the spread of the virus.
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
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