HANOI -- Vietnam on Monday decided to temporarily suspend visa-free travel for citizens from eight European countries amid growing concern over the coronavirus epidemic, its government said.
The temporary suspension applied to citizens of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain, the government said in a news release on its website.
The move comes after the Southeast Asian country recorded an additional 15 cases since Friday, of whom 12 were in patients who had traveled by plane from Europe to Vietnam.
The Vietnam Airlines flight carried 201 passengers, four pilots, and 12 flight attendants from London and landed at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 2.
The passengers have traveled to different provinces and cities in Vietnam upon their arrival in Hanoi.
Vietnamese authorities are tracing the passengers on board the flight.
The flight crew, having tested negative, and those in contact with the patients have been isolated.
The government said it would consider scrapping visa exemption policy for countries that have had more than 500 total infection cases or over 50 cases reported in a day.
In all, Vietnam has confirmed 31 cases of the disease caused by the virus, including 18 Vietnamese, two Chinese nationals, one Vietnamese American, eight British citizens, one Mexican, and one Irish national.
Sixteen of the patients had recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 26.
Vietnam earlier halted visa-free travel for Italians and South Koreans over the virus concern.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 110,000 people and killed more than 3,800 globally, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
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