Vietnam will temporarily stop allowing visitors from 26 countries in Europe's Schengen Area and Britain to enter the country for 30 days starting from Sunday amid concerns over the spreading novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), its foreign ministry said on Saturday.
In a statement issued in the small hours of Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Government of Vietnam has decided to temporarily refuse entry for visitors from 26 countries in the Schengen Area and the UK or having been to these countries in the 14 days prior to their intended arrival in Vietnam.
The Schengen Area is a border control-free travel zone comprising 26 European countries, namely Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The ban is also applicable to Vietnamese nationals who hold passports issued by any of the 27 countries.
Visas on arrival for all foreign nationals are also temporarily halted, the ministry said.
The new policy will be in effect for 30 days from 12:00 pm Sunday, March 15, and will not affect arrivals for diplomatic or official purposes.
The decision was reached after the Vietnamese government had taken into account the fast and complicated developments of the global COVID-19 epidemic, the foreign ministry said.
Foreigners who are experts, business managers, or skilled labor must go through medical examination upon entering Vietnam and take appropriate preventive measures at their workplace and residence as per regulations, it added.
Vietnam has informed diplomatic missions, consular offices and representative offices of international organizations in the country about its decision and will continue to closely monitor, coordinate with countries, international organizations and partners to promptly make adjustments to its epidemic prevention and control measures accordingly to prevent the spread of the epidemic in the community, the foreign ministry stressed.
The British embassy in Hanoi has updated its travel advice for British nationals.
“The British Embassy understands that British nationals already in Vietnam by that time will not need to leave the country,” reads the statement on its verified Facebook page.
“British citizens are advised to comply with local regulations and any additional measures put into place during this time by local authorities.”
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 143,600 people and killed nearly 5,400 globally as of Saturday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 47 infections, including many patients coming from the UK or having a recent travel history to the UK and other European countries.
The United States has suspended travel from certain European countries for 30 days beginning at midnight on Friday as part of an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.