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Vietnam mandates that people wear face masks at airports, bus stations, supermarkets amid COVID-19

Sunday, March 15, 2020, 15:58 GMT+7
Vietnam mandates that people wear face masks at airports, bus stations, supermarkets amid COVID-19
People wear face masks at an airport in Nghe An Province, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Doanh Hoa / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese government has required that people wear face masks at crowded places like airports, bus stations, and supermarkets, in addition to suspending visas on arrival for all foreigners, promoting online learning, and stepping up isolation, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Government Office on Saturday announced the prime minister’s conclusion drawn from a meeting to discuss measures to fight the disease the same day.

Relevant agencies must prepare for any sudden large-scale outbreak and must not let the virus spread out of control, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

Vietnam stands ready to sacrifice short-term economic interests to combat COVID-19, he asserted in the conclusion, adding that the country will place restrictions on arrivals and flights from countries where there is a virus epidemic.

The Southeast Asian country will continue tightening its grip on immigration and health declaration, while limiting the number of flights from Vietnam to virus-hit regions.  

The premier directed that authorities trace sources of spread, contagion risks, and apply IT to looking for suspected cases for isolation.

From Monday, people are required to wear face masks when visiting crowded public places like supermarkets, airports, and bus stations, or when they use public transportation, according to the conclusion.

Face masks must be distributed free of charge to passengers at bus stations, ports, and terminals while vehicle operators have to ask them to wear the masks during their journeys.

The Ministry of Education and Training is charged with coordinating online learning when schools are closed.

State budgets will cover the expenses to treat infected Vietnamese but foreign COVID-19 patients have to pay for their treatment, the premier underlined.

Vietnam now bans arrivals from the Schengen Area and UK and suspends its visa-on-arrival policy for all foreigners.

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.

Vietnam will consider stop issuing tourist visas to visitors from the U.S. on a state-by-state basis, depending on the development of the epidemic in that country.

The prime minister noted that relevant agencies closely guard the land borders in order to prevent visitors from virus-hit countries transiting Laos and Cambodia to enter Vietnam.

Vietnam has confirmed 53 COVID-19 cases so far, with 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 26.

No mortality has been reported in the country to date.

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