Vietnam will temporarily bar entry to all foreign nationals, including persons of Vietnamese origin and their relatives who hold visa exemption documents, as part of more drastic measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The ban, pursuant to the conclusion of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a government meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control on Saturday, will come into effect from 00:00 Sunday, March 22.
Visas will be issued when necessary to those entering Vietnam for diplomatic purposes, official duties, or other special cases. Such persons have to undergo compulsory inspection procedures, medical declaration, and appropriate isolation upon entering the country.
The ban will be applicable to all foreign arrivals -- by sea, waterways, road, and air.
Earlier, Vietnam suspended its visa issuance to all foreigners for 30 days starting from Wednesday, March 18.
The Vietnamese government continues to recommend that overseas Vietnamese carefully reconsider and refrain from flying home, and strictly follow official instructions on COVID-19 prevention issued by their host countries.
Overseas Vietnamese who are in dire need of returning to Vietnam are from now required to register with the country's aviation authority, which will arrange for them to board commercial flights home.
The government expects all returnees to strictly follow regulations on health declaration, immigration, and quarantine.
The Vietnamese government is also trying to limit and reduce the frequency of incoming flights transporting passengers from foreign countries into Vietnam while creating favorable conditions for departure flights carrying foreign nationals leaving the country.
Vietnam advises its citizens to adjust their regular habits and routine, increase online transactions, avoid going out, limit gatherings of over 50 people, and temporarily close recreational facilities.
Provincial and municipal authorities, as well as competent departments and agencies, are tasked with providing citizens with more information on how to prevent infection, stay alert for the disease, and avoid spreading information that might cause pessimism, fear or discrimination against people infected with or suspected of carrying the disease.
Vietnam has confirmed 94 cases of COVID-19 infections so far, with 17 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by Friday. No death has been reported in the country to date.
A majority of active infections reported over the past weeks in Vietnam are imported cases -- people arriving or returning from foreign countries.