All incoming travelers to Vietnam from Saturday will be quarantined for 14 days as the country steps up measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The new regulation is in effect from 00:00 Saturday, March 21, the Ministry of Transport said in an urgent document sent to airlines on Friday, citing a directive from the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.
Entrants for diplomatic and official purposes must self-isolate at their workplace or residence for the same 14-day period under the supervision of local authorities and medical administrators.
All passengers are required to complete a health declaration form before entering Vietnam and be subject to body temperature screening before crossing terminals.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is responsible for informing international airlines that incoming flights to Vietnam might have to land at Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Can Tho International Airport in the namesake Mekong Delta city, Phu Cat Airport in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, or other airports as requested by aviation authorities in Vietnam.
This is due to the limited quarantine capacity of Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, respectively.
CAAV is also tasked with directing local airport authorities to coordinate with relevant agencies and units such as immigration, the military, and customs to prevent congestion and long waits at airport terminals due to health declaration and body temperature screening.
No passenger should be held for more than 90 minutes at airport terminals after arriving, the directive stressed.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 91 cases of COVID-19 infections, with 17 having fully recovered and walked out of the hospital free of the virus by Friday.
No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the Southeast Asian country to date.
Vietnam has suspended its visa issuance to all foreigners for 30 days, starting from Wednesday, March 18, to deal with the increasingly serious pandemic caused by COVID-19.
The country’s major carriers, including Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air, have also halted their international and Southeast Asian services, respectively, as safety measures and because many countries are closing their borders.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 275,100 people and killed more than 11,300 around the world, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
Over 90,600 patients have recovered worldwide.