Hanoi is drawing up a detailed plan for quarantine charges on arrivals to Vietnam in response to a new prime minister direction.
According to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s order, all arrivals to Vietnam will have to pay for the cost of their mandatory 14-day quarantine from Tuesday.
Costs associated with their COVID-19 treatment, if any, remain funded by state coffers.
Previously, stays at quarantine centers in Vietnam had been free of charge, but people could opt to spend their quarantine at local hotels for a fee.
Speaking at a meeting of the Hanoi Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Monday, Deputy Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dao Duc Toan emphasized that in implementing the paid quarantining policy, the most favorable conditions for citizens and foreigners to enter Vietnam must be ensured while quarantine regulations are to be strictly enforced.
“Most importantly, [people in charge] should not make light of quarantine management only because it is more open and carried out on a pay-to-stay basis,” Toan said.
The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance had yet to announce a ceiling price for quarantine costs to be paid by arrivals by Tuesday.
Before Tuesday, all costs of quarantining arrivals to Vietnam — including VND100,000 (US$4.30) for food per person per day and other expenses for necessities, accommodations and Internet service — were covered by the state budget, according to the Hanoi Department of Health’s director Nguyen Khac Hien.
The family of T.T.H., an overseas student in Australia who is expected to return to Vietnam on a 200-student charter flight in five days, has booked a pay-to-stay quarantine service for him in Ha Long City, located in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
According to a quotation published on the website of the Vietnamese Embassy in Australia, the quarantine fees for students traveling on this flight range between VND22.5 million (US$976) and VND87.7 million ($3,800) per person for a 14-day stay at a 4-star hotel in Ha Long.
But the above quotation is unique to the specific case only and not a general reference to quaratine costs in Vietnam.
In order to address this issue, the Hanoi departments of health and tourism and related agencies on Tuesday reviewed such information as the capacity of hotels to offer pay-to-stay quarantine, and which units to be in charge of implementing and monitoring the transportation of arrivals from the airport to the hotels, according to Hien.
More than 1,100 people were being quarantined at hospitals and over 16,000 others had stayed at other centralized quarantine facilities in Vietnam as of Monday.
Vietnam has recorded 1,044 COVID-19 cases, with 735 having recovered and 34 deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
The country has logged 550 local cases since July 25, when Da Nang detected the first domestic infection after Vietnam had gone 99 days without documenting any community transmission.