Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has officially announced the suspension of COVID-19 health declarations for domestic travel, the latest move in Vietnam’s strategy of living safely with the virus.
The ministry on Thursday sent a document to municipal and provincial authorities regarding the official halt of domestic heath declaration requirements – required for domestic travel and entry to public places – which have been in place since March 2020 to cope with COVID-19.
The temporary suspension, starting on April 30, comes as the country continues to keep the pandemic under control, as evidenced by sharp falls in new daily COVID-19 infections and deaths.
More than 96 percent of people aged 12 and above in the country have already been vaccinated, while the vaccination drive for children aged five to under 12 is ongoing.
Over the past few days, no locality has recorded more than 1,000 cases per day, while between February and March saw over 30 cities and provinces document 1,000 cases or more per day, the ministry said.
The number of daily deaths has also decreased to less than 10 people, and 85 percent of communes and wards across the country are “green zones,” or areas with low risk of COVID-19 transmission.
In addition, vaccination coverage against the pandemic is high nationwide and still effective against existing variants, the ministry said.
The agency, however, asked all localities and agencies concerned to maintain necessary measures to detect and handle COVID-19 outbreaks, if any, effectively in accordance with current guidance and directions.
It will keep updating and providing information on the pandemic situation in the world and in the country.
The removal of domestic health declarations is the latest move in the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Vietnam.
Earlier, the agency announced the temporary suspension of medical declaration at all border gates into Vietnam for arrivals entering the country from April 27.
On March 16, the ministry announced renewed health surveillance protocols applicable to foreign arrivals, under which visitors with valid negative COVID-19 tests can enjoy quarantine-free travel from the first day of their arrival in Vietnam.
The new rules also exclude requirements on COVID-19 vaccination or recovery certificates for people entering Vietnam.
In addition, the Vietnamese government decided to resume pre-pandemic visa issuance on March 15, facilitating travel to the Southeast Asian country.
Health declarations were part of the protocol issued by the ministry in August 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19, which also included requesting people to wear masks, frequent handwashing, social distancing, and the avoidance of gatherings.
Over time, when the pandemic had been gradually ceased in Vietnam, the ministry lifted restrictions on large gatherings and keeping distance between people.
Vietnam, with a population of 98 million people confirmed 10,662,446 COVID-19 cases, with 9,314,420 recoveries and 43,049 deaths, since the pandemic erupted in the Southeast Asian country in early 2020, the health ministry’s data shows.
Health workers have administered 196,163,223 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the nation’s adult population, including 71,460,262 first shots, 68,647,631 second jabs, and the rest for additional primary doses and boosters since vaccination was rolled out in March 2020.
The number of Pfizer-BioNTech doses given to children aged 12 to 17 nationwide has reached 17,378,299, including 8,908,529 first shots and 8,469,770 second jabs, said the ministry.
The country has also launched vaccination for children aged five to under 12 since April 14, with a total of 1,617,802 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines having been used nationwide so far.
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