As the outbreak of coronavirus continues across the globe, many countries still remain under strict lockdown in an effort to contain the spread.
However, some parts of the world, including Wuhan, Italy and Spain have now started to ease some of their restrictions, raising the question as to when travel will be allowed again.
When can I travel to Vietnam?
On 17 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but non-essential travel for a period of 30 days.
This advice was later updated to warn Britons against all travel abroad indefinitely, due to unprecedented international border closures and restrictions. This advice from the FCO still remains in place.
However, a number of countries have started easing their restrictions, and flights are slowly becoming operational again in some areas.
What restrictions are in place in Vietnam?
In Vietnam, tourists are still temporarily banned from entering the country and anyone who is suspected of coming into contact with the virus will face compulsory quarantine and self-isolation.
The Vietnamese authorities have announced an extension of the partial lockdown until 22 April in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Ha Tinh and Tay Ninh.
The lockdown means that:
- people are being advised to stay at home, leaving only to buy food and medicine
- if you leave your accommodation, always wear a mask, practice social distancing and do not
- congregate with more than one person, with some exceptions (e.g. hospitals)
- public transport and taxi services are being widely suspended; internal flights greatly reduced
- essential services remain open
Provinces that are not included in the lockdown will continue protective measures, including staying at home for all but essential tasks, wearing masks in public, social distancing and no large public gatherings.
Movement between, and within, cities across the country is not encouraged, and should be avoided, the FCO has warned.
Checkpoints are also in place in some Vietnamese cities where people are asked about their recent travel history, and are required to have their temperatures checked.
Passengers arriving into domestic terminals in some Vietnamese airports are now required to undergo a short 10 minute coronavirus test.
On 5 April, the Vietnamese provinces of Hai Phong, Danang and Quang Nam announced that anyone arriving from either Hanoi or HCMC or any other Vietnamese province with confirmed coronavirus cases, will be quarantined.
The provinces of Thai Binh and Quang Ninh will also refuse entry to people unless they are travelling for essential reasons.
Anyone who shows signs of respiratory illness on arrival in Vietnam can expect to be checked. Those who are confirmed as having coronavirus, including foreigners, can expect to be quarantined.
What is coronavirus?
The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, but cases have now been confirmed in other parts of China and numerous countries around the globe, including Vietnam.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that they usually cause “mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives.
“These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time.”
The NHS notes that the symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
They add that, "these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
"The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu."
However, human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia, bronchitis or more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
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