Fully vaccinated foreign visitors to Vietnam from November will not be placed in COVID-19 quarantine, according to a new rule in the latest draft guidance of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism that has been submitted to the prime minister for approval.
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The proposed new rule followed many suggestions that the Ministry of Health’s current seven-day quarantine fiat imposed on fully vaccinated foreign visitors should be removed to facilitate the country’s international tourism recovery after nearly two years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the rule, such visitors will undergo medical screening at an international airport of entry, including a COVID-19 test, and they can freely enjoy their tours if obtaining a negative test result, without being subject to quarantine.
Once approved, foreign vacationers will be entitled to quarantine-free travel in Vietnam under the government’s multi-phase road map to revive international tourism from early next month.
The country’s tourism authorities have previously announced that Da Nang, Kien Giang Province’s Phu Quoc City, Khanh Hoa Province, Quang Nam Province, and Quang Ninh will welcome foreign tourists starting from November in the first phase of Vietnam’s international tourism reactivation.
During the phase, which lasts from November to the end of this year, visitors would be required to come from travel firms’ tour packages and through charter or international commercial flights.
Travelers would be required to have proof of a negative RT-PCR or RT-LAMP test for the coronavirus within 72 hours prior to departure.
They would have to present full COVID-19 vaccination certificates recognized by Vietnamese authorities, with the second dose administered at least 14 days and no more than 12 months before their time of entry, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 within six months before their entry date.
Visitors would also be required to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 with a minimum liability limit of US$50,000 and to install the IGOVN app, which was developed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, on their smartphones for use during their trips.
During the first seven days after their arrival at the first destination, visitors would be allowed to enjoy their tour within the locality and should limit close contact with travelers from other groups.
On the seventh day of their tour, tourists would self-test for COVID-19 under the guidance and supervision of local medical workers, and they can take package tours to other localities if they have a negative test result.
Visitors wishing to visit relatives at places other than those designated to receive international tourists must register in writing with their tour organizers, who will monitor their health with relevant local authorities.
Phase 2 of the plan is scheduled to take place from January 2022, with more provinces and cities permitted to welcome foreign visitors via charter and regular international commercial flights.
Phase 3 will kick off in the second quarter of 2022 to fully open tourism to foreigners, but the exact commencement day will be determined later based on the end of phase 2 and actual epidemic situations.
On October 21, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has recognized COVID-19 vaccination certificates, often called ‘vaccine passports,’ issued by 72 countries and territories worldwide, while discussing the issue with 80 others.
Vietnam, whose population is around 98 million people, had administered more than 53.7 million first vaccine doses and around 22.2 million second jabs to people as of Wednesday, according to official figures.
The Southeast Asian nation has documented 900,585 COVID-19 cases, including 812,314 recoveries and 21,856 deaths, the health ministry reported.
Recently, the country’s daily new infections and deaths have sharply fallen, to 4,411 and 54 on Wednesday from 9,362 and 174 a month earlier.
Ho Chi Minh City, the largest epicenter of COVID-19 in Vietnam, saw its daily new cases and fatalities drop to 1,140 and 32 on Wednesday compared to 4,134 and 122 a month back, according to the ministry’s data.