Vietnam has rolled out the red carpet to welcome back international tourists with vaccine passports as the country continues to relax restrictions and resume socio-economic activities one step at a time.
According local media, Phu Quoc Island in the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang Province will be the first tourist hotspot in Vietnam to open its doors to foreign visitors from next month following a pilot program launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Phu Quoc authorities arranged safe destinations to host visitors as well as developed plans to respond to anyone testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Everyone in Phu Quoc Island District has received their first dose of vaccine and the second dose is currently being rolled out.
The pilot program will be then expanded to other destinations like Ha Long, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Da Lat, Vietnam News Agency reported.
There was more good news for travel lovers who are planning to visit Việt Nam after a long period of restrictions due to Covid-19 is that they will not have to undergo a quarantine period of seven days when visiting localities selected in the program, as long as they test negative for Covid-9, according to a proposal released by the ministry this week.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam is also temporarily recognizing ‘vaccine passports‘ of 72 countries and territories, and is in discussions with nearly 80 others on mutual recognition for the ‘vaccine passport’, to welcome more foreigners to the country.
This is important and necessary because the vaccine passports are the key to opening the doors to the world, gradually easing entry restrictions and resuming regular international commercial flights, according to Nguyen Thị Huong Lan, director of the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The positive knock on effects would see a revival of the travel and hotel industries, contributing to marking the transition of the country’s anti-pandemic strategy from “Zero Covid” to adapting to the situation, living safely with the virus on the basis of a high rate of vaccinations.
There are still days to count before we can see the results of the pilot program but it has signaled hope in the near future when all international air routes and destinations reopen. The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has proposed the Ministry of Transport permit airlines to resume international air routes in the fourth quarter of this year.
This progress is a result of the whole country’s efforts to control the pandemic while recovering socio-economic activities.
Vietnam is believed to be on the right track to get back to the new normal with high vaccination rates, a remarkable drop in the number of new cases of Covid-19 and a strategic shift from a zero-virus strategy to living with the pandemic safely and flexibly.
The data showed, more than 77 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Vietnam. It means we have already gone half way to the target of giving 150 million doses to cover 75 per cent of the adult population.
According to the health ministry, Vietnam aims to reach vaccine coverage of the second dose for at least 80 per cent of people over 65 years old in October and reach the same coverage for people over 50 years old within November.
But inoculating adults is not enough to get us back to normality. Children have largely escaped the worst of the pandemic and show less severe symptoms when they contract the virus. But experts say children can pass the virus on to others and suffer negative consequences.
Following steps of many other countries, Vietnam also announced a nationwide campaign to vaccinate children starting with those aged 16 and 17 and teens from next month with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
The vaccine has been recommended for children by the WHO and has been administered to the 12-17 age group in around 30 countries.
The largest city of Ho Chi Minh City is the first locality in the country vaccinating children. Almost 1,800 students aged 16-17 in the city were vaccinated on Wednesday.
The northern province of Quang Ninh will also joining the club by vaccinating children aged 12-17 against Covid-19 on Sunday and central Da Nang City plans to inoculate more than 100,000 children aged 12-18 from November, Vietnam News Agency reported.