Vietnam drops COVID-19 restrictions for foreign visitors
Vietnam drops COVID-19 restrictions for foreign visitors

Vietnam drops COVID-19 restrictions for foreign visitors

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam on Wednesday scrapped quarantine and other travel restrictions for foreign visitors in an attempt to fully reopen its border after two years of pandemic-related closure, the government said.

Visitors entering the Southeast Asian country only need to show a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, according to the Ministry of Health, which said the new measures came into force immediately.

Visitors should monitor their own health during the first 10 days of their stay and inform physicians in Vietnam if they experience COVID-19-like symptoms.

Vietnam also reintroduced visa waivers and issuance of visas on arrival corresponding to their prepaid status.

Vietnam closed its border and stopped issuing tourist visas in March 2020 to limit the spread of coronavirus. It partially reopened for international tourism in November last year for visitors traveling in severe bubbles.

In Hanoi’s old quarter, where the streets were busy before the pandemic, many shops are closed due to lack of tourists. The few who remain open are struggling.

“It has been very hard. The business is going so slowly because there are no foreign tourists, ”said Tuyet Lien, the owner of a shop selling silk and other souvenir products.

“I am very excited that the country is reopening completely. The tourists will be back soon and the business community will thrive again,” Lien added.

The tourism industry accounted for almost 10% of the country’s economy before the pandemic.

“We believe that Vietnam is rapidly changing to become better in line with other global destinations reopened for tourism. We remain positive that incoming travel volume will gradually increase,” said Mathieu Le Besq, General Manager of Accor Hotels in Vung Tau, a seaside resort in southern Vietnam.

The reopening comes as Vietnam reports a record number of new COVID-19 infections with a daily average of nearly 200,000 cases over the past two weeks.

Despite the high rate of infection, the Ministry of Health says that the majority of patients have mild symptoms from the omicron variant and do not require hospitalization.

Vietnam has administered over 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, covering 80% of the country’s 98 million people, according to the Ministry of Health.

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