Fully vaccinated arrivals from overseas only need three days of self-quarantine on entry: Health ministry’s proposed guidance

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South Korean tourists arrive at Đà Nẵng International Airport in November as part of Việt Nam’s pilot international tourism resumption programme. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Fully vaccinated foreign arrivals with negative COVID-19 test results only need to self-quarantine at home or places of accommodation for three days upon entry into Việt Nam via air links, according to latest interim medical policies proposed by the health ministry.

The expected date of the interim guidance going into effect is January 1, 2022, the day Việt Nam is set to resume – on a pilot basis – regular international flights, starting first with Beijing/Quangzhou (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Taipei (Taiwan, China), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco/Los Angeles (the United States).

According to the proposal, the arrivals must have proof of negative SARS-CoV-2 test results (using the gold-standard PCR method) within 72 hours prior to entry (except in the cases of children under two years old), must declare their health status before entry, must install Việt Nam’s PC-COVID app (available on both Android and iOS) for contact tracing and medical declaration purposes. The installation of the app is only on a ‘recommended’ basis for diplomats and entrants on official businesses.

Entrants that are Vietnamese citizens, Vietnamese citizens residing overseas, along with their spouses and children, who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, or not yet received the primary course, can receive free vaccination during the quarantine period if they want to.

For entrants who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, during the first three days upon entry, they must not make direct contact with other people, leave their places of residence or designated accommodation (hotels, motels, resorts, offices, dormitories, guest houses, etc.)

Two RT-PCR tests will be conducted, on the first and third day of stay upon entry.

If the results return negative, then the entrants still need to self-monitor their health status for 14 days after arrival, but this is a huge step down from the current policies of mandatory seven days of centralised quarantine and seven days of follow-up medical self-observation.

If they are willing to get a COVID-19 test (RT-PCR) on the tenth day, then the medical self-observation could end then.

For entrants who have not been vaccinated or fully vaccinated, upon entry, they will stay at home or place of accommodation for seven days, with RT-PCR tests conducted on the first and seventh day.

If the results are negative, the full two weeks of self-observation is applied, with another RT-PCR test to be done on the fourteenth day of entry.

For entrants who are under 18 years old, above 65 years old, pregnant women, or having underlying health conditions (without requiring care or observation of medical facilities), they could be quarantined along with their parents or caretakers.

The caretakers must be fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 and sign a ‘commitment’ document giving their voluntary willingness to quarantine with another person after having been informed of the risks of virus transmission. They will also be subject to the same stringent testing regimes and COVID-19 prevention and control measures expected of foreign arrivals.

The verification and recognition of foreign COVID-19 vaccination certificates and recovery certificates is implemented following the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the verification and recognition of Việt Nam’s COVID-19 vaccination certificates and recovery certificates is implemented following the guidance of the Ministry of Health.

The proposal is still under review and awaiting feedback from relevant ministries and local administrations.

Việt Nam has high vaccination rate currently, 96.4 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 76.5 per cent are double vaccinated, and Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has ordered health authorities to basically complete administering two doses of vaccines to 100 per cent of the population aged 18 and above by the end of 2021 and accelerate the inoculation drive for children. — VNS

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