Vietnam ministry proposes fully reopening international tourism on March 15

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Vietnam ministry proposes fully reopening international tourism on March 15

This image shows a part of the Phu Quoc United Center, one of the attractive destinations for domestic and international travelers, on Phu Quoc Island, off the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has just proposed that the central government fully reopen international tourism in mid-March, instead of March 31 as previously suggested, after nearly two years of closure due to COVID-19 impacts.

The ministry said it is collecting feedback from other agencies for its proposal, applicable to air, sea and road travelers, before perfecting and submitting it to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh for approval.

The ministry had previously proposed the resumption date as March 31, the time when the country is expected to complete its third-dose COVID-19 vaccinations for the adult population, but it has recently chosen the earlier date after the government directed that international tourism should be resumed prior to March 30.

From now until March 14, the pilot tourism reopening program that has been conducted in several localities since late 2021 will continue as necessary preparations for the proposed full resumption, the ministry said.

In its latest proposition, the ministry suggested that international visitors be required to have health insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment at a minimum of US$20,000, instead of $50,000 as previously recommended.

They must get fully vaccinated for COVID-19, with the second dose administered at least 14 days and no longer than 12 months before their entry date, or have certificates of recovery from COVID-19 within six months prior to their time of entry.

In addition, they would be required to have a negative RT-PCR/RT-LAMP test certificate within 72 hours of departure, except for children under two years old, and a negative rapid test result for the coronavirus at their accommodation in Vietnam within 24 hours of entry.

Fully vaccinated guests have to participate in package tours provided by selected international travel firms for the first three days of their expected stay in Vietnam, and the required period will be seven days for those who have yet to be immunized or have not been fully inoculated.

After the compulsory three- or seven-day periods, visitors testing negative for the coronavirus will be qualified to join other tours or visit their relatives in Vietnam, the ministry said.

To facilitate foreigners’ entry into Vietnam, the Southeast Asian country has recognized ‘vaccine passports,’ or full vaccination certificates, of 79 countries and territories, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As of Monday, the country, whose population is around 98 million, has given 79,216,176 first COVID-19 vaccine doses to people nationwide, while the numbers of second and third shots were 74,742,958 and 32,041,993, respectively, the Ministry of Health reported.

Health workers have administered the first vaccine shots to all eligible adults, and 53 out of 63 provinces and cities have reached a second-dose vaccination rate of over 90 percent.

Meanwhile, 8,469,132 first doses and 7,961,687 second shots have been provided to children aged 12 to 17, and 42 provinces and cities have achieved a 90 percent vaccine coverage rate.

Since erupting in Vietnam in early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has caused 2,540,273 infections, with 2,232,947 recoveries and 39,037 fatalities, the health ministry said.

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