Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors

Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors

A woman wears a protective mask as she exercises on the street in Hanoi on May 31, 2021. (Reuters photo)
A woman wears a protective mask as she exercises on the street in Hanoi on May 31, 2021. (Reuters photo)

HANOI: Vietnam will slash the duration of mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors from two weeks to just seven days, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its biggest Covid-19 outbreak yet.

Vietnam successfully contained the virus for much of last year using a targeted testing and centralised quarantine programme but has since late April been faced with a surge in cases fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The country's borders closed last year to all visitors but returning Vietnamese citizens, foreign experts, investors or diplomats, all of whom were subject to 14 days of quarantine at centrally-managed facilities.

Foreign visitors who have tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours and have also been fully vaccinated would be permitted to quarantine for seven days, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement did not say when the new policy would take effect.

Vietnam has reported a total of 174,000 Covid-19 cases and 2,071 deaths, most of which were recorded over the past month in Ho Chi Minh City, the epicentre of the outbreak. The business hub and all of Vietnam's southern provinces and cities are under strict lockdown, along with the capital, Hanoi.

With cases rapidly rising, centralised quarantine facilities across the country have been working at full capacity, the ministry said late last month.

Just 744,000 people have been fully vaccinated in Vietnam, a country of 98 million, according to official data. On Tuesday, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long warned the pace of inoculation had been too slow.

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