Vietnam Business Operations and the Coronavirus: Updates

Posted by Written by Dezan Shira & Associates Staff in Vietnam Reading Time: 27 minutes

Update: On May 15, 2022 all COVID-19 related requirements for entry into Vietnam were lifted. Pre-COVID entry requirements have now resumed, although with some changes. See: Vietnam’s Visas and Work Permit Procedures

This article will be updated as further developments in Vietnam become available. 

Latest Updates

  • As of June 7, 2022, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 10,726,045 cases of COVID-19. However, 9,513,981 of the affected patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Vietnam has also recorded 43,081 deaths due to the pandemic. The latest community transmission cases have been reported from Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Yen Bai, Hai Duong, and Vinh Phuc among others.

May 15

  • Vietnam dropped all COVID-19 testing requirements for international arrivals from May 15 after a drop in cases and in moving in line with the country’s strategy of opening up.

May 13

  • 27 EU member states agreed to accept Vietnam’s vaccine passport as per Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry on May 12.
  • Vietnam’s health ministry has proposed suspending COVID-19 testing for international arrivals by air. 

May 6

  • Vietnam suspended health declarations for COVID-19 throughout the country from April 30 including for domestic travel. Earlier medical declarations for international arrivals from April 27 were also suspended as pandemic cases dropped drastically.

April 29

  • To ease congestion at airports, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has asked localities to temporarily suspend health declarations at airports from April 27, in light of the upcoming holiday.

April 8

  • Hanoi authorities have allowed the reopening of bars, nightclubs, spas, and karaoke parlors on April 8 after about a year of closures due to the pandemic.

April 6

  • Vietnam plans to roll out vaccine passports from April 15 as per the health ministry. To register, users can access to fill in their personal information.

March 17

  • Vietnam reopened for international tourism with the health ministry releasing entry procedures for foreign arrivals. As per the ministry, foreign arrivals need to test negative for the virus prior to arrival in Vietnam and can then travel quarantine free within the country.
  • The Deputy PM also asked the relevant ministries to resume entry, exit, and visa procedures as before the pandemic. The e-visa government website is open for visa submissions.

March 16

  • Hanoi authorities lifted a 9:00 pm ban on dine-in restaurants and beverage venues, allowing them to operate as normal. In addition, pedestrian streets around Sword Lake and other areas would reopen from March 18.

March 10

  • Vietnam’s health ministry has proposed quarantine free entry for tourists, provided they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure as the country plans to open to international tourism on March 15.

March 4

  • Bars and karaoke parlors have been ordered to close in 13 communes and wards in Districts 5, District 10, District 11, Binh Chanh District, Hoc Mon Districts, and Thu Duc City in Ho Chi Minh City due to increased pandemic risk levels.
  • As per Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang, Vietnam is expected to resume visa policies and visa exemption policies from March 15.

February 24

  • Vietnam’s Prime Minister has urged localities to complete booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of Q1 due to a surge in cases recently. Hanoi leads the country’s surge with some schools moving to online learning.

February 17

  • The government has agreed to reopen Vietnam for international tourism from March 15. A detailed reopening plan is expected to be released soon by the relevant government agencies including visa requirements.

February 14

  • Vietnam will lift restrictions on the frequency of regular international flights from February 15 as per the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

February 9

  • Hanoi authorities allowed the resumption of motorbike ride-hailing services from February 8, while movie theaters will be allowed to reopen from February 10, after more than six months due to pandemic prevention measures.
  • The government wants to open tourism nationwide between March 30 and April 30, 2022, in line with Vietnam’s strategy of opening up and living with the virus.

February 8

  • As the government looks to further reopen the country, the Ministry of Education and Training stated that all schools are expected to reopen and have physical classes this month.

January 31

  • Vietnam scrapped the rapid/quick COVID-19 test for international arrivals before boarding flights and after landing in Vietnam. The requirement had been imposed earlier for international arrivals from countries that had detected the Omicron variant. However, the RT-PCR COVID-19 negative test requirement, 72 hours prior to boarding, remains.

January 26

  • Vietnam received 6.27 million COVID-19 vaccines from Europe including Germany, the UK, Portugal, and Luxembourg in coordination with UNICEF from December 2021 to January 24, 2022.

January 20

  • The government on January 18 issued a Directive allowing foreign employees and overseas Vietnamese with valid TRCs, PRCs, and visa exemption certificates to enter Vietnam without the approval permit from the immigration department and the local people committee. Further details are likely to emerge on guidance and implementation.

January 19

  • Vietnam recorded its first known cases of the Omicron variant in the community in Ho Chi Minh City. The three cases of the variant were confirmed on January 18, from Binh Chanh, District 11, and Go Vap districts.

January 10

  • Vietnam’s Immigration Department has announced that it will discontinue the automatic stay extension for foreigners stranded in Vietnam from January 15. The stay extension measure had earlier been applied to foreign tourists who had entered the country since March 1, 2020, due to border restrictions caused by the pandemic.

January 4, 2022

  • Travelers coming from countries that have detected the Omicron variant will have to undergo a quick test for COVID-19 before boarding and when they arrive in Vietnam at their own cost. In addition, the self-quarantine locations such as residences and hotels must be as per standards as per the Ministry of Health, otherwise, they will have to undergo quarantine in centralized facilities.

Developments in 2021

December 31

  • Hanoi authorities scrapped the centralized quarantine rule for travelers coming from countries that have detected the Omicron variant as per the transport ministry. Thus from January 1, 2022, travelers that are fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 can self-quarantine at their place of accommodation for three days.

December 29

  • Vietnam reported its first known case of the Omicron variant from a traveler arriving from the UK on December 19 at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport.

December 28

  • Hanoi authorities mandated that anyone arriving from countries that have detected the Omicron variant of the virus will have to quarantine regardless of their vaccination status. Ho Chi Minh City authorities have also been following the same requirement since December 14.
  • The transport ministry has stated that passengers from Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho do not need to provide negative COVID-19 tests before boarding. Only passengers from very high-risk localities or locked-down areas would have to provide test results within 72 hours.

December 27

  • Travelers entering Vietnam for business purposes for less than 14 days will be exempt from quarantine requirements as per the Ministry of Health, however, they must comply with pandemic prevent measures including staying at separate accommodations. Further details are likely to be provided by the MoH.

December 20

  • Hanoi authorities suspended non-essential activities including in-person dining in Hai Ba Trung District, five wards of Hoan Kiem District, and two wards of Tay Ho District on December 19 due to the high risk of COVID-19 infections.

December 17

  • Vietnam has reduced quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international arrivals from January 1, 2022. Arrivals with negative COVID-19 test results would only need to self-quarantine at home or their places of accommodation for three days when they enter Vietnam. Two RT-PCR tests will be conducted on the first and third day of entry.

December 15

  • Ho Chi Minh City has imposed strict inspections on foreign arrivals particularly from countries that have reported the Omicron variant, while surveillance in offices, residential areas, and production facilities will be strengthened. The authorities have also asked people who have entered the city in the past 28 days to get tested for the variant.

December 14

  • Authorities in Hanoi’s Dong Da District suspended on-site dining at restaurants, outdoor exercise, and in-person classes from December 13 after recording a high number of cases.

December 13

  • The government has approved the resumption of international flights between Vietnam and nine destinations from January 1, 2022. These include San Francisco or Los Angeles, Singapore, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Beijing or Guangzhou, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei. Further details on schedules and entry procedures are awaited.

December 10

  • Vietnam’s Immigration Department has announced another automatic stay extension for foreigners stranded in Vietnam due to the pandemic until December 31, 2021. The measure applies to those who entered since March 1, 2020, allowing them to leave the country without any penalty or official procedures. Those that have entered prior to March 1, 2020, are also eligible provided they show documents by their embassies or by Vietnamese authorities to confirm they were quarantined or treated for COVID-19.

December 9

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities will give booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines to its residents from December 10. These booster doses will be provided on a priority basis to adults over 50 years of age, those with underlying health issues, medical workers, and so on.

December 1

  • Vietnam’s aviation authority has agreed to the health ministry’s proposal to suspend international flights to and from some countries in Africa due to concerns over the Omicron variant.

November 30

  • Vietnam’s government has ordered relevant agencies to proactively monitor the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and prepare anti-pandemic responses. Government agencies are also monitoring entrants who may have come from countries recording the Omicron variant.

November 19

  • Hanoi authorities scrapped the quarantine requirement for travelers from high-risk areas such as Ho Chi Minh City. Rather people that are fully vaccinated will have to self-monitor their health for seven days and be tested on the first day. Travelers that are not vaccinated will need to self-isolate for seven days and will be tested twice.

November 17

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have allowed bars, movie theaters, and massage parlors to reopen in low-risk areas from November 16, while motorbike ride-hailing services are also allowed to operate from half their capacity. Services in high-risk areas are still prohibited from resuming.

November 12

  • Several provinces with lower vaccination rates such as Lao Cai, Phu Tho, Bac Giang, and Ha Tinh have imposed a number of social distancing measures including a ban on in-person dining, while Binh Thuan and Soc Trang have re-established pandemic prevention checkpoints.

November 11

  • Vietnam approved the emergency use of India’s Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine making it the ninth COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Vietnam.

November 8

  • Vietnam’s Immigration Department has announced another automatic stay extension for foreigners stranded in Vietnam due to the pandemic until November 30, 2021. The measure applies to those who entered since March 1, 2020, allowing them to leave the country without any penalty or official procedures. Those that have entered prior to March 1, 2020, are also eligible provided they show documents by their embassies or by Vietnamese authorities to confirm they were quarantined or treated for COVID-19.

November 5

  • Several countries including the US, the UK, and Japan have officially recognized Vietnam’s vaccine passport while other countries such as China, South Korea, India, the EU were awaiting a standard template from Vietnam. Vietnam itself has temporarily recognized vaccine certificates of 72 countries to ease travel.

November 3

  • COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca announced plans to invest US$90 million in Vietnam to expand its presence in the country while Vietnam also signed an agreement to buy another 25 million doses of the vaccine.

October 28

  • Ho Chi Minh City resumed in-person dining at restaurants and eateries from October 28 though with pandemic prevention measures. Food establishments can only serve customers at 50 percent capacity and must close by 9:00 pm. District 7 and Thu Duc City are allowed further relaxation measures under a pilot program until November 15.

October 22

  • Vietnam has temporarily recognized COVID-19 vaccine passport or certificates from 72 countries including China, the US, UK, UAE, Thailand, India, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, Germany, France, Cambodia, and Canada among others to facilitate the entry of foreign arrivals who are fully vaccinated.

October 21

  • From October 21, Vietnam’s Transport Ministry scrapped the full vaccination requirement for domestic air passengers. However, passengers from high-risk areas or locked-down areas would still need a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to their flights. Passengers from other areas would need one of the following, such as a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination, or a COVID-19 recovery certificate.

October 14

  • Hanoi allowed the resumption of on-site dining, taxis, and hotels from October 14, though with pandemic prevention measures. Restaurants would be allowed on-site dining at half capacity except for businesses that sell alcohol.

October 8

  • Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring provinces of Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Dong Nai, and Long An have reached an agreement on the commute of workers and experts between the five localities. Businesses would be allowed to transport staff by company vehicles and those that are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 and have a negative test certificate.
  • Vietnam received 608,400 doses and 397,800 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on October 7 and October 8 respectively from the US.

October 5

  • Ho Chi Minh City has allowed buses, taxis, and contract cars (ride-hailing) under nine seats to resume operations with limited capacity from October 5.
  • Residents of Ho Chi Minh City that want to go out must be vaccinated at least once and obtain a QR code through the mandated health apps. If there is no QR code, residents must show proof by paper documentation. Businesses must also register to receive QR codes and receive employees using these codes.

October 4

  • Domestic flights resumed on October 1 under a four-phase plan. Flights resumed with localities that have relaxed pandemic prevention and control measures.
  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have implemented Directive 18 on COVID-19 prevention and control measures while gradually reopening the economy. Residents have been asked to use VNEID and Y te HCM mobile apps to declare their health and destinations prior to going out. The directive includes eight groups of services that have been allowed to resume including manufacturing and trading, outdoor events, international organizations, and government agencies.

October 1

  • Ho Chi Minh City eased curbs and social distancing measures from October 1. Several business activities with capacity restrictions were allowed to resume including, offices, industrial parks, export processing zones, high-tech parks, barbershops, gyms, museums, weddings, supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants (only takeaway), and in-person grocery shopping. Bars, spas, karaoke and massage parlors, movie theaters, nightclubs, street vendors, and lottery ticket vendors among others will continue to be suspended. Public transport in and out of the city also remains suspended.

September 23

  • Ba Ria-Vung Tau province authorities will relax social distancing measures and move to Directive 15 from September 23. Wet markets will also be allowed to reopen for selling essential goods.

September 21

  • Hanoi authorities eased restrictions from September 21 allowing several non-essential businesses to resume. These include barbershops, cosmetic stores, traditional markets, and shopping malls and allowing businesses including offices to resume on-site operations at 50 percent capacity. Travel permits for inner-city roads are no longer required while zoning and internal checkpoints have been removed.
  • Ha Long in Quang Ninh province resumed outdoor activities and lifted a swimming ban on September 19 after no cases for the past three months. Gyms, fitness centers and pool table services have also been allowed to resume operations.

September 16

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities plan to ease restrictions in some districts considered green zones such as Can Gio, Cu Chi, and District 7 from September 16. The city will also trial a ‘green card’ in these districts before applying to the whole city. Residents in these districts will be allowed to go to the market once a week while exercise in residential areas in green zones and small parks will be allowed depending on local authorities. City authorities have also reopened other businesses activities including postal services, computer stores, stationery stores as well as restaurants and coffee shops for delivery from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. Delivery drivers or shippers can also deliver inter-district from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.
  • Hanoi authorities have allowed food takeaway services and other shops to reopen in safe districts from September 16. However, they must close by 9:00 pm. 19 districts that meet these requirements are Ba Dinh, Ba Vi, Bac Tu Liem, Cau Giay, Dan Phuong, Gia Lam, Hoai Duc, Long Bien, Me Linh, My Duc, Nam Tu Liem, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Soc Son, Son Tay, Tay Ho, Thanh Oai, and Ung Hoa.

September 14

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities extended social distancing guidelines under Directive 16 until September 30, however it plans to allow shippers to operate inter-district from September 16 to help in the delivery of food and essential goods.

September 13

  • Authorities in Ba Ria-Vung Tau relaxed some restrictions and reopened traditional markets in green zones and areas where Directive 15 is applied such as Chau Duc, Dat Do, Xuyen Moc, and Con Dao districts. Authorities plan further easing of restrictions from September 15 such as opening up businesses in essential businesses followed by semi-essential and non-essential goods.

September 9

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities allowed the resumption of take-away and food delivery from restaurants and eateries between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm from September 9 within each district. Eateries can only use online delivery services. The city has also allowed supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies to open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

September 8

  • Restaurants, coffee shops, and roadside eateries in Hoi An were allowed to reopen on September 6 but with 50 percent of customers and pandemic-related health protocols. Hoi An began less restrictive social distancing measures under Directive 19 from September 6.

September 7

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities extended the strict ‘shelter-in-place’ lockdown restrictions until September 15. Residents in low-risk areas or ‘green zones’ would be allowed to go to the market and some takeout services once a week, though details of this are yet to be provided.

September 6

  • Hanoi continued strict lockdown measures in 10 districts from September 6 while partly imposing it in five others which are considered high-risk for 15 days. Zone 1 or red zone requires people to stay where they are and includes Tay Ho, Ba Dinh, Cau Giay, Hoan Kiem, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Thanh Xuan, Ha Dong, Thanh Tri, and Hoang Mai. Zone 2, which comprises five districts – Long Bien, Gia Lam, Dong Anh, Soc Son, and Me Linh, will be under Directive 15.
  • Da Nang eased restrictions from September 5 and reopened traditional markets, take away restaurants and food joints in green zones.

August 23

  • Hanoi extended its social distancing measures until September 6.
  • Ho City began strict social distancing measures under Directive 11 with the military manning several checkpoints. Under these measures, people are not allowed to leave their homes. Shippers can only deliver within districts while app-based delivery is suspended in District 8, 12, Go Vap, Binh Tan, Binh Thanh, Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, and Thu Duc City. The military along with government authorities will also be responsible for distributing food.

August 16

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities extended social distancing measures under Directive 16 for another month until September 15.
  • Nha Trang and Da Nang have banned people from leaving their homes for a week enhancing lockdown measures from August 14 and August 16 respectively.

August 6

  • Hanoi authorities extended social distancing measures under Directive 16 for another 15 days until August 22.

August 5

  • Vietnam has cut the centralized quarantine period for fully vaccinated foreign arrivals to 7 days from the previous 14. Arrivals must also test negative for the virus within 72 hours before arrival and would then be required to self-monitor for another 7 days after the quarantine period. In addition, those infected with COVID-19 and have certificates that they have recovered from the virus within six months would also have their quarantine period reduced. The government is yet to provide further details and date for implementation.

July 31

  • Da Nang and Hoi An will begin strict social distancing measures under Directive 16 from July 31, while authorities in Nha Trang have restricted movement at night from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.

July 28

  • Bamboo Airways, Vietjet Air, and Pacific Airlines suspended most of their regular flight schedules from July 26 due to low demand and social distancing measures in several localities. Vietnam Airlines has reduced operations on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route to just two flights per day.
  • Following Ho Chi Minh City, 11 southern provinces including Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Binh Phuoc have implemented nighttime restrictions banning people from going out from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.

July 27

  • Hoi An authorities imposed social distancing measures under Directive 16 from July 26 after finding new pandemic clusters.
  • Delivery services such as Grab, Be, and Gojek have suspended delivery services from 5:00 pm to 6:00 am in Ho Chi Minh City following the city’s nighttime ban on outdoor activities.

July 26

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have banned people from going outdoors at night from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am from July 26. All activities will be suspended except for emergencies and pandemic-related operations.

July 24

  • Hanoi authorities imposed 15 days of social distancing measures under the strict Directive 16 from July 24. The majority of public transport will be shut, while travel won’t be allowed to other localities unless for valid reasons.
  • Ho Chi Minh City extended its social distancing measures under Directive 16 until at least August 1 with stronger measures in certain areas.

July 19

  • Hanoi authorities asked people to stay home and avoid public gatherings of more than five people while non-essential businesses are ordered closed. Transport to 37 pandemic affected provinces and cities has also been suspended.
  • 16 southern localities including the Mekong Delta region have been placed under strict social distancing measures under Directive 16 from July 18 for two weeks.

July 14

  • Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City shut down several factories in Saigon Hi-tech Park including the Samsung complex after more than 700 cases were detected at a factory there. Factories in the hi-tech park are now required to allow workers to stay within the premises to operate.
  • The health ministry on July 13 shortened the duration of treatment and isolation of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients for direct contacts and immigrants to 14 days.

July 13

  • Authorities in Hanoi have ordered the closure of non-essential businesses such as indoor restaurants, cafes, and barbershops from July 13 due to rising cases. However, food takeaways and deliveries are still allowed. In addition, Hanoi police are expected to set up COVID-19 checkpoints at all city entrances.
  • Vung Tau implemented strict social distancing measures under Directive 16 from July 13 after recording an increase in cases.

July 12

  • Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have ensured strict compliance of social distancing measures including fining people between VND 1 to 3 million (US$43 to US$130) for being outside without a valid reason. Checkpoints are set up on main roads and between districts while extensive testing is underway for city residents. Most provinces and cities require a negative COVID-19 test for those coming from Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Hanoi’s Noi Bai International and Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International airports have launched COVID-19 test services for passengers from July 10 and 11 respectively.

July 9

  • Hanoi authorities suspended all outdoor sports activities and physical exercise from July 8 due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Dong Nai and Khanh Hoa provinces began social distancing measures following Ho Chi Minh City under Directive 16 measures from July 9. Khanh Hoa’s social distancing measures will apply to Nha Trang, Ninh Hoa commune, and Van Ninh district.

July 8

  • Ho Chi Minh City will impose another 15 days of social distancing under the stricter Directive 16 measures from July 9. Under Directive 16, all non-essential businesses and services are banned, while public transport including buses and taxis are suspended. The gathering of more than two people is banned and people are required to stay home unless for food, medicine, or emergencies.

June 20

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities imposed stricter Directive 10 measures from June 20 to deal with the outbreak. These include the suspension of passenger taxis, ride-hailing taxis as well as public and interprovincial buses. The gathering of three or more people outside of workplaces and hospitals has been banned and people are required to only go out when necessary.
  • Da Nang authorities shut public beaches as well as dine-in eateries from June 20 after discovering 23 local infections after a month. Pick-up and delivery services are still allowed to operate.

June 14

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities extended social distancing guidelines for another two weeks until June 30 due to the recent increase in cases. Go Vap district and District 12’s Thanh Loc Ward will now be under Directive 15 measures like the rest of the city. The developments come after the city recorded the highest number of daily cases on June 13.
  • Vietnam on June 12 approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

June 9

  • Da Nang authorities allowed the reopening of some outdoor activities easing restrictions from June 9. Restaurants, eateries, and barbershops were allowed to resume but with health protocols, while offices were allowed to bring in their employees. Public beaches were allowed to reopen though swimming is only allowed at certain designated times. The easing of restrictions occurred after Da Nang went 20 days without any community transmission cases.

June 4

  • Vietnam approved a COVID-19 vaccine by China’s Sinopharm for emergency use as per the Ministry of Health.

May 30

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities will impose social distancing measures starting from May 31 for two weeks due to a rise in the number of cases. Specifically, Go Vap district and Thanh Loc Ward in District 12 will be under stricter Directive 16 measures while the rest of the city will be under Directive 15 measures.
  • Directive 16 does not allow gatherings of two more people in public and asks people to only leave homes for emergencies, food, medicine, work in factories, and businesses that involve essential goods and services. Directive 15 requires the suspension of social events, bans the gatherings of 20 people or more in one place and 10 people or more outside workplaces, schools, and hospitals.

May 28

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have ordered the suspension of most non-essential activities. These include restaurants, beauty parlors, barbers, spas, tourism sites, museums, walking streets, night markets, and parks from May 28 due to the latest outbreak. Homestay and Airbnb services are also suspended until further notice while religious activities with 10 or more people and other institutions are also suspended.
  • Restaurants that do operate will only be allowed takeaway and delivery services.

May 27

  • Da Nang authorities will allow taxis, ride-hailing cars, and motorbikes as well as two-wheeler delivery services to resume operations from May 28 after eight days of registering no new local infections.
  • At least 13 people belonging to a religious sect in Go Vap District of Ho Chi Minh City have tested positive for the virus. This includes a chef working at the Sheraton Hotel in District 1. The hotel has been temporarily blocked.
  • In light of this, Ho Chi Minh City authorities have restricted people from not gathering in groups of more than 10 people in public places.

May 26

  • Bac Giang province, the epicenter of the outbreak, is set to gradually reopen the four industrial parks that were ordered to shut down to ensure that jobs and supply chains are not significantly affected. The province is home to Samsung and Apple suppliers.
  • Quang Nam authorities reopened public beaches and Hoi An town from May 25 after going without any new community transmission cases in the past 14 days.
  • Vietnam received the fourth batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with 288,000 doses arriving in Ho Chi Minh City on May 25. 

May 25

  • Hanoi authorities have shut all dine-in services, barbershops, and salons from May 25 due to a spike in local infections. In addition, people returning to Hanoi from other areas must submit medical declarations within 24 hours.

May 22

  • In Ho Chi Minh City, small-scale restaurants and street food businesses are not allowed to offer dine-in services but just takeaway. Buses and taxis are only allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, while religious gatherings with more than 20 people are suspended.

May 21

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have banned the gatherings of more than 20 people at restaurants and at public places. Authorities also suspended express boat services from District 1 to Can Gio and Vung Tau.

May 20

  • Apple suppliers Foxconn and Luxshare have been forced to temporarily shut down their factories due to the outbreak in Bac Giang province. The measure will likely be in place for two weeks.
  • Vietnam plans to set up a US$1.1 billion fund to acquire 150 million vaccines for its population. The proposal has been submitted to the government for approval.

May 14

  • Hanoi authorities ordered the suspension of all physical and sports activities in public including golf courses from May 13.
  • Da Nang banned the gathering of more than five people in public and outside of offices and schools.
  • Ho Chi Minh City will re-establish 12 COVID-19 checkpoints at the entrances of the city from May 15.

May 12

  • Hanoi since May 11 ordered the closure of all beer parlors (bia hoi) and the banned the gathering of more than 10 people in one place outside of public offices, schools, and hospitals.
  • In addition, coffee shops, food courts, convenience stores, and eateries near COVID-19 outbreak areas such as the National Hospital for Tropical Disease in Dong Anh District have been ordered to temporarily shut down.

May 7

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have banned the gathering of more than 30 people from May 7. This includes gyms, wedding reception centers, yoga classes, and buffet restaurants among others.
  • Da Nang banned restaurants from dine-in services allowing them to only sell using take-out and delivery services from noon on May 7.

May 5

  • Hanoi authorities have shut down non-essential services from May 5 such as movie theaters, gyms, spas, and massage parlors. The development comes after the city recorded five domestic cases in five districts such as Dong Anh, Hai Ba Trung, Hoang Mai, Bac Tu Liem, and Me Linh.

May 4

  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities shut down movie theaters, massage parlors, and online game centers from May 3 while Hanoi also shut down sidewalk cafes and eateries in a bid to prevent and combat the pandemic. Schools have also been suspended in Hanoi. Similar measures have also been implemented in Da Nang and Quang Nam.
  • As a precaution, the Ministry of Health has temporarily extended the minimum 14-day quarantine to additional days as per health protocols and other factors.

April 1

  • Flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines is expected to resume some international flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with South Korea, Japan, and Australia from April 3. Low-cost carrier Vietjet also resumed some international routes to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. However, only repatriated approved Vietnamese citizens and approved foreign experts will be allowed to enter Vietnam.

March 24

  • Vietnam has approved the use of Russia’s Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

February 24

  • The first batch of 117,600 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on the morning of February 24.

February 22

  • The Ministry of Health stated that 10 groups of people including health workers, police, military officers, and those over 65 years of age will be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

February 19

  • Vietnam is expected to import the first batch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on February 28. Health authorities approved the import of 204,000 doses out of the 30 million approved shots.

January 29

  • The Ministry of Health also approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. While Vietnam was set to buy the vaccine as reported previously, the new outbreak has urged authorities to quicken the procurement of the vaccine to February.

January 28

  • The local case in Hai Duong was linked to a factory worker who tested positive for the UK variant of the virus after arriving for work in Japan. The second community case is an airport worker, employed at Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh. The airport has handled several repatriation flights and is likely to be the case for the worker testing positive.

January 8

  • Vietnam’s national trade union the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) will support workers who have been affected by the pandemic and natural disasters in 2020 with up to VND 1-2 million (US$43-86) each for Tet – the Vietnamese New Year Holiday which begins on February 12.
  • Vietnam will limit inbound repatriation flights from January 10 until the end of the Lunar New Year Holiday in mid-February to limit the risks of the spread of the pandemic.
  • Vietnam’s General Statistics Office (GSO) reported that 1.3 million people nationwide lost their jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic with most of them in the working age.
  • Vietnam has banned inbound flights from countries that have recorded the new COVID-19 variant such as the UK and South Africa. The list of countries that the ban applies to will likely be expanded in the coming days.

January 2-3, 2021

  • Heavy traffic was reported at the entrances of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on January 3, as people returned from the New Year holidays and festivities. Most new year’s eve gatherings in major cities were packed with crowds.
  • Vietnam reported its first case of the coronavirus variant from the UK on January 2. The patient was repatriated from the UK and quarantined on arrival.

Developments in 2020

  • The Ministry of Health recently issued Official Dispatch No. 5834/BYT-KH-TC on temporary guidance on COVID-19 tests costs for those wanting to leave the country. The cost for real-time PCR tests would be VND 734,000 (US$31) per individual and a quick test would be VND 238,000 (US$10) per individual. Based on these maximum prices, local authorities are allowed to decide prices for specific tests.
  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have designated another 14 hotels to serve as paid quarantine facilities. The hotels will offer rooms at rates between US$52 to US$216 (VND 1.2-5 million). With the latest addition, Ho Chi Minh City will now have a total of 24 hotels serving as paid quarantine facilities. 
  • International arrivals who opt to stay at government quarantine facilities are required to pay at least VND 120,000 (US$5) per day as quarantine costs since the recent ruling came into effect on September 1.
  • Ho Chi Minh City is preparing 27 additional hotels to be designated as paid quarantine facilities for those arriving in Vietnam. Hanoi currently has designated eight hotels as paid quarantine facilities.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will open a regional office in Hanoi to increase public health engagement in Southeast Asia and monitor the spread of the pandemic.
  • Vietnam has lifted the mandatory 14-day quarantine for foreign experts, investors, managers, and diplomats if they enter the country for less than 14 days. However, they must comply with all other health measures and must follow their scheduled itinerary. If after 14 days they wish to stay in Vietnam, they can do so without quarantining, provided they test negative for the virus.
  • Vietnamese authorities will start charging a quarantine fee for anyone entering Vietnam from September 1. However, the medical treatment of Vietnamese nationals in case they are infected by the pandemic will be covered by the state budget. Foreign nationals are required to pay for their own medical treatment.
  • Vietnam will grant e-visa to citizens of 80 countries from July 1, 2020 as per Resolution No. 79/NQ-CP. Details on the list of countries can be accessed here. While this is a positive sign, Vietnam’s borders remain closed to foreign visitors due to the pandemic.
  • Vietnam’s Immigration Department has announced that it will extend temporary residence permits for those that have entered before March 1 until the end of June 30. Foreigners that have entered on visa-free policies, e-visas, or tourist visas since March 1 will also be entitled to the same automatic extension program until June 30. Travelers can call the department for assistance at 0243.9387320.
  • The US will give Vietnam an aid package worth US$9.5 million to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Vietnam could miss its target of having one million businesses this year due to the pandemic causing many to shut down. However, the government has issued a financial assistance package for employers and employees. Details can be accessed here.
  • Vietnam ended the social isolation guidelines at the end of April 22, though restrictions will continue in some high-risk areas. While the social isolation guidelines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have also been lifted, some restrictions continue to remain for bars, clubs, spas, theaters, sports centers, and others while the gathering of more than 20 people is prohibited. Restaurants and eateries that operate must comply with strict guidelines from local authorities.
  • Vietnam’s COVID-19 test kits have passed European standards and have been granted the CE marking and Certificate of Free Sale (CFS), allowing the test kits to be sold in the European Economic Area, including the UK.
  • Social distancing measures will be loosened in other areas of the country allowing some industries and businesses to resume operations from April 16. Nevertheless, all localities must still enforce regulations on wearing face masks, avoiding mass gatherings, keeping a two-meter distance in social interactions, and observing strict hygiene standards.
  • Face masks and hand sanitizers have been added to a list of essential goods covered by the price stabilization program in Ho Chi Minh City. Prices of stabilized goods are approximately 5 to 10 percent lower than the market price.
  • Vietnam donated 550,000 masks to five European countries in its support for other countries against the pandemic.
  • Vietnam’s Immigration Department will allow foreign nationals on visa-free, tourist visas (including e-visas) that are unable to leave the country, to extend their stays up to a period of 30 days by filing an application with the authority. The policy is effective from March 30 to April 30. Foreigners that have entered for work or other purposes can contact their embassies and sponsors for further guidance in accordance with the law. A list of documents needed for extensions can be found on the government website here.
  • Vietnam on April 1 implemented strict social distancing rules nationwide for 15 days to curb the spread of COVID-19. The measures include self-isolation and restricting people from leaving homes except for food and medicines. The gathering of more than two people is also banned while also keeping a distance of two meters when outside.
  • Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 30 declared COVID-19 a nationwide pandemic and urged authorities at all levels to focus on efforts to contain the pandemic.
  • The US has earmarked a total of US$274 million in humanitarian assistance for 64 countries hit by COVID-19 including Vietnam, which would receive US$3 million worth of support.
  • Vietnam has banned the gathering of more than 20 people for at least two weeks from March 28 and temporarily shut down services like massage parlors, tourist sites, and cinemas nationwide. In addition, major cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Can Tho and Da Nang would need to temporarily shut down all service facilities except for food, pharmacy, and medical treatment services.
  • Authorities have made it mandatory for all travelers to declare their medical status on domestic flights and public transport.
  • All Vietnamese carriers have suspended international routes from March 25.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphone faces production delays due to Vietnam’s restrictions on South Korea. However, around 180 Samsung Display employees were allowed following an agreement with both governments. In addition, Samsung and LG plan to send 430 engineers to support operations in Vietnam on chartered flights.
  • Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners from March 22 until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. The measure will not apply to diplomats and officials as per government authorities.
  • Vietnam Airlines will suspend all international routes in a phased manner by March 25 until April 30. VietJet will suspend ASEAN routes from March 20.
  • Vietnam plans to issue several incentives for businesses affected by COVID-19. For more information on this, read our article here
  • In addition, all travelers from the US, Europe, and ASEAN countries will be required to undergo medical checks and a 14-day quarantine when entering Vietnam.
  • Vietnam is set to officially export 7,500 COVID-19 test kits to Ukraine and Finland. Other European countries have also shown interest.
  • As of 12:00 pm on March 15, Vietnam suspended all visas and will deny entry to travelers from the UK and the 26 Schengen countries; this includes travelers that have visited or transited through these countries in the past 14 days. 
  • In addition, Vietnam has suspended visa on arrival for all foreign nationals except for those on official or diplomatic trips. Those who currently hold visas to enter Vietnam will need to undergo screenings and may be quarantined when entering the country.
  • Health officials announced changes to mass lockdowns – they would enforce a small-scale lockdown applicable to households in the immediate vicinity of confirmed patients.
  • Vietnam has mandated that people wear face masks at crowded places such as airports, bus stations, supermarkets and on public transport.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11 declared COVID-19 as a pandemic which is an “epidemic occurring worldwide” as per the WHO. To put this in context, the latest pandemic was declared in 2009 caused by the H1N1 swine flu.
  • Vietnam launched a mobile app that will allow all Vietnamese to declare their health status. The government has urged citizens to update their health status on the app.
  • The Vietnamese government is expected to unveil a credit package of US$10.8 billion and a fiscal package of US$1.3 billion in March for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Health authorities will require all passengers arriving from any country into Vietnam to fill out health declaration forms from March 7.
  • Instant noodle demand has surged by 67 percent due to the COVID-19 epidemic. This was preceded by mouthwash at 78 percent as per a market study by Nielsen Vietnam.
  • Vietnam will produce 10,000 COVID-19 test kits daily after a successful pilot and approval from the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Ethnic Vietnamese from South Korea and Italy will no longer be granted visa-free entry from March 8.
  • From March 1, all flights from South Korea will not be allowed to land at Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City airports, instead they will be directed to Van Don (Quang Ninh province) and Can Tho airports for processing and quarantining of passengers. 
  • Vietnam on February 29 suspended the visa-waiver program for South Korean nationals. In addition, all incoming travelers from South Korea will be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation. 
  • Vietnam Airlines and low-cost carrier Vietjet will temporarily suspend all flights to and from South Korea from March 5 and March 7 respectively. Earlier on February 26, Bamboo Airways had suspended all flights to and from South Korea.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 27, removed Vietnam from the list of destinations vulnerable to community transmission of COVID-19 citing Vietnam’s comprehensive actions against the epidemic. The CDC will also send a delegation in March to enhance medical cooperation between the US and Vietnam. It also plans to establish a CDC regional office in the country.
  • Vietnam and China have agreed to reopen further border crossings to ease restrictions and normalize trade. Several border crossings in Quang Ninh, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Lang Son, and Ha Giang have reopened. However, backlogs remain, and other border crossings remain closed.
  • Vietnam’s civil aviation authority suspended all flights to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan on February 1. However, the authority lifted the ban for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan from February 2. Flights to and from mainland China (including transit) remain suspended.
  • The novel coronavirus has been renamed as COVID-19 as per the World Health Organization (WHO). The Co and Vi come from coronavirus, with D meaning disease and 19 for 2019.
  • Vietnam issued Decision No.173.QD-TTg declaring coronavirus as an epidemic – in line with the World Health Organization’s declaration of the virus as a global health emergency.
  • The government has ordered the health ministry to supervise and early detect infected cases, monitor border crossings, airports, and seaports, particularly for passengers coming from affected areas.
  • Vietnam stopped issuing visas for Chinese tourists on January 30 as a temporary measure. Foreign visitors who have visited mainland China (including transit) in the past 14 days from arrival will also be denied entry into Vietnam.

Impact and Summary

Vietnam has currently declared 10,714,008 cases of the coronavirus infection with 43,073 deaths; however, we have concerns that more cases will arise. Travelers from epidemic-affected areas will face additional checks and screening.

As mentioned earlier, 9,422,085 of the patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals. However, Vietnam has quarantined several suspected cases of the virus as a precaution. Suspected cases are those people that have returned from epidemic areas or have had direct contact with returnees from epidemic areas and show symptoms as per the Ministry of Health.

The virus’s symptoms are respiratory and seem to start with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath gradually. However, it can lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death in serious cases.

Vietnam’s health ministry has further stated that the fatality rate of the virus is 2 percent as compared to the 9.6 percent of the SARS virus in 2002-2003.

Recent developments indicate that travelers may have already been infected but not realized it – the virus appears to have a non-symptomatic 7-14 day incubation period. Further border checks and other movement restrictions are possible given the rapidly evolving developments.

Businesses operating in Vietnam need to prepare in case of an escalation of the coronavirus in Vietnam and be ready for measures taken by the authorities, which may get enforced with little or no notice. 

We recommend businesses in Vietnam contact their staff to ascertain where they are and discuss any regional or national advisories concerning travel. Staff experiencing any cough or flu-like symptoms should not return to the office or factory.

We are providing updates and advisories concerning ASEAN (as well as Vietnam) on this article here.

To prepare for business measures in Vietnam, we recommend reading through this article herewhich contains advisory for businesses operating in China, but may also be required should an outbreak extend to affect businesses operating in Vietnam. 

While travel to Vietnam can continue, we recommend taking precautions and following advice from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health.

Basic precautions one can take to reduce their risk to the coronavirus as advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) are:

  • Wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • Cover nose and mouth with tissues or inside of elbow when coughing or sneezing;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms;
  • Avoid crowded places; and
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficult breathing seek medical attention.

We will continue to provide updates as they become available. 


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About Us

Vietnam Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in HanoiHo Chi Minh City, and Da Nang. Readers may write to for more support on doing business in Vietnam.

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