Vietnam tightens foreign entry following concerns over coronavirus outbreak

2020-03-02 10:13:54 GMT2020-03-02 18:13:54(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

HANOI, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam will suspend the visa waiver program for Italian citizens starting from Tuesday, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said in a meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control held here Monday.

The temporary halt of the program, which has allowed Italian nationals to be able to stay in Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa, came amid the rising concerns over the complicated developments of the coronavirus outbreak in the world.

Speaking at the meeting, the deputy prime minister, also chairman of Vietnam's national steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control, said Vietnam has been well controlling the situation, and promptly and proactively implementing prevention and control measures, with no new infections reported in the country after Feb. 13.

However, the disease has broken out in many parts of the world including South Korea, Iran and Italy, making it more difficult to detect the source of the disease, he said, adding that Vietnam needs to stay alert with all situations, take practical steps and stand ready for new infections.

He ordered competent authorities to proactively coordinate flights from South Korea, adding that in the upcoming time, flights from South Korea to Vietnam will be mostly for repatriating Vietnamese citizens back home.

Earlier Vietnam has also announced the temporary suspense of a visa waiver program for South Koreans effective from Feb. 29.