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COVID-19: Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors

COVID-19: Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors

FILE PHOTO: Health workers wait for their turn as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thanh Hue

HANOI: Vietnam will slash the duration of mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors from two weeks to just seven days, its health ministry said on Wednesday (Aug 4), 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 are closed to all visitors apart from returning Vietnamese citizens, foreign experts, investors or diplomats, all of whom were subject to 14 days of quarantine at centrally-managed facilities.

READ: Vietnam to approve remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment: Reports

Foreign visitors who have been fully vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 would be permitted to quarantine for seven days, Vietnam's health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The decision comes after calls from European and American business leaders in Vietnam earlier this year to ease the regulations to facilitate the operations of foreign investors and experts.

Visitors will be subject to a further seven days of medical surveillance, the statement said, without indicating when the new policy would take effect.

READ: Commentary: Struggling with the Delta variant, Vietnam has to force a change in vaccine policy

Vietnam has reported a total of 177,800 COVID-19 cases and 2,327 deaths, most of which were recorded over the past month in Ho Chi Minh City.

The business hub and all of Vietnam's southern provinces and cities are under strict lockdown, along with the capital Hanoi.

Centralised quarantine facilities across the country have been working at full capacity and the government said last week it was switching its focus to treatment to "limit the number of deaths" in Ho Chi Minh City.

Just 744,000 people have been fully vaccinated in Vietnam, a country of 98 million, according to official data.

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Source: Reuters/vc

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