Vietnam will begin fully reopening from December 2021 after almost two years of complete closure to the world the nation announced yesterday.
Vietnam has a road plan to fully reopen in June 2022. Firstly, the country will reopen popular tourist destinations in December, including Halong Bay, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Dalat to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from safe destinations. The nation is yet to declare what will constitute a safe destination.
Then, as Vietnam’s vaccination rate continues to rise, the country will slowly begin reopening all areas of the nation before a full reopening by June 2022.
The Vietnamese government stated, “We are moving step by step, cautiously but flexibly to adapt to real situations of the pandemic.”
However, it remains unclear what the Vietnamese authorities categorize as truly safe.
Currently, only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign investors, and highly skilled workers are allowed to enter the country under very strict circumstances. The nation has witnessed a shortage of English teachers since the borders closed and foreign arrivals struggled to enter.
Vietnam’s Proposed Phu Quoc Reopening
Vietnam was set to reopen the popular island destination of Phu Quoc this month, but a slow vaccination rollout has pushed the reopening date back until later this year.
An official statement suggested that Vietnam would allow fully vaccinated foreign arrivals to enter Phu Quoc if they provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
The Vietnamese government had planned to fully vaccinate all Phu Quoc citizens before fully reopening this month. But delays have prevented that.
Phu Quoc’s reopening would have been the first time international arrivals could enter the nation since February 2020. It looks like Phu Quoc will reopen alongside other tourist hotspots in Vietnam, such as Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Dalat instead of being the first destination to reopen.
The COVID-19 Situation Within Vietnam
Vietnam had successfully contained COVID-19 throughout much of 2020 before the Delta variant entered the nation and plunged large portions of the country into lockdown.
COVID-19 cases were in the low single digits for 14 months in Vietnam. However, the 7-day case average in Vietnam peaked at 13,040 per day. Since then, cases have started to decline, and the current 7-day average is 6,184 cases per day.
Vietnam's vaccination rate, on the other hand, has been slow. The nation has fully vaccinated just 24.3 percent of the population. That puts the vaccination rate behind much of Southeast Asia.
However, it will take another 22 days to fully vaccinate another 10 percent of the population at the current vaccination rollout speed.
The move is very similar to neighboring Thailand, which has reopened certain parts of the nation to fully vaccinated tourists. These spots include Phuket, Koh Tao, and Koh Samui.
In the last year, foreign arrivals into Vietnam dropped to 3.8 million, with the majority of those visitors entering in the first two months of the year. The travel and tourism sector accounts for 12 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, and that’s a significant number.
Southeast Asia’s Reopening
Southeast Asia has closed for the vast majority of the pandemic. But the nation is slowly beginning to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers.
Thailand is preparing to fully reopen to fully vaccinated tourists in the coming months, after reopening various parts of the nation to vaccinated visitors in July.
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