Ho Chi Minh launches 3-stage reopening plan, international on January 1

FILE PHOTO: Ho Chi Minh City launches a 3-stage plan to reopen, with international travel permitted January 1.

Shortly after announcing plans to restart tourism tentatively beginning with Phu Quoc Island, the Vietnamese government launched a road map to reopen Ho Chi Minh City to international travellers at the beginning of next year. The megacity and financial hub of Vietnam has a 3-stage plan for tourism recovery with strict Covid-19 safety measures in place.

The plan is designed to limit the risk of a major outbreak while still providing economic stimulus after the country’s travel industry has been essentially shuttered for the better part of two years. Ho Chi Minh City, along with the rest of Vietnam, has just begun to loosen Covid-19 restrictions after some of the strictest lockdowns in the world but will continue to enforce masking and social distancing among other safety measures.

The first phase is launching now until the end of October and involves opening Ho Chi Minh in select areas that have been deemed green zones where Covid-19 outbreaks are under control. Within those areas, domestic tourists will be allowed to travel independently or book organised tours moving between the green districts. Hotels and tourist attractions will be allowed to operate at 50% of their maximum capacity as long as they are following strict Covid-19 prevention protocols.

The second phase will begin on November 1, like Thailand’s big reopening, and continue until the end of the year. At that point, domestic travel between certain cities that have been approved as safe will be permitted. This will mostly be travel between green zones where there is little to no Covid-19. Things like restaurants and seated dining, as well as catering, will be allowed to resume with safety precautions while limits on occupancy and operating levels will be increased to 70%.

The third phase is scheduled to begin on January 1 and will mark the point that international travel is allowed to resume without any restrictions. Standard Covid-19 safety measures including mask-wearing and social distancing will still be strictly enforced throughout Vietnam though.

The government made a point to remind that these plans are still tentative and subject to be adjusted should the pandemic situation worsen within Vietnam or around the world.

Like Thailand, Vietnam largely avoided the first two waves of Covid-19 but between July and September of this year outbreaks raged with Ho Chi Minh City seeing nearly 15,000 new infections a day at its peak. 400,000 Covid-19 infections were recorded in the city with 16,000 deaths.

But the daily average of 350 deaths in August has dropped by mid-October to just 61 death well Vietnam is uncovering an average of about 3,000 infections per day nationally.

SOURCE: Vietnam is Awesome

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.