Vietnam to trial sandbox re-opening to foreign tourists on Phu Quoc island

PHOTO: Flickr/Ronan Crowley

Vietnam will trial a sandbox project on Phu Quoc, re-opening the island to vaccinated foreign tourists by the end of the year. The plan has been confirmed by the Vietnamese PM, Pham Minh Chinh, according to a TTR Weekly report. The government hopes to attract 2 – 3 million foreign tourists through the Phu Quoc sandbox, although officials have not confirmed which countries they’re expected to arrive from.

Those participating in the Phu Quoc sandbox will need to be fully vaccinated and will also have to take several PCR tests, the first of which will be on arrival at the island’s airport. Pham says that while rebooting economic activity is important, the highest priority is keeping Covid-19 under control. Not an easy task, given that Vietnam has a shortage of vaccines. TTR Weekly reports that as of September 4, the country has taken delivery of 33 million vaccine doses, which is expected to increase to 50 million by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has begun piloting a reduced quarantine period of 7 days for repatriating citizens who are fully vaccinated. The first people to avail of the scheme were 297 Vietnamese nationals, who landed in the northern province of Quang Ninh on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Japan last week. They had to show a negative PCR test result issued within 72 hours of travel and have begun a 7-day quarantine period, reduced from 14 days.

A second repatriation flight is expected to arrive on September 12, from the US. Vietnam suspended international travel in March 2020, but diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts, and skilled workers are still permitted to travel to the country. Vietnam has reported 576,096 infections and 14,470 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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Maya Taylor

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