Vietnam has lifted quarantine and other travel restrictions for foreign visitors in a bid to fully reopen its border after two years of pandemic-related closure, the government has said.
HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam on Wednesday scrapped quarantine and other travel restrictions for foreign visitors in a bid to fully reopen its border after two years of pandemic-related closure, the government said.
Visitors entering the Southeast Asian country need only show a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, according to the health ministry, which said the new measures were effective immediately.
Vietnam has also restored visa waivers and issuance of visas on arrival similar to their pre-pandemic status.
Vietnam closed its border and stopped issuing tourist visas in March 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus. It partially reopened to international tourism last November for visitors traveling within strict bubbles.
In Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where the streets were bustling before the pandemic, many shops have closed due to lack of tourists. The few that remain open are struggling.
“It’s been very tough. Business is so slow because there are no foreign tourists,” said Tuyet Lien, owner of a shop selling silk and other souvenir goods.
“I am very happy that the country is fully reopening. Tourists will come back soon and business will boom again,” Lien added.
The tourism industry accounted for almost 10% of the country’s economy before the pandemic.
“We believe Vietnam is rapidly changing to better align with other global destinations that have reopened to tourism. We remain confident that the volume of inbound travel will gradually increase,” said Mathieu Le Besq, general manager of Accor hotels in Vung Tau, a resort town in southern Vietnam.
The reopening comes as Vietnam reports a record number of new COVID-19 infections, with a daily average of nearly 200,000 cases over the past two weeks.
Despite the high infection rate, the Department of Health says the majority of patients have mild symptoms of the omicron variant and do not require hospitalization.
Vietnam has administered more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, covering 80 percent of the country’s 98 million people, according to the health ministry.