Corona Virus Outbreak – Is It Safe to Travel Around Vietnam?
Okay, everyone is talking about Corona Virus, new cases, and how it affects economics and travelers. It’s not a new topic, but since we’re passionate about Vietnam and had excellent experiences while exploring the country, we’d love to give back to the community.
Media constantly broadcasting recent news about Corona Virus, and constant immigration changes make it very difficult for travelers to figure out rather travel or stay home. Usually, helpful Facebook groups became filled with people sharing news and statistics about the mighty Corona Virus. It’s evident – we’re in the state of panic, and we’re all affected.
How does this current state of fear affect Vietnam’s economy and tourism industry? Is it actually safe or even smart to travel around Vietnam these days? Let’s find out together.
p.s. Since I assume we all know what’s Corona Virus, how it affects the human body, and how it spreads, we’re not going to talk about it. In case you’re not sure about details or would love to learn more about it, check out the WHO official page for more.
Corona Virus (Covid-19) in Vietnam
Since Vietnam directly borders with China, and Hanoi is just about 1.400 km away from Wuhan, the logical question arises – how serious is Corona Virus in Vietnam?
According to Worldometers, as of March 10th, Vietnam has reported 31 cases of which 16 are active. Whether the government declared the correct number of cases or it’s a manipulation, it’s not on to say. Everyone has their own thought and suspicions, but let’s stick to research and statistics.
The Vietnamese government, according to official reports, had everything under control until the Vietnamese local didn’t arrive back to Vietnam infected. She was attending top fashion shows in Milan and Paris, and upon her arrival to Hanoi, the whole Truc Bach street was closed and undergone disinfection.
As Vietnam is just next to China, one would think that it will be one of the most affected countries when it comes to a number of infected people. However, it’s not the case, and it’s fascinating how the Vietnamese government works hard to slow the pace of the pandemic.
It’s essential to follow the latest news to get a better understanding of the situation in Vietnam. Here are a few news and statistics you might want to check:
- Demand for instant noodles skyrocketed by 67% in less than a month. People are stacking the food sources in case Vietnam will experience a partial/complete lockdown.
- In direct collaboration with WHO, Vietnam produces 10,000 Corona Virus tests per day to prevent a rapid spreading of a pandemic.
- If you’re currently in Vietnam (traveling or living), there is a mobile app that allows you to input your current health status.
- As of March 9th, foreigners can’t visit Ly Son Island, and locals have to fill a health declaration before arrival.
- No more visa exemptions for some EU countries, including Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, UK, Germany, France, and Spain.
- All Italian and Iranian passport holders are subject to 2-week quarantine. There are speculations by visa agents that Italians, Iranians, and many other EU passport holders won’t be able to get an invitation letter for entrance in the country.
The list goes on and on…
If we believe the government and its efforts to control the spreading of COVID-19, then we must say the government is doing a great job. Whether we’re presented with accurate results or not, it’s really not our field to discuss.
Anyway, the mighty COVID-19, even if there are only 31 reported cases in Vietnam, has a VERY HUGE impact on the Vietnamese economy.
According to Businessinsider, here are a few shocking statistics:
- Businesses are having a direct trade with Chinese companies in the context of import or export already felt a huge impact.
- The whole COVID-19 pandemic could potentially cause the Vietnamese GDP to drop by 1% this year.
- Tourism is the most affected industry reporting losses anywhere between 30% – 60% compared to the last year. The damage in three months could reach a whopping $4 billion.
As you can see, the Corona Virus still doesn’t have a huge health impact on the country (only 31 cases), but the economical and social impact is enormous!
Businesses, especially in hospitality and tourism, started to close due to the low amount of guests coming in, immigration laws are constantly changing, so we can’t even predict what would be tomorrow. Also, expats who are working as English teachers are affected a lot as schools are closed. For instance, in Hanoi, the schools are officially closed till March 15th without any certainty of opening. Significant events, such as F1 Hanoi race is postponed, all festivals and ceremonies, are getting closed too.
It leads us to another question…
Is It Safe to Travel Around Vietnam Right Now?
Well, if you’re planning to travel to Vietnam during the Corona Virus outbreak, there are a few things to consider before taking a trip:
- Check with your airline company if they are operating and if the flights will be delayed or canceled.
- Check your tours and accommodation bookings.
- Be in constant touch with your visa agent or immigration office since they tend to change visa policies for individual countries a few times per day.
I genuinely believe that Corona Virus outbreak and the whole situation is made to divide us even more. People started to associate Chinese or even Asian people as Corona Virus itself, which creates a certain level of racism and hate towards Asian people. There is such a small percentage that the virus will kill you, but how fast the virus is spreading is just crazy. It’s the first pandemic in the history of the human race that spreads so rapidly. The news is covering everything and I believe it’s a huge media propaganda going on.
Of course, I don’t say you should just go with the opinion that Corona Virus is fake and don’t take precautions measures while traveling, but I assume the media makes it much more severe than it is.
The picture above shows the current statistics of different causes of death. Currently, 4,264 people died from Corona Virus. Just check how many people died from seasonal flu or how many mothers died while giving birth.
It’s true that Corona Virus spreads pretty fast, but is it a real threat to humanity, I don’t think so.
So to answer the question – traveling to Vietnam and around the region is entirely safe, but some measures of precautions are welcome.
How to Prepare Yourself for Traveling Around Vietnam During Corona Virus Outbreak
According to CDC.org, Corona Virus (COVID-19) spreads through direct contact. If you’re in direct contact or just being around infected people, the chances are high you’re going to get infected. What can you do to prevent getting infected?
Take care of your hygiene!
Get high quality, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash your hands periodically during the day. Also, be sure to invest in a proper respiratory mask, preferably N95 masks, as these are tighter than regular medical masks and prevent smaller particles from passing.
Be sure to invest in high-quality multivitamins and Vitamin C to boost your immune system. Also, don’t forget to sleep well and exercise regularly, even when you’re on the road.
The situation with the Corona Virus is currently not looking good. The virus spreads rapidly and who knows how many people will get infected until we find an effective cure. Some scientists predict that around 60 – 70% of the world population might be infected.
It might not be the best time to travel around Vietnam, but even if you decide to go, just be more careful and take precaution measures and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t forget to always check with your airlines and immigration to be aligned with the latest updates.
Happy travels! 🙂