Yesterday over at the long-form blog, I wrote about Việt Nam and the catch-22 of tourism promotion: how the Southeast Asian country was seemingly facing a contradiction between its government wanting to protect its citizens from coronavirus yet also its travel industry wanting to reassure foreigner visitors to keep them coming.
Now, it seems, the imperative to protect public health is winning out decisively. Ever since Patient #17 arrived and spread the virus, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc announced a second phase of war.
According to posts on by travelers currently in Hà Nội and elsewhere in the country, many travelers said they were told their hotels or hostels were going to be closed down soon. One said that the scenic areas around Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park are shutting down. Hạ Long Bay is shut down, as reported, and boat operators in Tràng An are suspending business.
Individual people’s observations cannot be independently confirmed, but there have been news articles reporting on increasing barriers to travel and life.
According to the Straits Times, 25 Dutch tourists in Hội An are quarantined after someone on their flight tested positive. Schools in Saïgon and Hà Nội remain closed until at least the end of March. Entire alleyways surrounding communities and homes are locked down if someone tests positive. British are now banned from entering Việt Nam. Bus companies are cutting trips.
Think twice between backpacking now, especially when knowing you could inadvertently spread the virus to local people. But if you do travel, be aware you might face quarantine.
Update: Many hotels have been closing their doors, as reported.