Vietnam introduces compulsory testing for arrivals from coronavirus-hit areas

Foreign tourists wear protective masks and walk on the empty The Huc bridge due to recent novel coronavirus outbreak on Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi, Vietnam March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI: Vietnam’s health ministry on Sunday (Mar 15) said all passengers coming from or through China, South Korea, the UK and Schengen countries will be compulsorily quarantined and tested for COVID-19.

“The compulsory quarantine applies to arrivals from March 14,” the health ministry said in a statement. “Those whose tests are positive will get immediate treatment while the rest will be quarantined for 14 days.”

The ministry in a separate statement said people, including foreigners, were required to wear face masks in public places.

Schools remained shut nationwide. Cinemas, clubs and bars, massage parlours, karaoke shops and online game centres in urban cities are required to close until the end of March.

READ: Formula 1 – Vietnam Grand Prix postponed due to coronavirus

READ: Chinese capital Beijing to send all international arrivals to quarantine facilities

Vietnam reported 37 new coronavirus cases over the past week, taking the tally to 53. The number is rising with authorities saying a spate of new infections was traced to a flight from Britain.

The Southeast Asian country denied entry and stopped issuing tourist visas to citizens from Europe’s Schengen visa-free area and Britain starting from midday Mar 15.

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Source: Reuters/jt

Schengen Area, signifies a zone where 26 European countries, abolished their internal borders, for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening the common judicial system and police cooperation.

Schengen Area covers most of the EU countries, except Ireland and the countries that are soon to be part of: Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus. Although not members of the EU, countries like: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are also part of the Schengen zone.

Schengen Area Countries

The 26 Schengen countries are: AustriaBelgiumCzech RepublicDenmarkEstoniaFinlandFranceGermanyGreeceHungaryIcelandItaly, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, MaltaNetherlandsNorwayPolandPortugalSlovakiaSloveniaSpainSweden, and Switzerland.

Currently, Schengen Area consists of 26 member countries. All of these countries are located in Europe, from which:

  • 22 members fully implement the Schengen acquis,
  • Four of them – members of the EFTA, implement Schengen acquis through specific agreements related to the Schengen agreement.
  • Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are associate members of the Schengen Area but are not members of the EU.
  • Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have opened their borders with, but are not members of the visa free zone.
  • The Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are special members of the EU and part of the Schengen Zone even that they are located outside the European continent.
  • There are five more EU members, that have not joined Schengen zone: Ireland – that still maintains opt-outs and Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus – that are seeking to join soon.

The external borders of the Schengen Zone reach a distance of 50,000 km long, where 80% of it is comprised of water and 20% of land. The area counts hundreds of airports and maritime ports, many land crossing points, an area of 4,312,099 km2, and a population of 419,392,429 citizens.

Note: Although most of the Schengen countries are in the European Union, you should not confuse the Schengen Area with the EU.

Visa Information for Schengen countries

A holder of a Uniform Schengen visa can travel to all 26 member countries of the Schengen Area:

Austria Hungary Norway
Belgium Iceland Poland
Czech Republic Italy Portugal
Denmark Latvia Slovakia
Estonia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Finland Lithuania Spain
France Luxembourg Sweden
Germany Malta Switzerland
Greece Netherlands

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