Vietnam suspends visa-free access for RoK visitors from Feb 29 hinh anh 1Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam speaks at the meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi on February 28 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam will suspend visa-free entry for all visitors from the Republic of Korea, effective from 0:00 am on February 29, amid fears over the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreading.

All people flying from or transiting through the RoK are subject to a 14-day quarantine, heard a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, in Hanoi on February 28.

“It is just a temporary measure which is suitable at this time when the epidemic is developing complicatedly,” said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung.

People travelling from coronavirus-hit areas, such as Iran and Italy, must also be put under quarantine for 14 days in order to contain the spread of the virus in Vietnam, he said.

Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan said the number of air travellers between Vietnam and the RoK fell significantly over the past several days so domestic airlines are considering halting flights on this route.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam requested government bodies and localities to continue tightening border control and people’s entry and rigorously enforcing precautions and quarantine measures.

Vietnam has reported no new infection of SARS-CoV-2 since February 13. However, as the virus spreads more widely around the globe, Dam urged relevant authorities to remain calm and prepared in case new infections are reported.

“We are more proactive but must not make light of the situation,” he said.

By 9:00am on February 28, a total of 83,047 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded in 51 countries and territories worldwide. China alone had 78,824 cases. The death toll climbed to 2,814, including 2,758 in China, 13 in the RoK, 26 in Iran, 14 in Italy, 8 in Japan, two in Hong Kong (China) and one each in the Philippines, France and Taiwan (China)./.