An aerial view of coastal city Da Nang in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Kim Lien.
The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam in the first quarter fell 98.7 percent year-on-year to 48,000 with travel restrictions in place to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19.
Most arrivals were foreign experts, investors and high-skilled workers allowed to enter the country for work purposes or drivers transporting goods through border gates, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
On February 1 last year Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced there was an epidemic outbreak in the country. The government has closed its borders and canceled all international flights since March 25 last year except for the mentioned-above and repatriation cases under stringent conditions.
With the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam under control, the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control last week asked the Health Ministry to map out a detailed plan on procedures, location, isolation period and Covid-19 testing as the country prepares to adopt an official policy for Covid-19 vaccine passport holders.
During the first stage, those considered eligible for "vaccine passports" include foreign experts, investors and overseas Vietnamese who have been twice inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine at qualified medical facilities.
The ministry is also to prepare a long-term plan to apply vaccine passports to foreigners who want to enter Vietnam for the purpose of exchange and travel.
Due to border closures and travel restrictions, Vietnam recorded a 79 percent decline year-on-year in the number of foreign visitors in 2020, according to official data.