Published on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Vietnam halts outbound tours to coronavirus-hit destinations

The Vietnam Tourism Association has asked its tour operator members to halt outbound trips to coronavirus ravaged countries including South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran.

It is calling on operators to halt any new trips until the outbreak - which could still become a global pandemic - is under control.

All four countries have seen a recent surge in cases and deaths, as multiple airlines offer waivers to travellers or suspend services.

"Today, we had a group tour to South Korea, but the company cancelled and agreed to refund tourists 100% including visa fees," said Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy general director of Vietravel.

Vietravel suspended all trips to Italy but is still currently offering Japan tours.

The VTA says all operators have temporarily suspended South Korea tours.

The association advises all tours currently in-country to take extra precautions and avoid infection-hotspot areas, as well as stay away from crowded areas where possible.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are about 200,000 Vietnamese currently studying or working in South Korea.

The virus has killed 12 and infected more than 1,200 there.

Meanwhile, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said travellers from countries that have experienced a Covid-19 outbreak will not be granted entry into the country.

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