2020 saw Vietnam successfully handling the Covid pandemic and the country subsequently receiving worldwide recognition for doing so well. However, in April 2021, the Delta variant broke through and spread rapidly across the country. In a short time, it literally brought local businesses and residents, still trying to survive, further to their knees.
This latest wave has been the longest and toughest time in the battle against the virus. The Government has put in place and tried many iterations of directives, guidance, and support mechanisms countrywide to help with the common goal of achieving Covid-zero. However, despite best efforts by everyone, the economy and people have reached their limit and can no longer sustain more location-wide lockdowns and strict directives. As with many countries, the Vietnamese Government has decided that the best way forward is to adjust to the ‘New Normal’, where the only way forward is to slowly open and learn to live with the Covid virus. What the ‘New Normal’ for travel and living means is gradually being agreed upon and, at present, changes day to day. Vaccinations are going well and herd immunity through population vaccination is expected to be reached by April 2022.
What we do know is that when international borders reopen, Vietnam will follow the standard which now applies to travel around the world. At a minimum, travelers will need to be fully vaccinated and if we are to go by Vietnam’s neighbors, a negative PCR test before and after arrival will also be necessary. Even though there is no set date for when the borders will fully reopen, certain areas are expected to begin their trials this November. Phu Quoc and Da Nang are the first locations to trial with a model very similar to Thailand’s Sandbox project, followed by Nha Trang in December this year. Hoi An is set to open with its trial in January/February 2022.
Our friends and partners in Saigon, Khoa and Michelle who own In Country Tours, have regularly kept us up to date since the international borders closed early last year. Since May 2021, they have been in various stages of extremely strict social distancing and lockdowns, and they were so excited to share with us recently that starting this month the strictest directive has been lifted and they are gradually beginning to resume a more normal living and working life. In addition to feeling renewed joy and hope, they also shared the wonderful news that they have recently been inspected and approved to operate touring within the ‘New Normal’. Our guides, drivers and local providers are beginning to engage in rebuilding the travel industry after nearly two years of limited/no work and are really looking forward to caring for us travelers again.
Vietnam has had a tough road...from being an example to other countries to being on one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. We are excited that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are talking to travelers now about Vietnam 2022! Schedule a call today with a Southeast Asia Travel Coach/Specialist to start planning your trip!