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Vietnam’s top tourist destinations reopen following social distancing ease

After halting operation due to the coronavirus pandemic, certain tourist hotspots in Vietnam have received the green light to again welcome visitors.
Phu Quoc in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, dubbed Vietnam’s ‘Pearl Island’, officially resumed tourist activities on Sunday, with restaurants, hotels and accommodation facilities only receiving domestic visitors and foreigners residing in Vietnam.

However, all bars, karaoke parlors, massage parlors and entertainment facilities are to remain closed under a directive issued last Friday by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Khanh Hoa, home to the famous resort town of Nha Trang, received visitors starting Monday after more than one month of closing all tourist sites and beaches to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Binh Thuan Province, home to Mui Ne, and with nine infections discharged from hospital, has resumed tourist services since Friday alongside measures to stop crowds from gathering.

Mui Ne, often referred to as “a seaside paradise”, over the last few years has added to its vacation value by offering many exciting water sports like windsurfing, surfing, jet-skiing, and kayaking.

Binh Dinh, home to popular Quy Nhon, and Da Nang, famous for long, sandy beaches, have allowed swimming, but no crowds.

Authorities in Quang Binh, home to the world’s largest cave Son Doong, also announced to reopen the central province to tourists from Monday. Phong Nha and Tien Son caves, Mooc Stream and the Dark Cave – Chay river complex in Quang Binh started receiving tourists the same day.

Le Tri Thanh, Chairman of Quang Nam Province, home to the UNESCO heritage site Hoi An, on Friday approved resorts, hotels, motels and homestays to welcome visitors from localities categorized by the government as “low-risk”. The province is allowed to organize outdoor tours though the figure cannot exceed 10 people per trip.

Only Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s two largest metropolises, Bac Ninh and Ha Giang in northern Vietnam are still classified “at risk” localities.

Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh, Da Nang, Quang Binh and Quang Nam are all in the central region.

Da Lat, a popular resort town in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, with its year-round cool climate, and where no coronavirus infections have been reported, has again welcomed tourists.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have yet to announce when tourism activities would be resumed while Quang Ninh, home to the UNESCO heritage site Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam, has kept all tourist sites closed since recording seven infections, only two of which discharged.

All popular tourist destinations in the country had been closed since mid-March and bars and most other entertainment facilities shut on the Prime Minister’s social distancing orders.

The government last Thursday allowed localities to relax social distancing restrictions to restore economic and social stability. The number of active Covid-19 patients in Vietnam has been 48 out of 270 infections, and no deaths recorded. No new cases of community transmission have been detected over the past 12 days.

Vietnam has seen Q1 foreign arrivals plummet following several entry restrictions and the closure of tourism destinations in response to the pandemic.

The country welcomed nearly 3.7 million foreign tourists in the first quarter, down 18.1 percent year-on-year, General Statistics Office (GSO) data shows.

The Covid-19 pandemic has spread to 210 countries and territories, with more than 207,000 deaths reported so far.