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Article Vietnam: Foreign Nationals on Short-Term Visits Required to Use Contact Tracing App during Their Stay in Vietnam

(Oct. 30, 2020) On August 31, 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health issued a circular exempting short-term visitors to the country from quarantine if they use the Bluezone contact tracing application throughout their stay in the country and satisfy other requirements. (Circular No. 4674 / BYT-MT on Guidance on Covid-19 Prevention and Control Regarding Short-Term Work Visits (Less than 14 Days) of Foreigners.)

The issuance of the circular followed upon the temporary suspension of entry instituted on March 22, 2020, for all foreign nationals, except for those traveling to Vietnam for diplomatic or official purposes, and foreign experts, business managers, and high-skilled workers. These excepted visitors were required to undertake quarantine.

Provisions of the Circular

Short-term visitors who are subject to this circular are those on diplomatic and official missions, foreign experts, business managers, high-skilled workers, investors, and others as mutually agreed upon under bilateral agreements, as well as their family members. These short-term visitors must use Bluezone contact tracing application throughout their stay in Vietnam. Visitors who hold official positions of Deputy Minister or above are not required to use the Bluezone app.

In addition, short-term visitors must have international health insurance, or their sponsoring organization is required to cover all medical costs if they become infected with COVID-19. Visitors must arrive in Vietnam at least one day prior to their proposed work schedule to allow for sufficient medical surveillance arrangements. COVID-19 tests for visitors are covered by the sponsoring organization, except for visitors on diplomatic or official missions. Visitors may request to extend their stay if they test negative for COVID-19 at the end of the permitted 14-day stay. Those granted extended stays are required to self-monitor their health.

Persons who have had close contact with short-term visitors must provide relevant information to local health authorities to allow the authorities to initiate and coordinate appropriate disease prevention and control measures. Such individuals must self-monitor their health and limit contact with others for 14 days from their last contact with short-term visitors.

Bluezone Contact Tracing Application

Vietnam launched Bluezone on April 18, 2020, to link smartphones that come within 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) of each other and record the time and duration of contact. According to the Bluezone website, when there is a new case of Covid-19, health authorities will enter the patient’s information into the system, which will send the data to smartphones with Bluezone. The app compares users’ contact histories to the patient’s data over the previous 14 days and alerts users if they are at risk of infection, instructing them to contact health authorities. The Bluezone website also claims that the app does not collect data on users’ locations and that the collected information is anonymous to others, with only competent health authorities allowed to know the identities of infected people and those who came into close contact with them.

When Bluezone was first launched in April 2020, relatively few people downloaded the application, probably because Vietnam had already contained COVID-19 by that time. As of April 28, 2020, slightly more than 100,000 people out of a population of about 91 million had downloaded Bluezone. However, after the second wave of COVID-19 infections hit Vietnam, the government in early August called on people in the country to install the Bluezone application on their smartphones. Consequently, as of August 20, 2020, Bluezone had recorded 20 million downloads.

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Chicago citation style:

Umeda, Sayuri. Vietnam: Foreign Nationals on Short-Term Visits Required to Use Contact Tracing App during Their Stay in Vietnam. 2020. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2020-10-30/vietnam-foreign-nationals-on-short-term-visits-required-to-use-contact-tracing-app-during-their-stay-in-vietnam/.

APA citation style:

Umeda, S. (2020) Vietnam: Foreign Nationals on Short-Term Visits Required to Use Contact Tracing App during Their Stay in Vietnam. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2020-10-30/vietnam-foreign-nationals-on-short-term-visits-required-to-use-contact-tracing-app-during-their-stay-in-vietnam/.

MLA citation style:

Umeda, Sayuri. Vietnam: Foreign Nationals on Short-Term Visits Required to Use Contact Tracing App during Their Stay in Vietnam. 2020. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2020-10-30/vietnam-foreign-nationals-on-short-term-visits-required-to-use-contact-tracing-app-during-their-stay-in-vietnam/>.