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Compulsory COVID-19 related insurance a must for inbound, outbound travellers: experts

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Tourists row boats at Tiên Định agro-ecological tourist area at Phú Thuận A Commune in Đồng Tháp Province’s Hồng Ngự District. VNA/ Photo Chương Đài

HÀ NỘI – Travel firms and tourism experts have suggested making COVID-19 insurance compulsory for all inbound and outbound travellers as one of the key requirements to welcome foreigners back to Việt Nam.

In a letter sent to then Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc proposing the Government to open the market in a safe and sustainable manner, the Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) stated there should be a roadmap. Accordingly, it is necessary to have policies requiring COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports’ and testing tourists before flights and after arrival at tourist sites. Travel insurance, including medical insurance related to COVID-19, should be compulsory for all foreigners coming to Việt Nam and Vietnamese tourists travelling abroad.

Võ Anh Tài, vice chairman of TAB and deputy director general of Saigontourist Group, said COVID-19-related insurance would ensure benefits and safety for both travellers, travel firms and local authorities in case of tour delays or cancellations.

The TAB suggested the Government and the Ministry of Finance to allow insurance companies in Việt Nam to sell COVID-19 travel insurance products.

“Medical insurance programmes related to COVID-19 have been offered in some countries. It helps cover expenses on hospitalisation, examinations, treatment and medical care, and medical evacuation and repatriation,” Tài told Người lao động (The Labourer) newspaper.

He also said travel insurance can offset the cost if the trip is affected by the pandemic.

Hoàng Nhân Chính, Secretary General of TAB, said that the Law on Tourism required travel companies to buy insurance for tourists during the tours unless they already had insurance for the entire travel period. This insurance is paid to visitors when there are emergencies including illness and accident. However, he said, the tourism industry still did not have COVID-19 insurance, especially in the context of Việt Nam considering opening the market to foreign visitors.

“COVID-19 related insurance will prove effective for visitors when they travel to a tourist destination that requires testing as they can pay first, then request the insurance agency to reimburse the cost,” he said.

In case the visitor was quarantined when travelling to a certain area due to an outbreak, the expense during the quarantine period was also covered by insurance, Chính added.

Tourism is a key economic sector in Việt Nam, contributing more than 10 per cent of the country’s GDP and generated over US$30 billion in annual revenue.

Results of a recent survey of Vietnamese tourists conducted by TAB about the willingness of tourists to purchase additional travel insurance packages during the high-risk disease period showed that 52 per cent of respondents answered ‘Yes’. This reflected that they have a demand to purchase a COVID-19 insurance package.

Many businesses also believe that COVID-19-related insurance products are necessary as the tourism industry is implementing a roadmap to reopen to international visitors.

In fact, a few travel companies have been working with the insurance company to extend their terms of support to visitors in case of an unfortunate infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus while on tour and within 14 days after the tour ends.

The Vietnam Travel and Marketing Transport Joint-stock Company (Vietravel) is an example. There is a provision on COVID-19 in the travel insurance policy for  the company’s customers to enhance the interests of customers, said Huỳnh Phan Phượng Hoàng, Deputy General Director of Vietravel. 

She said that the most important thing right now was the policy that allowed travel companies to coordinate with insurance companies to deploy COVID-19 insurance products as in other countries.

“A ‘vaccine passport’, a certificate showing a person is negative for COVID-19 at the time of departure and COVID-19-related insurance are prerequisites for welcoming back foreign visitors and rapidly reviving the tourism industry,” Hoàng said.

At the Government’s regular press conference held in late March, former Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng said that some key tasks are to speed up research, development and testing of vaccines, as well as developing a plan to import vaccines for large-scale vaccination.

Early research and rolling out of a ‘vaccine passport’ mechanism to promote trade and investment should be a priority.

At the latest meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the Ministry of Health submitted initial proposals on the implementation of the ‘vaccine passport’, including the applicable target group, plan for monitoring, isolating, and medical monitoring.

According to experts, with mass vaccination programmes taking place in many countries, a number of countries have developed plans to open their markets to facilitate the travel of entrepreneurs, experts and tourists.

The Vietnamese Government and competent agencies should consider opening the market in a safe and sustainable manner in order not to lag behind. 

Besides the COVID-19 vaccination programmes, many tourist businesses also proposed a more open visa policy to gain a competitive advantage in the region. For example, the proposed 30-day visa exemption policy should continue to be applied to existing countries that are exempt. Australia, New Zealand and remaining countries in Europe should also be included.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/925991/compulsory-covid-19-related-insurance-a-must-for-inbound-outbound-travellers-experts.html

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31 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, including 30 local cases

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Việt Nam reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, including 30 local cases: Bắc Ninh (16), Bắc Giang(10), Lạng Sơn (3), HCM City (1). All are in locked down areas.

 

 

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/951956/31-new-cases-of-covid-19-on-wednesday-morning-including-30-local-cases.html

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HCMC reports another coronavirus case

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HCMC reports another coronavirus case

The building where two Covid-19 suspects work on Pasteur Street, HCMC’s District 3 is isolated on May 18, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.


A woman working with a man who tested positive for the new coronavirus on Tuesday morning has also got infected, HCMC Health Department announced.

Her first test result arrived as positive Tuesday night after the city tracked down 59 people who have had contact with the 35-year-old man who lives in Thu Duc City, works at an auditing company District 3, and has tested positive at least twice.

According to the city’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the woman, 34, lives in Tan Kieng Ward of District 7 and also works at the auditing company.

She had visited northern Hai Phong City, a coronavirus hotspot, from April 24 to May 5.

She flew back to HCMC on May 5 on Vietnam Airlines flight VN1179 and ran a fever three days later. She bought medicine to treat herself and did not have her health checked at any healthcare facilities.

She took sick leave for three days after that and returned to work on May 11.

The city is tracing down passengers on the flight and people that have come into close contact with her.

The Thu Duc man has not been recorded by the Health Ministry as a Covid-19 patient.

He had visited Vinmec Hospital on Monday for symptoms including fever, coughing and sore throat and then his samples were taken for testing.

His mother, wife and two children who live with him have tested negative at least once.

For the ongoing Covid-19 wave that broke out in Vietnam three weeks ago, the health ministry has confirmed just one patient in HCMC. No new local transmission has been linked to the city for 75 days.

Nationwide, the new wave has seen 1,473 cases recorded in 28 cities and provinces.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/hcmc-reports-another-coronavirus-case-4280114.html

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New Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Bac Giang

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A medical worker handles test tubes containing samples for Covid-19 testing. Vietnam reported 48 new domestic Covid-19 cases on Tuesday evening – PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH

HCMC – Thirty-three out of 48 new domestic Covid-19 cases confirmed this evening, May 18, were detected in Bac Giang, keeping the northern province the biggest Covid-19 hotspot in the fourth Covid-19 wave.

The new cases in the province are people that had close contact with Covid-19 patients and had been quarantined before testing positive.

The province accounted for more than half of today’s Covid-19 tally, with 96 cases out of the country’s total of 152.

Among the remaining cases, 13 were reported in Bac Ninh Province, while Dien Bien and Thai Binh provinces had one case each. They were detected at quarantine centers or areas that are currently under lockdown.

Up to now, Vietnam has reported 4,512 Covid-19 cases, including 1,473 domestic infections in 28 cities and provinces in the latest outbreak starting late last month.

Bac Giang and Bac Ninh have been hit the hardest by the fourth Covid-19 wave, with 507 and 306 cases to date, respectively.

The Ministry of Health has asked some frontline hospitals and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to help Bac Giang Province with Covid-19 testing. The province is now capable of performing some 1,500 Covid-19 tests a day.

Many localities such as Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Yen Bai and Hai Duong have sent medical workers and equipment to Bac Giang to help the province fight off Covid-19.

For Bac Ninh Province, the Health Ministry has asked Bach Mai Hospital to send experts and mechanical ventilators to Bac Ninh Province General Hospital to assist the hospital in treating Covid-19 patients and restrict sending patients to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/82011/new-covid-19-cases-continue-to-surge-in-bac-giang.html

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