Coronavirus in Vietnam: What Life is Like in the Country Now

[updated: March 14, 2020]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past month, chances are you know what the Coronavirus is. This new strain of virus, COVID-19, has been sweeping across the globe impacting the lives of an immense amount of people.

Hundreds of thousands of people travel to Vietnam every month, so it’s normal to be concerned about it and about your Vietnam holiday. I have been getting many of you sliding into my DM’s asking, soooo what’s it like in Hanoi? Is there mass hysteria, is everything ok?

Let’s dive in.

As of today, March 14th, there are around 50 cases of Coronavirus in the country. For sharing a land border with China, I have to say — Vietnam has done a great job keeping this pandemic from reaching much of its population.

Due to their swift measures and history with SARS, the Vietnamese government did all the right things. So because of that, there isn’t too much doom and gloom raining down on the streets of the capital, only the heavy winter Hanoi fog. Life is pretty much going on exactly as normal except with an extra dose of Facebook group drama and travel confusion.


Here are a few things which are happening in Vietnam:

  • Schools are closed, and most people are working from home.
  • Many heritage sites and tourist spots across the country are closed.
    • Quoted from the Vietnam Tourism Site: “Until March 26, Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Cat Ba Island, and tourism sites in Ninh Binh including the Trang An Eco-tourism Complex will not be receiving any new visitors. The Hoi An Ancient Town has suspended sales of tickets to the UNESCO Heritage Site, as well as its pedestrian-only hours in the Old Town until the end of March 2020. Other destinations such as Ly Son Island, Cham Islands, and Con Dao are also not receiving tourists at this time. Several areas in Sapa and Hanoi have been zoned off and blockaded, and a number of cruise ships in Ha Long and Hai Phong were recalled and disinfected — both after it was confirmed that they were visited by travellers with COVID-19.”
  • Before entering buildings you are asked for your name and phone number and must wash your hands. Sometimes your temperature is taken. 
  • There is an air of worry which is permeating into everyday life. Regardless of their effects, masks are being adopted as a uniform. Not wearing one will normally result in being told to wear one, or visibly making others uncomfortable. 
  • Grocery stores are NOT experiencing the same mass buying as what it seems is happening in the West. People are heading to the shops, but as of now there isn’t hysteria.
  • The government have suspended all visas to foreign nationals + has a list of countries which if you have travelled to or transited through will be denied entry.


If you have travelled through any of these countries in the last 14 days, you will not be able to enter Vietnam at this time.


Because of these recent travel bans, it is very important to cancel your trips to the country — if they are in the next 30 days. There is a lot of media coverage about tourists flying here, getting quarantined and being very (understandably) upset about it. BUT at the same time, this is bringing a whole lotta unappreciated negative news/world image to the good folks in Vietnam. SO they also aren’t too happy about it, thus causing online rifts.

Please, if you have a trip — and you are remotely uncertain about your entry to the country, it’s best to postpone your trip and see the wonders of Vietnam at a later date.


Here are a few things to remember:

  • It’s okay to feel anxious, I know I am, and many people are. Use this time to reflect. 
  • Even if you are healthy, and not concerned about the spread of this virus — for the sake of immuno-compromised individuals and the elderly, wash your *damn* hands. 
  • Many businesses are suffering during this time, shop at your local supermarkets — especially Asian owned shops and businesses. 
  • Spread kindness, offer someone a bit of your hand sanitizer or buy someone a coffee. 
  • There have been pandemics before but it seems social media has perpetuated a new wave of alarm. Consider getting off FB, Instagram and news sources in the evenings. Set a time to put your phone down.
  • This is an excellent time to spend some extra time on creating that *`passion project*` or proving to your employer you are an excellent remote worker! 


Important note: though I work for the Tourism Board I am not an official source, please make sure to check out this official article here for more information and updated policy reports.