As of today, when writing this article (5 March 2020), the COVID-19 outbreak has sickened over 80,000 in Mainland China and spread to over 79 countries. Let’s see how the situation in Vietnam is with some Q&A:
How is the situation in Vietnam?
Until now, 16 cases have been reported and cured, among them 11 cases are in the northern rural commune of Soi Loi which is a town of 10.000 inhabitants in Vinh Phuc province. So far no deaths have been reported in the country.
Can I still arrange my next business trip to Vietnam?
Yes, foreigners are allowed to travel and visit Vietnam during this period. Both The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), The U.S. Department of State and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs did not put any travel restrictions. However, as the situation is constantly evolving, they advise any of their nationals in Vietnam to regularly keep themselves informed of the latest developments during their travel.
However, one exception remains. Since the 1st of February 2020, anyone who has visited China in the previous 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam. Vietnam is also currently not issuing any visa for Chinese nationals.
Can I fly from Vietnam to China? And from China to Vietnam?
Vietnam has banned all flights in and out of China since February 1st. Besides, as just mentioned, anyone who has visited China in the last 14 days will be denied entry to Vietnam.
Are the coming fairs still happening?
As in most other countries worldwide, some shows have now been postponed in Vietnam also.
The following show are maintained (until now, 5th of March):
- Propak Packaging - 24th to 26th March 2020.
The following shows are postponed:
- Vietnam Furniture Fair (VIFA Fair) – originally scheduled for March and now postponed to a later date (not confirmed yet).
- Automechanika - the show was canceled early February and was supposed to take place from the 5th to the 7th of March 2020.
- Vietnam Expo – the show was supposed to take place in April. This expo is a domestic oriented fair, for foreign exhibitors trying to enter the Vietnamese market. Most of the exhibitors are from mainland China which this may explain the early cancelation.
Is the country operating normally?
Generally speaking yes: factories have reopened in time after the end of the Tet festival (the Vietnamese new year holiday), companies have also reopened in time, transports are running smoothly (domestic flight, buses, taxi, etc.) and restaurants are operating normally. For someone like me (living in Ho-Chi-Minh city) life is back to normal although you may find public places a little emptier than usual.
However, schools and universities are closed until at least the beginning of March. We also heard about few Chinese owned factories being closed for a short time after the holidays (they have also reopened since then).
What’s the possible medium-term impact for Vietnam?
The Vietnamese tourism industry will be hit particularly hard. China is the world’s largest market for outbound travel, and in Vietnam hotels and tourism operators have already lost significant amounts of revenue since travel restrictions were imposed.
For the manufacturing industry, the impact is less problematic as in China, as factories re-opened on time. The main problem is the supply of spare parts, raw material and accessories from China, as most factories in Vietnam rely heavily on China for those (about 30 to 40 per cent of input materials used in Vietnam are made in China.). On this aspect the supply chain was disrupted. Vietnam's textile industry has for example been urged to source raw materials from Malaysia and India as their traditional Chinese suppliers could not supply them.
Another issue is caused by the impossibility for Chinese nationals staying in China to travel back to Vietnam. Some factories in Vietnam are actually Chinese owned and managed by a local team of Chinese foreign experts. This causes risk for the ongoing production undergoing without a proper management.
Things are now just slowly getting back to order as Vietnam just eased restrictions on cross-border trade with China (since Feb 20th) and factories are gradually re-opening in China.
V-Trust Inspection Service is an independent third-party inspection company founded in 2003 with a sound inspection network covering China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. Our 310+ full-time inspectors are well trained, reliable and experienced in inspection for a wide product range. In 2019, more than 3,200 importers and buyers all over the world benefited from V-Trust inspection services, and we conducted over 6,200 inspections per month.
As in any other countries where V-Trust operate, all our V-Trust Vietnam inspectors are our full time inspectors only, hired by us, trained by us and working for us only. V-Trust also has a local office based in Ho-Chi-Minh city, happy to welcome you for a meeting!