Vietnam to halt visa access for Italian citizens beginning from March 3
Update: Mar 03, 2020
Vietnam has made the decision to suspend unilateral visa exemptions for Italian citizens, with the decision set to take effect as of 0:00am on March 3, due to the complicated developments surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in Italy.  

The move was confirmed by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang with the purpose of the temporary measure to prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19 epidemic within the community.

Figures released by the Italian Ministry of Health on the evening of March 1 indicate that the daily rate of transmission of the COVID-19 in the European nation has so far been on par with the other two large outbreaks in China and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Indeed, March 1 alone saw Italy recorded approximately 550 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 1,688 cases, with 34 fatalities.

With the current situation showing no signs of abating, Italian authorities have been forced into taking drastic new measures, such as citizens being asked to stand at least one metre apart in epidemic areas.

In a bid to ease the emotions of residents in the 11 blockaded localities in Lombardy and Veneto, local authorities are expected to reopen a number of public venues such as museums and cinemas but restrict the number of visitors with a strict adherence to distance, while schools in these regions are to continue to close until at least March 8.