HANOI: Vietnam will suspend the issue of new visas for all foreign nationals to curb the spread of coronavirus in the Southeast Asian nation, state media said on Tuesday (Mar 17).

Weeks after declaring the recovery of all 16 of its virus sufferers, Vietnam has confirmed 61 infections, but no deaths, after authorities announced a surge in infections from overseas.

“The government sees the visa suspension policy as an effective measure to constrain the rapid spread of the virus, given many countries are now at high risk of infection,” the state-run Nhan Dan newspaper said.

“It’s temporary. The restriction will be in place for 15 to 30 days,” it added, without saying when the ban would take effect.

Hanoi has denied entry to visitors from Europe’s Schengen visa-free area and Britain from Sunday, and ordered mandatory quarantine and testing for all arrivals from virus-hit areas.

READ: Vietnam introduces compulsory testing for arrivals from coronavirus-hit areas

Schools stayed shut nationwide on Tuesday. Authorities have ordered the closure of cinemas, clubs and bars, massage parlours, karaoke lounges and online game centres in urban areas until the end of March.

The government has advised Vietnamese to call off large gatherings and ordered them to wear masks in public places.

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