COVID-19 Update | Social Distancing in Vietnam | Directive 16

Vietnam to implement 15 days of social distancing throughout the country, starting from April 1, 2020

Dear Clients and Friends,

Following up on our last Covid-19 Update  regarding  Directive No. 15/CT-TTg on the Resolute Implementation of the Peak Prevention Phase of the Covid-19 Pandemic (“Directive 15”), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has officially announced a nationwide pandemic on April 1, 2020.  Previously, on March 31, 2020, Prime Minister Phuc issued Directive No. 16/CT-TTg on the Implementation of Immediate Measures for the Prevention of Covid-19 Pandemic (“Directive 16”).

Directive 16 essentially requires the implementation on a nationwide basis of social distancing for 15 days starting from April 1, 2020 and imposes a higher level of social distancing.

Generally, governmental agencies are required to implement working from home and online working regimes.  Operation of enterprises providing non-essential services and goods is suspended though the scope of such non-essential services and goods remains unclear under Directive 16.

A number of local authorities and agencies have issued their guidelines on the implementation of Directive 16 to avoid disruption.

 Social distancing under Directive 16 means (*):

  • Voluntary implementation of social distancing on a family unit or social unit basis;
  • Factories are required to ensure the safety distance, face mask wearing and disinfection rules;
  • People are requested to stay home and should not go outside except for essential circumstances, i.e., (1) to purchase food and medicine, (2) to attend to medical emergency needs, (3) to work at factories and facilities that provide essential services and goods(**), and (4) in other emergency circumstances;
  • Compulsory minimum 2-meter distance among people is required; and
  • Gathering in a group of more than 2 people outside offices, schools, hospitals and public places is prohibited (Directive 15 previously prohibited any gatherings of 10 people or more).

(*) Mr. Mai Tien Dzung – Minister, Chairman of the Office of the Government has explained that (A) Vietnam’s social distancing is not to be considered as lockdown which is currently implemented in a number of affected countries; (B) for a non-governmental company, the management of such company could decide whether to continue in-office working, working from home is however recommended.

(**) In Hanoi, the People’s Committee of Hanoi has clarified that all service business premises must be closed except for: general supermarkets (except for entertainment, on-the-spot food services); shopping malls (including general supermarkets and hospitals operating in such shopping malls); street markets (including stalls for food, fruits and vegetables and dried food); convenience stores, mini supermarkets (except for on-the-spot food services); grocery stores selling flowers and fruits; tourist accommodation premises; chain stores selling agricultural products and pharmacy stores; health care services; postal services; banking and electronic payment services; television and telecommunications services; security services; petrol, gas, oil stations; funeral services, cemeteries, cremation, detoxification facilities, social protection facilities.  In addition, factories, production facilities and construction sites must arrange officials and employees, workers to stay at home, at residence, at the factory or at the construction site (if any), except for the following cases: production and trading of essential goods such as production, preliminary processing, processing food, fruits, pharmaceuticals, medicines, medical equipment and supplies for epidemic prevention and national security purposes; services of electricity and water supply and environmental sanitation; and cattle and poultry farms, aquaculture, clean water factories, garment factories for manufacturing medical masks, factories producing bottled water, juice and factories, enterprises that are producing under contracts under which products should be delivered before April 15, 2020.

Other measures introduced by Directive 16 include:

  • State agencies are requested to make use of information technologies to implement working from home regime and encourage virtual meetings (***).  Following the issuance of Directive 16, State agencies such as the State Bank of Vietnam, the Ministry of Finance, the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam and the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam have issued their guidance to implement working from home and online working regimes;
  • Public passenger transportation activities are mainly suspended;
  • Travel from virus-hit areas to other cities and provinces is banned, except for essential reasons, such as delivery of food or transporting of workers and materials for production;
  • Entry through main border gates and secondary border gates for travelers along the border between Vietnam and Laos, and Vietnam and Cambodia from April 1, 2020 is temporarily suspended.  Entries of travelers through international border gates along the land boundary are strictly controlled.  Travelers from Laos and Cambodia will be subject to 14-day quarantine; and
  • Insurance companies are requested not to introduce and offer insurance policies relating to Covid-19 disease because medical treatment is being provided free of charge by the Government.

(***) In Ho Chi Minh City, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has clarified that no more than one third of staff members of State agencies should work in-office.  This requirement does not apply to armed forces and medical staff who all should work in office.

We want you to know that the safety and wellbeing of our clients and our teams are very important to us.  If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to your contact partner or you can email us at

Stay safe.

YKVN Covid19 Taskforce

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