March 2, 2020 / 7:20 AM / a month ago

Vietnam to suspend visa-free travel for Italians over coronavirus concerns

Vietnamese students of Hanoi National University of Education, wearing protective masks, attend the first day of classes after returning to the university, which was closed for over a month due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Hanoi, Vietnam March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa-free travel for Italians from Tuesday due to concerns about the coronavirus, the government said.

“The government of Vietnam has decided to temporarily suspend visa exemption for citizens from Italy from March 3 amid fast rising COVID-19 infections in the European country,” the government said in a news release on Monday.

The move comes after the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Italy rose to 34.

Italy is one of 13 countries for which Vietnam has a unilateral visa exemption program that provides for a stay not exceeding 15 days, according to the statement.

Vietnam had said on Friday it would suspend visa-free travel for South Koreans starting on Saturday, Feb. 29, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Vietnam last week said all 16 people in the country infected with the coronavirus had been cured and released from hospitals, with no new cases in the country since Feb. 13.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Kim Coghill and Tom Hogue

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