In acknowledgment of Vietnam’s success in containing the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the World Health Organization (WHO) has lifted its advisory against traveling to Vietnam, effectively taking Vietnam out of the list of SARS-stricken countries. Other countries, which previously issued travel warnings, have also withdrawn theirs.

The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on April 29, 2003 downgraded its traveler's notification for Hanoi, Vietnam from a travel advisory to a travel alert. CDC removed, on May 15, 2003 its travel alert for Hanoi. (In response to the SARS epidemic, CDC has issued two types of notices to travelers: advisories and alerts. A travel advisory recommends that non-essential travel be deferred; a travel alert does not advise against travel but informs travelers of a health concern and provides advice about specific precautions.)

The last two patients in Vietnam were discharged from hospital on May 2, 2003. Not one single SARS case has been reported in Vietnam ever since. The Washington Post (May 4, 2003) and The New York Times (May 7, 2003) ran front page stories on Vietnam’s successful fight against SARS.

The first SARS patient in Vietnam was detected on February 26, 2003. It was an American businessman, who had contracted the disease overseas and fallen sick while in Vietnam. The last probable case was reported on April 8, 2003. Totally, there were 63 cases including 5 deaths.

As soon as the disease was detected, Vietnam took strong measures, the most important of which were: strict isolation of patients, individuals with direct contact with patients, individuals with SARS symptoms; intensive treatment of SARS patients; stringent control of border entry points for the prevention of SARS re-entry; and immediate release to the public of SARS updates as well as preventive measures. All these above activities were conducted in a timely and comprehensive manner with the participation of all walks life under the leadership of the Government Steering Committee on SARS headed by a Deputy Prime Minister. The Committee was set up immediately after the outbreak of the disease.

Vietnam acknowledges with gratitude the active and precious cooperation from the World Health Organization and other countries in the process.

Tourism industry is returning to normal with tour groups and individual tourists undertaking previously arranged tours. All overseas missions of the Government of Vietnam have resumed their normal activities of promoting exchanges, tourism, trade and investment, taking due consideration of necessary restrictions and controls on travelers arriving from SARS-stricken areas, thus taking a proactive part in the international fight against SARS.

Embassy of Vietnam
Press and Information Section
May 16, 2003