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Vietnam Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 24, 2003

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert U.S. citizens that the Department of State has authorized the departure, on a voluntary basis, of family members at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Due to health concerns in Vietnam regarding the presence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the lack of adequate medical care and facilities, as well as non-availability of commercial means of medical evacuation for SARS patients, the Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer non-emergency travel to Vietnam at this time. U.S. citizens in Vietnam should consider departing. This Travel Warning supersedes the Public Announcement of March 21, 2003.

On March 22, 2003, the Department of State authorized the departure of family members, on a voluntary basis, at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. These facilities remain open to provide the full range of services to American citizens and the general public.

Because of reduced availability of adequate medical facilities, the Department of State has suspended official travel to Vietnam until further notice. The level of medical services in Hanoi is now dramatically diminished by the closure of the only adequate hospital facility and reduced operations by the two main outpatient facilities due to the SARS emergency. At present, no commercial carriers are willing to transport patients with SARS. Even non-lethal medical conditions are difficult to address because clinics are making initial assessments by phone or screening patients outside the clinic facilities. On March 21, 2003, the Department of State imposed restrictions on official travel to Vietnam. The Department recommends that American citizens defer all non-emergency travel to Vietnam, especially if traveling with young children, until medical services have returned to normal.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi is located at 6 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh District, telephone number (84-4) 831-4590; after hours emergency telephone number (84-4) 772-1500; fax (84-4) 831-4578. Additional information may be found on the Embassy website at http://usembassy.state.gov.vietnam/.

The U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City is located at 4 Le Duan, District 1, telephone (84-8) 822-9433; fax (84-8) 822-9434; website http://www.uscongenhcmc.org.

For the most up-to-date information regarding SARS, American citizens are advised to monitor the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov and the website of the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int.ith.

For further information on travel to Vietnam, U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Vietnam, and the Fact Sheet on SARS which are located at http://www.travel.state.gov.

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