Laid back expats in Vietnam enjoy extra time off due to the virus

Published:  23 Feb at 9 AM
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The coronavirus epidemic isn’t all bad news for expats living in Vietnam.

Whilst the newly-discovered virus continues to spread its tentacles across many world cities, expats living in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City are effectively enjoying an extra holiday from their offices and schools. Despite the epidemic’s doom and gloom scenario being played out in China and the harm done to Southeast Asian countries relying on Chinese tourism to keep the economy afloat, expats in the formerly-named Saigon are still feeling safe and increasingly more at ease.

With just 16 cases in total reported on Friday, 15 of whom are in the recovery stage, expats are now feeling more confident about emerging from their homes and shopping for groceries and other essentials. One expat real estate agent told local media he and his wife had shopped for the first time in several weeks, adding living more frugally due to the epidemic felt good. As all the city’s schools are closed, his wife had also decided to stay at home with their son, giving valuable family time together.

For many expat English teachers, getting extra free time is an enjoyable perk, with heavily reduced airline ticket prices encouraging some to travel to parts of the country they’d long wanted to explore. Others are offering online tuition to support themselves until things get back to normal, with university students more than happy to take advantage of the chance to study at home. The closure is due to finish at the end of the month, with expat business owners saying it can’t come too soon as their planned trips and meetings have been badly compromised, and language teachers paid by the hour are also losing out as regards covering their living expenses.
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