600 Europeans fly home from Vietnam

By Nguyen Quy   April 8, 2020 | 01:38 am PT
600 Europeans fly home from Vietnam
Flight attendants serve European passengers on a flight from Vietnam to Germany’s Frankfurt on April 8, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines.
Nearly 600 German and other European citizens stranded in Vietnam were repatriated home on Monday and Wednesday on two special flights funded by Germany.

The flights to Frankfurt were organized by Germany's Federal Foreign Office and its Embassy in Hanoi, and operated by Vietnam Airlines.

On Wednesday the aircraft also carried 550,000 antibacterial cloth masks donated by the Vietnamese government and people to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.

Europe has emerged as the new epicenter of the pandemic along with the U.S., with Italy leading the world in the number of deaths, at over 17,000, followed by Spain with more than 14,000.

The flights will not carry passengers on the way back.

Prior to boarding, passengers were given a health check and told to keep a minimum distance of two meters when queuing. Face masks were mandatory during the flight.

Bamboo Airways took 220 people from HCMC to Lithuania on March 31 and 300 to the Czech Republic on March 25.

Vietnamese carriers suspended all international flights on March 25.

Since March 22 Vietnam has prohibited entry for all foreign nationals. Only Vietnamese nationals and foreigners with diplomatic or official passports are allowed in, and all are quarantined for 14 days.

The country had 251 coronavirus infections as of Wednesday morning. Of them, 126 have recovered and there have been no deaths.

The pandemic has spread to 209 countries and territories and claimed more than 82,400 lives.

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