Can Tho, Van Don airports receive 1,000 South Korea arrivals as coronavirus fears rise

By Minh Cuong, Le Nga    March 1, 2020 | 09:18 pm PT
Can Tho, Van Don airports receive 1,000 South Korea arrivals as coronavirus fears rise
People coming from South Korea undergo health checks at Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam, March 1, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong.
After Vietnam’s two biggest airports banned the entry of people arriving from South Korea on Covid-19 fears, nearly 1,000 have entered through smaller airports.

On Sunday three flights from South Korea carrying 600 passengers landed at Can Tho Airport and two others at Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh Province, home to world-famous Ha Long Bay, with 369 people on board.

Earlier the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) announced that Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s two main airports, banned flights from South Korea with effect from 1 p.m. Sunday.

People coming to Hanoi have to land at Van Don Airport, four hours away by road, while those coming to HCMC will have to travel a similar distance from Can Tho.

Of the 600 arriving in Can Tho, 85 were from Daegu and North Gyeongsang, South Korea’s main Covid-19-hit areas.

After their temperature was checked and health declarations were obtained, all were placed under 14-day quarantine at the military school in O Mon District.

Of the 369 people landing in Quang Ninh, 21 were foreigners.

The Vietnamese passengers were taken by military vehicles to Military Region 3 bases for isolation while the foreigners were quarantined in Cam Pha and Ha Long towns.

South Korea is the worst-hit country after China with over 4,212 cases so far, mostly in Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang. As of Monday morning 22 people have died of the disease.

Around 200,000 Vietnamese citizens study or work in South Korea, 8,285 living in Daegu and 18,502 in North Gyeongsang.

In the last few days Vietnam’s two main airports Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat have been receiving a large number of passengers from South Korea, overloading quarantine facilities.

HCMC received over 6,800 between February 23 and 29 while Hanoi received around 2,000 on February 27 and 28 alone.

Airlines are required to inform all passengers traveling from South Korea to Vietnam to be truthful when filling in their health declarations and take the 14-day quarantine period into consideration when booking flights.

The Vietnamese government has deployed various measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including canceling many flights to and from South Korea and suspending visa-free entry for South Koreans starting from Saturday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered Tuesday last week to suspend entry for everyone coming from epicenters in coronavirus-hit countries and territories, including South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy. Those who have to enter Vietnam for state affairs or exclusive matters must follow the nation’s health declaration procedure and stay in quarantine for 14 days.

Vietnam has recorded a total of 16 Covid-19 patients, all of whom have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. The country has reported no new infection case since February 13.

The global death toll from the Covid-19 epidemic amounted to 3,059 on Monday.

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