Carriers violating quarantine rules not allowed to fly abroad: transport ministry

By Doan Loan   December 1, 2020 | 08:45 pm PT
Carriers violating quarantine rules not allowed to fly abroad: transport ministry
A Vietnam Airlines plane is sanitized with disinfectants. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
Airlines whose crews flout Covid-19 quarantine rules and transmit the infection cannot operate international flights any longer, the Ministry of Transport said on Tuesday.

The decision came after a man in HCMC was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Monday, breaking the country's 89-day streak without local transmission. The 32-year-old English teacher had contracted it from a friend, a flight attendant on Vietnam Airlines.

The teacher then infected at least two others, his one-year-old nephew and a student, 28.

The ministry said on Tuesday it has instructed the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and carriers to ramp up coronavirus prevention measures and closely monitor their crews when they leave and return to the country.

Pilots, attendants and other crew members on repatriation flights and those carrying experts and investors bound for Vietnam must wear N95 masks or their equivalent and protective suits, including hats, glasses and gloves. They must also use hand sanitizers.

Pilots and attendants need to use dedicated restrooms and their own vehicles on getting off the plane. No contact is allowed with passengers during flights.

On arriving in Vietnam, they are quarantined and tested for the novel coronavirus twice 72 hours apart. If both tests return negative, they are allowed to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Airlines have been instructed to sanitize areas prone to infection like food trays and restroom doors. Planes are sanitized upon entry as well.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered a temporary halt to all inbound international commercial flights following the latest cases at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

While he said repatriation flights would be allowed to bring Vietnamese citizens who are old, sick or facing financial issues home, the CAAV said on Wednesday plans for 33 commercial repatriation flights a week between December 1 and January 15 have been temporarily shelved.

Vietnam has had 1,351 Covid-19 cases so far, 118 still active.

Thirty five people have succumbed to the disease, many of them elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes and kidney failure.

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