Covid-19 grounds Vietnam international flights

By Doan Loan   March 25, 2020 | 12:30 am PT
Covid-19 grounds Vietnam international flights
An immigration officer checks the passport of a foreign visitor at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
All Vietnamese carriers suspended international routes starting Wednesday to contain Covid-19, with many active patients arriving from abroad.

The last international flight from Germany’s Frankfurt operated by Vietnam Airlines, the only Vietnamese carrier to operate direct flights to European cities, landed at Van Don Airport in northern Quang Ninh Province on Wednesday, carrying 170 passengers.

The national flag carrier and Jetstar Pacific suspended all international flights from now until at least April 30.

Low cost airline Vietjet Air also stopped all routes to Southeast Asia, mainland China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan until further notice.

Bamboo Airways suspended its only international flight to South Korea and canceled its plan to open a direct flight from Hanoi to Prague in the Czech Republic, originally scheduled for March 29.

The move came following Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s order to suspend all international flights to Vietnam amidst restricted entry into the country by air, road and sea.

Many foreign airlines have delayed or canceled flights to Vietnam. On Tuesday, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi only welcomed 264 Vietnamese passengers on four flights from Taiwan, Singapore, Macau and Japan, much lower than the previous week of over 2,000 entering per day. All passengers have been quarantined for 14 days.

Earlier on Sunday, Vietnam suspended entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers.

Only Vietnamese nationals and foreigners carrying diplomatic and official passports such as business managers, experts and high-skilled workers will be allowed to enter the country at this time, with all entrants quarantined for 14 days.

The country recorded 117 new infections since March 6, the majority returnees from Europe and the U.S. or those passing through pandemic-stricken areas.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed over 18,800 people globally.

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