Deputy PM tells Vietnamese expats to keep out amid resurgent Covid threat

By Viet Tuan   April 27, 2021 | 09:30 pm PT
Deputy PM tells Vietnamese expats to keep out amid resurgent Covid threat
Vietnamese board a repatriation flight by Vietnam Airlines from San Francisco, June 8, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines.
Vietnamese living abroad should refrain from returning home amid the looming threat of a new Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said.

Those with an unavoidable need to return to Vietnam must do so through legal means, he said while speaking at a meeting with the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control Tuesday.

The committee said it would urge the government to make Covid testing and quarantining free for those entering through the land border since most of them are poor.

People should not have to resort to illegal ways to enter the country fearing the high testing and quarantining costs, it explained.

The risk of a new coronavirus outbreak is high in Vietnam as it allows in foreign experts and citizens returning home, Dam said, citing the instance of a hotel employee in Yen Bai Province who contracted Covid from a group of Indian experts quarantining there.

The committee has recommended that the Ministry of Health speed up testing and reduce the fee by utilizing technologies imported from abroad or developed indigenously.

Vietnamese officials are warning about an imminent Covid wave since the country’s neighbors like Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are recording a surge in infections.

Cambodia has been in the grip of a new wave since late February. Its caseload has crossed 11,000, after recording only around 400 cases in the whole of last year.

The Laos government last Friday closed the country’s borders and announced a two-week lockdown of the capital Vientiane. On Monday there were 113 new cases, the highest single day tally. There were another 75 on Tuesday, which took the total number so far to 511.

In Vietnam, authorities have stepped up border patrolling to ensure illegal entrants do not bring the virus in. Field hospitals have been set up at and extra Covid-19 vaccine doses provided to some border localities as a precautionary measure.

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