Hanoi fears resumption of air, rail services too risky yet

By Doan Loan   September 28, 2021 | 09:51 pm PT
Hanoi fears resumption of air, rail services too risky yet
Aircraft at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, September 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Hanoi authorities want the Ministry of Transport to continue suspension of commercial flights and trains coming to the city to ensure pandemic prevention.

The ministry plans to gradually resume domestic flights to localities where Covid-19 prevention and control measures have been eased from October 1.

It will be done in four phases.

The first, planned for no more than 10 days, will see airlines resume flights but with the frequency not exceeding 50 percent of that in the first 10 days of April before the fourth wave of coronavirus began.

Passengers must be socially distanced on planes.

In the second phase, also for no more than 10 days, the frequency can be increased to 70 percent.

The third would see the frequency return to but not exceed the level in the first week of April, and no distancing will be required.

In the final phase, airlines' operations will return to normal.

Meanwhile, flights only carry cargo or officials doing public work. A similar plan has been proposed for train services.

But Hanoi said it's not ready to receive passengers from outside the city yet.

For now, the city will continue receiving only flights/trains serving public services and those agreed by the city's Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Hanoi People's Committee said in a statement sent recently to the ministry.

Hanoi began relaxing its stringent social distancing requirements on Sept. 21 after around two months.

Many businesses and services have been allowed to resume and people are allowed to go out of their house to exercise.

But with the pandemic situation still remaining bad in some places, especially the south, the risk of infection through travelers if flights and trains resume is high, a wary city administration has said.

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