Hanoi metro line director quarantined after returning from China

By Anh Duy   February 28, 2020 | 06:15 pm PT
Hanoi metro line director quarantined after returning from China
Two Cat Linh-Ha Dong trains leave the station in Hanoi during a trial run in September 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
A Chinese director of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong line project, who’d gone home for the Lunar New Year celebration, is now quarantined for 14 days after returning to work amid coronavirus epidemic.

Tang Hong, director of the Cat Linh - Ha Dong Railway Project, is the only person among more than 100 Chinese experts with the metro line who has been allowed to return to Vietnam because he holds an official passport that makes him eligible for a visa to enter the country.

Other Chinese experts have only personal passports, Vu Hong Phuong, deputy director of the project management board, said at a meeting on Friday.

The group of Chinese experts from different provinces and cities in China had returned home to celebrate their most important holiday, the Lunar New Year, for which Vietnam had declared a national January 23-29 break.

However, after the Covid-19 epidemic broke out, the Chinese government has forbidden its citizens from leaving the country and the Vietnamese government had suspended all flights to and from China, but resumed services with Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau early this month.

Hong will be quarantined until March 9 in accordance with the Health Ministry’s regulations.

To remove obstacles and allow the project to proceed, the management board proposed that the Transport Ministry asks the National Steering Committee on Prevention and Combat of Covid-19 to consider granting official visas to the remaining Chinese experts.

Work on the line is complete, and it is now awaiting a final test run.

The route runs 13 kilometers from Cat Linh in downtown Dong Da District to Yen Nghia in Ha Dong District.

Work on the line started in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013, but loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017 and other issues stalled it for years.

The original cost estimate of $552.86 million has also ballooned to more than $868 million, which includes $670 million in loans from China.

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