Japan, South Korea consider re-opening border to Vietnam

By Phan Anh   May 31, 2020 | 11:31 pm PT
Japan, South Korea consider re-opening border to Vietnam
Vietnamese repatriated from Japan arrive at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, May 25, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Thanks to robust outbreak control, both Japan and South Korea may commence limited international routes, including to Vietnam.

Japan is planning to allow travelers from Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand entry starting this summer, Japanese national newspapers said.

Reduced Covid-19 infections in the aforementioned four countries, as well as growing calls from businesses to resume traffic, all factor in the decision, Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday, citing several government officials.

The government is considering allowing business travelers from the four nations to enter if they prove Covid-19 negative in two separate tests conducted upon departure from their home country and arrival in Japan, Asahi Shimbun reported. Once permitted into the country, visitor movements would be restricted to areas including place of stay, company offices and factories, the newspaper said, adding use of public transportation would be banned.

Japan has banned entry by foreigners to limit the spread of the virus from overseas. Around 17,000 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Japan as of early Monday, with roughly 900 deaths.

Vietnam has responded well to the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of health and economic impact, receiving praises from across the world. The country, with a population of over 96 million and sharing a land border with China, where the first novel coronavirus cases were reported last year, has reported only 328 infections and no deaths.

Meanwhile, several South Korean airlines have stated they would reconnect international flight routes to several locations to help citizens stranded in foreign countries to return home, local media reported. Asiana Airlines said it would reconnect 27 out of 73 international routes, while increasing flights from 53 to 110 per week. Particularly, the airline would recommence three flights per week to Hanoi and seven per week to Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam has banned entry of foreign nationals since March 22 and suspended all international flights since March 25 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The country has not officially confirmed when it would resume international flights, though the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control said Vietnam could consider welcoming foreign visitors from countries and territories where there have been no new cases for at least 30 days and launch a pilot plan to bring them to some islands with strict safety measures.

Vietnam has only 49 active Covid-19 cases left. It has recorded no community transmission in over one and a half months.

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