Ministry proposes inbound flight ban on countries with Covid-19 variant

By Viet Tuan   January 4, 2021 | 04:52 am PT
Ministry proposes inbound flight ban on countries with Covid-19 variant
Passengers boarding a repatriation flight from the U.K. to Ho Chi Minh City on June 3, 2020. Photo by People's Army newspaper.
The Health Ministry has proposed that inbound flights are suspended or limited from countries and territories with the new, more contagious coronavirus strain.

The ministry made the proposal after at least 34 countries and territories around the world have reported infections of the SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01 (Variant of Concern, year 2020, month 12, variant 01) first found in the U.K. on December 8.

The variant is said to be 70 percent more transmissible than the old one.

The proposal was submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc Sunday after the health ministry confirmed on Saturday that a 44-year-old Vietnamese woman returning home from Britain and quarantined in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh upon arrival was infected with the new virus strain.

Over 40 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East have restricted travel from the U.K. and, in some cases, travel from other countries that have documented cases with the virus variant.

Since Vietnam suspended inbound international flights late March, the government has organized around 260 repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens back from 59 countries and territories, including the U.K., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to repatriation flights, some special flights carrying foreign experts and investors have also been allowed to fly into Vietnam.

Vietnam, with a population of 96 million, has recorded 1,497 Covid-19 infections and 35 deaths to date.

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