More commercial flights to bring Vietnamese stuck around Asia home

By Doan Loan    November 30, 2020 | 11:00 pm PT
More commercial flights to bring Vietnamese stuck around Asia home
Two medical staffs prepare to disinfect a Vietnam Airlines aircraft at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, February 4, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Thirty-three commercial flights per week will carry Vietnamese citizens stranded in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan home starting this month.

Dinh Viet Thang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), said Vietnamese airlines will be allowed to conduct commercial flights to bring home only Vietnamese from the three destinations, Vietnam's largest labor export markets, from December 1 until January 15.

Thang said the list of citizens who want to return home will be gathered by the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then submitted to the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

After gaining approval from the committee, CAAV will officially grant licenses for these flights in which passengers will have to pay for a combo package that cover all expenses including airfares, quarantine fees at hotels, transportation from airports to hotels, three meals a day, and Covid-19 testing. The price of the combo package has not been revealed.

Upon arrival at Vietnamese airports, all passengers will be transported to the hotels where they had registered, with health staff taking their samples for Covid-19 testing. They will be tested twice.

The flights will only land at Van Don International Airport in northern Quang Ninh Province, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Tho Xuan and Phu Cat airports in central Vietnam, along with Can Tho and Phu Quoc in the south.

Vietnam halted all international flights from March 25 in an unprecedented move to stem the spread of Covid-19. Some airlines were granted permission to conduct repatriation flights for Vietnamese stuck abroad.

The government last September green-lighted the resumption of commercial flights to seven Asian destinations - mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. However, Vietnamese carriers have not yet been allowed to operate inbound flights so far, waiting for the government to finalize quaratine procedures for foreign passengers.

Vietnam just broke its 89-day streak without a community transmission after a 32-year-old man in HCMC was confirmed a patient on Monday. He contracted the virus from his friend, a flight attendant confirmed infected on Saturday.

Vietnam has so far recorded 1,347 coronavirus cases, around half of which it said were imported.

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