Over 100 arrive in Vietnam on first commercial flight in six months

By Nguyen Quy   September 25, 2020 | 02:08 am PT
Over 100 arrive in Vietnam on first commercial flight in six months
A man arriving from South Korea to Hanoi has his papers checked at Noi Bai Airport, September 25, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines.
A total 104 passengers from South Korea, including three children, landed at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Friday afternoon, marking the first inbound commercial flight in six months.

Passengers onboard the VN417 flight from Incheon International Airport in Seoul were Vietnamese citizens and South Korean investors.

All passengers furnished a certificate confirming they had tested negative for the novel coronavirus via real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method three days prior to boarding the flight. Each supplied quarantine registration papers for Vietnam and installed Bluezone, a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come into close contact with a Covid-19 patient, Vietnam Airlines stated.

This was the first flight permitted by aviation authorities to allow foreign passengers entry to Vietnam since the government last week greenlighted the resumption of commercial flights to seven Asian destinations, including South Korea.

South Korea was the fifth biggest investor in Vietnam in the first half of the year with registered capital of nearly $545 million. South Korean businesses operate more than 8,000 projects locally, account for 30 percent of Vietnam’s total exports, and provide more than 700,000 jobs, according to official statistics.

Vo Huy Cuong, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said the flight served to assess the country’s capability to receive international passengers.

"It marked an important recovery for Vietnam’s aviation industry by ensuring economic development while combating the pandemic," Cuong added.

On arrival, all passengers were to be tested for Covid-19 twice via RT-PCR method as per health ministry protocol, paid for by themselves.

All had their samples taken for initial testing upon landing in Vietnam. Each would be screened again six days later.

Those testing positive for the novel coronavirus will be admitted to medical centers for treatment; while those reporting negative results twice can switch from centralized quarantine camps to isolation at home or their place of work or a hotel until they complete the 14-day quarantine under supervision of local authorities.

Though the government allowed the resumption of commercial flights, foreign tourists have yet to be allowed back into the country.

The only foreigners currently allowed entry are those carrying diplomatic or official passports, experts, managers, high-skilled workers, and investors, their family members, international students, and family members of Vietnamese citizens.

Vietnam suspended all international flights on March 25.

It has recorded 1,069 Covid-19 cases, 40 of which remain active. The country has gone over two weeks without domestic infections of the novel coronavirus.

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