Philippines sends home 143 citizens stranded in Vietnam

By Nguyen Quy   April 20, 2020 | 09:00 pm PT
Philippines sends home 143 citizens stranded in Vietnam
Philippine Airlines (PAL) planes are parked at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the Philippines. Photo by AFP.
The Philippine embassy in Vietnam has repatriated 143 citizens from Hanoi and HCMC through a Philippine Airlines charter flight.

The Philippines Airlines flight last Saturday took home 71 people from Ho Chi Minh City and 72 from Hanoi, that country’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Many of the repatriated people were stranded in Vietnam due to flight cancellations and faced economic difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said the returnees were subject to health protocols.

The Philippine embassy had earlier provided accommodation and food allowances to 43 of the repatriates while they were waiting for the flight.

Over 167 workers also returned home to the Philippines from Cambodia by an AirAsia charter flight last Saturday. They were distressed after losing their jobs and incomes due to the pandemic.

The Philippines has been one of the countries hit hardest by the outbreak in Southeast Asia, with nearly 6,500 cases and 428 deaths.

Vietnam’s Ministries of Transport and Foreign Affairs liaised with the embassies of countries whose citizens were stranded after the country’s borders were closed and international flights were suspended.

Last week more than 100 British tourists in Vietnam and Cambodia were sent home by a Vietnam Airlines flight as were more than 50 Italians stranded in Vietnam, the foreign ministry said.

Vietnam has prohibited entry for all foreign nationals since March 22 and Vietnamese carriers suspended international flights on March 25.

Vietnam has not had new Covid-19 patients for five days now. Of 268 confirmed cases, 215 have been discharged from the hospital. There have been no deaths.

 Covid-19 has spread to 210 countries and territories, and claimed more than 170,300 lives.

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