PM orders suspension of all international flights in Covid-19 fight

By Viet Tuan   March 21, 2020 | 02:44 pm GMT+7
PM orders suspension of all international flights in Covid-19 fight
People arrive at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC, March 18, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the suspension of all international flights to Vietnam amidst restricted entry into the country by air, road and sea.

The drastic move follows an increase in the number of new infections to 75 over the past two weeks, 24 of them foreigners and the majority having returned from Europe or passed through pandemic-stricken countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas embassies should recommend that Vietnamese living abroad not "return home if it is not really necessary," Phuc said.

The government will make a list of overseas Vietnamese and students who need to return home and organize flights for them, he said.

"All people who enter Vietnam must be strictly quarantined and violators will be heavily punished," Phuc said at a meeting Friday to discuss measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vietnam suspended visas for all foreign arrivals starting Wednesday and demand that all be put in quarantine for two weeks on entry starting Saturday.

There is still one week of the ‘golden period’ left to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Phuc said, adding: "if we stop it then we will succeed, otherwise we will fail."

He urged people to increase online transactions, use more phones at work and less direct communication to avoid the risk of infection. Believers should pray and practice religious at home while wedding anniversary and crowded parties must not be held, Phuc said, adding that all agencies must "deal with affairs as though it was wartime."

The health sector has been tasked with early detection of infections, prompt isolation of Covid-19 positive patients from the community and protection of doctors and medical staffs to prevent them from getting infected.

The Ministry of National Defense will buy 10 mobile vehicles to provide Covid-19 testing services in the community.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has announced to suspend all international flights by March 25.

Budget airline Vietjet Air, which had already suspended all flights to China and South Korea, also halted flights to Southeast Asian countries starting Friday. Currently, the airline still operates flights to India, Taiwan and Japan.

 
 
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