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Special flight brings home 344 Vietnamese from Australia, New Zealand

By Nguyen Quy   June 1, 2020 | 07:34 pm PT
Special flight brings home 344 Vietnamese from Australia, New Zealand
A Vietnamese woman and her grandson prepare to board a repatriation flight from Sydney International Airport, Australia, June 1, 2020. Photo by Voice of Vietnam.
Vietnam brought back 344 of its citizens from Australia and New Zealand by a special flight on Tuesday morning.

The Vietnam Airlines flight landed at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City with students under 18, seniors, people in difficult financial circumstances, tourists whose visas had expired, and workers who had lost their jobs.

They were taken to centralized quarantine facilities and had Covid-19 tests done.

The flight landed at Sydney Airport in Australia and Auckland Airport in New Zealand and took on as many people on board as possible, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It was the first repatriation of Vietnamese from Australia and New Zealand since Vietnam suspended all international flights on March 22 as the two countries were under strict lockdown to contain the spread of the disease.

A total of 1,800 people have registered to fly home as borders remain closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Vietnamese embassy in Australia said.

Priority is given to people aged above 60, students under 18, those with underlying health conditions such as heart diseases or cancer, and stranded tourists, it said.

Australia has reported over 7,000 cases of infection and 103 deaths, and New Zealand, 1,500 and 22.

Since mid-May the two have been easing restrictions and reopening their economies. They are discussing the possibility of a ‘Covid-19-safe travel zone’ between the two countries.

In the last few months several special flights have brought back thousands of Vietnamese from several countries including Canada, France, Japan, Russia, the UAE, the U.S., and some Southeast Asia hotspots. Passengers paid their fares.

Vietnam has gone 47 days without community transmission of the coronavirus. It has reported 328 Covid-19 cases so far and no deaths.

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