Vietnam increases air, train routes

By Doan Loan   April 23, 2020 | 12:00 am PT
Vietnam increases air, train routes
Aircraft park at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC during the nationwide social distancing period, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
All provinces and cities have been allowed to increase the frequency of flights, trains and buses starting Thursday.

The Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route will have 20 return flights per day, with Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air operating six flights each. Jetstar Pacific and Bamboo Airways will have four flights each.

There will be six flights a day from Hanoi or HCMC to Da Nang and back, up from the current two.

From Hanoi or HCMC to other localities, each domestic airline is allowed to operate one return flight per day. The HCMC - Con Dao route, operated by Vietnam Airlines, will have one return trip every day.

Carriers can operate one return trip per day on routes that do not originate from Hanoi or HCMC, the Ministry of Transport has said.

The railways will get to operate three pairs of Thong Nhat passenger trains every day - three trips from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and three back. Local routes will have a pair of trains operating each day. Previously, the railway industry was only allowed to operate two pairs of Thong Nhat trains a day.

For intercity buses, the Ministry of Transport has allowed companies to operate up to 30 percent and 50 percent of their regular frequencies. The same goes for contract vehicles and passenger cars. The distribution of passenger transportation within provinces will be decided by local authorities.

Shipping firms are allowed to operate one trip a day on inter-provincial routes and local authorities will decide on marine transportation within their administrative jurisdictions.

Passengers using all forms of transportation are still advised to wash their hands with sanitizers, wear masks, declare their health, have temperature checks and limit communication during the trip. Carriers must arrange for passengers to sit one meter apart and make sure the number of passengers not exceed 50 percent of the number of seats.

Starting Thursday, HCMC and Hanoi ended their 22-day social distancing campaign, but restrictions on public gatherings remain.

Vietnam will continue to suspend foreigners' entry for now and cities and provinces will take steps to reopen businesses and services.

As of Thursday morning, Vietnam had gone for a week without new Covid-19 cases, keeping its tally at 268, of which 224 have been discharged.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reached 210 countries and territories, and more than 184,300 deaths have been reported.

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