Vietnam repatriates 100 citizens from Indonesia

By Vu Hoang   April 26, 2020 | 04:50 pm PT
Vietnam repatriates 100 citizens from Indonesia
Vietnamese citizens arrive at Can Tho Airport in southern Vietnam after a repatriation flight from Indonesia, April 26, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietjet Air.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia worked with local authorities to bring home more than 100 Vietnamese citizens stranded by the Covid-19 pandemic Sunday.

Their flight landed at the Can Tho International Airport in the Mekong Delta and all passengers and the plane crew underwent health checks before being transferred to quarantine facilities on the same day, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

The flight was operated by Vietjet Air and the passengers paid their own fares.

The passengers were said to be people in difficult circumstances like children under 18, senior citizens, and students without a residence visa due after dormitories were shutdown in Indonesia, as well as those whose visas had expired but could not leave the country due to the pandemic.

Indonesia is currently the second largest Covid-19 hotspot in Southeast Asia, following Singapore. The country has recorded nearly 8,900 Covid-19 cases and 743 deaths.

As the pressure on isolation facilities in Vietnam eases, the government is planning to repatriate Vietnamese abroad who want to return home. The country has brought home nearly 5,300 citizens from pandemic-hit areas since early February.

Since mid-April, Vietnam has worked with many countries like the U.K., Italy and Japan to organize flights to bring Vietnamese home after countries suspended commercial routes as a safety and containment measure.

On Thursday, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said it will deploy 10 flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens from Canada, France, Japan, Russia, Spain, Thailand, UAE and the U.S.

Bamboo Airways is scheduled to operate one flight to bring back those stuck in the Philippines while budget carrier Vietjet Air will operate one to bring home Vietnamese citizens from Singapore, besides the Indonesia flight Sunday.

The number of passengers and the date of their return have not been disclosed. They will also pay their own airfares.

Starting March 22, Vietnam also suspended entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers. Only Vietnamese nationals and foreigners having diplomatic and official passports such as business managers, experts and high-skilled workers will be allowed to enter the country at this time, and all entrants will be quarantined for 14 days.

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