Vietnam yet to resume international flights

By Doan Loan   September 14, 2020 | 11:08 pm PT
Vietnam yet to resume international flights
A Vietnam Airlines plane parks at the Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, June 15, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The Ministry of Transport said Vietnam would not resume regular commercial flights internationally starting Tuesday, despite earlier suggestions to do so.

Resuming international flights starting Tuesday is out of the question since medical authorities are still finalizing Covid-19 testing and quarantine procedures for individual arrivals, a transport ministry official said.

Plans on containing the coronavirus following the flight resumption are expected to be submitted to the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention on Thursday.

Localities across Vietnam, especially Hanoi and HCMC, need to ensure quarantine zones and surveillance capacity are not overwhelmed by possible new entrants, but they have not been able to determine the number of possible arrivals.

After the country managed to bring the second wave of the pandemic under control, the transport ministry earlier this month proposed reopening flights to mainland China, Japan, and South Korea starting September 15, followed by Laos, Cambodia and Taiwan starting September 22. The ministry estimates the number of arrivals to be quarantined per week at about 5,000 in Hanoi and HCMC.

The flights will first serve foreign diplomats, officials, experts, business managers, and bring home Vietnamese from overseas. Passengers are yet to include tourists.

The arrivals will have to pay for their quarantine and Covid-19 tests.

Vietnamese carriers have announced plans to restore commercial international flights to certain locations, with Vietnam Airlines planning to operate one-way flights from Vietnam to Japan starting September 18. Bamboo Airways said Taiwan could be the first international market it plans to resume flights to in October, while Vietjet Air only has plans to resume its Hanoi-Taipei (Taiwan) service.

Vietnam has suspended all international flights since late March. The country has recorded 1,063 Covid-19 cases so far, 35 having succumbed to the disease. Many of the fatalities are elderly patients suffering underlying conditions like diabetes and kidney failure.

No local transmission has been recorded nationally in nearly two weeks.

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