Foreigners happy as restrictions relaxed for air travel

By Nguyen Quy   October 22, 2021 | 10:00 pm PT
Foreigners happy as restrictions relaxed for air travel
Passengers wait at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi in March 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Foreigners living in Vietnam are heaving a sigh of relief as authorities ease Covid-related restrictions on domestic flights.

Martin Southwell, a Briton living in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, was happy to hear that all domestic services have resumed and passengers no longer need to be fully vaccinated to fly.

He only got his first Covid vaccine on Wednesday, and if the full immunization requirement for air travel remained, he would have to wait at least until late November or December to fly until he gets his second shot.

"It’s good to hear I can fly now," he said.

In September he needed to fly to Hanoi to do paperwork at his embassy for his marriage with a Vietnamese woman, but he was forced to cancel the trip as flights were suspended.

For the past few months he has been looking forward to the resumption of flights.

An Australian man living in Da Nang, who asked only to be identified as Stephen, is relieved since he needs to fly to Hanoi this week and onward to Australia for work and he has only just got the first shot of a vaccine.

"I heard from other foreigners that people with one jabs like me can now fly. I called Bamboo Airways to confirm and yes, it is true."

"I was so happy. I was worried for many days and now everything has been solved."

He only needs to furnish a negative coronavirus test done within 72 hours before the flight.

Some domestic services restarted on October 10, but had required passengers to be fully immunized at least 14 days before travel or have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous six months.

So many flights were nearly empty since vaccination rates outside Hanoi and HCMC were low.

From now until November 30 passengers from high-risk or locked-down areas and HCMC and Can Tho need to furnish a negative coronavirus test.

But passengers from elsewhere only need to satisfy one of three conditions: a negative test at least 72 hours prior, a certificate showing they are fully vaccinated with the second shot taken between 14 days and 12 months prior or a certificate proving they recovered from Covid-19 not more than six months prior.

Briefly from October 10 many destinations including Hanoi also required people arriving from HCMC to undergo seven-day quarantine, but quickly scrapped the requirement and allowed passengers to monitor their health at home for seven days.

Vietnam closed its borders and canceled all international flights in March last year, and has since allowed in only certain categories of visitors with strict quarantine requirements.

However, international commercial flights carrying passengers to some Asian, Australian and European destinations are allowed to operate.

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