Passengers from HCMC celebrate as Hanoi scraps 7-day quarantine rule

By Giang Huy, Pham Chieu   October 11, 2021 | 11:06 pm PT
Many passengers on the first HCMC-Hanoi commercial flight after air travel was resumed could not hide their joy as authorities suddenly lifted a seven-day quarantine requirement.

Nguyen Hai Long, one of 120 passengers boarding flight VN216 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi on Monday night, said: "It was a day of double joy as I could reunite with my family and didn’t need to undergo seven-day centralized quarantine."

Nguyen Hai Long walks with his luggage inside Noi Bai Airport, Hanoi on October 11 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Nguyen Hai Long at Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi, on Oct. 11 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

The 25-year-old works at a software company in HCMC and had been stuck in the Covid epicenter for over two months.

Under the new regulation, arrivals from HCMC would only monitor their health at home for seven days

Earlier, Hanoi required people arriving from HCMC by air to be isolated at centralized quarantine facilities or at one of 20 designated hotels for seven days and be tested, all at their own cost in a decision that triggered objections from passengers and aviation experts.

Nguyen Thi Duc Hien, 38, said it was not until the plane landed that she received the information of quarantine exemption.

"I was really overjoyed as hotel quarantine costs were too expensive," said Hien.

Hanoi authorities previously issued a list of 20 two to five-star hotels designated as quarantine facilities for passengers arriving from HCMC, with prices ranging from VND1.3-6.9 million ($57.22-303.58) a night.

"I think the removal of the seven-day centralized quarantine rule was the right decision as all passengers have been fully vaccinated and must furnish a negative PCR test certificate before flying," said 48-year-old Le Anh Tam who returned home to Hanoi’s Dong Da District.

Many passengers who had previously booked a hotel room in Hanoi for quarantine upon arrival accepted to lose their deposits to return home for health monitoring.

Passengers arrive in Noi Bai Airport on a flight from HCMC, Oct. 11, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Passengers arrive in Noi Bai Airport on a flight from HCMC, Oct. 11, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Aviation authorities restarted flights on 19 domestic routes from Sunday. From Oct. 10-20, there would be one return flight daily between Hanoi and HCMC.

Due to problems with quarantine rules, the HCMC-Hanoi flight scheduled to take off Sunday was canceled.

The Ministry of Transport requires all passengers to be fully immunized at least 14 days or have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous six months before boarding a flight. Everyone should also furnish Covid negative results obtained within 72 hours of departure.

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