Vietnam not ready to reopen doors to foreign tourists: PM

By Viet Tuan, Nguyen Quy   June 24, 2020 | 08:00 pm PT
Vietnam not ready to reopen doors to foreign tourists: PM
Foreigners at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, March 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
With Covid-19 still affecting many countries, Vietnam is not yet ready to open up to international tourists, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Wednesday.

The top priority for the government is protecting people’s health, he said at a government meeting in Hanoi.

Phuc ordered relevant agencies to not let a second wave of coronavirus break out in Vietnam and safeguard the outstanding performance of the country in the fight against the pandemic.

Vietnam has gone over two months without community transmission.

The country is not yet ready to welcome back foreign tourists since some Asian countries like China and South Korea have been struggling with a second wave and the global situation has not improved.

The government would carefully assess the regional and international situations to decide when to resume international flights, the premier stated.

Earlier this month in a document the government said that Tokyo, Seoul, mainland China's Guangzhou City, Taiwan and Laos could be among destinations being considered for resumption of flights.

Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways have announced plans to resume international operations to destinations in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and mainland China from July 1, and are awaiting official approval. 

But many experts have warned these plans are impossible to achieve given the fresh outbreaks in Asia and that talks with other countries on lifting travel bans are still on.  

At the meeting on Wednesday the PM said recruiters could send Vietnamese guest workers abroad if they are accepted by the recipient countries.

He ordered relevant agencies to make clear and facilitate procedures for foreign experts, investors and high-skilled workers to enter Vietnam with "suitable forms of quarantine".

Vietnam has suspended all international flights since March 25 and banned entry of foreign nationals since March 22 except for special cases

The country’s Covid-19 tally is 352 by Thursday morning, and the number of active cases is 23 as the rest have recovered after treatment. The latest cases are those repatriated and quarantined upon arrival.

The novel coronavirus has claimed 479,000 lives in 212 countries and territories.

China's capital of Beijing with more than 20 million people reported its first case in the latest wave on June 11, with over 200 so far confirmed positive for the virus. Beijing is facing a second wave of Covid-19, linked to the Xinfadi wholesale market, a food distribution center in the city.

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