Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has green-lighted the Transport Ministry’s recommendation to resume commercial flights to Thailand, Vietnam’s fastest growing tourist market.
But he said anti-pandemic measures should be in place, including quick disposal of passengers at airports to reduce the risk of infection due to overcrowding and quarantine plans, the Vietnam News Agency reported quoting his directives at a government meeting on Friday.
This comes a few days after the government allowed the resumption of air services to China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan from September 15 and to Laos and Cambodia on September 22.
The number of tourists from Thailand rose by 46 percent last year and many Thai investors have been eyeing the Vietnamese market in recent years.
The PM also ordered the transport ministry to consider increasing the frequency of flights to bring in foreign experts and investors and Vietnamese nationals from abroad.
Those entering Vietnam for a period of less than 14 days are required to limit their time at bars, dance clubs, karaoke parlors, and other crowded places to avoid the risk of infection. The Health Ministry has ruled that they are exempt from centralized quarantine.
Hanoi and HCMC, the country’s two largest metros, have reopened bars and night clubs this month after they were closed for more than a month following a second outbreak of Covid-19.
The only foreigners allowed now are those with diplomatic and official passports, experts, managers, high-skilled workers, and investors, their family members, international students, and family members of Vietnamese citizens.
On landing, people must furnish a certificate confirming they tested negative for Covid-19 within three days before boarding the flight, but will be taken to quarantine camps first and tested further using the RT-PRC method. People who are tested negative for the coronavirus twice can leave the camp after five days and remain isolated at other facilities like home, workplace or hotels to finish the 14-day protocol.
Vietnamese carriers have yet to reveal plans for return flights from their six Asian destinations since authorities are working to finalize Covid-19 testing procedures and ensure there are sufficient quarantine facilities and medical staff to receive foreign tourists.
The first resumed international flight, from Hanoi to Tokyo, left on Saturday morning with more than 100 passengers.
Vietnam suspended all international flights on March 25.
Many foreigners who have been locked out of the country due to travel bans have pleaded with the government to reopen the borders and resume international flights so that they could reunite with their families.
Vietnam has had 1,068 Covid-19 cases so far, 89 of them active. The country has recorded 35 deaths due to the pandemic.
There has been no community transmission for more than two weeks.
By Nguyen Quy @ VNExpress