Nearly 300 Vietnamese citizens in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were flown back to Vietnam on Sunday with the support of the government amid the complex developments of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Flight number VN0088 departing from Dubai and landed safely at Can Tho International Airport in the namesake city, about 170km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, with 297 Vietnamese citizens on board.
According to Vietnam Airlines, this was its first flight carrying Vietnamese from the Middle East because Dubai is not the carrier’s regular destination.
Taking part in this evacuation effort, made on Saturday and Sunday, were Vietnamese government agencies, the Vietnamese Embassy in the UAE, and national carrier Vietnam Airlines.
The Vietnamese government has tried its best to arrange such flights to repatriate the most vulnerable citizens from abroad, against the backdrop that all commercial flights between Vietnam and other countries have been temporarily shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among these 297 citizens, the youngest is just only more than one month old and the oldest is a 78-year-old woman.
The rest include under-18-year-old overseas students, pregnant women, sick people, unemployed workers, travelers with expired visas, and others.
Vietnam Airlines said it had adhered to all safety protocols in order to protect everyone’s health and prevent any risk of COVID-19 infection.
All the passengers were subject to temperature checks, completed health declaration, and were sent to a centralized quarantine zone in Bac Lieu Province, over 100km south of Can Tho, as per regulations.
Before the UAE flight, the Can Tho airport had received two evacuation flights with 320 Vietnamese returnees from Singapore and Indonesia.
These passengers had also been transferred to quarantine areas in Can Tho and nearby Soc Trang Province.
On Friday, another flight taking off from Canada with nearly 300 Vietnamese citizens aboard touched down at Van Don International Airport, located in northern Quang Ninh Province, about 150km from Hanoi.
These people were evacuated because of the COVID-19 epidemic as well.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam had announced there would be 13 flights to take Vietnamese citizens back from Japan, the U.S., Canada, France, Russia, Spain, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and the UAE.
Vietnamese agencies will continue repatriating more citizens in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said.