Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Friday tasked the Ministry of Transport with proposing to increase the frequency of international commercial flights to bring in foreign experts, investors and Vietnamese, the official VGP News reported.
The proposal must be reported to Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, for consideration and decision.
The government had decided to resume air routes to Guangzhou (mainland China), Taipei (Taiwan), Seoul (South Korea), and Tokyo (Japan) from September 15, and to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Vientiane (Laos) from September 22.
The first commercial international flight following the resumption took off from Hanoi at 6:30 am on Saturday and landed at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan after five hours and 15 minutes.
The flight, operated by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, carried nearly 60 passengers who were mostly students and workers coming to Japan for study and work, as well as Japanese citizens returning to their home country.
On Friday, PM Phuc asked for measures to quickly clear passengers at airports in order to prevent transmission of COVID-19 while relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Security, to further simplify entry procedures for foreign experts and investors.
The entry procedures must be specific and clear, the government leader emphasized, adding that the Ministry of Health must issue concrete instructions for COVID-19 testing and quarantine.
|Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (center) presides over a meeting on COVID-19 response in Hanoi, September 18, 2020. Photo: Vietnam Government Portal|
He also demanded regular inspection and supervision of centralized quarantine facilities and designated quarantine accommodations.
Phuc ordered strict border control to prevent and strictly punish illegal entrants and those who bring foreigners into Vietnam illegally.
Vietnam began barring entry to foreign nationals on March 22 and suspended commercial international flights from March 25 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Since then, charter flights to the country have only been arranged to bring in experts, skilled workers, and diplomats, and to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded in other nations and territories due to the pandemic.
Vietnam has documented 1,068 COVID-19 cases, with 941 having recovered and 35 deaths as of Saturday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
The country has gone for 16 days without recording a community-based transmission.