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Vietnam suspends inbound flights, pending official quarantine procedures

Thursday, October 08, 2020, 16:35 GMT+7
Vietnam suspends inbound flights, pending official quarantine procedures
Passengers of the Seoul-Hanoi flight operated by Vietnam Airlines arrive at Noi Bai International Airport on September 25, 2020. Photo: Tuan Phung / Tuoi Tre

Airlines in Vietnam have temporarily suspended regular inbound flights and are now waiting for competent authorities to issue official national quarantine procedures.

The management methods and quarantine procedures for passengers on regular inbound flights to Vietnam are still inconsistent, Vo Huy Cuong, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Foreign arrivals are required to present a visa, a certificate stating they have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, and confirmation from hotels in Vietnam where they will spend their quarantine, Cuong elaborated.

However, there are still several problems in the management of Vietnamese citizens on these international flights, so the Ministry of Health is discussing how to best implement standardized procedures across the country.

Ph.T.Ng., a Vietnamese passenger who arrived in Vietnam from South Korea on September 25, said she had to book a quarantine room at a hotel in Hanoi and pay VND28 million (US$1,200) in advance to the establishment in order to buy a flight ticket from national carrier Vietnam Airlines.

After arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in the Vietnamese capital, Ng. was picked up by military officers and taken to a quarantine center and the hotel has since refunded her money.

Despite having tested negative for COVID-19 prior to her flight, Ng. was still required to stay at the quarantine facility for 14 days and undergo coronavirus tests once every two days.

“I thought I only needed to spend five days at the center and continue the rest of my quarantine period at home,” she elaborated.

Authorities previously said that passengers on international air routes will be quarantined for just five days if their RT-PCR tests come back negative for COVID-19 twice.

Following this period, they will undergo self-quarantine at home or in company headquarters and have their health monitored in accordance with regulations.

The Vietnamese government announced on September 15 that flights along the Vietnam-mainland China (Guangzhou), Vietnam-Japan (Tokyo), Vietnam-South Korea (Seoul), and Vietnam-Taiwan (Taipei) routes were to be resumed that same day.

The Vietnam-Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and Vietnam-Laos (Vientiane) air routes would be reopened on September 22.

According to the current plan, four Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet flights will land in Hanoi every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with a maximum of 1,304 seats, while five flights belonging to the two airlines will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City with a maximum total of 1,290 seats.

Only two of such international flights have landed in Vietnam so far, including the a Vietnam Airlines Seoul-Hanoi flight on September 15 and Vietjet Seoul-Ho Chi Minh City flight on September 30.

Authorities in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have agreed to direct local airlines to operate flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City once per week per route.

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