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Vietnam’s health ministry proposes banning flights from countries with coronavirus variant

Monday, January 04, 2021, 21:23 GMT+7
Vietnam’s health ministry proposes banning flights from countries with coronavirus variant
People perform health declaration for COVID-19 prevention and control in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thu Hien / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has put forward a proposal to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on banning incoming flights from countries where a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was detected.

In the proposal, the Ministry of Health asked for the PM’s direction to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security, Transport, and National Defense, as well as relevant agencies to stop organizing and restrict the licensing of flights to Vietnam from countries and territories that have been confirmed with the mutant coronavirus strain, which the World Health Organization (WHO) announced its identification in the UK on December 18, 2020.

The ban is meant to continue to control and prevent the spread of the pandemic in Vietnam.

According to scientists, the mutated coronavirus may be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the old one.

So far, about 35 countries in the world have recorded patients infected with the new strain, most of whom came from the UK and South Africa, the first two countries to record the strain, the ministry said.

As a result, “more than 40 countries have imposed entry restrictions and border closures, and banned flights to and from the UK and countries that have identified the new variant of the coronavirus,” the proposal reads, with Germany, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria being the pioneers.

In Asia, Japan has banned entry for people from all countries until the end of January, and Indonesia has stopped receiving people from the UK.

In Vietnam, the first imported case of the new coronavirus variant was announced on Saturday.

The variant was detected in a 44-year-old woman returning to Vietnam from Britain, who was quarantined upon arrival and was confirmed positive for the virus on December 24.

“Researchers ran gene-sequencing on the patient’s sample and found the strain is a variant known as “VOC 202012/01,” the ministry said in a statement.

As of Monday afternoon, Vietnam has still allowed repatriation flights to bring its citizens stuck in the UK home amid the pandemic.

The country has recorded 1,497 infections as of Monday night, with 1,339 recoveries and 35 virus-related deaths, according to the Ministry of Health statistics.

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