Social media reports of the shutdown of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi over COVID-19 fears are not true, To Tu Ha, its acting director, said on Tuesday.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Vietnam last year, Noi Bai has upheld all feasible preventive solutions to ensure safety for passengers and employees, Ha said.
Its recent request to put 3,200 staffers working on site through COVID-19 testing, which fanned speculation on social media, is one of the measures to enhance safety during the peak travel season of the Lunar New Year holiday, which is over a week away.
The proposal includes mass testing for all staffers working at Noi Bai as well as Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and is meant to rule out transmission risks from service providers at the two biggest aviation hubs of the country, who will come in contact with thousands of passengers during the upcoming holiday season.
"Over the past few days, all Noi Bai staffers listed as direct contacts of the outbound passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 in Japan last month had to wear full personal protective equipment,” Ha said.
“So far, all direct and indirect contacts [of the patient] in our personnel have tested negative for COVID-19."
Earlier, Noi Bai International Airport sent an official document to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport to request COVID-19 testing from the city’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control for 3,200 on-site workers at the facility.
It is considered a timely initiative to preserve trust and ensure protection for air passengers in the country, the airport boss claimed.
The proposal also helps reduce the risk of air service disruption, which could transpire if another case of COVID-19 transmission at the premise forces the shutdown of the whole airfield.
In light of the new developments of the COVID-19 epidemic, the airport has prepared action plans to zone out transmission, cooperate with medical agencies, mobilize manpower from other institutions, quarantine staffers, and maintain regular operations for the air services.
Vietnam has documented 1,891 coronavirus cases, including 1,003 domestic infections, as of Wednesday morning, with 1,461 recoveries and 35 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
The country announced the first two local cases on January 28 after having gone nearly two months without any community-based infection.
A total of 310 domestic infections have been documented in 10 provinces and cities, including Hanoi, since then, according to the health ministry’s data.
The majority of the domestically-transmitted cases were linked to Hai Duong and Quang Ninh, both located in northern Vietnam.