As COVID-19 safety regulations for domestic flights have been tightened, Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Saturday launched an on-demand testing service that delivers results to passengers in just 30 minutes.
The COVID-19 quick testing service is run by a local force from Soc Son Province Medical Center, and can be found at Kiosks No. 28-32 of Terminal T1 at the airport.
It utilizes quick testing techniques that return passengers’ results within 30 minutes for a fixed price announced on the Ministry of Health’s website.
The service has been offered since 7:00 am on Saturday, serving the demand of many passengers who arrived at the airport early, a Noi Bai representative said.
Its launch follows a new regulation announced by Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, which requires flight passengers from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and vice versa to present a coronavirus-negative certificate issued 72 hours earlier at the most.
As the coronavirus outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City continues to worsen, the southern metropolis has become the gravest outbreak site in Vietnam with 12,658 patients recorded since the fourth wave broke out in late April.
Starting Friday, Ho Chi Minh City has been put under a tightened social distancing mandate, whereby most passenger transport to and from the city is prohibited.
In light of the new restrictions, daily flight capacity on the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route has been cut down to 1,700 passengers for each direction.
Averaging 3,100 passengers per day, demand for air travel on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh route makes up for 30 percent of all Noi Bai airport visits over the past few weeks, the airport authority estimated.
However, the passenger count on the route has dropped to some 960 per day after the new restrictions were introduced on Friday.
To ensure safety, the Noi Bai airport authority recommends that all passengers wear face masks, file medical declaration before boarding, and comply with staffers’ guidances during their time at the airdrome.
On top of the negative COVID-19 test result they must acquire before the flight, passengers from Ho Chi Minh City are required to enter a seven-day isolation period with three more tests when they arrive at the destination.
In another effort to curb COVID-19 spread, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam demanded that airport staffers, most specifically those working at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and crew members of domestic carriers on flights entering or leaving Ho Chi Minh City must get at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or a coronavirus-negative test result before they go to work.
After organizing two inoculation campaigns in June and July, Noi Bai International Airport has provided the first jab for all frontline workers on site.
At noon on Sunday, the Ministry of Heath confirmed 632 local coronavirus cases, of which 600 were detected in Ho Chi Minh City.
The latest infections have taken the country’s tally to 29,103 cases, including 9,204 recoveries and 112 deaths, since early 2020.
Since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave erupted in Vietnam, the country has documented 25,615 infections.