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Transport ministry proposes capping Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi flights to stem COVID-19

Transport ministry proposes capping Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi flights to stem COVID-19

Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 14:34 GMT+7
Transport ministry proposes capping Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi flights to stem COVID-19
Aircraft are parked at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

In a report sent to the prime minister on Tuesday, the Ministry of Transport called for a reduction of flight frequency on the Ho Chi Minh City - Hanoi route to curb the possible northward spread of the coronavirus. 

According to the report, the Ministry of Transport received a proposal from the Hanoi People’s Committee, requesting a curb on commercial flights and other passenger transport services from Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding provinces to the capital city, as the southern region is seeing a worsening COVID-19 outbreak, with daily caseloads rising by the thousands.

Ho Chi Minh City authorities, alongside leaders of 18 other southern provinces and cities, have taken stern measures to stall the spread of COVID-19, requiring residents to only go out to work at essential businesses, buy food and medicine, and seek hospital treatment.

The daily flight capacity on the Ho Chi Minh City - Hanoi route has been capped at 1,700 passengers per day since the extensive social distancing measures were introduced in Ho Chi Minh City on July 9.

In reality, the passenger count on the route has been staying below this limit, with only 800-1,000 departing Ho Chi Minh City for Hanoi and 200-400 going in the reverse direction per day.

Based on the request of Hanoi leaders and the national measures for COVID-19 prevention, the Ministry of Transport proposed two options to adjust Hanoi-bound flights from southern localities. 

In the first option, the Can Tho - Noi Bai, as well as Phu Quoc - Noi Bai route will be ceased, while flight capacity on the Tan Son Nhat - Noi Bai route will be restricted to no more than 800 passengers a day.

The second option suggests that flights from Can Tho and Phu Quoc to Hanoi be halted completely, while services from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi will be limited to two departures per day.

While the first option appeases the travel demand of domestic passengers, the second will prove more effective in monitoring transmission risks, the transport ministry stated.

They also recommend the second option on the grounds of ensuring security in the capital city against worsening developments of COVID-19.

On Wednesday morning, Vietnam confirmed 2,787 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,775 domestic and 12 imported infections.

Among the latest cases, 1,739 were detected in Ho Chi Minh City, which has recently topped the nation in daily new infections.

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