Air, railway, and sea passengers in Vietnam are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing if they have got one dose of coronavirus vaccine or have recovered from the respiratory disease within the required periods before departure, transport authorities have announced.
The regulation is included in a guideline issued by the Ministry of Transport on Thursday providing temporary instructions on passenger transport by road, railway, waterway, and aviation, which comes into effect on Friday.
All local transport authorities must set up their passenger transport plans based on actual conditions and epidemic developments, the ministry said.
In localities at very high risk of COVID-19, public transport will stay suspended, except taxis and app-based vehicles with less than nine seats subject to required epidemic prevention measures.
Means of passenger transport in transit must not stop or park in such localities, while airports and railway stations are allowed to receive passengers provided they strictly comply with specific requirements.
In high-risk areas, public transport by road, railway, and waterway is allowed to operate at 50 percent of its capacity at most.
For medium- to low-risk localities, passenger carriers can operate normally, the guidance said.
Travelers by air, railway, and sea, except routes from shores to islands and vice versa, are required to make medical declaration and present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours before departure.
Passengers who have received the first vaccine dose more than three weeks before their travel, or those who have fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within six months before departure, are not required to undergo testing.
|This image shows inland waterway vessels in a locality in Vietnam. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre|
The ministry has also set forth four phases for resumption of air transport services.
In phase 1, which lasts for 10 days after the issue of the guideline, airlines are permitted to operate at no more than 50 percent of their average frequencies from April 1 to 10.
In phases 2 and 3, each of which lasts 10 days, the rates of frequency are increased to 70 and 100 percent at maximum, respectively.
In phase 4, air carriers are allowed to operate under 'new normal conditions,' a phrase the Vietnamese government uses to describe its new strategy of living safely with the coronavirus.
The ministry also requires drivers and other staff working on road, inland waterway and shore-to-island passenger transport means to be subject to weekly testing or fully vaccinated, depending on specific COVID-19 risk levels.
The new guidance came in the context the country is loosening strict COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which have been applied for several months, to resume its socio-economic activities under 'new normal conditions.'
By Thursday, some 33 million first COVID-19 vaccine shots and nearly 9.5 million second jabs had been administered to people nationwide, the Ministry of Health reported.
Since the pandemic erupted in Vietnam in early 2020, the Southeast Asian nation has documented 790,755 COVID-19 cases, including 608,831 recoveries and 19,301 fatalities.
Except Cao Bang, the coronavirus has spread to 62 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces, with Ho Chi Minh City suffering the most with 385,762 infection cases and 14,850 deaths.