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Việt Nam to open up more international flights in "controlled" manner

Update: September, 18/2020 - 19:41

 

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Friday had a virtual meeting with localities in the country on the COVID-19 situation. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told the transport ministry to continue to plan the resumption of more international flights, but in a “controlled” manner.

He made the remarks during Friday's virtual meeting with localities on COVID-19, as the country currently has plans to restart routine flights to six destinations in Asia – Cambodia, Laos, Japan, South Korea, China and China’s Taiwan.

The Vietnamese Government leader asked that the frequency of the flights should be increased, including commercial flights to bring in foreign experts and investors or to repatriate Vietnamese citizens.

The detailed flight plan should be submitted to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh as well as Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, chair of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, for approval, PM Phúc said.

He noted that there should be plans in place to quickly receive passengers at airports to avoid risks of infection from overcrowding.

The health ministry and public security ministry were asked to handle applications for entry from foreign investors and experts faster and further streamline procedures to make it easier for them to get into Việt Nam, while still maintaining health measures.

The Vietnamese Government leader also asked for a clearer and more transparent process for experts and investors as many businesses are currently still in the dark about the specifics or which agency is handling which procedure.

Given that the infection cases and deaths continued to rise across the globe, all localities and sectors must be always on guard, especially in managing arrivals from overseas into Việt Nam, to avoid community infections during the initial stage of reopening, PM Phúc demanded.

The quarantine facilities must be frequently inspected, especially in terms of their health protocols and hygiene.

PM Phúc said that foreign arrivals on short-term business or diplomatic trips to Việt Nam, who must have produced negative proof of coronavirus tests upon entry and are exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine, must be asked to refrain from using entertainment services such as karaoke venues and bars or attending festivals or other forms of large gatherings.

The health ministry was told to improve COVID-19 testing and proposed forms of testing at border gates or airports, as well as better its disease prevention protocols for entries into Việt Nam.

Taking lessons from Đà Nẵng, PM Phúc said it was very important to review and ensure anti-pandemic control in medical facilities.

The health sector was asked to improve treatment regimes, continue to research and develop COVID-19 vaccines, and keep up international cooperation, especially with countries who are getting results from clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Ministry of Information and Communications was told to work with the Ministry of Health to set up multilanguage hotlines so that foreigners could get quick access to medical services and avoid preventable virus exposure to the community.

While most socio-economic activities had resumed “with even faster pace than before”, it was important to remain vigilant and avoid the return of outbreaks, PM Phúc said, citing the lesson of 99 days of no domestic cases before the fresh wave – with Đà Nẵng City as the epicentre – started in late July.

Masks would continue to be enforced in public, while unnecessary large gatherings should be avoided, the Vietnamese Government leader said.

At the meeting, vice chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Ngô Văn Quý said that the city had gone 30 days without community infections and was determined to keep up socio-economic development while ensuring public health.

To prepare for upcoming foreign arrivals, Hà Nội had designated 14 hotels – including upscale ones like Crown Plaza, Sofitel and the Intercontinental – with a capacity of 2,110 rooms ready to be used as paid quarantine facilities. — VNS

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