|A train of the Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban rail line. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Chinese director in charge of the long-delayed Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban railway project has been put under quarantine after recently returning from China.
The information was disclosed Friday morning during a regular press briefing by vice director-general of the transport ministry’s Railway Project Management Unit (RPMU), Vũ Hồng Phương.
Tang Hong was the only Chinese expert working on Hà Nội’s first metro project who was allowed back into Việt Nam after flights from China were grounded at the beginning of February following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The ban, combined with the Chinese government's border closures, has made it nigh on impossible for many Chinese experts and workers to travel back to Việt Nam to work after both countries observed the traditional lunar new year festival in late January and early February.
They were initially scheduled to return to Việt Nam on February 8 to conduct a thorough trial run of the line to test all aspects of the project, and then the project was scheduled to be handed over to Hà Nội authorities in June this year.
The travel ban that followed a weeks-long holiday break has caused concerns that the China-funded metro project will be delayed.
“Tang Hong’s quarantine will end on March 9 so he can go back to work as normal. The Railway Project Management Unit has reported to the National Steering Committee on Preventing and Combating COVID-19 and asked for visas for Chinese experts working on the project,” Phương said.
Regarding the implementation of the project – originally slated to start commercial runs in 2016, Transport Minister Nguyễn Văn Thể has reiterated his order to speed up the progress.
“Hà Nội People’s Committee said they had allocated hotels to house and quarantine Chinese experts working on the project. The rooms will be equipped with all the necessary equipment for them to work online,” Thể said.
The Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban rail line is being built by China Railway Sixth Group Co. Ltd and supervised by the Construction Supervision Co. Ltd. under the Beijing National Railway Research & Design Institute and Việt Nam’s Institute for Transport Science and Technology.
Currently, there are about 100 Chinese personnel involved in the project. — VNS