Vietnam to limit inbound flights ahead of upcoming holiday to limit COVID-19 risk

Vietnam to limit inbound flights ahead of upcoming holiday to limit COVID-19 risk

FILE PHOTO: A donor carries rice bags to contribute to poor people during coronavirus disease (COVI
A donor carries rice bags to distribute to poor people during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hanoi on Apr 16, 2020. (File photo: Reuters/Kham)

HANOI: Vietnam will limit flights bringing citizens home from now until the end of the Chinese New Year, otherwise known as Tet Lunar New Year, in mid-February, when big gatherings indoors are expected, to reduce coronavirus risks, the country's prime minister said.

With a new COVID-19 variant spreading around the globe and the upcoming most important holiday in the country, only necessary flights approved by the health, foreign, defence, public security and transport ministries are allowed to enter the country, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

After the New Year, which falls on Feb 10 to Feb 16, the transport ministry will study the possibility of international flights resumption, Phuc added.

Vietnam has suspended all inbound international commercial flights since late March, but the government has been operating repatriation flights to bring home Vietnamese citizens stuck abroad amid the pandemic.

READ: Vietnam starts human trial of COVID-19 vaccine

Some special flights carrying foreign experts and investors have been allowed to fly into Vietnam. All people entering the country have to spend 14 days in quarantine.

The country on Tuesday (Jan 5) suspended inbound flights from countries with new COVID-19 variants, initially Britain and South Africa.

With strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam has so far fared much better than many nations, registering a total of 1,513 coronavirus infections and 35 deaths. It has gone 38 days with no locally transmitted cases.

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Source: Reuters/ta