Vietnam to limit inbound flights ahead of Chinese New Year

Only necessary flights approved by some government ministries will be allowed to enter Vietnam.
Only necessary flights approved by some government ministries will be allowed to enter Vietnam.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

HANOI (REUTERS) - Vietnam will limit flights bringing citizens home from now until the end of the Chinese 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 Chinese New Year, the country's most important holiday, 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 Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 10-16, the transport ministry will study the possibility of international flights resumption, he 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.

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 last Tuesday (Jan 5) suspended inbound flights from countries with new Covid-19 variants, initially Britain and South Africa.

Thanks to strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam 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.