Ensure New Year resumption of international flights: Deputy PM

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Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh asked related ministries Wednesday to urgently perform assigned tasks to ensure international flights are resumed as planned on January 1, 2022.

Minh’s directive was issued with just a week left until the official reopening day of regular commercial flights after two years of suspension.

He noted that ministries had not issued sufficient specific instructions to concerned agencies so far.

Currently, domestic carriers have not yet been granted flight slots for resuming regular commercial routes.

On December 10, the government had approved the resumption of commercial flights between Vietnam and nine destinations with high vaccination rates and good pandemic control measures in place. The first phase of resumption would take place for 15 days starting on the first day of 2022.

Regular flights are scheduled to resume to Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), San Francisco or Los Angeles (the U.S.), Seoul (South Korea), Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan), Tokyo (Japan), and Vientiane (Laos).

In the second phase starting Jan. 16, flights would be added on routes connecting Vietnam with Frankfurt (Germany), Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Moscow (Russia), Paris (France) and Sydney (Australia).

The government had asked the Ministry of Health to consult experts, businesses and the public to issue fresh entry guidelines for people coming on regular international flights.

The foreign ministry was tasked with continuing negotiations to reach agreements with other countries and territories on mutual recognition of “vaccine passports,” with priority for destinations in the first phase of the plan to resume international flights.

The health, public security and information and communications ministries were to release the medical declaration software for use by air travelers and businesses and for monitoring and tracing visitors; while the transport ministry would work with aviation agencies to grant flight slots for different carriers.

Under the latest guidelines issued by the health ministry last week, fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19 will only need to self-isolate for three days instead of having to spend a week at centralized quarantine facilities.

All arrivals, except children below two, must have tested negative for the novel coronavirus using PCR method within the previous 72 hours before departure.

Those who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 will only need to self-monitor their health for three days, either at home, hotels or other facilities while those who are not fully vaccinated will be quarantined at home or other facilities for seven days, then be tested on the 3rd and 7th days.

Vietnam closed its borders and grounded international flights in March 2020, allowing in only citizens, foreign experts, investors, and highly-skilled workers coming in on special flights.