PM orders minimizing inbound flights until Tet over new coronavirus variant concerns hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided to minimize the number of flights carrying Vietnamese citizens back home from now until the lunar New Year holiday, which falls in mid-February, as more contagious variants of coronavirus have been detected in many countries.

In a Government Office dispatch communicating the decision from the Prime Minister, the country will only allow in truly necessary flights that have been approved on a case-by-case basis by five ministries – the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Defence – along with approval from the PM himself.

Vietnam closed its border in March last year to curb the spread of the pandemic but has gradually opened up to a limited number of flights which carry repatriated Vietnamese citizens from overseas, foreign business executives and experts or skilled workers, and diplomats.

The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health are tasked with preparing facilities to implement mandatory quarantine for all Vietnamese entrants. Quarantine length and protocol must be reviewed to take into account the increased transmissibility of the new variants of the virus.

Local governments are asked to beef up inspections of quarantine facilities under their jurisdictions (except concentrated quarantine facilities managed by the military) to ensure the observance of COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.

All short-term foreign entries will be placed under concentrated quarantine for 14 days, except in special cases considered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The health ministry and provincial-level People’s Committees must ensure the transport, reception and follow-up medical monitoring of people discharged from quarantine facilities are conducted properly and transgressions are strictly punished.

PM Phuc ordered the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Security to enhance entry and exit management on the country’s land, sea, and other waterway border routes.

The Ministry of Public Security and provincial/municipal administrations should work with local administrations to communicate to families with members staying overseas to discourage illegal entry.

People who wish to return to Vietnam via land routes but suffer financial difficulties will be considered for quarantine fee support by local authorities, according to the dispatch.

After the Tet holiday ends, the Ministry of Transport should study the resumption of regular commercial flights as per the Government’s instructions to serve the dual goal of pandemic containment and economic recovery, as well as the travel needs of citizens./.