Dec 02, 2020 / 11:50

Vietnam suspends all inbound commercial flights

The Hanoitimes - The decision was made one day after Vietnam's Ministry of Health confirmed the first community infection case of Covid-19.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided to suspend all inbound international commercial flights after a community infection of Covid-19 was recorded.

Phuc was speaking at a meeting on Covid-19 response on December 2.

The decision was made one day after the Ministry of Health confirmed the first community infection case of Covid-19 (Patient 1347), ending a streak of 88 consecutive days without a single local infection.

However, the suspension is not applied to “rescue” flights which will keep bringing citizens who are stranded abroad due to Covid-19, PM Phuc said.

He called for upholding the sense of responsibility and vigilance in all areas, especially in major cities as well as strictly controlling immigration.

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the meeting. Photo: Quang Hieu

Mr. Phuc urged Ho Chi Minh City to promptly trace all people who were exposed to the newly confirmed patients (F1) or those having contact with suspected people (F2) in order to prevent the third wave of community transmission in Vietnam.

Vietnam began denying entry to foreign nationals on March 22 but the government allows foreign experts, skilled workers, investors, and diplomats to enter the country on a case-by-case basis, subject to mandatory quarantine.

Though international commercial flights are now suspended, charter planes to the country are still being arranged to fly in needed cases. Vietnam currently charges international arrivals for quarantine.

Clarifying responsibility for community infection

PM Phuc asked relevant units to investigate responsibility for Covid-19 transmission into the community.

He assigned the Ministry of Transport to investigate and strictly sanction those who had violated the regulations on Covid-19 prevention that led to the aforesaid community infection case. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health was urged to organize mandatory quarantine of all flight crew members in accordance with current Covid-19 protocols.

"All arrivals must be put on 14-day mandatory quarantine," the PM stressed.

 Several businesses in Ho Chi Minh city have been suspended. Photo: Le Thuy

All provinces and cities, especially Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Da Nang, Can Tho, Hai Phong, must strengthen inspection and enforcement of preventive protocols, including mask wearing and disinfection at supermarkets, hospitals, public transport means, schools, and factories, among others.

More local Covid-19 infections confirmed

As reported on November 30, a 32-year-old English male teacher (Patient 1347) in Ho Chi Minh City contracted Covid-19 from his friend who is a flight attendant.

As of 6:00 pm on December 1, Vietnam confirmed four more new patients. Of these, two are Vietnamese citizens repatriated from Canada and the others traced back to Patient 1347, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said at a government meeting.

Specifically, Patient 1348 is a one-year-old boy living in District 6. He is being treated at the Children’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Patient 1349 is a 28-year-old woman living in District 6. She is being treated at the Cu Chi field hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Both of them had come into close contact with Patient 1347.

Patients 1350 and 1351, the two imported infections, flew in from Canada to the Van Don airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh on November 16. They are being treated at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in the nearby province of Hai Duong.

Minister Long stressed that local authorities have identified and quarantined the new patients’ contacts and have been conducting further contact tracing.

The same day, 16 patients were declared free of Covid-19, raising the total recoveries to 1,195 as of Tuesday evening. So far, Vietnam has confirmed 35 deaths since it started hitting the country on January 23.