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Jan 20, 2021 / 09:19

Russia to resume commercial flights to Hanoi later this month

Russia shut down flights to foreign countries a few weeks after the outbreak in early 2020.

Russian authorities have recently allowed to re-open flight routes between Moscow and Hanoi, Helsinki (Finland), New Delhi (India), and Doha (Qatar) from January 27 as those locations meet epidemiological safety standards, Vietnam News Agency quoted the Russian Centre for Covid-19 Prevention and Control as saying.

The decision was issued after the four countries were confirmed to meet certain standards on Covid-19 prevention, especially by recording the Covid-19 incidence of fewer than 40 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in 14 days.

 Passengers line up for immigration procedures to enter Vietnam. Photo: Huy Hung

The decision was based on criteria including daily rise of under 1% of new cases within 14 days and reciprocity between the two countries.

Russia’s move comes as the Vietnamese government has still limited inbound flights from now until the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February in light of new variants of the novel coronavirus spreading fast in many countries.

Only flights assessed from the ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Public Security and Transport and approved by the government are allowed to land in Vietnam, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said last week.

On January 5, the Vietnamese government had suspended flights from countries and territories where the new mutant strain of coronavirus was reported, starting with the UK and South Africa.

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

The country has been successful in containing the pandemic with strict quarantine and tracking measures. It has only confirmed 1,537 infections and 35 deaths so far, and has not reported any community transmission for the last 46 consecutive days.

Russia is currently the world's fourth largest Covid-19 hotspot with over 3.5 million infections and more than 65,000 deaths.

Russia shut down flights to foreign countries a few weeks after the outbreak in early 2020. Over the past time, Russia witnessed the second wave of Covid-19 break, with a sharp increase in the number of new infections and deaths.