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Sep 26, 2021 / 22:26

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam starts engaging in global vaccine passport routine

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has asked authorized agencies to recognize “vaccine passport” to serve the recovery plans.

The adoption of the immunity passport between Vietnam and other countries is “of great significance” and “particularly necessary” in the current situation, the government said on its website today [Sept 26].

 Fully vaccinated passengers arrive in Van Don International Airport on Sept 23. Photo: Vietnam Airlines 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and other bodies needs to work with relevant agencies in ASEAN member states, the EU, the US, China, Japan, South Korea, and other countries for mutual recognition.

A vaccine passport or “immunity” passport called by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a kind of paper to certify the full vaccination of visitors. WHO has outlined considerations regarding this and does not back immunity passports till now.

To date, about 130 countries have approved vaccine passports. Vietnam has cut the quarantine period for fully vaccinated foreign arrivals to seven days, rather than the previous 14. Arrivals must also test negative for the virus within 72 hours before arrival.

On September 4, Vietnam received the first fully vaccinated passengers who are Vietnamese returnees from Japan. On Sept 12, it welcomed the second flight that took Vietnamese nationals from the US home and on Sept 23, more than 300 Vietnamese nationals from France landed the country under the pilot one-week quarantine program applied to fully vaccinated visitors.

So far, Vietnam has recognized vaccination certificates and certificates of recovery from Covid-19 that have been introduced through the diplomatic channels of 44 countries and territories.

As part of the government’s efforts to prepare for the reopening road map, PM Chinh asked authorities to build “safe, flexible, and effective adaptation to Covid-19” plans that include ideas contributed by businesses.

The solutions will typically focus on administrative reforms and tackling problems in the spirit of sharing risks.

Sharing the same idea, Pham Tan Cong, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and businesses have agreed with the government’s viewpoint on the pandemic control that requires adaptation to the new situation to get along with the virus but not “zero-Covid” goal like before.

For that reason, Cong recommended two approaches in which businesses are considered the main factor in the pandemic fight, and they will be equipped with medical capacity against Covid-19 in the support of the health sector and they should be protected and assisted to maintain production amid the pandemic.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) and businessmen at a government meeting on Sept 26. Photo: Nhat Bac/ VGP

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City has proposed the prime minister allowing it to have its own reopening decisions.

It will soon submit to the PM the reopening plans, media reported.

To make the plans possible, HCMC leaders expected to get more vaccines for the city and the southern economic zones.

So far, nearly 10 million doses have been administered in HCMC, including 94.5% of the city’s adults aged above 18 got the first jabs and 36% of them were fully vaccinated.

As the city is on the way to reopen the economy, it has been on the routine to remove solid barriers from now until the end of September.

Upon the new move, the city will change the way to monitor traffic and residents’ travel.

Hanoi, meanwhile, showed signs of successful virus containment as it continued seeing the decline in the daily infections for the past four days. On Sept 26, it recorded no cases.

The city’s education sector plans to bring back children to schools and a broader program is taken into considerations by the local government.

 Covid-19 cases in Vietnam. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu