Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the Ministry of Transport to continue to plan the resumption of more international flights, but in a “controlled” manner.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the meeting (Photo: VNA)
He made the remarks during a virtual meeting on September 18 with localities on COVID-19, as the country currently has plans to restart routine flights to six destinations in Asia – Cambodia, Laos, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Taiwan.
The Vietnamese Government leader asked that the frequency of the flights should be increased, including commercial flights to bring in foreign experts and investors or to repatriate Vietnamese citizens.
The detailed flight plan should be submitted to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh as well as Deputy Prime Minister VuDuc Dam, Chairman of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, for approval, PM Phuc said.
He noted that there should be plans in place to quickly receive passengers at airports to avoid risks of infection from overcrowding.
The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Security were asked to handle applications for entry from foreign investors and experts faster and further streamline procedures to make it easier for them to get into Vietnam, while still maintaining health measures.
The Government leader also asked for a clearer and more transparent process for experts and investors as many businesses are currently still in the dark about the specifics or which agency is handling which procedure.
Given that the infection cases and deaths continued to rise across the globe, all localities and sectors must be always on guard, especially in managing arrivals from overseas into Vietnam, to avoid community infections during the initial stage of reopening, PM Phuc demanded.
The quarantine facilities must be frequently inspected, especially in terms of their health protocols and hygiene.
PM Phuc said that foreign arrivals on short-term business or diplomatic trips to Vietnam, who must have produced negative proof of coronavirus tests upon entry and are exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine, must be asked to refrain from using entertainment services such as karaoke venues and bars or attending festivals or other forms of large gatherings.
The Ministry of Health was told to improve COVID-19 testing and proposed forms of testing at border gates or airports, as well as better its disease prevention protocols for entries into Vietnam.
Taking lessons from Da Nang, PM Phuc said it was very important to review and ensure anti-pandemic control in medical facilities.
The health sector was asked to improve treatment regimes, continue to research and develop COVID-19 vaccines, and keep up international cooperation, especially with countries who are getting results from clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Ministry of Information and Communications was told to work with the Ministry of Health to set up multilanguage hotlines so that foreigners could get quick access to medical services and avoid preventable virus exposure to the community.
While most socio-economic activities had resumed “with even faster pace than before”, it was important to remain vigilant and avoid the return of outbreaks, PM Phuc said, citing the lesson of 99 days of no domestic cases before the fresh wave – with Da Nang city as the epicentre – started in late July.
Masks would continue to be enforced in public, while unnecessary large gatherings should be avoided, the Government leader said.
At the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy said that the city had gone 30 days without community infections and was determined to keep up socio-economic development while ensuring public health.
To prepare for upcoming foreign arrivals, Hanoi had designated 14 hotels – including upscale ones like Crown Plaza, Sofitel and the Intercontinental – with a capacity of 2,110 rooms ready to be used as paid quarantine facilities.
Domestic carriers ready to take to international skies again
Domestics airlines have said they are ready for the restart of international flights, after routes to and from foreign destinations were closed for almost half a year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has completed formulating plans and announced schedules for flights to Japan, with the first departing on September 18, head of its public relations department Dang Anh Tuan told the Vietnam News Agency.
The carrier will only conduct one-way flights, from Vietnam to Japan, however, while awaiting for the Ministry of Health (MoH)'s issuance of directions on the return leg, Tuan said.
He added that the MoH has made a proposal on providing guidelines on how to safely operate inbound flights, which is now subject to comment from the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control before being finalised.
Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air said it will reopen regular international flights to Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Taiwan (China) from September 29.
Each week, it will conduct one flight from HCM City to Tokyo on Tuesday, one from HCM City to Seoul on Wednesday, and one from Hanoi to Taipei, Taiwan (China) on Thursday.
Bamboo Airways, meanwhile, also plans to resume flights to Taiwan (China) and the RoK in September and October while launching new routes to Japan, Singapore, and Australia in the fourth quarter of this year and Germany and the UK in the first quarter of 2021.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh gave his permission to the resumption of regular international passenger flights between Vietnam and certain countries and territories.
Accordingly, air routes to Guangzhou (China), Taiwan (China), Seoul, and Tokyo restarted on September 15 and those to Phnom Penh and Vientiane will follow, from September 22.
The maximum number of flights on each route will not exceed two per week, which may be increased depending on the situation.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has been assigned to work with agencies under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and partners from China, Japan, the RoK, Taiwan (China), Cambodia, and Laos to discuss those are eligible to enter Vietnam and the requirements to be placed on them, as well as entry procedures.
Before boarding flights to Vietnam, passengers must have their temperature checked, install the NCOVI health declaration app, and obtain a certificate issued by local authorities stating they have tested negative for the coronavirus.
Ministry asks for continued domestic tourism stimulus programmes
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has issued a document, asking tourism management departments, tourism associations and businesses to continue carrying out domestic tourism stimulus programmes in the remaining months of 2020.
The ministry suggested localities and businesses actively choose their own messages suitable to the attractiveness and specific products of destinations, focusing on stimulating demand of target tourists who are Vietnamese and foreigners working and living in Vietnam.
Enterprises and localities should pay attention to introducing destinations and attracting visitors on the basis of existing stimulus coalitions, and encourage the formation of new stimulus, it said.
According to the ministry, localities and enterprises need to develop high-quality product packages with attractive prices, diversified programmes, and building flexible refunding and swapping policies to ensue the interests of tourists.
The ministry recommends that businesses and localities need to strictly follow instructions and regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control, ensuring safety at travel businesses, accommodation establishments, and destinations,
Tourists and businesses are requested to regularly update information on safe destinations on the mass media and related digital technology applications.
The tourism industry is required to promote communication campaigns about safe and attractive Vietnamese tourism on media channels, contributing to eliminating visitors’ fear of traveling.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) is tasked with coordinating activities of tourism stimulus alliances of localities, while tourism associations, businesses, and airlines are required to support localities and businesses to advertise information about the stimulus programmes on the website www.vietnamtourism.gov.vn, the Tourism Newspaper, the Tourism Magazine and the Youtube, Zalo, and Facebook channels of VNAT. VNA
The plan for the flights' resumption needs to be approved by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, chair of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
To develop sustainably the tourism industry in the new normal, besides stimulating demand, the most important thing is to ensure safety for tourists.