Vietnam speeds up reopening phase

HANOI, 4 February 2022: Vietnam is preparing for a broader reopening of its borders and will reinstate more international commercial flights once the Lunar New Year Tet celebrations are over, the Vietnam Government Portal news channel reports.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, some international flights resumed at the end of January, and the government confirmed that 14 of 63 cities and provinces allowed students to return to school starting 28 January. The total number of students back to schools reached nearly 15.7 million, accounting for 69%, the ministry added.

It is expected that 75.71% of students nationwide will return to schools after the Lunar New Year. Around 91% of higher education at universities and colleges will resume after the week-long holiday.

Since early January, the government allowed the partial resumption of international commercial flights to nine countries after a close to two-year hiatus.

International flights were authorised to Beijing/Guangxi (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (the Republic of Korea), Taiwan, Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco/Los Angeles (the US). Only flights to China remain pending.

At the end of January, airlines gained the green light to fly to Europe and Australia. They started just before the Tet holiday commenced.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines launched scheduled services to Australia, the UK, France, and Germany. Once the  Tet holiday is over, Bamboo Airways will operate flights to Germany, the UK, and Australia.

Under the current protocols, international passengers entering Vietnam must present a negative PCR test certificate. Travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the virus are allowed to enter, but they must self-isolate for three days at places of residence. Those who have not been vaccinated or partially vaccinated shall be required to self-isolate for seven days.

The government has abolished the rapid Covid-19 test requirement for international airline passengers before boarding and after landing in Vietnam.

To date, Vietnam has temporarily recognised Covid-19 vaccination certificates and passports issued by 79 countries and territories.

Negotiations are now underway to accept other vaccine passports, especially those in a digital format.

Meanwhile, 10 countries have endorsed Vietnam’s vaccine passport to facilitate travel between their countries and Vietnam.

On 29 January, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh ordered the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to work with the Ministry of Health to devise a phased plan to complete the tourism reopening no later than 30 April.

A pilot scheme that allows international tourists to travel to Phu Quoc Island, Quang Nam, Danang, and Khanh Hoa in the central region, and Quang Ninh in the northern region extends to include Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Dinh.

Incoming tourists are required to present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate issued at least 14 days before entry or have proof of recovery from Covid-19 within six months before entering the country.

They must also show a negative PCR test certificate issued within 72 hours before entry and purchase health insurance with Covid-19 treatment cover with a minimum value of USD50,000.

Since last November, Vietnam has welcomed about 8,500 international tourists from Russia, South Korea, Singapore, the UK, and the US under the scheme.

According to data provided by the country’s General Statistics Office, the country recorded 111,057 international visitor arrivals by air in 2021, down 96.4%. Arrivals by land declined 92.5% to 45,598, and just 614 visitors by sea down 99.6%. In 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, the country welcomed 18 million international visitor arrivals.

(Source: VGP)