The Vietnamese government on Tuesday decided to reopen commercial air routes to six international destinations, and will allow passengers to undergo a shorter quarantine period than normally required if they test negative for COVID-19 twice.

The official decision was made by Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh during a meeting that took place earlier the same day, the government office stated in a document.

Accordingly, flights along the Vietnam-mainland China (Guangzhou), Vietnam-Japan (Tokyo), Vietnam-South Korea (Seoul), and Vietnam-Taiwan (Taipei) routes were resumed on Tuesday.

The Vietnam-Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and Vietnam-Laos (Vientiane) air routes will be reopened on September 22.

The number of flights along each route shall not exceed two per week each way.

Foreign passengers who are diplomats and officials and their family members must have certificates showing they tested negative for COVID-19 three days before their flights.

They will undergo another RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) test at a quarantine facility following their arrival in Vietnam.

They will be quarantined at public residences of their respective representative agencies or at hotels or accommodation establishments according to regulations.

Foreign passengers who are experts, investors, business managers, and skilled workers and their families, international students, and family members of Vietnamese citizens are also required to present certificates showing they tested negative for COVID-19 three days before their flights.

They will be tested again after arriving in Vietnam and will be quarantined at factories, company headquarters or hotels and other accommodations.

Vietnamese passengers will need to meet similar requirements, but will stay at quarantine centers managed by the military or at local hotels and other accommodations.

Deputy PM Minh agreed that passengers of these air routes will be quarantined for only about five days if their RT-PCR tests come back negative for COVID-19 twice.

Following this period, they will undergo self-quarantine at home and company headquarters, and have their health monitored in accordance with regulations.

If the passengers have transited a third country before arriving in Vietnam, they will have to be quarantined for 14 days, and strict prevention measures must be taken.

Vietnam began barring entry to foreign nationals on March 22 and suspended commercial international flights from March 25 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Since then, charter flights to the country have only been arranged to bring in experts, skilled workers, and diplomats, and to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded in other nations and territories due to the pandemic.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally stood at 1,063, with 931 having recovered and 35 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

The country has gone 13 days without documenting any locally-transmitted cases.

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