Welcoming visitors with "vaccine passports"
Van Don international airport in Quang Ninh province was selected to welcome the first visitors with a "vaccine passport" on September 4.
This is a new direction in both preventing the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic and maintaining safe economic activities.
People's lives above all
Van Don International Airport, Quang Ninh Province.
Director of Van Don Airport Pham Ngoc Sau said that the airport had carefully prepared to welcome the first visitors using the vaccine passport. The authorities of Van Don airport and experts of the Ministry of Health and relevant agencies conducted a field survey at the airport on July 1. After surveying the airport, the interdisciplinary inspection team praised the preparation work.
Sau said that flights using "vaccine passports" have a lower risk of infection than "rescue" flights. However, it is a challenge to ensure that 100% of visitors are fully vaccinated with two doses of vaccine and have had a negative RT-PCR test.
"I was a bit worried about this at first, because if one visitor is ineligible, we could not send the person back. I think, after the first few pilot flights, we can assess the risk and find out what stages need to be improved. Because just one loophole can lead to unpredictable consequences," Sau said.
For the first flight with the vaccine passport, passengers obeyed the instructions very seriously. The control stages at the airport were very strict, ensuring the process.
The strategic flight
Employees of Van Don International Airport.
On the afternoon of September 4, Van Don airport welcomed the first flight carrying 297 Vietnamese citizens from Japan to pilot the 7-day quarantine program. Passengers on the flight had to satisfy two conditions: being fully vaccinated (the last dose given within at least 14 days and no more than 12 months by the time of entry) and have negative testing results for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR/RT-LAMP testing method within 72 hours before departure and certified by the competent authority of the host country.
After arriving at Van Don airport, the passengers moved to Novotel Ha Long hotel (Quang Ninh) for a 7-day concentrated quarantine period.
The entire process of picking up passengers at the airport and taking them to the quarantine site was carried out in a professional and orderly manner, in strict compliance with the direction of the Government and the guidance of the Ministry of Health, ensuring absolute safety for all passengers and airport staff.
Under the vaccine passport program, Van Don airport will welcome two flights from the US on September 12 and one flight from Europe on September 21. After the first pilot flights, Government agencies and the authorities of Quang Ninh province will evaluate and learn from experience from these flights before implementing the program on a nationwide scale.
From February 2020 to September 2021, Van Don airport served 228 flights with 45,872 passengers returning home from Covid-19 epidemic areas in the world and foreign experts returning or coming to Vietnam to work.
A plane carrying 297 passengers with a vaccine passport from Japan landed at Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh province on September 3.
Experts believe that Vietnam should reopen the domestic aviation and tourism market with vaccine passports as the number of people who have received two doses of the vaccine is increasing.