Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia July 21
Evacuation of Vietnamese workers from Equatorial Guinea in the pipeline
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has been urged to devise a range of scenarios in order to arrange a repatriation flight for 219 Vietnamese guest workers who have been left stranded in Equatorial Guinea.
The move comes after the Ministry of Transport had sent a document to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to direct Vietnam Airlines to come up with plans for the special flight.
At a recent Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested that relevant agencies move to conduct a special flight that is capable of evacuating the guest workers from the West African nation.
Taking into account the technical conditions of the air route itself and the infrastructure at the airport in the host country, Vietnam Airlines and related agencies have developed four scenarios suitable for the repatriation flight.
Accordingly, three of the scenarios opt to use one wide-body aircraft A350 to conduct a direct flight to Equatorial Guinea to bring back the Vietnamese guest workers.
The remaining scheme sees the use of two narrow-body aircraft A321, one of which will be specifically for carrying workers infected by the novel coronavirus, while the other will transport healthy workers in an attempt to lower the spreading risk of the virus.
However, for the last option the two planes must transit in the United Arab Emirates for the departure trip and via Saudi Arabia and India on the return flight.
The repatriation flight itself can be considered unprecedented, as Vietnam has no direct flights to Equatorial Guinea, a nation with poor infrastructure conditions and ongoing conflict.
It was reported that half of the Vietnamese guest workers who are set to board the flight have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Relevant agencies are considering plans to ensure the workers’ health condition remains stable throughout the journey.
12 new imported cases of COVID-19 reported on July 21 morning
Vietnam recorded 12 new infections of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on July 21 morning, and all are imported cases boarding a flight four days ago, according to the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.
Vietnamese citizens wait to handle broading procedures at Sheremetyevo International Airport of Russia
The new patients, comprising two women and 10 men, had been repatriated on Flight VN5062, which departed Russia and transited Belarus before landing at Van Don International Airport in northern Quang Ninh province on July 17.
All of them have been quarantined upon their arrival.
Meanwhile, Vietnam entered the 96th straight day without community transmission of COVID-19 on July 21.
Among the 396 confirmed cases so far, 256 are imported and quarantined upon their arrival.
Most of the 36 patients still under treatment are in stable condition, including four negative for the virus once and one at least twice.
There are 11,088 people having close contact with confirmed cases or coming from pandemic-hit areas in quarantine at present, including 111 in hospitals, 9,949 in other quarantine sites, and 1,028 at home or accommodation facilities.
Thailand prepares for sixth phase on easing COVID-19 restrictions
Thailand is preparing for the sixth phase on relaxing measures on COVID-19 prevention, which may allow five groups of foreigners and migrant workers to enter the country.
The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) of Thailand said it would grant permission to migrant construction workers and those working in the food export industry, foreign visitors who are involved in trade exhibitions, foreigner involved in film production, and travellers who are members of the Thailand Elite Card scheme.
A committee assigned to consider the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has discussed the sixth phase of relaxation and the issue will be tabled to a full meeting of the CCSA this week.
As of July 20, Thailand marked 56 consecutive days without COVID-19 transmissions in the community while new cases were imported ones.
From January this year, the country reported a total of 3,250 infections, including 58 deaths.
Over 300 citizens flown home from Taiwan
More than 300 Vietnamese citizens were brought home from Taiwan (China) on a flight of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on July 20.
The flight was arranged by Vietnamese authorities, the Vietnam Economic - Culture Office in Taipei, Vietnam Airlines and relevant agencies of Taiwan.
The passengers included the elderly, students under 18, workers with expired labour contracts, pregnant women, those with poor health conditions, students who finished their studies, and stranded tourists.
The Vietnam Economic - Culture Office in Taipei had closely worked with local authorities to help the citizens complete procedures and sent staff to the airport to assist them.
Strict security and safety measures were enforced during the flight to protect passengers’ health and prevent the spread of the disease.
Immediately after the flight landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, all passengers and crew members were given health check and quarantined in line with regulations.
Under the Prime Minister’s direction, domestic authorities and Vietnam’s overseas representative offices will arrange more flights to take Vietnamese citizens home, depending on the citizens’ need and the country’s quarantine capacity.
Russian expert positive for COVID-19
A Russian expert has tested positive for COVID-19 after his arrival in Vietnam, raising the national tally to 384 as of 6pm on July 20, announced the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The 27-year-old man landed at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Ho Chi Minh City on July 11 and had been put under quarantine right upon his arrival.
After moving to a quarantine area in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau, he tested negative to the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 on July 13. Five days later, he showed symptoms of fever, sore throat and back pain.
His sample was sent to the Pasteur Institute in HCM City and he was found to be positive for the virus.
Earlier, nine patients on the same flight were found positive for COVID-19 and had gone into quarantine in Ba Ria - Vung Tau.
Vietnam marked the 95th straight day without community transmission of the COVID-19 on July 20.
Up to 244 of the 384 confirmed patients are imported cases who were quarantined upon arrival.
On the day, three more patients were declared to have recovered, bringing the number of recoveries to 360, and there are no related deaths.
Most of the remainders are in stable condition, including four negative for the virus once and another at least twice.
There are 11,697 people having close contact with confirmed cases or coming from pandemic-hit areas in quarantine at present, including 141 in hospitals, 10,486 in other quarantine sites, and 1,070 at home or accommodation facilities.
Vietjet continues to conduct flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home
Following the direction of the Government, Vietjet has cooperated with Vietnamese authorities and representative offices abroad to bring Vietnamese citizens home in response to the citizens’ wishes and in line with the country’s quarantine capacity.
Vietjet expects to bring nearly 10,000 Vietnamese citizens abroad safely back home by the end of July, fully complying with entry requirements and quarantine upon arrival.
All Vietjet flights are in accordance with global supreme standards and recommendations from authorities, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in order to ensure the safety of all passengers and crews before, during and after the flights, the carrier said in a press release issued on July 20.
In the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, Vietjet has quickly launched a campaign to repatriate passengers with many free flights and one-way ferry flights to bring Vietnamese and foreign citizens back home. All of passengers, cabin crew, vehicles and aircraft are completely safe. Besides, Vietjet also participated in transporting thousands of tonnes of essential goods, medical equipment and donated more than 2.5 million medical masks to the people of the UK, France, Germany and the US to support the countries in preventing and repelling the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.
Based on the results of repatriation flights, Vietjet will continue to work closely with the authorities and the Government to adjust the flight frequencies in accordance with the actual situation; increase repatriation and commercial flights to bring Vietnamese citizens back home. Currently, the airline has completed preparations to resume international flights and been awaiting official approval from the Government.
On July 18, Vietjet operated an international flight bringing 240 Vietnamese citizens from the Philippines back home safely.
In July, Vietjet has also operated three other repatriation flights from Singapore, Taiwan (China), Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The airline is expected to operate four more flights to bring more Vietnamese citizens from the Philippines, Russia, Brunei, Indonesia and Myanmar home in the coming time.
Vietjet is a fully-fledged member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. As Vietnam’s largest private carrier, the airline was awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars in 2018 and 2019 by the world’s only safety and product rating website airlineratings.com and listed as one of the world’s 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in 2018 and 2019.
The airline has also been named as Best Low-Cost Carrier by renowned organisations such as Skytrax, CAPA, Airline Ratings, and many others.