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Is the 7-days quarantine with international passengers too cautious?

25-10-2021

At the seminar on reopening the international aviation market on the morning of November 10, organized by the Traffic Newspaper, Vo Huy Cuong, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said that the aviation industry had many times intended to resume international flights but not yet implemented. The biggest problem right now was the requirement for medical isolation for incoming passengers.

"The country has shifted from a strategy of targeting zero Covid cases to flexible adaptation, this has been a very important change. Pilot flights to bring citizens home have been carried out since September 2020, ensuring the control of the people entering and avoiding infecting the community. It was the pilot process." said Mr. Cuong.

 

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Associate Professor - Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, a former head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine (Ministry of Health), said resuming  international flights was an urgent need. The regional countries have opened their doors and had gentler medical isolation regulations.

“We are stipulating a 7-day quarantine, but Thailand only requires a test 72 hours before and after entering Thailand, with a vaccine passport. Thus, guests arriving in Thailand only stay 1 night at a hotel, the next day if they have a negative result with PCR, they can go everywhere,"" Mr. Nga said.

In terms of epidemiology, if they were vaccinated, a negative test is relatively safe for people around and they would not need to be isolated for 7 days, he said.

“In the past, when foreign tourists entered, we cared if they spread the disease to Vietnam, but now we care how to treat them if they have Covid-19. As Thailand stipulates, people entering this country must have insurance worth 50,000 USD, while Singapore is 100,000 USD. In order to open an airline, it is necessary to prepare more for the legal medical industry, as well as treatment facilities, ""said Mr. Nga.

Domestic enterprises are very "impatient".

"Nguyen Quang Trung, Head of the Planning and Development Department of Vietnam Airlines, said at a recent talk that all domestic airlines and travel companies are now impatient.  If this continues in a long term, many enterprises will disappear in the market. After reopening the door, the competitiveness of domestic enterprises will be very weak compared to foreign ones and the recovery of the market will also be slower than that of long-standing large foreign  enterprises.

Secondly, in terms of national and destination competition, the slow implementation of reopening steps for tourists will lead to Vietnam's destination competition in the coming time being affected.

Regarding the isolation regulations, according to Mr. Nguyen Le Phuc, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the tourism industry has had package programs, setting up ""bubbles"" for tourists to rest. Regarding the vaccine passport, this is the certificate of the person who has been vaccinated, F0 recovered. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has negotiated and been recognized by more than 70 countries, Vietnamese international students who bring that certificate abroad are accepted by all countries (the only application is PC-COVID).

Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Le Phuc said the tourism industry has prepared safe conditions to welcome international visitors. Meanwhile, Thailand began opening its doors to foreign tourists on July 1. Under the ASEAN BOX program, by mid-October, about 50,000 international visitors entered Thailand. As many as 800,000 rooms have been booked by February 2022. Among international visitors to Thailand, only 91 have get SARS-CoV-2. Although the number of cases is still increasing in Phuket (Thailand), it is still expanding to welcome vaccinated tourists from more than 45 low-risk countries to 17 areas, including Bangkok.

"Vietnam's rate of two injections per day is very fast, the opening of international tourism is appropriate, in the spirit of ensuring safety against epidemics." said Mr. Phuc.

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