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Thousands of overseas Vietnamese repatriate for fears of COVID-19

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15:46 | 18/03/2020

There were 1,095 passengers from Europe to Vietnam today (March 18), including 999 Vietnamese and 96 foreign visitors. At the same time, more than 5,700 Vietnamese from ASEAN countries returned home amidst the widespread Covid-19 epidemic.    

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Thousands overseas Vietnamese return home these days. Photo: Dan Tri

Information from aviation authorities said that, of the 999 Vietnamese passengers, 325 returned from the UK, France and Germany, the three countries where the COVID-19 pandemic is booming. The remainders returned from transit flights passing through European cities.

A large number of Vietnamese are repatriating as Europe is the new epicenter of COVID-19. Leaders in the European Union have agreed to close the bloc's external borders to most non-EU citizens for 30 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Also, on March 18, Vietnam is expected to receive 5,711 expatriates returning from ASEAN region.

Of these, Noi Bai airport welcomes 22 flights with 1,623 passengers. Da Nang airport welcomed 7 flights, 342 guests. Cam Ranh Airport welcomed 2 flights, 220 guests. Lien Khuong Airport welcomes 2 flights, 159 guests. Tan Son Nhat Airport welcomes 43 flights with 3,159 guests. Can Tho and Phu Quoc airports only take 1 trip, with 129 and 79 passengers respectively.

Regarding immigration procedures, Deputy Director of Noi Bai International Airport To Tu Ha said that the procedures at this stage are much more complicated than usual to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic.

All passengers entering Vietnam will have to make a heath declaration. In addition, passengers coming from the epidemic areas will be compulsorily quarantined at centralized facilities and tested for COVID-19.

To assists passengers who have to wait a long time, Noi Bai International Airport has served free meals and drinks to passengers in need.

Starting Wednesday, Vietnam will stop issuing new visas to all foreigners in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The restriction applies to arrivals from all countries and territories, except for those who are eligible for visa waivers, including overseas Vietnamese and those who have to enter the country for special matters, like experts and highly-skilled workers. These people must present a statement confirming that they are free of the novel coronavirus to be allowed to enter Vietnam, and that document must be an official one released by competent authorities of the host countries and must be approved by the Vietnamese government, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a directive.

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