Vietnam opens its first trade routes, but remains closed to tourism

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- After more than six months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam announced the reopening of its trade routes with four Asian countries, although strong restrictions continue to prevent the entry of foreign tourists.

As announced by the Government of Hanoi in a Tuesday statement, commercial air connections were resumed with China (Canton), Japan (Tokyo), South Korea (Seoul) and Taiwan (Taipei) for Vietnamese citizens and relatives, foreigners with diplomatic passports, expert workers, entrepreneurs, investors and international students.

All of them must present a negative PCR test for the coronavirus carried out in the three days before the flight and will be subjected to another test as soon as they land, before spending five days in a quarantine center and another two weeks with restricted movements. All expenses will be borne by the passenger.

Skilled workers and investors who plan to stay in the country for less than 14 days will be able to evade quarantine, but their movements within the country will be very limited.

The government said there would be a maximum of two round trips a week with each of the destinations, which Laos (Vientiane) and Cambodia (Phnom Pen) will join from Sep. 22.

Vietnam closed its commercial flights on Mar. 25 due to the spread of the virus and since then has only allowed the entry of charter flights for the repatriation of Vietnamese abroad and for international skilled workers.

With the epidemic apparently under control with 1,063 cases and 35 deaths from COVID-19, authorities have been considering a progressive reactivation of trade routes with nearby countries for weeks, but there is still no date for an opening to international tourism.

Vietnam has been one of the countries that has best contained the pandemic, supported by its effective tracking of contagions, mass quarantines and closure of its borders since the end of March. EFE-EPA


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