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Ministry proposes suspending flights from countries with new coronavirus variant

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HCMC – The Ministry of Health has proposed the prime minister suspend or limit flights from countries and territories that have reported the UK coronavirus variant.

The ministry suggested the Government leader direct the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security, Transport and National Defense and the relevant agencies to stop organizing and limit the licensing of flights to Vietnam from countries and territories that have reported cases of the new coronavirus variant, the local media reported.

At present, all commercial flights to the country are still suspended; only repatriation flights and those carrying cargo are allowed.

According to the ministry, the Covid-19 pandemic is showing complicated developments. On December 18, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the identification of the new coronavirus variant, which may be 70% more transmissible than the old one.

More than 40 countries and territories have imposed entry restrictions and border closures and also restricted flights to and from the United Kingdom and countries that have detected the new variant, with Germany, the Netherlands and Bulgaria being the pioneers.

Meanwhile, France requires guests to have negative Covid-19 test certificates, while Spain and Turkey have banned the immigration of those coming from the United Kingdom until the end of this month.

The United States and the rest of Europe have also reduced the number of flights from and to the United Kingdom.

In Asia, Japan has prohibited the entry of people from all countries until the end of January and Indonesia has temporarily stopped welcoming travelers from the United Kingdom.

Therefore, Vietnam also needs to restrict flights from some countries, according to the Health Ministry.

The ministry on January 2 reported the first case of the United Kingdom coronavirus variant, who is a 45-year-old woman who returned to Vietnam from the United Kingdom.

Until date, 35 countries and territories worldwide have confirmed patients infected with the new coronavirus variant, with most of them coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa, the first two countries to record the variant.

In related news, the Ministry of Health on January 4 confirmed that N.V.P., 65, a military retiree in HCMC’s Binh Chanh District has tested negative for Covid-19 after he was suspected of being infected with the disease.

The man traveled to Sa Pa Town of Lao Cai Province from December 24 to 27 last year. On December 28, he had a cough and fever so he bought some medicines from a drugstore near his house. Three days later, he was admitted to Military Hospital 7A in District 5.

As he showed symptoms of Covid-19, the hospital took two of his samples for testing at the HCMC Pasteur Institute and both results came back negative.

According to the ministry, 36 of the 37 people who came into close contact with him while traveling and at Military Hospital 7A have been tested for Covid-19 but the results have yet to be announced. The competent agencies are also looking out for the driver of his tour.

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