Ministry result

Omicron could affect international flight resumption plans: Ministry of Transport

Vietnamese passengers undergo immigration procedures at Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh province after landing on a flight from the United States on September 12, 2021. Photo by VnExpress / Binh Minh

Vietnam plans to resume international flights in early 2022, but the transport ministry has said the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 could throw a wrench in the works.

He had recommended resuming flights to 12 countries and territories as part of a three-phase roadmap starting in January, but the emergence of the new tension has made some destination countries cautious, the deputy minister said. Nguyen Ngoc Dong Transport at a government meeting on Thursday.

His ministry is therefore once again in discussions with the parties concerned to finalize a detailed plan, he added.

Under the plan he submitted, commercial flights are expected to resume to countries and territories with good pandemic control records and high vaccination rates.

Fully vaccinated passengers and those who have recovered from the disease will be quarantined for seven days at chargeable facilities upon arrival in Vietnam.

In the second phase starting in the second quarter of 2022, passengers with a Vietnam-approved vaccine passport will be exempt from quarantine and from the third quarter, normal flight services will resume.

Some countries, including South Korea and Japan, to which Vietnam was planning to restart flights have recorded cases of infection with Omicron, which the World Health Organization has called a “variant of concern.”

Scientists say it has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the most mutated variant to date, which is expected to spread faster and have a higher risk of reinfection than other strains.

Many countries around the world have tightened entry restrictions or closed their borders.

Vietnam grounded international flights in March last year, allowing only its nationals, foreign experts, investors and highly skilled workers to enter.