The Transport Ministry said Wednesday that quarantine facilities in Hanoi can no longer admit new people. It asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to direct incoming flights to land at Van Don airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
On Wednesday, the Noi Bai airport received 500 Vietnamese in four flights arriving from Russia, Japan, and Thailand. A Vietnam Airlines flight from Germany with 165 passengers was directed to land at the Van Don airport. All passengers were sent to centralized quarantine facilities.
Also starting Wednesday, all Vietnamese carriers had suspended international flights in the Covid-19 containment bid. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had earlier ordered the suspension of all international flights to Vietnam as the country restricted entry by air, road and sea.
A few foreign carriers were still carrying Vietnamese passengers home.
Flights carrying Vietnamese home to Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat airport were also suspended for the same reason from Wednesday. Such flights are being directed to Can Tho airport in the Mekong Delta.
Before the suspension, HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat and Hanoi’s Noi Bai airports, the largest in the country, had been receiving a large number of Vietnamese passengers returning home from foreign countries amidst escalating fears over the Covid-19 pandemic, overloading local quarantine facilities.
Earlier, on Sunday, Vietnam suspended entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers.
Only Vietnamese nationals and foreigners carrying diplomatic and official passports such as business managers, experts and high-skilled workers will be allowed to enter the country at this time, with all entrants quarantined for 14 days, the government said.
The country has recorded 148 infections, including 17 people who had been treated and discharged. The majority of the active cases are returnees from Europe and the U.S. and those passing through pandemic-stricken areas.
The Covid-19 pandemic has killed so far over 20,000 people globally.