|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the meeting. (Photo: VGP)
He made the remarks during a virtual meeting on September 18 with localities on COVID-19, as the country currently has plans to restart routine flights to six destinations in Asia – Cambodia, Laos, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Taiwan.
The Vietnamese Government leader asked that the frequency of the flights should be increased, including commercial flights to bring in foreign experts and investors or to repatriate Vietnamese citizens.
The detailed flight plan should be submitted to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh as well as Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Chairman of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, for approval, PM Phuc said.
He noted that there should be plans in place to quickly receive passengers at airports to avoid risks of infection from overcrowding.
The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Security were asked to handle applications for entry from foreign investors and experts faster and further streamline procedures to make it easier for them to get into Vietnam, while still maintaining health measures.
The Government leader also asked for a clearer and more transparent process for experts and investors as many businesses are currently still in the dark about the specifics or which agency is handling which procedure.
Given that the infection cases and deaths continued to rise across the globe, all localities and sectors must be always on guard, especially in managing arrivals from overseas into Vietnam, to avoid community infections during the initial stage of reopening, PM Phuc demanded.
The quarantine facilities must be frequently inspected, especially in terms of their health protocols and hygiene.
PM Phuc said that foreign arrivals on short-term business or diplomatic trips to Vietnam, who must have produced negative proof of coronavirus tests upon entry and are exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine, must be asked to refrain from using entertainment services such as karaoke venues and bars or attending festivals or other forms of large gatherings.
The Ministry of Health was told to improve COVID-19 testing and proposed forms of testing at border gates or airports, as well as better its disease prevention protocols for entries into Vietnam.
Taking lessons from Da Nang, PM Phuc said it was very important to review and ensure anti-pandemic control in medical facilities.
The health sector was asked to improve treatment regimes, continue to research and develop COVID-19 vaccines and keep up international cooperation, especially with countries that are getting results from clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Ministry of Information and Communications was told to work with the Ministry of Health to set up multilanguage hotlines so that foreigners could get quick access to medical services and avoid preventable virus exposure to the community.
While most socio-economic activities had resumed “with an even faster pace than before”, it was important to remain vigilant and avoid the return of outbreaks, PM Phuc said, citing the lesson of 99 days of no domestic cases before the fresh wave – with Da Nang city as the epicenter – started in late July.
Masks would continue to be enforced in public, while unnecessary large gatherings should be avoided, the Government leader said.
At the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Ha Noi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy said that the city had gone 30 days without community infections and was determined to keep up socio-economic development while ensuring public health.
To prepare for upcoming foreign arrivals, Ha Noi had designated 14 hotels – including upscale ones like Crown Plaza, Sofitel and the Intercontinental – with a capacity of 2,110 rooms ready to be used as paid quarantine facilities.