Vietnam cuts domestic flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City

HANOI, July 11 (Bloomberg): Vietnam’s aviation authority said most provinces and cities have either suspended flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City or cut daily flights amid a dramatic spike in virus patients in the nation’s biggest city, which began a 15-day stay-home order on Friday (July 9).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam further proposed cutting the daily number of round-trip seats offered on flights between the capital city of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to 3, 400 for 15 days beginning July 9, according to a statement on its website.

The transport ministry on Thursday mandated a valid negative Covid test result for all passengers flying to and from Ho Chi Minh City, the aviation authority said.

The regulator suggested maintaining daily flights between Ho Chi Minh City and the central region -- including Danang, Phu Cat, Buon Ma Thuot and Cam Ranh -- to one or two, the statement said. It did not propose restrictions on cargo flights.

Vietnam halted international commercial flights in December, though it allows flights bringing Vietnamese home from abroad and those for investors and experts.

Authorities in Hanoi suspended public transportation between the city and 14 provinces and cities late Thursday, according to the city’s government website. Only vehicles taking workers to factories and companies are allowed to travel between the regions.

Ho Chi Minh City’s new anti-virus restrictions include a suspension of take-out food services, the city’s media center said, citing Deputy Mayor Duong Anh Duc. Residents have been ordered to remain home except for essential trips such as to buy food, seek medical care and for some work.

Authorities in the neighboring province Dong Nai, home to 32 industrial parks, also issued a stay-home order from Friday after a reported 160 virus cases as of Thursday, the provincial government said on its website, without mentioning how long the order will last.

Vietnam reported a new record high of 1, 853 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday (July 10), surpassing the previous record of 1, 625 cases registered on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health.

The new infections include 1, 844 locally transmitted and nine imported, bringing the total tally to 27, 863, the ministry said.

Among the community cases, 1, 320 were reported in the southern Ho Chi Minh City, 140 in the nearby southern Binh Duong province, and 75 in the southern Tien Giang province.

On Saturday, the ministry also confirmed that two more Covid-19 patients had died, raising the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country to 112.

The nation of 98 million people, which has administered nearly 4 million vaccine doses through July 8, expects to receive 8.7 million doses this month, the government website said on Thursday. Vietnam aims to reach herd immunity of 75% its population by early next year. - Bloomberg

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