Vietnam proposes suspending all flights from countries with UK COVID-19 variant

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s heath ministry has proposed suspending or limiting incoming flights from at least 34 countries and territories that have detected cases of the new COVID-19 variant first found in Britain, the government said on Monday.

The ministry did not say which countries would be subject to the ban.

The proposal has been submitted to the prime minister and is awaiting approval after Vietnam confirmed its first imported case of the new coronavirus variant on Saturday.

The new variant includes a genetic mutation that could result in the virus spreading more easily between people.

Due to the emergence of the new variant of the virus, which scientists have said is 40-70% more transmissible than the original one, over 40 countries have applied similar bans.

Vietnam has suspended all inbound international commercial flights since late March to curb the spread of the virus but the government has been operating repatriation flights to bring home Vietnamese citizens stuck abroad amid the pandemic.

Some special flights carrying foreign experts and investors have been allowed to fly into Vietnam. All people entering the country have to spend 14 days in quarantine.

With strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam quickly contained the coronavirus, allowing economic activity to rebound faster than in much of Asia. Vietnam has recorded 1,497 infections and 35 deaths from COVID-19.

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