|The world-famous Golden Bridge in Da Nang. — VNA/VNS Photo
The deputy spokesperson for the foreign ministry Pham Thu Hang made the remarks on Thursday during the regular press briefing in Hanoi.
The Vietnamese Government has agreed in principle with the tentative three-phase roadmap on taking in international visitors to Vietnam, with phase 1 beginning in November, phase 2 beginning in January 2022, and phase 3 starting from the second quarter next year.
In phase 1, or the pilot period, foreign tourists would arrive in Vietnam on ‘combo flights’ – where passengers pay fees for tickets, quarantine, and testing prior to departure – with charter and commercial flights to Phu Quoc City (Kien Giang Province), Cam Ranh City (Khanh Hoa), Quang Nam and Da Nang – some of the country’s most popular destinations.
The visitors will need to possess all required medical documents at the request of the Vietnamese authorities, especially COVID-19 vaccination certificates or a proof of recent recovery from COVID-19.
Hang said that international tourists will have to comply with pandemic prevention and control measures as instructed by relevant authorities and local administrations.
“To ensure the pandemic control efforts and absolute safety and health for the both local residents and foreign tourists, localities in the pilot reopening programme are rushing to get the populace fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including migrant workers working there,” Hang said, adding that a number of large-scale tourist accommodations or areas have also been designated as isolated resorts for foreign tourists.
On the issue of vaccine passports, Hang said Vietnam currently recognises vaccination certificates or vaccine passports of 72 countries and territories that were officially introduced to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
People with these documents can use them directly in Vietnam and can have their quarantine period reduced to seven days, in line with the Ministry of Health’s regulations applicable for fully vaccinated people or those who have recovered from COVID-19.
The list of the countries along with examples of the accepted certificates are continuously updated on the website of the Consular Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
People from countries that have not officially introduced their COVID-19 vaccination certificates or recovery certificates could still ask Vietnamese diplomatic missions overseas to validate or approve the contents of such documents to get to Vietnam.
However, this is a temporary measure before Vietnam officially recognises vaccine passports from these countries, Hang added.
“To get official recognition from Vietnam, the vaccine passports from other countries and territories need to fulfil the criteria identified set out in the Vietnamese Government-approved criteria for recognition and use of vaccine passports from other countries and territories,” she noted.
Specifically, on COVID-19 vaccine types, Vietnam would accept the vaccines that have been approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), European Medicine Agency (EMA), and the Vietnamese health ministry – meaning that any of these following ten shots would do: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson&Johnson’s Janssen, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm’s Vero Cell along with the UAE version Hayat-Vax, Sinovac, Covishield (Oxford/AstraZeneca formulation, made in India), Sputnik V, Abdala, and most recently, India’s Covaxin.
With regards to the format, the templates for vaccine passports need to be issued simultaneously as electronic and physical copies, and the physical copies would need to carry a verification code.
With regards to the countries and territories approved, the countries and territories need to have high safety index and level of vaccination.
Under the instructions from the Government, relevant authorities in Vietnam are considering expanding the list of eligible arrivals into Vietnam at an appropriate time, to soon resume regular commercial international flights.
The Vietnamese foreign ministry’s representative also noted that negotiations are ongoing with 90 partners to have Vietnamese COVID-19 vaccine certificates recognised.
“As of early November, the US, Japan, the UK and Belarus have made formal announcements on the recognition of the Vietnamese vaccine passports, with specific requirements of vaccine types used. India has agreed in principle. Other partners such as China, South Korea, ASEAN and EU countries are actively reviewing the issue and are waiting for Vietnam to introduce a unified/consistent vaccine passport,” Hang said.
Vietnamese authorities are working together to soon issue the national vaccine passport that is in line with international standards, she added.
Direct flight to the US
Asked on the recent permission from US’ authorities for the national carrier Vietnam Airlines’ direct flight, Hang said opening such flights will certainly give a boost to bilateral cooperation, especially in terms of economy and trade, tourism, education and people-to-people exchanges.
“This has been particularly prepared over a long period of time, and with the close cooperation between the competent authorities of the two countries,” she added.
Vietnam Airlines has been granted approval from the US’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on aviation safety to open a regular commercial direct flight between Vietnam and the US.
Authorities in Vietnam are working hard to finalise the procedures to get the flight plan underway, and they are continuing to work closely with other Vietnamese airlines should they wish to enhance their capacity to establish direct flight routes to the US, the diplomat noted.