Ho Chi Minh City proposes suspending airport health declaration for foreign arrivals

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Ho Chi Minh City proposes suspending airport health declaration for foreign arrivals

This image shows passengers waiting in line for health declaration procedures at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: C. Trung / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have proposed the Ministry of Health suspending health declaration procedures for people entering Vietnam via the Tan Son Nhat International Airport to ease congestion at the airdome.

In a dispatch to the ministry on Wednesday, the municipal administration instead recommended that passengers, upon completion of their immigration procedures, self-monitor and declare their health conditions via the PC-COVID app on their smartphones during their stay in Vietnam.

The proposal came as the COVID-19 pandemic has been put under control in the city as well as in the whole country, whose vaccination coverage has been among the highest rates in the world.

Such suspension of the health declaration process will help facilitate passengers’ travel and reduce overcrowding at Tan Son Nhat, the largest international airport in the country, especially during holidays or on weekends, the municipal government said.

According to the health ministry’s latest COVID-19 rules, issued on March 15, people arriving in Vietnam by air are required to make medical declarations via http://tokhaiyte.vn or the Vietnam Health Declaration app before their entry, among other requirements including a negative RT-PCR test result.

In compliance with the regulations, the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control has controlled the COVID-19 test results and health declarations of all arrivals at Tan Son Nhat.

However, many passengers, including elderly people and the handicapped, have failed to make such health declarations or provided incorrect or insufficient information, leading to more time for customs and airport staff to handle their cases.

Such a situation caused more people waiting to go through the process, leading to congestion at the airport, the city’s administration explained.

Currently, as in many other localities across the country, the pandemic has been kept at bay in Ho Chi Minh City, a halt to such health declaration is advisable, local authorities said.

New daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in the southern city have recently drastically fallen, to 93 and zero, respectively, on Friday, compared to 1,094 and one a month earlier, according to the health ministry.

Since the pandemic hit Vietnam in early 2020, Ho Chi Minh City has documented 609,569 COVID-19 cases and 19,984 fatalities.

Across the Southeast Asian country, which houses some 98 million inhabitants, 10,544,324 infections, with 9,079,265 recoveries and 42,998 mortalities, have been recorded, the ministry’s data shows.

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