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OVs to receive favourable conditions to return to homeland: official

The best possible conditions will be created for overseas Vietnamese (OVs) to return to the homeland with safety from the pandemic ensured, especially now that the Lunar New Year festival is just around the corner, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu has said.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, the Chairman of the State Committee for OV Affairs also said repatriating OVs amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a major policy of the Party and State.

During the recent overseas trips by Vietnamese leaders, OVs expressed their wish to visit the homeland, attracting great attention from Party and State leaders who have ordered maximum conditions be created.

He noted that amid the complex pandemic situation around the world, including Vietnam, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has worked with relevant ministries and sectors to arrange many flights repatriating those with special disadvantages, particularly the workers losing their jobs to the pandemic.

In 2021, MoFA coordinated with the ministries of national defence, health, public security, and transport in organising 173 flights repatriating over 50,000 people of the priority groups. Besides, another 400 flights brought home about 70,000 others. All of those people went to quarantine facilities right after their arrival back to the country.

Hieu said to meet OVs’ demand for returning to the homeland for the Lunar New Year festival - a traditional occasion for family reunion, as directed by Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, MoFA and related agencies have been working to resume regular international flights to the places with high pandemic safety, firstly Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Tokyo, Seoul,Taipei (Taiwan, China), Bangkok, Singapore, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, and San Francisco/Los Angeles (the US), starting on January 1, 2022.

However, as demand among the expatriates is even greater, the ministries have proposed more international flights, aside from those linking with the nine above-mentioned places, be conducted in the form of charter flights to bring home OVs from other countries like what was done in 2020 and the first half of last year, with compliance with anti-pandemic rules ensured.

To do this, on December 16, 2021, the Ministry of Health issued guidance on COVID-19 prevention and control for people entering Vietnam. Accordingly, those who have been fully vaccinated only have to carry out quarantine at their home for three days while the unvaccinated ones must stay at concentrated quarantine sites for a longer period of time. Besides, MoFA is also discussing the “vaccine passport” recognition with other countries’ authorities so as to facilitate OVs’ travel, the Deputy Minister went on.

As the pandemic remains complicated, especially now that many new coronavirus variants have appeared, and countries are taking different response actions, the repatriation must be aligned with the situation, he noted, adding that the most important thing is to provide the best possible conditions for OVs to travel with ensured pandemic safety./.