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CAAV proposes scrapping rapid Covid test for passengers from Omicron-hit countries

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed that passengers from Omicron-hit countries should undergo a PCR Covid test and not take a rapid test before and after their flights to Vietnam.

CAAV sent the proposal to the Ministry of Transport yesterday, January 4, reported VnExpress.

If Vietnam still maintains the rapid test mandate, CAAV suggested medical units collect testing fees from passengers at airports instead of asking airlines to cover the fees.

Foreign cabin crew members entering Vietnam would only be tested once while awaiting their flights back to their countries. They can undergo the test at airports or designated quarantine hotels, CAAV said.

The national aviation authority made this proposal after receiving feedback from carriers at home and abroad about the rapid test mandate before and after flights for passengers linked to Omicron-hit countries.

Local low-cost carrier Vietjet said the pre-departure rapid test requirement at foreign airports had caused difficulties to the carrier and its passengers, as many airports had yet to offer this on-site testing service. Passengers would be charged additional fees for such requirements, for example, around US$270 for a rapid test at Japanese airports, while their negative PCR test result remained valid at the time. Further, they then have to take another rapid test after arriving in Vietnam.

Bamboo Airways, another local carrier, said that post-arrival rapid testing activities for passengers usually took three hours. Meanwhile, according to the Health Ministry’s regulations, passengers’ negative PCR test results must be valid when they conduct flight procedures.

Passengers said their travel expenses would increase with taking so many tests and sought to know if they could take a rapid test at home or they had to use on-site testing services at airports.

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