Ho Chi Minh City has allowed another 14 hotels to serve as paid quarantine facilities to meet the growing demand, taking its total count to 24.
The move comes as Vietnam prepares to resume routine inbound flights. Authorities are finalizing a unified quarantine protocol on a nationwide scale, which will be submitted to the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control for approval before inbound commercial flights are allowed to resume.
With the latest addition, the total number of paid quarantine rooms in the city will double to over 2,000.
The decision was just signed by HCMC Vice Chairman Le Thanh Liem after the city’s health and tourism departments made on-field inspections of the 14 two to five-star hotels.
Eleven of the newly-chosen hotels are in District 1: Huong Sen 3, Alagon City, AEM Signature, two branches of Diamond Blue Hotel, Riverside, Sky Gem Central, Sen Viet Boutique, AEM, Cititel Parkview Saigon, and Saigon Hanoi Hotel.
The remaining three are: Sunshine and Sabina in District 7, and Muong Thanh Luxury Saigon in Phu Nhuan District.
These hotels will offer rooms at VND1.2-5 million ($52 -$216).
Guests in quarantine will have temperatures checked twice a day and tested for the novel coronavirus four times during the 14-day quarantine, said Dr Phan Thanh Tam, deputy director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control.
Generally, people fly into the country on either humanitarian or commercial flights. The former will be quarantined at military-run centralized facilities for VND120,000 ($5) a day; and the latter have to register specific addresses and bookings in designated hotels before boarding flights to Vietnam.
Though the government has allowed the resumption of some international commercial flights, foreign tourists have yet to be allowed back into the country. The only foreigners currently allowed entry are those carrying diplomatic or official passports, experts, managers, highly-skilled workers, and investors, their family members, international students, and family members of Vietnamese citizens.
Apart from two pilot flights carrying passengers from South Korea to Hanoi on September 25 and Ho Chi Minh City on September 30, operated by Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air respectively, domestic carriers are not allowed to operate other inbound flights. They have to wait for specific quarantine regulations and other instructions from the government.
HCMC has now gone over two months without any community transmission of the coronavirus.
Vietnam has had a 40-day streak without new domestic infections. Of its current Covid-19 tally of 1,110, 47 are active.