Asia Today: Vietnam to resume international flights

A policeman manages the traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Vietnam will resume international commercial flights connecting the country to several Asian destinations after a monthslong shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
A policeman manages the traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Vietnam will resume international commercial flights connecting the country to several Asian destinations after a monthslong shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

Credit: Hau Dinh

Credit: Hau Dinh

Vietnam will resume international commercial flights to several Asian destinations starting Friday, after a monthslong shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam will resume international commercial flights to several Asian destinations starting Friday, after a monthslong shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

The flights, however, are reserved for Vietnamese nationals, diplomats, experts, managers, skilled workers, investors and their families. They are not yet available for tourists.

According to a report on the government website, flights connecting Vietnam’s two largest cities — Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City — to destinations in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan will operate on a weekly basis. Flights connecting the cities with Cambodia and Laos will resume next week.

To board a flight, passengers must hold a certificate showing they have tested negative for the coronavirus no more than five days before the departure date. Upon arrival, they will be tested and placed under quarantine, the report said.

Vietnam shut down international flights on April 1. National carrier Vietnam Airlines estimated last month that it would lose $650 million in 2020.

Vietnam has reported 1,059 cases of the coronavirus. It managed to avoid any deaths until July, when the virus crept into the city of Da Nang, killing 35 people.

But no new cases have been reported for two weeks. Last week, Da Nang lifted a travel restriction after two months.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India's coronavirus confirmed cases crossed 5 million on Wednesday, still soaring and testing the country's feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. The Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation's confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of its nearly 1.4 billion population. It said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066. India's total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States' highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases and expected to surpass it within weeks. India reported a record daily high of 97,570 cases on Sept. 11 and has added more than 1 million cases this month alone.

— South Korea’s daily coronavirus tally has stayed below 200 for two weeks, but the government is urging people not to lower their guard. Authorities said Wednesday that the 113 cases added in the last 24 hours took the country’s total to 22,504, including 367 deaths. Eighty-one of them were in the Seoul metropolitan area, the heart of a recent viral resurgence in South Korea. Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip called on people to refrain from having unnecessary gatherings and visiting crowded places.

Health workers collect a swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Health workers collect a swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Credit: Rafiq Maqbool

Credit: Rafiq Maqbool

A man wearing personal protective carries the body of his three-month-old son who died of COVID-19 in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A man wearing personal protective carries the body of his three-month-old son who died of COVID-19 in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

Relatives and health workers pay their respects as the body of a three-month-old COVID-19 victim is buried in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Relatives and health workers pay their respects as the body of a three-month-old COVID-19 victim is buried in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

A worker puts on personal protective suit to carry in the body of a COVID-19 victim for cremation in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A worker puts on personal protective suit to carry in the body of a COVID-19 victim for cremation in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. India's total of coronavirus infections passed 5 million Wednesday, still soaring and testing the feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak during a Hindu ritual prayer at a temple in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak during a Hindu ritual prayer at a temple in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Women wearing face masks as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak pray during a Hindu ritual prayer at a temple in Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Women wearing face masks as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak pray during a Hindu ritual prayer at a temple in Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

A truck driver puts on a mask given to him by Public Order Agency officers at a check point set up to enforce a city regulation requiring people to wear face masks in public places as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
A truck driver puts on a mask given to him by Public Order Agency officers at a check point set up to enforce a city regulation requiring people to wear face masks in public places as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Credit: Binsar Bakkara

Credit: Binsar Bakkara

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus play Go at a park in Goyang, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. South Korea's daily coronavirus tally has stayed below 200 for two weeks, but the government is urging people not to lower their guard. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus play Go at a park in Goyang, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. South Korea's daily coronavirus tally has stayed below 200 for two weeks, but the government is urging people not to lower their guard. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Credit: Ahn Young-joon

Credit: Ahn Young-joon

People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus cross an intersection in Beijing, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Even as China has largely controlled the outbreak, the coronavirus is still surging across other parts of the world. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus cross an intersection in Beijing, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Even as China has largely controlled the outbreak, the coronavirus is still surging across other parts of the world. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Credit: Mark Schiefelbein

Credit: Mark Schiefelbein