Travel from Taiwan to Vietnam remains difficult under current restrictions: CECC

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Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport (Wikimedia Commons photo by Mina Christakis) 

Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport (Wikimedia Commons photo by Mina Christakis) 

Travel from Taiwan to Vietnam remains difficult as the Southeast Asian country still has strict border control measures in place, affecting even repatriation of illegal Vietnamese workers, an official said Saturday.

Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy commander of the the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said during the center's daily press briefing on the COVID-19 coronavirus that it is difficult for even Vietnamese to return to their country because of that country's requirements for anyone entering the country.

He made the comment when asked about a Taiwanese national seeking to be tested for coronavirus to meet Vietnam's requirements so that he can travel there to marry his pregnant girlfriend.

According to Chen, both of Taiwan's major carriers -- China Airlines and EVA Airways -- have been only able to carry passengers from destinations in Vietnam to Taiwan, but not the other way around.

This has caused issues for the Taiwanese government, Chen told the press after the briefing, because Vietnam has not agreed to requests from Taiwan to send back illegal workers caught in Taiwan since late January.

Taiwan only faces difficulties on this issue when it comes to Vietnam, since Thailand and Indonesia have both recently agreed to take back their countrymen caught working illegally in Taiwan, Chen said.

The total number of illegal Vietnamese workers detained in Taiwan has surpassed 700 as a result, as the Vietnamese government said it does not have the capacity for the required quarantine measures for these people, according to Chen.

According to the International Air Transport Association's (IATA's) Travel Center website, which lists updated travel restrictions for each country, passengers have not been allowed to enter Vietnam unless they are on diplomatic or official duties, or are categorized as experts, business managers or highly skilled workers, as of Friday.

Vietnam also requires airlines to contact the Vietnamese diplomatic representative agency in the local country in advance for transportation of nationals of Vietnam returning to their home country, according to information on the IATA website. (By Yu Hsiao-han and Kay Liu)