Vietnam airlines resume flights to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau after government lifts bans

Doctors wearing protective suits walk to an isolated section at Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam January 30, 2020. Picture taken January 30, 2020. Dinh Hang/VNA via REUTERS

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air will resume flights to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau from Sunday, the companies said, after the Hanoi government eased restrictions over virus concerns.

Vietnam on Saturday declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus epidemic and said it would halt all flights to and from China including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Late on Saturday, Vietnam’s civil aviation authority lifted ban on flights to Taiwan and on Sunday it said carriers could also temporarily operate flights to Hong Kong and Macau. Flights to mainland China were still strictly suspended.

“Flights to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau will be resumed from today. However flights from Hanoi to Hong Kong and Macau will be suspended starting from Feb. 5,” national firm Vietnam Airlines said in its Sunday’s statement.

Budget carrier Vietjet Air said it had suspended all flights to and from mainland China from Feb. 1 but was operating flights to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Vietnam has confirmed seven cases of the virus. The government also advised its citizen to limit large gatherings.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Lincoln Feast.