Update: 17:44 | 14/12/2020
Maskless passengers on planes would be fined up to VND3 million ($130.08), the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) announced Monday.
In an announcement issued on its official website, the CAAV instructed airlines to strictly follow Covid-19 prevention protocols, especially as the Lunar New Year festival is closing in.
Passengers wear masks at the Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC.
Airlines are obligated to inform passengers at check-ins and on planes that they would be punished for violating Covid-19 prevention measures like not wearing masks or neglecting to submit their health statuses, in accordance with a 2018 civil aviation decree. Fines for skirting disease prevention measures are between VND1-3 million, according to the decree.
While Vietnam has gone two weeks without a new Covid-19 community transmission, its latest streak of nearly three months was broken after a Vietnam Airlines attendant in HCMC was determined to be a community transmission source of three other patients earlier this month.
The country is ramping up Covid-19 prevention measures, including mask wearing, as winter sets in. For example, Hanoi last month said those without masks would not be allowed entry to public spaces, with officials ensuring people do not flout regulations, especially at hospitals, markets, supermarkets, malls, and bus stations.
Vietnam has recorded 1,397 Covid-19 cases so far, 118 still active, mostly imported. Thirty-five have succumbed to the disease, many being elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.