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Stranded French students repatriated from Phu Quoc Island

The southern province of Kien Giang has facilitated the return of six French students stuck on Phu Quoc Island by expediting procedures and enabling passage through Covid-19 checkpoints.

Phu Quoc officials said the students left the island to the mainland town of Ha Tien by ferry on Wednesday. From there, they were taken to HCMC by car, local media reported. They were scheduled to board a flight from HCMC to return to France at 3:50 p.m. Thursday.

Stranded French students, repatriated, Phu Quoc Island, Covid-19 checkpoints, diplomatic note, visa-free policy

A beach on Phu Quoc Island is seen from above, January 2021.

Before leaving Phu Quoc, all of them tested negative for Covid-19.

Earlier, the French Consulate General in HCMC had sent a diplomatic note to Kien Giang authorities, asking them to facilitate completion of procedures and help the stranded French students pass through Covid checkpoints so that they could get to HCMC in time for their repatriation flight.

The students had entered Vietnam on April 24 and stayed in Hanoi. They had traveled to Phu Quoc Island on July 15 as tourists and got stuck there after Kien Giang Province and other southern localities imposed strict social distancing orders on July 19.

Currently, there are about 400 foreigners in Phu Quoc, working on investment projects or for high-class resorts.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island, has become a top tourist destination after the government rolled out a 30-day visa-free policy for foreigners in 2014.

In 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, it received over five million visitors, including 541,600 foreigners.

Vietnam closed its borders and canceled all international flights in March last year. Only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts, diplomats, investors, highly-skilled workers and students have been allowed in since with stringent quarantine requirements.

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Source: VnExpress

Stranded French students, repatriated, Phu Quoc Island, Covid-19 checkpoints, diplomatic note, visa-free policy
 
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