Vietnam grants Samsung engineers entry

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Vietnam grants Samsung engineers entry

The Vietnamese government allowed the entry of 186 Samsung employees, exempting them from strict quarantine measures in place due to coronavirus concerns.

After departing from Incheon International Airport on a chartered flight that arrived at the Van Don International Airport in northern Vietnam Friday afternoon, the Samsung Display engineers were able to enter without the mandatory 14-day quarantine that Vietnamese authorities have implemented on travelers coming from Korea and other virus-affected countries.

Instead, the employees were able to present health certificates confirming that they were virus-free and were transported to Samsung Display’s OLED manufacturing plant located in Bac Ninh Province, northern Vietnam.

The employees will be separated from workers already at the Samsung Display plant and will reside in separate quarters and be transported in separate vehicles.

Samsung Display officials and Korean diplomats requested Vietnamese authorities to allow exemptions for the entry of 700 employees earlier this month as Vietnam began imposing mandatory quarantines and limiting flights into the country. Samsung has conveyed concerns that continued delays in sending the engineers could impact production and future Samsung Electronics smartphone releases. Samsung plans to send another 500 employees to Vietnam through similar exemptions. Korea is expected to negotiate similar business exemptions for essential business travel for other companies including LG Display.

President Moon Jae-in last week ordered officials to work on coordinating exemptions for businesspeople with countries that have put in travel restrictions on travelers coming from Korea. Korean diplomats have been negotiating with key partners in order to arrange such exemptions, which could include government-issued health certificates proving business travelers have tested negative for the coronavirus.

As of Sunday afternoon, a total of 137 countries and territories have imposed entry bans or stricter quarantine procedures for travelers coming from Korea, according to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A total 67 countries or territories have entry bans on people who have recently visited Korea, or parts of the country most affected by the virus such as Daegu and North Gyeongsang.

The latest countries barring the entry of travelers coming from Korea include Poland and Latvia. Norway and Ecuador strengthened quarantine controls.

On Sunday, Korea also kicked off special entry procedures for travelers who have been to five European countries - France, Germany, Spain, Britain or the Netherlands - in the past 14 days. Similar procedures requiring temperature checks and health questionnaires are already in place for visitors from China and Japan.

The Blue House said Sunday President Moon Jae-in is proposing leaders of the Group of 20 nations hold a special video teleconference, stressing the importance of international cooperation on health care and finance in the G-20, an idea he discussed already with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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