Vietnam Airlines has begun carrying passengers meeting immigration and health requirements back to Vietnam on flights departing from London, Paris, and Frankfurt after initially announcing that it would suspend flights between Europe and Vietnam in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the carrier announced on March 14 that its flights departing from London, Paris, and Frankfurt to Vietnam will not carry passengers.

The move followed the Vietnamese government’s decision to suspend entry for visitors coming from or going through the UK and Schengen countries in the 14 days prior to their arrival after the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe is now the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. The airline has since reversed its decision “after careful discussion with local authorities”.

The airline said only passengers meeting immigration and health requirements can board the flights back to Vietnam. Body temperature checks as well as an “interview” are compulsory for all passengers to ensure that they meet all health requirements to fly back to and enter Vietnam.

Passengers are also required to wear face masks and gloves throughout the flights. The airline added that they will be “subjected to ongoing in-flight health monitoring” and they will be quarantined for 14 days after landing in Vietnam.

Onboard, Vietnam Airlines said it has equipped all flight crew with specialized medical protective clothing. Only drinks and dry snacks will be served.

The airline also said these flights will land at “predetermined airports in Vietnam after Vietnam Airlines has come to an official decision with the competent authorities”.

The airline said it will waive any fees for itinerary changes for passengers who have already purchased tickets.

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has asked the airline until when the flights from the three European cities to Vietnam will operate.