Vietnamese officials on Wednesday thanked the Philippine government for helping arrange the flight back home of 172 mostly young Vietnamese students from Cebu province amid the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Manila acquired permission and coordinated with representatives of the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Tourism to charter a Vietnam Airlines plane that flew the students from Cebu to the southern Vietnamese city of Can Tho on Tuesday.

A Vietnamese Embassy official said the DFA and DOT representaives were "very helpful."

Most of the students were taking English language lessons in Cebu.

When Philippine officials suspended classes and most office work in northern Luzon, which was placed under an enhanced community quarantine, and other parts of the country, the worried students asked the Vietnamese Embassy in Manila for help to be able to fly back home, officials told GMA News Online.

The students' families in Vietnam also wanted them to return home amid the global pandemic, officials said.

The students, many of them wearing protective masks, had their group photos taken, some flashing the V-sign and thumb-up sign.

The Philippine government has banned the entry of most foreign nationals and extended assistance to foreign tourists and travelers who wanted to fly out of the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. -MDM, GMA News


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