The Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport late Monday sent an urgent dispatch to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) requesting the suspension of the transport of Vietnamese from foreign countries to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, starting from 0:00am on March 25.

Earlier, many flights destined for Tan Son Nhat Airport were diverted to Can Tho International Airport in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho instead.

Related: Next 10-15 days ‘decisive’ in coronavirus fight of Vietnam

The dispatch, signed by Deputy Minister Le Anh Tuan, said the Government Office on March 21 issued Announcement No 118/TB-VPCP, in which Prime Minister Nguyen Xuân Phuc ordered continued restrictions on international flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid overloading quarantine areas.

The ministry also asked the aviation sector to create favorable conditions for flights carrying foreigners to leave Việt Nam.

Earlier, the ministry directed the CAAV to inform all airlines that they must seek permission from Vietnamese diplomatic agencies abroad regarding the transportation of Vietnamese citizens to the homeland, starting from 0:00am on March 23.

The CAAV was also asked to work with Vietnamese representative offices abroad to verify the number of Vietnamese citizens in need of returning home and report to the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Also on Monday, the foreign ministry sent out a notice recommending Vietnamese citizens avoid travel between countries or traveling back to Vietnam as more and more countries are shutting their borders and restricting international flights, which could easily lead to being stranded.