Da Nang has sent back 18 South Koreans who refused to be quarantined after arriving in the central city from epidemic-hit Daegu.
The flight took off at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, departing from the Da Nang International Airport to Incheon Airport in Seoul, as Vietnam has suspended all flights to and from Daegu, the epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic in South Korea.
The 18 were among 80 passengers, comprising of 20 South Koreans, two Thai nationals and 58 Vietnamese students and workers who arrived in Da Nang Monday from Daegu.
Le Thanh Phuc, director of Da Nang Lung Hospital, said two South Koreans agreed to stay in Da Nang and accepted going into the quarantine area for 14 days in accordance with the Vietnamese regulations.
18 others refused and wanted to fly home. Tuesday's late night flight also carried six other tourists coming from South Korea's epidemic-stricken areas and more than 200 South Koreans who'd come to Vietnam for travel and work.
Before the group of South Koreans left Da Nang, city chairman Huynh Duc Tho expressed regret in writing that "the tourists didn't enjoy their trip as expected."
The South Korean government has declared a red alert, its highest level of alarm, over the epidemic.
"We are forced to take urgent measures to ensure the safety of tourists and the community," Tho wrote, adding that he looked forward to welcoming them again in an appropriate time.
As of Wednesday, South Korea had recorded 1,261 Covid-19 infections, making it the second largest outbreak area in the world after China. The death toll in the country has risen to 12.
Around 200,000 Vietnamese are currently studying and working in South Korea, 8,285 of them in Daegu, according to the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Vietnam has suspended entry from all coronavirus-hit areas around the world. Citizens of countries or territories affected by the virus are required to submit health declarations on arrival and will be placed in quarantine if they carry symptoms like high fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.