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Coronavirus: ‘Swift and dangerous turn’ in Texas cases, says governor

The spread of coronavirus infections has taken a “swift and very dangerous turn” in the US state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has warned.

Coronavirus: 'Swift and dangerous turn' in Texas cases, says governor

Protests were held in Austin, Texas, against the requirement to wear face coverings

Image copyrightReuters

“Over just the past few weeks, the daily number of cases have gone from an average of about 2,000, to more than 5,000,” Mr Abbott said on Sunday.

Several southern and western states have recorded a surge in cases after lockdown restrictions were eased.

The number of reported infections in the US has now surpassed 2.5 million.

Over 125,000 Covid-19 patients are confirmed to have died nationwide – more than in any other country.

The virus has now been linked to more than 500,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

What’s the latest on the surge in US cases?

The spike has led officials in Texas, Florida and other states to tighten restrictions on business again, with warnings that hospitals may soon be overwhelmed.

On Sunday, Mr Abbott said that as many as 5,000 people a day were being admitted to hospital for treatment.

US Vice-President Mike Pence said that Texas would be issued additional Covid-19 testing kits for as long was necessary.

“We are going to make sure that Texas, and your healthcare system in Texas, have the resources, have the supplies, have the personnel to meet this moment,” Mr Pence said.

The vice-president also urged Texans to wear masks “wherever it’s indicated”, saying “we know from experience, it will slow the spread of the coronavirus”.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was speaking at a joint news conference with Governor Abbott on Sunday, said that a nationwide mandate to wear face coverings was “definitely long overdue”.

“We have the worst record of any country in the world,” she added.

In the Texas state capital of Austin, a requirement to wear face coverings in some circumstances in order to help mitigate the spread of the virus led to demonstrations on the city’s streets by people objecting to the measure.

On Sunday, Arizona also recorded a record daily increase of more than 3,800 cases. Hundreds of people reportedly travelled to rivers in the state to escape the hot weather.

The reported increases in infections in southern and western states come after moves in recent weeks to re-open businesses, resulting in people from other areas pouring in.

Responding to the level of new cases, Mr Abbott last week told bars to close and limited restaurants’ indoor seating capacity to 50%. Restaurants had previously been allowed to operate at 75% capacity, and bars at 50%.

In the Texan town of Galena Park, east of Houston, the mayor imposed an overnight curfew on Saturday and warned that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also re-imposed restrictions, ordering bars in the state to stop serving alcohol on their premises.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars to close in Los Angeles and six other counties on Sunday, warning that the virus had “not gone away”. He urged people to wear masks, follow guidance on hygiene and to “take this seriously”.

What is the overall situation in the US?

On Sunday, Johns Hopkins University said the total number of cases in the country had risen to 2,548,991. While some of the rise was down to more extensive testing, the rate of positive tests in some areas is also increasing.

Health officials estimate the true number of cases is likely to be 10 times higher than the confirmed total. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that up to 20 million Americans may have been infected.

The surge in cases was being driven by young people – those aged between 18 and 34 – testing positive, especially in the south and west of the US, said the head of the CDC, Dr Robert Redfield.

The White House has said that the situation is stabilising in most of the country.

At a coronavirus briefing on Friday, Mr Pence hailed the Trump administration’s “truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward”, highlighting improvements in job figures and retail sales.

Covid-19 emerged in China late last year and spread across the globe. Coronavirus cases around the world have now passed 10 million, Johns Hopkins reports.

Half the world’s cases have been in the US and Europe, but the virus is now rapidly growing in the Americas. BBC

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/coronavirus-swift-and-dangerous-turn-in-texas-cases-says-governor-652628.html

Society

346 Vietnamese citizens brought from US amid COVID-19 pandemic

A total of 346 Vietnamese citizens are brought home safe from the US on Thursday. — Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HÀ NỘI — A total of 346 Vietnamese citizens were brought home safely from the US on Thursday.

The flight was arranged by domestic agencies, the Vietnamese Embassy in the US, the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, and US agencies.

Passengers were mostly children, pregnant women, students who face difficulties in accommodation and visa extension, and some businesspeople and experts.

To help citizens complete necessary procedures, the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington DC sent officials to Dulles airport.

Preventive measures were taken during the flight. After landing at Hà Nội’s Nội Bài International Airport, crew members and passengers had their body temperature checked and were quarantined as regulated.

Under the Prime Minister’s instruction, Vietnamese authorities and representative offices abroad will continue conducting more flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home, based on the citizens’ aspirations and quarantine capacity in localities.

Gifts to New York City

Customs procedures for two tonnes of Vietnamese-made antibacterial cloth and surgical facemasks, a gift from Hà Nội to New York City, have been completed to hand over to New York City, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in the US and Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

On behalf of the New York government and people, the New York City’s Commissioner for International Affairs, Penny Abeywardena, on Thursday conveyed gratitude to the Hà Nội authorities and people, saying the move was very practical as New York City is still struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, said that he hoped the gift of Hà Nội’s people will contribute a small part to help New Yorkers overcome the pandemic.

The ambassador also expected New York City and Hà Nội to have more opportunities for co-operation in the future, especially between businesses, to promote economic and social development and overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/749425/346-vietnamese-citizens-brought-from-us-amid-covid-19-pandemic.html

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Lives of foreign inmates in Vietnam prison

A prison in south-central Vietnam is helping foreign convicts prepare for a life of freedom, the Vietnam News Agency recently reported.

The Thu Duc (Z30D) prison in Binh Thuan Province is home to nearly 200 foreign prisoners from 21 different countries and territories, including eight inmates with unspecified nationality, according to Colonel Pham Thi Minh Hai, the prison’s deputy warden.

Nearly every aspect of prison life for foreign inmates, including living conditions, healthcare, assessment, emulation, and family visitation are governed by a set of Vietnamese laws similar to those regulating life for Vietnamese convicts.

The foreign prisoners at Z30D are housed in a set of barracks surrounded by trees and flowers. Each is cleaned daily, well lit, and equipped with a television and full range of essential personal items.

Other goods can be bought using money from the prion’s deposit service, which allows family and friends to directly transfer money to prisoners’ accounts.

Prisoners who were not able to receive money due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic are being financially supported by the prison.

John Nguyen, an American prisoner 19 years into his sentence, told the Vietnam News Agency that, all things considered, he has had a relatively good experience at Z30D thanks to its friendly environment and staff.

Nguyen’s sentiments were echoed by fellow inmate Nicholas Stars, a 42-year-old Nigerian national who has spent the last five years of his 15-year sentence studying Vietnamese.

“Overall, it’s very good,” he said. “I have ten more years, but I’ll try to finish sooner.”

A prisoner in Vietnam can have their prison sentence reduced if they maintain a good rehabilitation record, according to the current law on execution of criminal judgments.

Stars’ ability to spout fluent Vietnamese is not an anomaly amongst the foreigners at Z30D.

Those serving their jail terms are taught the Vietnamese language as well as the country’s culture and legal and civic systems.

Mohd Hafiz Gomez Bin Abdullah, a Malaysian male prisoner whose sentence has been reduced seven times since his conviction, shared that life in Z30D has transformed him from an unruly inmate to a man capable of making positive contributions to society.  

Part of the rehabilitation program at the prison involves vocational training, academic education, art, and sports. 

“I’ve won the top prizes in table tennis competitions many times at the camp,” said Li Chun Ying, a Chinese female inmate.

“I speak little Vietnamese, but I really want to thank the board of supervisors and officials because they’ve made me feel like family.”  

Preayamooch, a female inmate from Thailand, said that the living conditions at Z30D were nothing like she had imagined.

According to Preayamooch, foreigners are entitled to the same treatment as their Vietnamese counterparts and are even allowed heartier meals during the Lunar New Year and their home country’s National Day.

The prisoners are also given regular medical check-ups and can take a rest from penal labor when they are sick. 

So, how do Vietnam’s foreign inmates plan to spend their post-prison life? 

For some, like Preayamooch, freedom might mean making use of newfound skills to better both themselves and those around them.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20200710/lives-of-foreign-inmates-in-ho-chi-minh-city-prison/55525.html

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Transport minister wants to fix airport overloading

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has sent an urgent dispatch to order agencies to fix shortcomings in taking-off and landing slots for aeroplanes at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat International Airports.

Transport minister wants to fix airport overloading hinh anh 1

Aeroplanes at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Planes currently have to queue for up to an hour to take off and fly around for dozens of minutes to wait to land as the two major airports have temporarily closed one runway each for repairs since June 29, he said.

The asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to evenly divide slots for taking off and landing at every time of day to fix the situation.

He also told relevant agencies to increase the number of flights at nearby airports such as Cat Bi and Thanh Hoa or Can Tho and Cam Ranh to reduce overloading on Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat.

The civil aviation authority was asked to strictly deal with airlines that failed to take off and land at their appointed times, he added.

The agency was told to work with relevant parties to notify passengers about their flight, check-in time and encourage passengers to book flights from and to nearby airports instead of Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports to reduce overloading and congestion, he said.

The slots for taking off and landing will be revoked if any airline is found to change the registered taking off and landing time, he said.

The projects to upgrade runways in Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City cost more than 4 trillion VND (171.5 million USD) and are expected to be completed by the end of 2021./.VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/transport-minister-wants-to-fix-airport-overloading-656609.html

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