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Economists propose scrapping COVID-19 tests for int’l visitors, more attractive visa policies

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Foreign tourists in the central coastal city of Đà Nẵng. — VNA/ Photo Trần Lê Lâm

HÀ NỘI — The Government’s board for private economic development research (IV Board) has proposed the scrapping of pre-entry COVID-19 testing requirements for foreign arrivals to Việt Nam to stimulate tourism.

The proposal, which also requested the health ministry to stipulate that rapid COVID-19 tests should be conducted at the border gates only for those who display suspect COVID-19 symptoms like fever and coughing, was reportedly sent to the Prime Minister last week.

The board also wants the health ministry’s requirement for tourists to have insurance with coverage for COVID-19 treatment of up to US$10,000 to be abolished.

These regulations are considered to be inconvenient and do not demonstrate benefits in COVID-19 prevention and control, and are not “keeping up with the current situation,” given that the domestic tourists in the country have not been required to have negative COVID-19 test results or file medical declarations for quite some time now, according to the board.

Without the removal of these requirements, international tourists would pivot to other destinations with more convenient and relaxed entry protocols than Việt Nam.

The board also noted that Việt Nam’s visa policy has not been operated as before the COVID-19 pandemic even though the policy has been to reinstate pre-pandemic visa protocols since March 15, 2022.

The preferential policy on visa exemption “has not yet met the post-pandemic tourism trends, and is not competitive compared to other countries in the region”. Visitors to Việt Nam still have to complete many complicated procedures and documents. Electronic visa (e-visa) system does not have a mechanism to confirm the date of automatic response on the website, and still doesn’t explain why the application was refused, making it difficult for visitors to enter the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security are urged to expand visa exemption for visitors from potential tourism markets like the United States, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands; and increase the period for visa-free stay in Việt Nam for visitors from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and other northern European countries from 15 to 30 days.

Việt Nam should also implement multiple entry visas with longer exemption period, slash administrative procedures required of travel agencies and tourists, and simplify e-visa and visa procedures at border gates.

Việt Nam’s reopening plan does not require visitors to show COVID-19 vaccination status but instead proof of negative COVID-19 tests done between 72 hours for PCR tests, and 24 hours for rapid antigen tests.

Domestically, thanks to high vaccination and declining daily case increases and hospitalisations and deaths, most COVID-19 measures – except for masking – have been lifted, with the suspension of medical declaration for domestic use and foreign entries being the latest to get the axe.

Since the complete reopening on March 15, 2022, Việt Nam has received 22,300 international arrivals, with 15,000 in March, which is but a fraction of pre-pandemic figures given that the country received 18 million foreign visitors in 2019 and had targeted 20.5 million visitors in 2020 before the pandemic disrupted plans.

With strict border closures, Việt Nam received only 3.8 million foreign visitors in the year the pandemic broke out, down 78.7 per cent compared to 2019.—

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1190195/economists-proposes-scrapping-covid-19-tests-for-intl-visitors-more-attractive-visa-policies.html

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Ho Chi Minh City’s ward to set up task force against uncontrolled waste disposal

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The administration of a ward in Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam, will establish a dedicated team in charge of detecting and handling cases of random garbage disposal to protect the living environment for local residents.

The An Phu Dong Ward will install cameras and set up a specialized team to monitor and check local riverbanks and canals to detect, prevent and handle cases of illegal dumping, Le Phan Quang Tien, deputy chairman of the ward People’s Committee, in District 12, told Tien Phong (Youth) newspaper.

Such a task force is necessary as people who sneakily dispose of waste often commit their wrong act at night or early morning, when everybody is in a deep sleep, Tien said.

“In order to eliminate improper garbage disposal, we are implementing flexible and practical solutions to tighten control over environmental sanitation, including enhancing public awareness of environmental protection,” the official added. 

He emphasized that the ward will adopt a mechanism to mobilize the role of people and communities to detect and denounce acts of littering in public places.

At the same time, authorities will reward individuals and units who promptly identify and report violators, Tien stated.

Currently, there have been a lot of rubbish heaps alongside the banks of the Vam Thuat River and on roads, with rats and cockroaches running in and out, Tien Phong (Youth) reporters recorded on the site.

Except for small volumes of domestic waste, such garbage there is mainly industrial and construction waste, including broken pieces of metal, glass and electronic appliances.  

Many people even burned metal waste to get copper wires, causing smoke and dust pollution and posing risks of fire or explosion, locals complained.

“Most of the refuse here has been brought in by tricycles hired by people living in other localities,” Son, a local public utility staff, said, adding that such tricycles often came late at night to dump waste stealthily. 

Son emphasized that there are not enough forces to handle such violations.

Thao, a woman who owns a beverage shop in the riverbank area, said there were times when waste occupied roadways and travelers had to avoid them while going by.

“Recently, some residents had to spend millions of dong (VND1 million = US$41) hiring people to clean up trash heaps that are ‘as high as mountains,’ Thao said.  

She noted that authorities have caught and penalized many people who randomly disposed of waste here but the situation has yet to be improved.

Thao said locals will help local administration to drive back the situation by detecting and reporting those who commit such acts, but heavy fines should be imposed to deter wrongdoers.

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The administration of a ward in Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam, will establish a dedicated team in charge of detecting and handling cases of random garbage disposal to protect the living environment for local residents.

The An Phu Dong Ward will install cameras and set up a specialized team to monitor and check local riverbanks and canals to detect, prevent and handle cases of illegal dumping, Le Phan Quang Tien, deputy chairman of the ward People’s Committee, in District 12, told Tien Phong (Youth) newspaper.

Such a task force is necessary as people who sneakily dispose of waste often commit their wrong act at night or early morning, when everybody is in a deep sleep, Tien said.

“In order to eliminate improper garbage disposal, we are implementing flexible and practical solutions to tighten control over environmental sanitation, including enhancing public awareness of environmental protection,” the official added. 

He emphasized that the ward will adopt a mechanism to mobilize the role of people and communities to detect and denounce acts of littering in public places.

At the same time, authorities will reward individuals and units who promptly identify and report violators, Tien stated.

Currently, there have been a lot of rubbish heaps alongside the banks of the Vam Thuat River and on roads, with rats and cockroaches running in and out, Tien Phong (Youth) reporters recorded on the site.

Except for small volumes of domestic waste, such garbage there is mainly industrial and construction waste, including broken pieces of metal, glass and electronic appliances.  

Many people even burned metal waste to get copper wires, causing smoke and dust pollution and posing risks of fire or explosion, locals complained.

“Most of the refuse here has been brought in by tricycles hired by people living in other localities,” Son, a local public utility staff, said, adding that such tricycles often came late at night to dump waste stealthily. 

Son emphasized that there are not enough forces to handle such violations.

Thao, a woman who owns a beverage shop in the riverbank area, said there were times when waste occupied roadways and travelers had to avoid them while going by.

“Recently, some residents had to spend millions of dong (VND1 million = US$41) hiring people to clean up trash heaps that are ‘as high as mountains,’ Thao said.  

She noted that authorities have caught and penalized many people who randomly disposed of waste here but the situation has yet to be improved.

Thao said locals will help local administration to drive back the situation by detecting and reporting those who commit such acts, but heavy fines should be imposed to deter wrongdoers.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20221203/ho-chi-minh-city-s-ward-to-set-up-task-force-against-uncontrolled-waste-disposal/70325.html

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Vietnam announces seven-day Tet break

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The Vietnamese government approved a plan to let public employees take a seven-day Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday next month, according to an announcement on Thursday.

The holiday will start on January 20 and last until January 26, allowing public employees to leave work two days before Tet starts on January 22.

The seven-day break includes five days off from work and two days of compensatory leave as the second and third days out of the five-day streak overlaps the weekend.

The Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, is the biggest holiday in Vietnam and an important occasion for family reunion.

The government also announced four days off for the 2023 National Day (September 2), spanning from September 1 to 4.

This schedule includes the weekend from September 2 to 3, 2023.

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The Vietnamese government approved a plan to let public employees take a seven-day Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday next month, according to an announcement on Thursday.

The holiday will start on January 20 and last until January 26, allowing public employees to leave work two days before Tet starts on January 22.

The seven-day break includes five days off from work and two days of compensatory leave as the second and third days out of the five-day streak overlaps the weekend.

The Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, is the biggest holiday in Vietnam and an important occasion for family reunion.

The government also announced four days off for the 2023 National Day (September 2), spanning from September 1 to 4.

This schedule includes the weekend from September 2 to 3, 2023.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20221203/vietnam-announces-sevenday-tet-break/70298.html

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Da Nang wins Vietnam’s smart city award for 3rd straight year

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The central city of Da Nang has been granted the Best Vietnam Smart City Award 2022 for the third consecutive time.

This award was among the 43 bestowed upon cities, enterprises, and products considerably contributing to smart city building and national digital transformation.

At the ceremony held by the Vietnam Software & IT Services Association (VINASA) in Hanoi on Thursday, Da Nang also received the prizes for smart governance and management, smart transportation and logistics, startup and innovation city, and city with smart application serving citizens and enterprises.

Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, Pho Yen City in northern Thai Nguyen Province, and Dong Xoai City in southern Binh Phuoc Province also won the smart governance and management city award. 

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue obtained the startup and innovation city award, and Thai Nguyen City in the namesake province was honored as a smart application city serving citizens and enterprises.

In addition, 34 prizes were presented to technological solutions in 17 categories, including administration, transport, environment, health care, agriculture, construction, and tourism, according to the Vietnam News Agency

Statistics show that the 34 digital solutions for smart city building have gained over VND350 billion (US$14.3 million) in revenue.

The Vietnam Smart City Awards 2022 was launched by the VINASA on August 8 and attracted 148 nominations. 

The annual prestigious award, which was first introduced in 2020, aims to promote digital transformation, the application of information technology, and the building of smart cities across the country, as well as honor achievements of cities, urban areas, industrial parks, and technological solutions.

Da Nang also won the Best Vietnam Smart City Award in 2020 and 2021.

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The central city of Da Nang has been granted the Best Vietnam Smart City Award 2022 for the third consecutive time.

This award was among the 43 bestowed upon cities, enterprises, and products considerably contributing to smart city building and national digital transformation.

At the ceremony held by the Vietnam Software & IT Services Association (VINASA) in Hanoi on Thursday, Da Nang also received the prizes for smart governance and management, smart transportation and logistics, startup and innovation city, and city with smart application serving citizens and enterprises.

Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, Pho Yen City in northern Thai Nguyen Province, and Dong Xoai City in southern Binh Phuoc Province also won the smart governance and management city award. 

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue obtained the startup and innovation city award, and Thai Nguyen City in the namesake province was honored as a smart application city serving citizens and enterprises.

In addition, 34 prizes were presented to technological solutions in 17 categories, including administration, transport, environment, health care, agriculture, construction, and tourism, according to the Vietnam News Agency

Statistics show that the 34 digital solutions for smart city building have gained over VND350 billion (US$14.3 million) in revenue.

The Vietnam Smart City Awards 2022 was launched by the VINASA on August 8 and attracted 148 nominations. 

The annual prestigious award, which was first introduced in 2020, aims to promote digital transformation, the application of information technology, and the building of smart cities across the country, as well as honor achievements of cities, urban areas, industrial parks, and technological solutions.

Da Nang also won the Best Vietnam Smart City Award in 2020 and 2021.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20221203/da-nang-wins-vietnams-smart-city-award-for-3rd-straight-year/70318.html

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