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HCM City warned of problems if BRT project is delayed

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The Management Board of the HCM City Green Transport Development Project has said there could be serious consequences if the city postpones the Bus Rapid Transit No 1 project.

HCM City warned of problems if BRT project is delayed

If municipal authorities decide to postpone BRT No 1 as per a proposal by the HCM City Transport Department, the World Bank (WB) will cancel a green transport development project, and funds from IDA (International Development Association) and SECO grant (technical assistance project) will end.

If so, the BRT1-CS9 bidding package on “consulting to study the reorganization of the city-wide bus network and prepare an action plan to improve the efficiency and service quality of the existing bus system” as proposed by the city transport department won’t be implemented, unless the city uses its own money.

The management board pointed out that the WB will stop capital to the project and the city will have to allocate a budget for the implementation of BRTI – CS9.

The termination of the WB’s funding will result in the cessation of the SECO project with non-refundable capital of $10.5 million, which supports the major project. It will also put an end to the signing of a contract with the consultants to research and plan an innovative, highly interactive urban area in the eastern part of the city (General Planning of Thu Duc City).

Postponing BRT No1 will cause delays to the development of public transport in HCM City, and influence relations between HCM City and WB, and the Swiss Government, especially in forming projects in the future.

Postponing the project also means that the investor will have to terminate 12 consultancy contracts with domestic and international contractors under implementation. This may lead to a risk of appeals and contract disputes, as products paid for cannot be used.

The postponement will also affect compensation for site clearance and resettlement.

According to the management board, accelerating the development of the public transport network is an extremely important task in 2021-2025.

The board emphasized the need to form a backbone public transport route connecting the east and west of the city (Binh Chanh, Binh Tan districts and Thu Duc City), to serve travel from the Mekong Delta to Thu Duc and Long Thanh Airport. If the city cancels BRT1 along Vo Van Kiet – Mai Chi Tho route, it needs to replace it with another route.

The management board has suggested three options.

Option 1: continue implementing BRT1.

Option 2: stop BRT1 by terminating 12 consultancy contracts, using the city’s budget to continue the bidding packages on the ThuDuc City program and re-organize the city’s bus network.

Option 3: stop BRT1 and negotiate with WB and SECO to continue using IDA and SECO capital to develop a high-quality bus network. 

Tuan Kiet

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/hcm-city-warned-of-problems-if-brt-project-is-delayed-797319.html

Society

Vietnam records 139 Omicron cases in 11 localities

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Four latest Omicron cases just detected in Binh Duong Province and Ho Chi Minh City, in southern Vietnam, have taken the total Omicron infections in the Southeast Asian country to 139, as recorded since the coronavirus variant was first reported in Hanoi in December last year, health authorities said.

The Binh Duong Province Department of Health on Sunday evening confirmed its first Omicron case, a Vietnamese woman who returned from Canada on January 9.  

On Monday morning, Ho Chi Minh City’s health department announced three more patients linked to the previous three Omicron community infections, VnExpress cited Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the department as saying.     

The Ministry of Health has yet to elaborate on the number of domestic cases included in the 139 Omicron infections registered in 11 localities, but in Ho Chi Minh City alone, six Omicron patients have been detected in the community thus far.

The city is topping the country’s list of Omicron infections with 71 patients, followed by Quang Nam with 27 cases, Hanoi with 14 cases, Khanh Hoa with 11 cases, Da Nang with eight cases, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ninh with two cases each, and Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Long An and Binh Duong with one case each.

Current COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent critical conditions as well as mortalities caused by all coronavirus strains including Omicron, so getting full vaccination is the best way to protect oneself in general, the Department of Health said.

To date, hospitalizations and deaths caused by Omicron have been relatively low in Vietnam thanks to high COVID-19 vaccine coverage, the department said.

The first Omicron infection in the Southeast Asian nation was announced on December 21 last year in a Vietnamese man who returned to Hanoi from the UK two days earlier.

The mutant was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern on November 26, 2021, two days after it was first reported to the WHO by South Africa.

The strain, which health experts stated appears to be more contagious but less virulent than previous mutants, has now been found in over 130 countries and territories and has become dominant in many places, according to international media.

“The infection rate of Omicron is likely seven times higher in the unvaccinated group and three times higher in the fully vaccinated demographic, so it may lead to a very rapid increase in infection cases, overloading the health system and pushing up deaths,” Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned.

Therefore, it is necessary to continue strengthening epidemic prevention and control efforts, Long said.

The health ministry said it has been updating information about the Omicron strain from the WHO in order to cope with any new epidemic developments.

Vietnam has documented 2,141,422 COVID-19 cases, with 1,804,849 recoveries and 36,719 mortalities, the Ministry of Health’s data shows.

Heath workers have administered 78.86 million first vaccine doses, 73.88 million second shots, and 23.15 million third jabs to people nationwide since vaccination was rolled out in March 2020, the Ministry of Health reported on Sunday.

Currently, 100 percent of the adult population of the Southeast Asian nation have received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses, while 48 among the country’s 63 cities and provinces have reached a second-jab rate of more than 90 percent.

The ministry has urged all localities to complete the coverage of second vaccine doses for children aged 12 to 17 within this month, while preparing for immunizing children from five to 12 years old.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220124/vietnam-records-139-omicron-cases-in-11-localities/65397.html

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The Lunar New Year of overseas Vietnamese students

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many overseas Vietnamese students will not be able to return to Vietnam to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays (Tet).

Hoang Thi Phuong, 19, a freshman at GUu State University of Management (Russia), said: “This is my first year away from home. I have to do everything by myself, sometimes I miss home a lot.”

Du học sinh tâm tư những ngày đầu năm mới

Hoang Thi Phuong.

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Vietnamese student association in Russia organized a cooking contest which helped with Phuong’s homesickness. She will have a New Year’s Eve party with her dormitory friends.  

For Nguyen Huyen My, a student at Université catholique de l’Ouest (UCO), France, this is the third year welcoming the New Year in a foreign land.

Du học sinh tâm tư những ngày đầu năm mới

Nguyen Huyen My.

Huyen My said that most of the time she learns directly at the school and online only in case of force majeure. This year, My cannot return home when the cost of travel and quarantine is about 6,000 dollars. 

My added that usually on New Year’s Eve, the Vietnamese student association will celebrate and have fireworks show together, but this year it will be difficult to do so because of the pandemic.

“I’m also used to having my own New Year’s party. This time of the year is the time for me to relax after finishing the exam, so I’ll probably go somewhere to relax,” she said. 

Thai Doanh Nghi, auditing student at Depaul University (USA), said she has lived in the US for five years, so she is used to celebrating the New Year alone.

Du học sinh tâm tư những ngày đầu năm mới
Thai Doanh Nghi.

However, she gets homesick quite often. “When I get homesick, I often call and talk to my parents, sometimes I go out with my sister and cousin here, so it’s not that lonely.” 

Last year was a difficult year for Nghi as she suffered from depression while finishing her studies and internship at Deloitte.

To celebrate the new year this time, Nghi plans to hold a small party with her boyfriend and her two Corgies. She wants to be able to return to Vietnam to visit her family in the summer. 

Doan Hung

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/the-lunar-new-year-of-overseas-vietnamese-students-811001.html

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Việt Nam reports 15,743 new cases on Tuesday

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 The new infections include 44 imported and 15,699 domestically-transmitted cases which were found in Hà Nội (2,956), Đà Nẵng (989), Hải Phòng (704), Thanh Hóa (685), Hưng Yên (623), Bắc Ninh (560), Bắc Giang (445), Quảng Ngãi (400), Hải Dương (397), Hòa Bình (386), Vĩnh Phúc (385), Bình Định (374), Phú Thọ (370), Bến Tre (352), Nam Định (337), Bình Phước (335), Quảng Ninh (322), Thừa Thiên-Huế (305), Đắk Lắk (303), Quảng Nam (301), Thái Nguyên (271), Thái Bình (267), Nghệ An (263), Lâm Đồng (225), Lào Cai (202), Khánh Hòa (200), Cà Mau (200), Quảng Bình (186), Kon Tum (178), Sơn La (152), Vĩnh Long (151), Tây Ninh (146), Bạc Liêu (146), Hà Nam (138), Trà Vinh (123), Yên Bái (114), Hà Giang (104), HCM City (99), Điện Biên (80), Bình Thuận (77), Tuyên Quang (70), Hậu Giang (69), Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu (68), Bình Dương (61), Quảng Trị (59), Đồng Tháp (52), Phú Yên (50), Đắk Nông (48), Cần Thơ (42), Long An (38), Lai Châu (37), An Giang (35), Bắc Kạn (34), Ninh Bình (34), Cao Bằng (34), Ninh Thuận (34), Đồng Nai (31), Kiên Giang (26), Sóc Trăng (12), Tiền Giang (11), and Gia Lai (3). Details will follow shortly.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1119689/viet-nam-reports-15743-new-cases-on-tuesday.html

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