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Ho Chi Minh City education department proposes reopening K-12 schools on March 1



The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training on Tuesday suggested that the People’s Committee allow K-12 schools to reopen next month amid the context that the city has spent nearly two weeks recording no new local coronavirus infections.

Students should be permitted to return to school on March 1, the department said in a proposal to the committee.

“Given the current COVID-19 prevention effort in the city, the department believes that it is suitable for K-12 students to return to school on March 1, 2021,” the proposal reads.

Ho Chi Minh City has detected zero community-based COVID-19 cases since February 11, with its local infection count in this current wave standing at 36, including one student, according to the municipal Center for Disease Control.

The city has 74 teachers and students identified as direct contacts, 361 teachers and students classified as contacts of the direct contacts, and 2,680 teachers and students coming back from coronavirus-hit provinces and cities, according to figures cited in the said proposal.

City authorities demanded on February 14 that K-12 schools be shut down and students study online until the end of February to prevent COVID-19 contagion.

Ho Chi Minh City has over 1.7 million students studying at K-12 levels and vocational and continuing education facilities, along with 100,000 teachers and other staff.

In order for students not to lag behind their curriculum, schools would teach online during the time, the authorities said in a fiat then.

City K-12 students started taking the Lunar New Year holiday on February 6 and were originally scheduled to come back to school on February 17.

They had switched to virtual learning on February 2 following an order by the People’s Committee one day earlier because of a new wave of domestic coronavirus infections.

The shutdown came in the wake of new coronavirus outbreaks in Vietnam on January 28, after the country had gone almost two months without any domestic transmission.

A total of 809 community-based cases have been confirmed in 13 provinces and cities since then, making it the most serious wave to have struck Vietnam after the first-ever COVID-19 patient was announced in the country on January 23, 2020.

In this latest round, 625 cases were logged in Hai Duong Province, 61 in Quang Ninh Province, 27 in Gia Lai Province, 35 in Hanoi, five in Bac Ninh Province, two in Bac Giang Province, 36 in Ho Chi Minh City, two in Hoa Binh Province, one in Ha Giang Province, three in Dien Bien Province, six in Binh Duong Province, four in Hai Phong, and two in Hung Yen Province.

Vietnam has recorded 2,401 coronavirus cases, including 1,502 local infections, as of Tuesday night, with 1,717 recoveries and 35 virus-related fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.

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Japan to send another 1 million doses of AstraZeneca to Việt Nam



The first batch of Japan-donated AstraZeneca vaccines arrived at Nội Bài International Airport, Hà Nội, on June 16, 2021. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Japan will donate another 1 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to Việt Nam, Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu said on Tuesday morning at a press briefing.

The shipment is expected to leave Japan the night of July 15 and arrive at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City the morning of July 16.

“Japan expressed its admiration for the efforts that Vietnamese people are making every day in COVID-19 response. Let’s hold hands tightly to overcome the pandemic,” the Japanese embassy in Việt Nam said in a post regarding the vaccine assistance from the Japanese Government on its website.

The embassy also noted that on Monday, Japanese ambassador Yamada Takio and Vietnamese health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long exchanged notes on vaccine supply.

With the latest announcement, Japan’s vaccination donation to Việt Nam has reached nearly 3 million delivered through four shipments, with the first batch coming on June 16.

The amount is also the largest vaccine aid a country has pledged and donated to Việt Nam, followed by the batch of 2 million doses of Moderna from the US Government.

As of July 12, 4,063,872 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, mostly AstraZeneca, have been administered in Việt Nam, with 280,367 receiving the full two doses.

Japan has pledged $1 billion and 30 million doses to the global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, but so far its donations have been outside of that programme, as AstraZeneca doses produced in Japan have not yet been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use in COVAX until very recently.

The foreign minister has said that due to this issue, Japan has turned to bilateral deals to respond to “urgent requests for vaccine supplies” in a press briefing in early July, according to Reuters.

During a press briefing on Monday, WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that two more manufacturing sites of AstraZeneca in Japan and Australia had received a WHO Emergency Use Listing, which would greenlight “COVAX to buy vaccines from these additional facilities, and enables countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and roll out vaccines.” —


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Vietnam approves Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine



Vials of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been approved for emergency use in Vietnam – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – The Ministry of Health on July 15 conditionally approved Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, making it the sixth Covid-19 vaccine to be endorsed in Vietnam.

Johnson & Johnson Vietnam Co., Ltd proposed the vaccine for approval earlier this month, providing data on its safety, quality and effectiveness, the local media reported.

The Janssen vaccine requires only one shot and can be stored in normal refrigerators at 2.2-7.7 degrees Celsius. The global clinical trial of the vaccine with 44,000 volunteers showed that it is 66% effective.

It was approved by the World Health Organization on March 12 and has been used in 24 countries and territories. It has also been distributed through the Covax Facility.

The ministry asked the Drug Administration of Vietnam to license the import of the vaccine and manage the import and quality of the vaccine in line with the law.

Meanwhile, the Administration of Science Technology and Training will choose eligible units to assess the vaccine’s safety and efficacy based on the consultancy of the advisory council on the use of vaccines and biologicals.

The ministry also assigned the General Department of Preventive Medicine to conduct the Covid-19 vaccination using Janssen and the National Institute for Control of Vaccines and Biologicals to review and grant certificates for batches of the Janssen vaccine before use.

Vietnam had earlier approved five other Covid-19 vaccines: AstraZeneca, Sputnik-V, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Vero-Cell.


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Vietnam’s Da Nang to vaccinate 20,000 people against COVID-19 a day



Medical authorities in Da Nang are expecting to inoculate 20,000 people in the central Vietnamese city against coronavirus at about 100 vaccination sites per day, the municipal People’s Committee said on Friday.

The authorities have set a target to give enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to 90 percent of people of recommended vaccination ages, through different rounds of vaccine distribution.

Priorities will be given to frontline forces in the pandemic prevention and economic development missions, people with chronic diseases, people over 65 years old, the poor, social policy beneficiaries, and self-employed workers.

The expected maximum capacity is 20,000 injections a day.

The vaccination campaign will be implemented in all communes and wards in the city, with the priority given to virus-hit areas and districts with industrial parks, industrial clusters, and many workers and residents.

The city will utilize all eligible vaccines from different sources at the same time.

To achieve the 20,000-injection target, local authorities have planned to establish 100 to 110 vaccination sites.

Da Nang has reported an increase of local COVID-19 infections over the past few days, which sent its caseload to 361 in the ongoing infection wave.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 2,105 local coronavirus infections, including 1,769 in Ho Chi Minh City, taking the national tally to 46,292 patients on Saturday morning.

The new infections raised the southern city’s caseload to 25,682 — the highest number compared to all other localities in Vietnam.

Recoveries stand at 10,020 while the death toll remains at 225.

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