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Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia September 25



Fight against COVID-19 under review

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired a meeting in Hanoi on September 24 to review the fight against the pandemic.

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Preventing pandemic in border area 

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired a meeting in Hanoi on September 24 to review the fight against the pandemic.

As of the same day, Vietnam went through 22 consecutive days without any COVID-19 case in the community. Among 1,069 infections, 412 are imported and the remaining are locally transmitted. There were 35 deaths from the virus, mostly of them suffered serious underlying diseases. As many as 989 patients have been discharged from hospitals while 41 others are under treatment at medical establishments.

Pandemic hotbeds have been basically controlled but the risk remains, especially in major urban areas and those with dense populations.

Head of the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine Dang Quang Tan warned that in the near future, new infections from previous hotbeds or more imported cases could be discovered as several international flights will be resumed.

The ministry proposed stepping up research, production and supply of COVID-19 vaccine as well as access vaccine supply in the world, he said.

Members of the committee said illegal or legal immigrants failing to follow prevention and control measures are at high risk of spreading virus in the community. They cited international experts’ comments that alert should be given to community hotbeds and imported goods.

According to experts, the fight against the pandemic will become harder as the winter is coming near. Moreover, residents have failed to keep vigilant as not any local infection has been found for more than three weeks.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Son requested clarifying responsibility of local authorities for quarantine, which he said, remains loose in hotels and lack of supervision.

The committee assigned the Health Ministry to issue a check list of must-do actions to grassroots-level units while the Ministry of Education and Training must require schools to follow the check-list to ensure safety, thus raising public awareness of the effort.

Hospitals were also asked to step up health-check registration online.

Da Nang resumes all activities from 0am on September 25

All activities in the central city of Da Nang will return to normal from 0am on September 25 as the COVID-19 outbreak in the city has been under control.

Service providers must commit to following pandemic prevention and control measures.

The city will continue seriously following the Health Ministry’s message featuring 5K (in Vietnamese) Khau trang (facemask) – (Khu khuan) disinfection – (Khoang cach) distance – (Khong tu tap) no gathering – (Khai bao y te) health declaration.

Earlier on September 18, the city allowed many activities to resume, except discotheque, bar, pub, karaoke and massage services. 

On September 23, the last COVID-19 patient was given the all-clear from the virus at Hoa Vang field hospital.

Da Nang has gone through 27 days without local transmission and 25 days without new infection cases./.

Da Nang in the ‘new normal’

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After controlling the second wave of COVID-19 to strike Vietnam, Da Nang city has been gradually loosening social distancing measures imposed earlier to curb its spread. Local people have adapted well to the “new normal”.

Da Nang city has now returned to some semblance of normality after being hit by the second wave of COVID-19 in Vietnam. Most local people, however, continue to wear a face mask when out in public.

Like many other people, Theo has returned to her family’s long-time business of selling traditional noodles at home but still pays due regard to prevention and control measures. 

Local people have now started to shop freely, without needing “access tickets” like during the last two months. Pandemic prevention measures are being strictly followed, however, and gatherings remain limited.

Except for bars, karaoke parlours, and discos, which are still closed, other activities have been allowed to operate as normal. The people of Da Nang are ready for the revival of the coastal city post-COVID-19./.

No new COVID-19 cases reported on September 25 morning

Vietnam recorded no new COVID-19 infections overnight, making the tally unchanged at 1,069, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced on September 25 morning.

This day also marks the 23rd consecutive day without community transmissions.

However, experts said Vietnam is facing four infection risk sources: people entering the country illegally, those who enter Vietnam legally but do not follow quarantine regulations seriously, the source circulating in the community, and imported commodities which are made in and transported though disease-hit countries.

As of 6am on September 25, 991 COVID-19 patients had been treated successfully. The fatalities remained at 35.

Among patients under treatment, there is no longer any critical case, while four have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 14 twice and 12 thrice.

A total 21,842 people are being quarantined nationwide.

Vietnam told to keep vigilant against COVID-19

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested ministries and localities to remain highly vigilant and strictly implement COVID-19 control measures following public complacency about the disease. 

In a dispatch dated September 24, PM Phuc noted that Vietnam has basically controlled the disease as no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases have been detected in the country for the past 22 days in a row. The country has now been working toward a dual goal of epidemic prevention and economic recovery, and has achieved initial encouraging results.

However, he pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving in a complex manner globally. The disease has even spreading rapidly again in a number of countries after social distancing measures were relaxed.

To maintain the gains and support economic recovery efforts, the PM asked all ministries, agencies and localities to strictly implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Accordingly, residents are required to wear face masks, frequently wash hands with soap or sanitizer, avoid mass gatherings and keep safe distance from each other in public places.

A primary focus will be on big cities as well as densely populated areas such as schools, industrial parks, markets, supermarkets, and concentrated quarantine facilities. Priority will be given to implementing epidemic prevention in health facilities, testing those with clinical virus symptoms and taking care of elderly people with underlying illnesses.

The PM assigned the Ministry of Health to provide clear instructions on COVID-19 prevention and control in socio-economic activities as soon as Vietnam resumes international commercial flights.

The Ministries of Public Security, National Defense and local People’s Committee were required to tighten border control to timely prevent illegal entrants. The Government demanded serious medical surveillance over entrants to prevent cross-infection at quarantine camps and community transmission of COVID-19.

The PM urged the authorities to ensure safety for international commercial flights. All inbound travellers shall have to fill out a health declaration form and undergo a COVID-19 test.

He ordered media agencies to continue launching communication campaigns and encourage local residents to install Bluezone, a Vietnamese-designed COVID-19 tracing application.

As of 18.00hrs September 24, Vietnam has recorded a total of 1,069 COVID-19 patients, including 991 recoveries and 35 deaths.

Thua Thien-Hue province removes all COVID-19 epidemic checkpoints

Every novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic checkpoint in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue was lifted on the morning of September 25 due to all COVID-19 outbreaks in the locality being successfully brought under control. 

According to the provincial steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control, checkpoints aimed at monitoring the health of people travelling through railway stations and airports were also removed at the same time.

Furthermore, local authorities were permitted to lift checkpoints placed on Phu Loc district, Huong Thuy town, and Nam Dong district.

Moreover, Thua Thien-Hue province’s administration requested that residents and tourists continue to seriously follow the Health Ministry’s message of the 5Ks, Khau trang, (facemasks), Khu khuan (disinfection), Khoang cach, (distance), Khong tu tap, (no gatherings), and Khai bao y te, (health declarations).

COVID-19 shows little sign of abating in some Southeast Asian countries

The COVID-19 pandemic showed little sign of abating in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia which confirmed a record daily number of infections on September 24.

This is the second straight day that Indonesia has seen a record number of new cases in a single day. With 4,634 cases reported on September 24, the country now counts 262,022 cases of COVID-19.

The death toll increased to 10,105 with 128 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The Philippines had 2,180 new cases and 36 more deaths on September 24. The country continued to top the Southeast Asian region in the number of coronavirus infections with 296,755 cases. The fatalities rose to 5,127, with nearly half of the deaths occurring in the past 30 days.

Meanwhile, Myanmar is concerned that its quarantine facilities have become overloaded due to a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Statistics of the Health Ministry showed the number of quarantined people has more than doubled, from around 19,000 in August to over 45,000 as of September 21.

In the afternoon of September 24, Myanmar announced 535 new cases and three more deaths, raising the total COVID-19 tally to 7,827 and fatalities to 133.

The southeastern state of Kayah is the only state in Myanmar still free from the coronavirus./.

Singapore eases coronavirus restrictions

Safe distancing rules will be eased and more activities allowed to resume in Singapore in the coming weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases in the community has remained low, said Singaporean Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a press conference.

More employees will be allowed to return to the workplace from September 28, although safe management measures must be in place and employers are encouraged to implement measures such as flexible working hours and staggered reporting times.

Employers must ensure that such employees continue to work from home for at least half their working time, and no more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time.

Events within the workplace, such as seminars, corporate retreats and annual general meetings will also be allowed to resume, as long as safe distancing measures are in place. However, work-related events at external venues remain prohibited for now.

From October 3, wedding receptions will be allowed to have up to 100 attendees in total, including the couple and their families, Gan said.

To ensure safe distancing, participants have to be split into zones of up to 50 attendees each, or to be separated by staggered time slots with up to 50 persons in each slot.

Also from October 3, all religious organisations will be permitted to conduct congregational and other worship services of up to 100 persons, subject to safe distancing and safe management measures, according to the minister./.



VN’s COVID-19 update on Sunday morning




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Commuters in Hanoi and HCM City willing to use metro: JICA survey



Hanoi and HCM City are willing to use urban railways once they are put into operation, according to a survey conducted by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) of more than 6,000 residents in the two big cities.

The first train of metro line Bến Thành-Suối Tiên in HCM City arrived at the Long Bình Depot on October 13.

JICA conducted the survey about three urban railway lines including Line 1 and Line 2 in Hà Nội and Line 1 in HCM City between March 2019 and last month, with the results released on Friday in Hà Nội.

A dominant proportion of respondents in HCM City (81 per cent) said yes to the question “Will you use the Bến Thành-Suối Tiên metro when it is operated?”

About 66 per cent of respondents in Hà Nội were willing to use the Line 1 metro (Ngọc Hồi-Yên Viên) while 30 per cent of those interviewed were willing to take the Line 2 metro (Nam Thăng Long-Trần Hưng Đạo)

The rate of Line 2 in Hà Nội was lower than Line 1 because all services and railway infrastructures of Line 1 are ready so people are more willing to use it, meanwhile, there is almost no service in the Line 2, said Ken Kumazawa, team leader of the JICA study team.

The most common reasons mentioned by commuters not willing to use the trains in both cities were inconvenient routes and their preference for private vehicles such as cars and motorbikes, according to the survey.

“The urban railway networks will be able to benefit local people by mitigating traffic congestion, air pollution and climate change,” said Kumazawa.

The transport sector contributes a considerable amount to CO2 emissions in both Japan and Việt Nam. About 19 per cent of CO2 emissions in Japan come from the transport sector while the figure is 23 per cent in Việt Nam, he said.

Tokyo, Hà Nội and HCM City are all rapidly growing urban areas. More commuters in Tokyo use the railway for daily travel and Japan has less traffic congestion than megacities like Manila, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jakarta and Bangkok. Meanwhile, Hà Nội and HCM City have a majority of people (60 to 80 per cent) using motorbikes and also a high level of traffic congestion and air pollution, the Japanese expert said.

Trần Ánh Dương, head of Environment Department of the Việt Nam’s Ministry of Transport, said the ministry had committed to building dense urban railway networks in Hà Nội and HCM City.

Hà Nội plans to build eight metro lines covering a total length of 318.9km while HCM City hopes to construct six urban railway routes on 174km. 

The Hà Nội routes and Line 1 in HCM City are under construction with JICA’s support.

Kumazawa said urban railways had become a daily part of Japanese life. In Việt Nam where most people use motorbikes, getting them to change to urban railways would not be easy. In the future, ensuring service quality and showing the environmental positive impacts of the urban railways will surely increase the ridership.

From Japan’s experience, he said a modal shift from motorbikes and cars to the metro was very important. It is estimated that cars discharge 90gCO2 per passenger on each km, motorbikes release 45gCO2 and metro only 20.

“Urban transport can reduce CO2 emissions by way of modal shift, reduction in traffic volume and distance, technology innovation and alternative fuel,” he said.

Murooka Naomichi, senior representative of JICA Vietnam Office said the urban railway systems to be developed in Hà Nội and HCMC will not only meet public demand of transportation but also contribute to the national target of 9 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 committed in the updated Nationally Determined Contribution of Việt Nam, which has been recently submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. — VNS


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Vietnam documents 12 imported coronavirus cases, all Vietnamese returnees from abroad



Vietnam’s Ministry of Health reported 12 imported cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, all Vietnamese returnees from France, Russia, Germany, and Angola.

They were quarantined upon arrival, the health ministry said.

Two of the new patients who returned from France are being treated in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau while three cases that came back from Russia are being isolated for treatment in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

Among the remaining seven cases, three were repatriated from Germany and four from Angola. They are receiving treatment in Hanoi.

Vietnam has logged 1,160 COVID-19 cases since January 23, when the virus first emerged in the Southeast Asian nation, according to the health ministry’s data.

The number of recovered patients has hit 1,051 while 35 virus-related fatalities have been recorded to date.

Four patients passed away after having been cleared of the pathogen so they were not counted in the nation’s death toll.

Zero domestic infections have been confirmed in Vietnam in the last 52 days.

The health ministry has warned that the pandemic may worsen in the coming winter, insisting that people wear face masks in public, sanitize hands, keep a safe distance, avoid gatherings, and declare health status.  

Vietnam began denying entry to foreign nationals on March 22 but the government allows foreign experts, skilled workers, investors, and diplomats to enter the country on a case-by-case basis, subject to mandatory quarantine.

Though international commercial flights are now suspended, charter planes to the country have been arranged to bring in experts, skilled workers, and diplomats, and to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded in other nations and territories due to the pandemic.

Vietnam currently charges international arrivals for quarantine.

It provided the quarantine service for free in the past.

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