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‘No one is left behind’: Vietnam’s authorities provide support for foreigners amid the pandemic



Despite limited resources, the Vietnamese Government and local authorities are sparing no efforts to support and ensure safety for the expat community in Vietnam amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

'No one is left behind': Vietnam's authorities provide support for foreigners amid the pandemic
A foreigner receives a COVID-19 vaccine in HCM City. VNA/VNS Xuan Khu

As the vaccination drive is being accelerated across the country, the Vietnamese Government is determined to provide vaccinations for all foreigners living and working here, ensure them equal access to vaccines like local people.

With the motto of “leaving no one behind”, on September 6, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh issued a document asking all localities and sectors to organise registrations and free vaccinations for foreigners in each locality regardless of nationality, form of residence and employment.

In HCM City, the current COVID-19 hotspot, the city’s government has mobilised all resources within its capacity to inoculate foreigners.

Duong Anh Duc, vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the city authority tasked the Department of Health to allocate vaccines and organise vaccination campaigns for foreigners.

A representative of the HCMC Department of Foreign Affairs told Việt Nam News that the department had closely worked with the Department of Health in this cause.

On September 10, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced a registration portal on the internet for foreigners to sign up for vaccination, including for the first or second dose. All registration must be completed before September 15.

Earlier, some districts in the city carried out their own vaccination drive for foreigners.

District 7, which has the biggest community of expats in the city, has already inoculated 18,000 foreigners of 106 nationalities, which is more than half of the foreigners living in the locality.

Meanwhile in Hanoi, the Central Lung Hospital is assigned by the Ministry of Health to deploy vaccination for embassies, United Nations organisations and diplomatic missions, as well as foreigners in Hanoi.

Up to now, the hospital has vaccinated more than 4,000 officials and employees of embassies, 4,251 foreigners, nearly 2,000 United Nations officials and employees and nearly 340 staff of NGOs in the capital city.

As Hanoi is setting a target of inoculating 100 per cent of adult residents before September 15, many more foreigners, together with local people, are also receiving the jabs provided by authorities at district level.

Last Saturday, Cau Giay District where about 4,000 foreigners are working and studying, started a large-scale vaccination campaign for foreigners.

Trinh Thi Dung, vice chairwoman of the district’s People’s Committee, said the committee had assigned relevant units to submit the list of foreigners who need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the locality. They would be given the jabs in the shortest time possible.

Besides vaccination, local authorities have also supported foreigners in need in other ways.

In early September, the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations coordinated with Hanoi’s Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee to hand over hundreds of gift packages, including food, necessities, medical supplies and VND500,000 ($22) in cash to 270 foreigners living in the city who face difficulties due to the pandemic.

Tran Thi Phuong, vice president of the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations, said: “It is just a small gesture but we hope this has shown international friends the spirit of hospitality and care of the capital’s authorities and people.”

In the central city of Da Nang, eight hotlines in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese were set up in late August to help foreigners solve difficulties amid strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Nguyen Thuy Anh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Foreign Affairs, told Việt Nam News: “From August 27 to September 9, the hotlines received about 560 calls, messages and emails from foreigners and overseas Vietnamese living in the city related to issues like support to buy food, essential goods and medicines, visa extensions, procedures to go to the airport or register for a vaccination, among others.

“The department has coordinated with the People’s Committees of districts to buy and present free food to nearly 120 cases in difficult situations.”

'No one is left behind': Vietnam's authorities provide support for foreigners amid the pandemic
Hotlines for assistance for foreigners in Da Nang City. Photo courtesy of Da Nang Department of Foreign Affairs

Thuy Anh added that in addition to this activity, the department regularly updated the guidelines and regulations of the central and local governments, mainly in English and Vietnamese to the expat community in the city by sending the information to various channels like foreign NGOs, foreign consular offices or posting information on the Connecting Da Nang Worldwide Facebook page.

“Depending on the nature of the issues, some documents and decisions of the city People’s Committee are also translated to Japanese, Korean and Chinese,” she said.

Although not having a hotline available to the general public like in Da Nang, HCM City’s Department of Foreign Affairs has hotlines to directly work with foreign representative offices in the city to help settle foreigners’ issues.

“For example, we have worked with them to help arrange transportation for foreigners to go to the airport or work with other localities to help stranded foreigners come back to the city to catch a flight home,” the department’s representative said.

He said supporting disadvantaged foreigners was a policy set out by the city authority early on, which was carried out with the coordination of different agencies including the city’s High Command, the city’s police, the Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

'No one is left behind': Vietnam's authorities provide support for foreigners amid the pandemic
A foreigner had his temperatures checked before getting a COVID-19 shot in Cau Giay District, Hanoi, on Sunday. — VNA/VNS Photo 

In the past few months, as HCM City tightened its social distancing orders and required people to shelter in place, many foreigners struggled to get food due to the language barrier, shortage of delivery workers and financial difficulties.

“In the coming days, the city will open a centre run by the High Command to provide accommodation and food to homeless foreigners and other foreigners in need,” he said.

Source: Vietnam News



Over 67% of Covid-19 patients at HCM City Covid-19 Resuscitation Hospital need psychological support



According to a survey by the Covid-19 Resuscitation Hospital in HCM City, up to 67% of patients said they wanted to have psychological counseling.

Hơn 67% F0 ở Bệnh viện Hồi sức Covid-19 muốn được hỗ trợ tâm lý
Psychologist Tri Thi Minh Thuy talks with a severe Covid-19 patient who has recovered from the disease and is about to be discharged from the hospital. Photo: Cho Ray Hospital.

According to the survey, 20% of the patients suffered depression, 53.3% with anxiety disorder, and 16.7% with stress.

In particular, up to 66.7% patients who needed High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC) suffered from depression. Similarly, 66.7% patients who had to breathe oxygen through a mask or mechanical ventilator suffered from anxiety disorder.

As many as 67% of patients wanted psychological counseling during treatment and after being discharged from the hospital.

The hospital has invited psychologist Tri Thi Minh Thuy from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City, to survey and provide psychological treatment support for patients at the hospital.

“When they go to the hospital for Covid-19 treatment, patients have to be away from their families and fight the virus alone to survive so it’s easy to cause sadness and loss of appetite,” said Dr. Thuy.

“Seeing me, many patients remained still. I said if you agree to talk to me, please give me a sign. They understood what I was saying but did not do anything. I had to help them eat and drink, talk to them, give them a massage, then they began to open their hearts,” she said.

After getting into contact with many severely ill Covid-19 patients, Dr. Thuy concluded that they suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. This is why they need a psychologist.

Tu Anh


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Côn Đảo to return to ‘new normal’ under province’s proposal



Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province is drafting plans for reopening after September 22. — Photo courtesy of

HCM CITY — Several wards and communes in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province are expected to continue to be under the Government’s Directive 16, while Côn Đảo District would return to a “new normal” state.

The provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Tuesday held a meeting on epidemic prevention and control plans after September 22 to discuss ending the province’s 5th social distancing period.

Directive 16 would continue to be applied in wards Nguyễn An Ninh, Thắng Nhất, Thắng Nhì, 1, 10 and 11, located in various districts.

Some communes and towns in Long Điền District, namely Phước Hưng, An Ngãi and Long Hải, will also be under Directive 16.

Bà Rịa City, Phú Mỹ Town, Châu Đức District, Đất Đỏ District and Xuyên Mộc District, together with the remaining communes and towns of Long Điền District, will be under the more relaxed Directive 15.

Production and business activities in Côn Đảo District will resume in a new normal state. However, traffic from the mainland to the island must be carefully monitored.

Districts such as Châu Đức, Đất Đỏ, Xuyên Mộc and Bà Rịa City aim to slowly recover and carefully open some types of economic activities in four stages.

During the first stage, between September 23 and 30, those areas will loosen travel control in the “green zone” and reopen supermarkets, retail store chains, small businesses selling essential items, traditional markets and take-away food services, and resume agricultural, forestry and fishery production activities.

The second stage, from October 1 to 31, involves tourism at hotels with closed services.

If the epidemic continues to be controlled well and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu returns to the new normal, the third stage, from November 11 to December 31, will be implemented.

The locality will allow tourist and resort establishments to welcome guests who are fully vaccinated. Real estate agencies, and security and insurance activities will be permitted to open, and intra-provincial public transport will operate at 50 per cent capacity. Education, training services and sports activities would be limited to no more than 20 people.

All economic activities in the last stage will reopen in 2022.

Vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Trần Văn Tuấn is seeking feedback from authorities and will announce the final plan soon.

As of September 21, after more than two months of social distancing, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu had recorded 3,943 COVID-19 cases. — 


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Five teens killed in road crash during Mid-Autumn Festival in northern Vietnam



Five teenage boys were killed and two others injured following a road accident involving four motorbikes that were traveling at high speed in the northern Vietnamese province of Phu Tho on Tuesday night.

The crash took place along a street in Minh Tan Commune, Cam Khe District at around 10:30 pm, according to Nguyen Hong Son, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee.

A total of seven teenagers were traveling on four motorbikes at high speed when they crashed into one another.

Four of them were killed on the spot, while the other three were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries.

One of the injured later died at around 1:00 am on Wednesday.

The five deceased victims were identified as Nguyen Ngoc Duy, 16, Nguyen Trung Dung, 16, Doan Quoc Hoi, 17, Nguyen Thanh Toan, 18, and Nguyen Truong Son, 16, according to An Toan Giao Thong (Traffic Safety) newspaper, which is managed by the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

Khuat Viet Hung, vice-chairman of the committee, has requested authorities in Phu Tho to promptly carry out an investigation and find out the cause of the accident.

Hung directed competent authorities to check whether the victims were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to verify any signs of illegal street racing.

The boys are believed to have been celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival prior to the crash, the provincial traffic safety committee reported.

The National Committee for Traffic Safety also asked their family members to pay attention to pandemic prevention and control measures when organizing funerals for the victims.

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