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Residents say Hà Nội a good place to live despite high living cost

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Bảo Hoa & Vân Nguyễn

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội has been named the most expensive city in Việt Nam in terms of the cost of living, but for residents it’s still a good choice.

A report published by the General Statistics Office last week shows the capital has the highest spatial cost of living index (SCOLI) in 2020 among 63 localities.

The index compares the cost of living in different regions, to which the cost of living in Hà Nội was kept at 100 per cent.

HCM City came second at 99.05 per cent, and Hải Phòng third at 97.38 per cent.

To some people life in the capital is comfortable despite the high living cost.

Hugh Ellis from the UK said: “As a UK citizen living here, I would say it’s a pretty good value for money in the coffee shops, the restaurants, bars, it’s very good value.”

West Lake (right) and Trúc Bạch Lake (left) separated by Thanh Niên Street in Hà Nội. The capital city has the highest spatial cost of living index in the country in 2020. VNA/ Photo Minh Đông 

He added: “I travel on a local bus. I think VNĐ7,000 (30 US cents) is very good to go from one starting point to the other. I am very happy with the frequency of the bus. If I go on Grab or Be, I think it’s very good price and it’s easy to get either one.”

Phạm Thị Thu Huyền was born and raised in the capital. She said: “I travel a lot to other provinces for work, and I don’t think Hà Nội is the most expensive.

“The report must be talking about the cost of leisure activities. In terms of the cost of living, I think Lai Châu would be the most expensive. It’s so far away, so expensive. Or Quảng Ninh is also expensive.”

But some do find goods are more costly in Hà Nội than in their hometowns.

“In my country, you can have breakfast for VNĐ10,000,” said Kiran Thapa from Nepal. “If you spend VNĐ10,000, you can have a good breakfast. But here for a cheap breakfast you at least need to spend VNĐ30,000 or more.”

Nghiêm Thu Hà from Bắc Giang Province agrees. “The cost of living in Hà Nội is higher than rural areas,” she said. “For example, vegetables’ price doubles in Hà Nội compared to rural areas.”

In 2019 the capital also surpassed HCM City, Việt Nam’s largest city, to become the costliest place to live.

But despite the statistics everyone has their own way of making it in the big city.

“Food supply is plentiful here. Rice is transferred from all places to Hà Nội, all types of rice. We can choose what to buy in accordance with what we earn,” said Hà Nội resident Phạm Thị Thu Huyền.

“We also have lots of supermarkets and local markets,” she added. “For people with average incomes the local markets are very affordable. Food at supermarkets would be of higher quality so it can be more expensive, and not everyone can afford to shop there.”

Nghiêm Thu Hà from Bắc Giang said: “I share the room with another friend, so it costs me nearly VNĐ1 million a month for rent, electricity and water bills. For students, Hà Nội is totally affordable for those who can manage their money well.”

And for expats the capital also seems to be a good place to live.

Hugh Ellis said: “I don’t know a lot of English teachers here but I would imagine a lot of English teachers here would have a more comfortable life teaching English here rather than back in the UK, because I think the đồng would go further to the pound or the dollar. So I think it’s a good place to live.” —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/920291/residents-say-ha-noi-a-good-place-to-live-despite-high-living-cost.html

Society

Compulsory COVID-19 related insurance a must for inbound, outbound travellers: experts

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Tourists row boats at Tiên Định agro-ecological tourist area at Phú Thuận A Commune in Đồng Tháp Province’s Hồng Ngự District. VNA/ Photo Chương Đài

HÀ NỘI – Travel firms and tourism experts have suggested making COVID-19 insurance compulsory for all inbound and outbound travellers as one of the key requirements to welcome foreigners back to Việt Nam.

In a letter sent to then Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc proposing the Government to open the market in a safe and sustainable manner, the Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) stated there should be a roadmap. Accordingly, it is necessary to have policies requiring COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports’ and testing tourists before flights and after arrival at tourist sites. Travel insurance, including medical insurance related to COVID-19, should be compulsory for all foreigners coming to Việt Nam and Vietnamese tourists travelling abroad.

Võ Anh Tài, vice chairman of TAB and deputy director general of Saigontourist Group, said COVID-19-related insurance would ensure benefits and safety for both travellers, travel firms and local authorities in case of tour delays or cancellations.

The TAB suggested the Government and the Ministry of Finance to allow insurance companies in Việt Nam to sell COVID-19 travel insurance products.

“Medical insurance programmes related to COVID-19 have been offered in some countries. It helps cover expenses on hospitalisation, examinations, treatment and medical care, and medical evacuation and repatriation,” Tài told Người lao động (The Labourer) newspaper.

He also said travel insurance can offset the cost if the trip is affected by the pandemic.

Hoàng Nhân Chính, Secretary General of TAB, said that the Law on Tourism required travel companies to buy insurance for tourists during the tours unless they already had insurance for the entire travel period. This insurance is paid to visitors when there are emergencies including illness and accident. However, he said, the tourism industry still did not have COVID-19 insurance, especially in the context of Việt Nam considering opening the market to foreign visitors.

“COVID-19 related insurance will prove effective for visitors when they travel to a tourist destination that requires testing as they can pay first, then request the insurance agency to reimburse the cost,” he said.

In case the visitor was quarantined when travelling to a certain area due to an outbreak, the expense during the quarantine period was also covered by insurance, Chính added.

Tourism is a key economic sector in Việt Nam, contributing more than 10 per cent of the country’s GDP and generated over US$30 billion in annual revenue.

Results of a recent survey of Vietnamese tourists conducted by TAB about the willingness of tourists to purchase additional travel insurance packages during the high-risk disease period showed that 52 per cent of respondents answered ‘Yes’. This reflected that they have a demand to purchase a COVID-19 insurance package.

Many businesses also believe that COVID-19-related insurance products are necessary as the tourism industry is implementing a roadmap to reopen to international visitors.

In fact, a few travel companies have been working with the insurance company to extend their terms of support to visitors in case of an unfortunate infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus while on tour and within 14 days after the tour ends.

The Vietnam Travel and Marketing Transport Joint-stock Company (Vietravel) is an example. There is a provision on COVID-19 in the travel insurance policy for  the company’s customers to enhance the interests of customers, said Huỳnh Phan Phượng Hoàng, Deputy General Director of Vietravel. 

She said that the most important thing right now was the policy that allowed travel companies to coordinate with insurance companies to deploy COVID-19 insurance products as in other countries.

“A ‘vaccine passport’, a certificate showing a person is negative for COVID-19 at the time of departure and COVID-19-related insurance are prerequisites for welcoming back foreign visitors and rapidly reviving the tourism industry,” Hoàng said.

At the Government’s regular press conference held in late March, former Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tiến Dũng said that some key tasks are to speed up research, development and testing of vaccines, as well as developing a plan to import vaccines for large-scale vaccination.

Early research and rolling out of a ‘vaccine passport’ mechanism to promote trade and investment should be a priority.

At the latest meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the Ministry of Health submitted initial proposals on the implementation of the ‘vaccine passport’, including the applicable target group, plan for monitoring, isolating, and medical monitoring.

According to experts, with mass vaccination programmes taking place in many countries, a number of countries have developed plans to open their markets to facilitate the travel of entrepreneurs, experts and tourists.

The Vietnamese Government and competent agencies should consider opening the market in a safe and sustainable manner in order not to lag behind. 

Besides the COVID-19 vaccination programmes, many tourist businesses also proposed a more open visa policy to gain a competitive advantage in the region. For example, the proposed 30-day visa exemption policy should continue to be applied to existing countries that are exempt. Australia, New Zealand and remaining countries in Europe should also be included.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/925991/compulsory-covid-19-related-insurance-a-must-for-inbound-outbound-travellers-experts.html

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Trà Vinh expands forest coverage

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Mangrove forest in Trà Vinh Province. – VNA/ Photo

TRÀ VINH – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh plans to grow new forests from now to 2025, increasing the province’s total forest area to 10,000ha and reaching a forest coverage rate of 4.2 per cent.

To meet the targets, the province is providing funds to individuals, households and organisations responsible for growing new mangrove forests and protecting existing forests.

Individuals, households and organisations who grow new forests on an area of more than 0.3ha will receive no more than VNĐ37 million (US$1,600) per hectare to buy seedlings.

This is 4.5 times more than the financial assistance given previously.

Individuals and households responsible for protecting forests will be given VNĐ500,000 ($21) per hectare a year. The money will be provided for up to 15ha to individuals and 30ha to households.

Phạm Minh Truyền, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the support policies aim to protect the environment and protect against the impact of high tides, rising sea levels, and erosion along the province’s 65km coastline.

These support activities have helped to create livelihoods for households, especially shrimp – forest farms, that have provided sustainable incomes in coastal areas.

The province has more than 9,160ha of forests, mostly mangrove forests, and a forest coverage rate of 3.63 per cent, according to the department.

Of the total forest area, more than 4,000ha are planted by households in the coastal districts of Duyên Hải, Cầu Ngang, Châu Thành, and Duyên Hải Town.

The households also breed black-tiger shrimp or other aquatic species in the 4,000ha of mangrove forests.  

The shrimp – forest farming model requires low investment cost, has a low risk of disease, is environmentally friendly, and is sustainably efficient.

Households that breed shrimp or other aquatic species in mangrove forests earn an average income of VNĐ70 million ($3,000) per hectare a year, according to the department.

Last year, the province turned nearly 3,800ha of protective forests into commercial forests to improve incomes for households who protect and exploit forest resources. 

The move was done to improve the management and protection of forests.

The province has sought donations at home and abroad to grow forests and train human resources for forest management and protection.

It has also encouraged the use of advanced techniques, including the use of digital forest data at all management levels. 

In 2015 – 20, the province’s coastal districts of Duyên Hải, Cầu Ngang, Châu Thành, and Duyên Hải Town planted a total 625ha of new forests.

The province’s People’s Committee has zoned a total area of 23,984ha for forest development. –

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/925994/tra-vinh-expands-forest-coverage.html

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Four returnees diagnosed with Covid-19

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Medical workers of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi take care of a Covid-19 patient. The Ministry of Health has reported four new imported Covid-19 cases – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – The Ministry of Health has confirmed four fresh imported Covid-19 cases, including one in Kien Giang and three in Khanh Hoa, taking the country’s Covid-19 tally to 2,737 as of this morning, April 15.

Specifically, the case in Kien Giang is a 25-year-old man residing in Duong Kinh District, Haiphong City. On April 10, he entered Vietnam through the Ha Tien international border gate in Kien Giang and was quarantined in the province.

On April 13, he tested positive for Covid-19 and is being treated at the medical center of Ha Tien City.

The remaining patients include a woman and two men, aged 27, 32 and 26, respectively. The woman is a resident of Thua Thien-Hue Province, while the two men are from Ha Tinh Province.

They flew back to Vietnam from Japan through the Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa on April 11 and were quarantined in the province. The three tested positive for Covid-19 on April 14 and are receiving treatment at the Khanh Hoa Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/81456/four-returnees-diagnosed-with-covid-19.html

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