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Supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City still open during shelter-in-place mandate

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Supermarket chains in Ho Chi Minh City, including Satra, Saigon Co.op, AEON, and MM Mega Market, have stated their commitment to maintaining food distribution to residents by partnering with special ward-level response teams during this elevated social distancing mandate.

The municipal authorities have asked people to stay where they are from August 23 to September 6, underlining “each home, company, and factory should be an anti-virus fort.”

It is the most assertive measure yet that authorities have taken to curb the serious fourth outbreak.

According to their announcement, city residents will not be allowed to go out for food and must rely on local task groups to deliver the items they need.

As a consequence, supermarkets will close their in-person shopping operations, only taking orders from authorized officers. 

Buyers queue before entering Co.op Mart supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tien Phong

Buyers queue before entering Co.op Mart supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bong Mai / Tien Phong

Combo packages

Big supermarkets, such as Satra, Saigon Co.op, AEON, and MM Mega Market, have confirmed their plan to keep up operation, with a multitude of new essential item combos announced to local-level special cohorts on Sunday.

Grocery store chain Satrafoods will keep 120 out of its 188 locations open since Monday, according to a company representative.

These stores are located in ‘green zones’ and ‘red zones’ — two out of the city’s area classification system that includes red, orange, yellow, and green zones, with the warmer colors representing more serious levels of infections.

Meanwhile, other stores are closed due to their incapability to mobilize employees for the ‘three-on-the-spot’ model, where workers do job tasks, have meals, and rest after work in the same place to reduce COVID-19 transmission. 

The store chain has also devised six combo packages, offering necessities such as vegetables, meat, and eggs at an average price of VND300,000 (US$13) before presenting them to customers on Sunday.

Based on these combos, volunteer groups of each neighborhood will collect orders from households so that the ward-level officers can quantify local demand before 9:30 am every day. 

These orders will subsequently be sent to the supermarkets, which will pack items and get them ready for delivery before 11:30 am. 

Customers can collect and pay for their items when the delivery arrives the next morning.

Buyers queue before entering Big C supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Buyers queue before entering Big C Supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Satrafoods’ rival Lotte Mart is also operating in the combo-exclusive model during the next two weeks of shelter-at-home.

“Since the supermarkets must operate following the ‘three-on-the-spot’ mode as required by authorities, we must carefully distribute our manpower,” a Lotte Mart representative said.

According to the staff, 10 percent of Lotte Mart staffers are allowed to travel for item delivery during the city’s movement curb hours from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am the next day.

The firm is also liaising with authorities to outline its capability to appease market demands in the upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, retailer AEON Vietnam is working with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, as well as leaders of Tan Phu and Binh Tan Districts to complete the last preparation steps. 

The supermarket brand has halted its retail delivery channels via phone calls, messages, and shopping apps in Ho Chi Minh City until further notice. 

Though it had yet to receive orders from ward-level officers on Sunday, MM Mega Market Vietnam has declared continued operation during the stay-at-home period, showing its readiness to fulfill item demands from ward authorities.

“The demand for grocery combo packages will pick up a few days into the stay-at-home mandate, as residents will have used up their stocks by then,” an MM Mega Market representative anticipated.

According to the economic office of District 8, five retail distributors, including San Ha, Bach Hoa Xanh, Saigon Co.op, and Satra, will stay open to fulfill grocery demands for the whole district during the next weeks. 

According to statistics, the locale is home to 108,000 households, with 47,000 considered financially struggling during the pandemic who will benefit from relief packages during the stay-at-home bout. 

The remaining 61,000 households will have the choice to use authority-operated food delivery services, which will offer 12 combos in categories of veggies, spices, tube roots, fish, cleaning supplies, and household items.

Distributors will quote the same price for items in the same category, as it will help streamline administrative work for officers when they collect orders from residents, the representative stated.

District 8 is prepared to fulfill 4,000 combo orders per day, he added.

Buyers queue before entering Bach Hoa Xanh grocery store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Buyers queue before entering Bach Hoa Xanh grocery store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Grocery supply

As per Ho Chi Minh City’s guidelines, the government-run grocery shopping services will be carried out by the local logistics team, the community COVID-19 prevention team, local volunteer forces, police forces, and the military.

Pre-empting the mandate, many suppliers have stocked up on essential items such as rice, eggs, and meat.

According to Nguyen Ngoc An, director of food company Vissan, the firm has increased fresh meat supply to 80 metric tons per day to appease market demand and may hike their outlets even more, as their meat supply and reserves are steady and their workers are back to work. 

According to An, relevant authorities should speed up the approval and issuance of a travel pass for essential workers so that firms can realize their delivery and production plans. 

“The supply will become stable once local authorities assist in delivering grocery from retailers to consumers,” An said. 

Other store chains have also promised a stable supply of essential items, as well as a capability to respond to market fluctuations. 

An employee of grocery supplier Bach Hoa Xanh revealed that although the supply is secured, the chain may distribute less fresh food with short shelf lives to measure market demand before deciding to increase the stock. 

Stores in their chain can also share their reserves to match the realistic buying power in each area. 

Other stores pointed out that the working procedures in many locales are still complicated and ineffective.

“The city must provide more guidance for the delivery plan to work during the next 14 days of social distancing,” a supermarket staff said. 

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20210823/supermarkets-in-ho-chi-minh-city-still-open-during-shelterinplace-mandate/62726.html

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S.Korea tops list of foreign visitors to Vietnam in first month of 2023

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/skorea-tops-list-of-foreign-visitors-to-vietnam-in-first-month-of-2023/71250.html

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Work starts on operation building for Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/work-starts-on-operation-building-for-ho-chi-minh-citys-first-metro-line/71248.html

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4 undersea Internet cables face problems, affecting Vietnam’s international connections

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

Like us on Facebook or  follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230131/4-undersea-internet-cables-face-problems-affecting-vietnams-international-connections/71241.html

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