Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son has asked Singapore for support with Covid-19 vaccines, emphasizing that it was an urgent issue for Vietnam now.
In a phone call with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan Tuesday, minister Son expressed high appreciation of Singapore’s support so far, especially its commitment to provide essential medical equipment and supplies to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
A foreign ministry statement said that Son stressed the issue’s urgency for Vietnam in order to protect the health of its people, including experts and foreign citizens living and working in Vietnam.
Son congratulated Singapore on becoming the first country in the world to have 80 percent of the national population with two doses, and suggested that it considers supporting or transferring spare vaccine doses to Vietnam as soon as possible, either via government aid or the Covax facility.
Foreign Minister Balakrishnan said Singapore always attached importance to its strategic partnership with Vietnam and believed Vietnam will soon control the pandemic.
He said Singapore was ready to support nearby countries, including Vietnam, with medical equipment, test kits as well as vaccines as soon as possible.
He hoped that the two sides could soon reopen their borders, facilitating the travel of citizens of both countries.
In their talks, the two ministers agreed to organize soon the 14th political consultation between their foreign ministries in preparation for upcoming high-level visits.
Singapore’s Temasek Foundation on Monday presented Vietnam with 16 ventilators and hundreds of thousands of medical protective gear.
Vietnam aims to receive 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate 70 percent of its 96-million population in order to achieve herd immunity by April next year.
So far, more than 22.67 million people have been vaccinated, with over 3.4 million getting two doses.
Côn Đảo to return to ‘new normal’ under province’s proposal
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. —
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.
Benchmarks for entry to universities are too high, parents and students complain
The required benchmarks for admission to universities this year have been described as “abnormally high” by some.
Even excellent students who got 9 out of a 10 score for every exam subject may not be accepted at some universities.
On September 16, when universities announced the benchmarks for admission, N.H.N. from Thanh Hoa realized she could not enroll in any of the 11 majors she wanted.
With 25.6 score from the high school finals, N knew that she would not have opportunities at top-tier schools, so in addition to the application for six majors at the Hanoi Foreign Trade University and National Economics University (NEU), she also applied for majors at Thuongmai University and the Academy of Policy and Development.
The majors in 2020 had required a benchmark score 4-5 points lower than the score N received this year, so she felt secure about her choice.
However, the benchmark for the Economics Law major at the Academy of Policy and Development increased by five, from 21 last year to 26 this year, which meant she could not attend the school.
Many other students who had relatively high scores from the high school finals did not meet requirements for their preferred schools because the required benchmarks for admission to schools are higher this year.
Candidates need to have 2-4 exam scores higher than the previous year on average to be enrolled in universities.
Thuy Tram, a parent in Hanoi, said that 20 years ago, examinees with a 27 score would be the best students at schools. She said the current exams were not designed well. In principle, there should be both easy and difficult exam questions, which find excellent students who can answer difficult questions.
Bui Duc Trieu from National Economics University said that one of the reasons behind the high benchmark this year was the easy exam questions, and that in the future, schools will have to consider other methods of enrollment to ease reliance on the results of high school finals.
In 2020, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) stated that the high school finals are organized simply to recognize students as finishing the general education program, instead of being used as the university entrance exam. Universities are allowed to enroll students using their own criteria instead of relying solely on exam results as before.
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