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Illegal returnee found in HCM City positive to COVID-19

The motel where the new COVID-19 patient lives is blocked

The Ho Chi Minh City Disease Control Centre (CDC) has confirmed a new COVID-19 case, a 24-year-old man who illegally entered Vietnam together with Patients 1,440 and 1,451 and three others.

The man was detected at a motel in Long Binh ward of District 9 on December 28, according to the centre.

Fifteen people having close contacts with the new patient have tested negative to SARS-CoV-2 once and sent to quarantine. Local authorities have isolated the motel where the man stayed, and his workplace, a mechanical workshop at Nguyen Xien street.

The man said that he arrived at District 9 on December 24, and rent a room at the motel. He said he only stayed at the motel and went to work without going out or meet anyone outside. However, the CDC is still tracing people who had contact with the case to minimise the risk of virus spreading.

The centre advised local residents to strengthen preventive measures against the pandemic, while reporting all illegal returnees to authorised agencies.

It also warned those who return to Vietnam from abroad to strictly follow quarantine regulations to prevent the risk of transferring the virus to their family and community.

First yacht show opens in HCM City

The Saigon Yacht Show 2021 opens today in District 2 in HCM City.

The three-day show offers accurate and up-to-date knowledge about yachts to the public, and creates opportunities for local distributors to approach international brands.

The event showcases an exceptional line-up of yachts from leading importers across Việt Nam, such as Tam Son Yachting Vietnam, Vietyacht Sài Gòn, and Dream Yacht Vietnam.

It also offers a wide range of interactive activities with maritime experts and yachting trade professionals who provide useful knowledge about the development of the yachting industry in Việt Nam.

Visitors have opportunities to experience yachting on the Sài Gòn River, and participate in a steamboat training course during the three-day show.

According to the organiser, the Saigon Yacht Club, Việt Nam’s yacht industry has great potential and can catch up with fast-growing markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai in the near future.

In addition, the Saigon Yacht Show 2021 has marked the launch of Yacht Club Saigon, which was established to meet the increasing demands for operational services, engineering and experience in cruise ships.

The club’s goals include promoting the development of water-based tourism in Việt Nam, and expanding cooperation with yacht clubs in the country, the region and the world.

The Yacht Club Saigon will officially come into operation on February 1, 2021.

The Saigon Yacht Show is open from 9am to 6pm at Lan Anh Village in District 2.

Vietnam leads ASEAN’s efforts in fighting COVID-19: foreign media

Spraying disinfectant to prevent COVID-19 at bach Mai Hospital

As the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Vietnam led the efforts of the ASEAN member nations in forging a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, said the website

An article published on the site on December 27 noted that as early as February 15 this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, after consulting with other ASEAN leaders, issued the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019.

The statement expressed deep concerns over the spread of COVID-19, and recognized it as a “public health emergency of international concern”, as declared by the WHO.

The statement emphasised on extending help to countries around the globe in their fight against the spread of COVID-19 and also provide humanitarian support to China in the form of supplying masks and other medical facilities, the article said.

As a regional organization, ASEAN also stepped in to work for a joint and coordinated response in meeting the challenges posed by COVID-19, it noted, stressing that ASEAN not only raised the awareness levels of its member countries but also liaised with international organizations and other countries to respond at multiple levels for addressing the problems posed by the virus.

The article, however, said that ASEAN member states need to prioritize the right to health and social protection, or security, for everyone, including the most marginalized and vulnerable, and reform the system of social protection and incorporating it into the economic recovery plan post-COVID to reduce the increasing poverty rate as a result of the pandemic.

It also underlined the necessity for ASEAN to learn from best practices in other countries, especially in forming policies that include wider social and economic opportunities, as well as establish more targeted consultation and cooperation on public health policy, such as the regulations for quarantine, lockdowns or social movement restrictions and other related elements.

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council can partner in the regional response to “engage the private sectors in delivering essential services and supplies and to support displaced workers in their value chains, the article added./.

Three new COVID-19 cases reported on December 29

Three more cases of COVID-19 were detected in the past 24 hours to 6pm December 29, which all involved people returning from abroad who had been quarantined, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The 1452nd and 1,453rd patients are both Vietnamese, who illegally entered the country from Myanmar on December 24 via trails together with patient 1440 and 1451. Patient 1452, a woman, is being quarantined and treated at the Sa Dec General Hospital in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, while patient 1453, a man is treated at the Cu Chi District Hospital in HCM City.

Meanwhile, the 1454th patient is an eight-year-old Vietnamese. She returned home from US on flight SQ178, which landed in the Tan Son Nhat International Airport on December 27. She is now treated at the Cu Chi District Hospital.

By December 29 evening, Vietnam recorded a total of 1,454 cases of COVID-19, of which 693 were community infections. The number of deaths still remained at 35. As many as 1,319 patients have recovered from the disease.

Of the active patients, 10 have tested negative once for SARS-CoV-2, 10 twice, and 13 thrice.

A total of 16,553 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or returned from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined nationwide./.

Writing contest promotes Vietnam-Russia ties

Lieut. Gen. Le Phuc Nguyen, former Editor-in-Chief of the Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) newspaper and a former student in Russia, has won the first prize in a writing contest about Russia.

Launched by the Quan doi Nhan dan newspaper from May to November, the contest, entitled Nuoc Nga Trong Trai Tim Toi (Russia in My Heart), aimed to promote the time-honoured relationship between the two countries.

The organisers also presented two second prizes, three third prizes, and 10 consolation prizes at a ceremony held in Hanoi on December 29.

Of the 300 entries sent to the contest, nearly 100 have been published on the newspaper’s publications.

The works reflect the love of contestants for Russia, whether they studied there or have never ever been to the country, according to Colonel Ngo Anh Thu, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Quan doi Nhan dan newspaper.

The contest is held on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Russia./.

Khanh Hoa’s airport granted Airport Health Accreditation

Cam Ranh airport

Cam Ranh International Airport in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa on December 29 received the Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) by the Airports Council International (ACI) for maintaining safety and prevention measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The certificate recognises the airport’s commitment to prioritising health and safety measures in accordance with the ICAO Council Aviation Restart Task Force (CART) recommendations and in alignment with the ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines and industry best practice.

The ACI Airport Health Accreditation is designed to help airports around the world prove to passengers, their employees, regulators, and governments that they continue to place the health and safety of passengers as their top priority via the establishment of specific safeguard measures in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be certified by the ACI, airports are assessed across a number of categories including cleanliness and disinfection, physical distancing, staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira congratulated Cam Ranh International Airport on receiving AHA title.

The success reflects the airport has committed to providing services in accordance with global standards and prioritised the health and interests of passengers, its staff and the community.

Cam Ranh is the fourth Vietnamese international airport receiving the AHA, after Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat and Da Nang.

This year, the airport has served more than 3.5 million passengers, especially 10,680 Vietnamese citizens and foreign experts entering Vietnam from various countries in the context of medical measures being tightened to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic./.

Vietnam-Indonesia diplomatic ties marked in HCM City

Participants to the ceremony pose for a photo

A ceremony was held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 29 to mark the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Indonesia (December 30).

Addressing the function organised by the HCM City Union of Friendship Organsiations (HUFO), Nguyen Anh Ngoc, Deputy President of the city’s Vietnam-Indonesia Friendship Association, highlighted the strong development of the two countries’ relations over the past 65 years.

The two countries upgraded the ties to the strategic partnership in June 2013, he said, adding that Vietnam is Indonesia’s only strategic partner in Southeast Asia.

He emphasised the multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened and developed. Bilateral trade rose from 3.3 billion USD in 2010 to 9.1 billion USD in 2019. In the last five years, Vietnam and Indonesia enjoyed the trade growth of 12 percent.

In addition to politic and economic ties, cooperation in culture, tourism and people-to-people exchange is among important pillars in the two countries’ relationship, contributing to promoting understanding between people of Vietnam and Indonesia.

Ngoc thanked the Indonesian Consulate General in HCM City, the Indonesian Business Association and Indonesian community in the city for their joint efforts with the city’s Vietnam-Indonesia Friendship Association in carrying out people-to-people diplomatic activities, contributing to increasing mutual understanding, solidarity of the two countries’ people.

On the occasion, the HUFO held a seminar on achievements in Vietnam-Indonesia cooperation in recent years, with the participation of representatives from the Indonesian Consulate General and Indonesian Business Association in the city along with scholars and researchers from HCM City-based universities./.

Military Hospital 175 asked to continue improving check-up, treatment services

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan asked Military Hospital 175 to continue improving the quality of its check-up and treatment services for patients while attending a ceremony to mark the hospital’s 45th traditional day on December 29 in HCM City.

Ngan urged the hospital to promote the application of high technology, step up international integration and build a comprehensive and strong unit to become a modern and versatile health centre that meets regional standards.

It is also important to train qualified and professional staff, use advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques, increase the quality of hospital management, and stay ready to respond to emergency situations, including the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, she stressed.

On behalf of Party and State leaders, Ngan spoke highly of the achievements posted by Military Hospital 175 as well as its efforts over the last 45 years.

Presenting the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces to the hospital, the NA Chairwoman expressed her belief that the hospital will continue promoting its tradition and doing its utmost to fulfil all assigned tasks, thus contributing to developing the health sector during the international integration process.

Military Hospital 175 is a strategic military hospital in HCM City that conducts more than 14,000 surgeries each year. It also cares for the health of soldiers and fishermen on the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, thus contributing to maintaining national sovereignty./.

New developments related to COVID-19 in Cambodia, Laos, Philippines

The Cambodian Government allowed private schools to reopen from December 29 and public schools to start the new academic year on January 11, 2021.

The decision was made following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s announcement that the country’s first community outbreak of COVID-19 was over as no locally transmitted cases had been detected in the last two weeks.

The first community outbreak was confirmed on November 28 after six people of a family, who reside in both capital Phnom Penh and northwestern Siem Reap province, tested positive for the virus. Approximately 19,000 people linked to the outbreak had been tested, and 41 of them had tested positive for the virus.

However, Hun Sen called on people to continue to be vigilant as the number of COVID-19 infections around the world remained high.

On December 29, Lao Airlines announced to suspend all charter flights to and from other countries until January 23, 2021 to reduce the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 triggered by inbound travellers.

Anyone entering Laos on a humanitarian flight must have all the necessary documents and spend 14 days at a designated quarantine centre.

The only international route currently in service is a twice-weekly flight between Vientiane and Kunming in southwestern China.

The total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Laos remains at 41, and 40 of them have recovered while one remains under observation in the hospital, according to the Lao Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will bar the entry of travellers from 20 countries and territories from December 30 to January 15, 2021, as it tries to keep out a new, possibly more transmissible variant of the coronavirus.

The transport ministry said the ban will cover both foreign travellers and Filipinos who wish to travel to the Philippines.

The 20 countries and territories included in the travel ban are Japan, Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong (China), Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland./.

Dutch-funded project launched to help flood-affected residents in Quang Nam

Transporting relief goods for flood-affected people

A project named “Humanitarian Aid and Post-Flood Recovery in Central Vietnam”, funded by the Dutch Relief Alliance under the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, was launched in the central province of Quang Nam on December 29.

Through Oxfam Vietnam, the project will provide emergency assistance and help restore livelihoods for 5,000 households severely affected by natural disasters in Tra Bui, Tra Duong, Tra Dong, Tra Son and Tra Giang communes of Bac Tra My with a total value of over 5.5 billion VND (238,000 USD).

Le Tan Minh, President of the Quang Nam Red Cross, pledged to manage, use and allocate the aid on right persons.

The project will provide 916 gift packages worth 1.2 million VND each, plastic buckets, and hygienic tools for households while promoting communications on COVID-19 prevention and control as well as hygiene and clean water in communes. It will also include assessments of livelihoods and market, and training on planting and breeding for residents in the project.

Beneficiaries are households with damaged houses, those in the vulnerable group like poor and near-poor households, or households of people with disabilities, and ethnic people.

The project will finish in May next year.

Also on the day, the Quang Nam Red Cross Society launched a World Vision-funded housing project for 400 households affected by natural disasters in 2020 in Nong Son, Phuoc Son and Nam Tra My districts. The project worth nearly 4 billion VND will support materials for the construction./.

Programmes encouraging local women to remain in Lao Cai

Thanks to support programmes on improving quality of life in rural areas, the number of women leaving their hometowns in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai to seek work elsewhere has declined significantly.

Van Ban district in Lao Cai province has introduced several programmes in recent years on generating employment for women while enhancing the value of local products, helping to create stable incomes for them.

The number of women who have left the district to find work somewhere else has fallen significantly.

Many projects supporting women in generating incomes, improving their position in the family, and assisting them in other matters have been implemented effectively around Lao Cai, helping to promote gender equality, agricultural production, and tourism development./.

2020 Innovation Expo fosters Vietnamese research students in Australia

The virtual 2020 Innovation Expo has wrapped up successfully after being open for two months.

Organised by the Vietnam-Australia Innovation Network (NIC-AU) and a representative office of Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology in Sydney, the expo was broadcast on the Facebook page of the NIC-AU with links to the websites of all relevant units.

It featured 10 projects carried out by Vietnamese research students in Australia in various fields, including artificial intelligence, environmental engineering, automation, materials, and civil engineering.

NIC-AU Vice President Le Ba Nhat Minh said the event aimed to create an ecosystem for research students in Australia and help them connect with their Australian counterparts as well as researchers, institutes, and businesses in Vietnam.

He added that the projects are practical and highly applicable in Vietnam, notably one using drones to detect insects in plants and another one applying a membrane bioreactor system to turn straw into biogas.

A project to build a new algorithm in order to create a new machine learning model is set to be on showcase at the Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems, one of the most prestigious and largest machine learning and computational neuroscience conferences.

Meanwhile, a project on low-cost carbon fibre production won a prize of 1,000 AUD (750 USD).

Online discussions were held within the scope of the event, with the participation of leading experts in Vietnam and Australia.

Some projects will be introduced at the Vietnam International Innovation Expo slated for 2021 in Hanoi, according to the NIC-AU./.

Dong Thap takes urgent anti-pandemic measures as new case found

Leaders of the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap on December 29 had an urgent online meeting with the People’s Committee of Lai Vung district, where one COVID-19 case has been found, to seek measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic in the locality.

A woman resident of the district’s Vinh Thoi commune tested positive to SARS-CoV-2 after sharing the same car with Patient 1,440 on December 24. She is being quarantined at Sa Dec General Hospital and her health conditions are good.

On December 29, a provincial medical team was sent to Lai Vung to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus, taking samples of six people having close contact with the case and send them to quarantine. Another 118 people have also been asked to take self-quarantine.

At the meeting, Doan Tuan Buu, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and deputy head of the provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, urged local authorities to promptly trace the movements of the woman and those who had close contact with her, while advising the public to stay calm and not to gather in large crowds.

Places where the woman visited was also sprayed with chemicals. No lockdown orders have been given so far.

Patient 1,440, a 32-year-old man, illegally entered Ho Chi Minh City from Cambodia, then travelled to Vinh Long. On the way to Vinh Long, he visited an eatery in southern Tien Giang province on December 24 morning.

He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on December 25 night and is now being treated at a hospital in Vinh Long.

Meanwhile, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has also worked hard to trace people who had close contact with the driver who drove the car carrying Patient 1,440.

According to the Medical Centre of Thoi Lai district, people having close contact with the driver have been defined./.

India to launch “rice ATMs” similar to Vietnam’s

The model of “rice ATM” initiated by Vietnam has been hailed by the international media and applied in several countries.

A rice dispensing machine or ‘rice ATM’ will soon be set up in a slum in Bengaluru – the capital city of India’s southern Karnataka state – to support local poor people.

The initiative is part of the Indian Government’s project ‘Annapurti’ that is being implemented in a partnership with the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP).

The automatic grain dispensers are scheduled to be set up in five Indian states, namely Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

The WFP has been closely working with the Indian Government to bring reforms in the Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS).

Karnataka state’s Minister for Food and Civil Supplies K. Gopalaiah was quoted by local media as saying that the scheme will begin as soon as the proposal is passed.

The dispensing machines, reportedly, can dispense two commodities weighing 25kgs each per minute, further ensuring that everyone will get their share of grains. Depending on the demand a machine capacitating 100-500 kgs of grains will be installed.

“We are looking to set up this machine in the locality where low-income labourers reside. They won’t have to queue outside the ration shops, missing the day’s work; since the machine will be operating 24×7,” said the minister.

Gopalaiah also revealed that smart cards will be issued, along with the application of a biometric system on the machine to ensure everyone gets a fair share.

The model of “rice ATM” was previously initiated in Vietnam, which has been hailed by the international media and applied in several countries./.

400 models, artists liven up 2020 Vietnam international fashion festival


The 2020 Vietnam International Fashion Festival (VIFF) took place in HCM City on December 25-28, with the participation of 400 models and artists.

It was the first international fashion festival in the country, featuring works of 13 outstanding designers in the Vietnamese fashion industry, including Adrian Anh Tuan, Hoang Minh Ha, and Tuan Tran.
The event also saw the combination of various art forms like orchestra, classic ballet, magicians’ show, temporary dance, and installation art.

According to the organising board, a panoply of shows will be arranged after the 2020 VIFF, of particular note the International Music Festival and the Vietnam International Movie Festival.

They are set to be held in famous tourist destinations across the country, aiming to create a series of fashion and lifestyle events and promote Vietnamese culture and tourism./.

Driver carrying COVID-19 Patient 1,440 tests negative for SARS-CoV-2

A 30-year-old driver in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang who had close contact with COVID-19 Patient 1,440 has tested negative for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, a local official said on December 29.

According to Le Van Phuoc, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and deputy head of the provincial steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, the man was put into quarantine at a concentrated quarantine centre in Long Phu district in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on December 28.

An Giang has swiftly traced those having close contact with the driver, and found 15 F2 cases who are also being quarantined and waiting for COVID-19 testing results. All of them are in stable health conditions.

The province has asked competent agencies to closely coordinate with Vinh Long and Soc Trang provinces in contact tracing, while working to bust the illegal immigration ring.

Phuoc said An Giang has had no COVID-19 cases to report to date, suggesting local residents not panic but maintain vigilance and follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Apart from the driver, other people who shared the seven-seater car with Patient 1,440 have also been quarantined at a medical centre in Truong Khanh commune, Long Phu district, Soc Trang province.

The steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control of Soc Trang province has promptly embarked on investigations and contact tracing.

Tran Van Lau, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Soc Trang, on December 28 signed two documents on intensifying preventive measures, asking departments, agencies and armed forces to join hands with the medical sector to review immigrants in the locality, especially foreigners.

He also urged inspecting COVID-19 prevention and control at bus and railway stations, and public places to prevent the pandemic from spreading among the community.

According to Tran Thanh Thao, Director of Tien Giang’s Health Department, both testing results of the F1 case being quarantined at a medical centre in Cai Lay district, and another suspected case at a medical centre in Cai Be district that are associated with Patient 1,440 turned out negative.

Meanwhile, the HCM City Centre of Disease Control said on December 29 that competent agencies of District 9 found a man who illegally entered Vietnam together with Patients 1,440 and 1,451.

The man was spotted at a woodworking shop in Long Binh ward, District 9. He and 20 other people who had close contact with him have been sent to quarantine in the district.

The district People’s Committee fenced off the woodworking shop and continue with contact tracing.

Patient 1,440, a 32-year-old man, illegally entered Ho Chi Minh City from Cambodia, then travelled to Vinh Long. On the way to Vinh Long, he visited an eatery in southern Tien Giang province on December 24 morning.

He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on December 25 night and is now being treated at a hospital in Vinh Long, said the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City on December 26./.

Thailand welcomes 3,000 foreign tourists in November

Thailand hosted 3,065 foreign tourists in November, official data showed on December 28, the second month of receiving long-stay visitors since a ban was imposed in April to keep COVID-19 infections under control.

As reported by Reuters, the November figure is just a fraction of the 3.39 million arrivals in the same period last year. In October, there were 1,201 foreign visitors.

Though the country is gradually opening to foreign visitors and offering incentives to boost domestic travel, efforts to revive its tourism-driven economy are being hampered by an outbreak found 10 days ago that has since infected more than 1,600 people across 43 provinces.

In the January-November period, the number of foreign visitors slumped by 81 percent from a year earlier to about 6.7 million.

Last year, the country welcomed nearly 40 million tourists who spent 1.91 trillion THB (63 billion USD), or about 11.3 percent of its gross domestic product.

The state planning agency predicts only 5 million foreign visitors in 2021. Foreign visitors at present are required to obtain special visas and undergo two weeks of quarantine./.

Outstanding youths with disabilities honoured


As many as 64 prominent young people with disabilities were honoured during a ceremony in Hanoi on December 28.

Organised by the Vietnam Youth Federation Central Committee and the National Committee on Persons with Disabilities, the event aims to call for further support for youths with disabilities, and seek suitable and sustainable models for them to integrate into the society.

In his remarks, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung affirmed that the honoured represent thousands of youths from different regions, ethnic groups and religions who are working in various fields. They have overcome the physical challenge to affirm their values and contribute to the country.

The minister also called on sectors, organisations and individuals to pay more attention to this group and work together to improve social welfare for them.

Vietnam is now home to about 6.4 million people with disabilities from over 2 years old, two million of them adolescents, data of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs showed.

The figures are likely on the rise due to numerous social factors, notably aging population, environmental pollution, climate change and traffic accidents.

The programme to honour Vietnamese disabled people’s fortitude was first launched in 2013./.

Some 710 Vietnamese citizens brought home from Canada, Japan

Vietnamese authorities joined hands with national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and relevant agencies of Canada and Japan to bring about 710 citizens home from December 27-29.

The passengers included children under 18, the elderly, the ill, pregnant women and students who finished their studies without accommodations, workers with expired labour contracts, and those in extremely difficult circumstances.

The Embassy of Vietnam in Toronto and the Consulate General in Vancouver helped the passengers travel to airports in the two cities.

Staff from the embassies in Canada and Japan also assisted the citizens with boarding procedures.

To ensure health for the citizens and prevent the spread of COVID-19, strict security, safety and epidemiological measures were applied during the flight.

After landing at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Van Don International Airport in the north eastern province of Quang Ninh, all crew members and passengers on the flights were given health checks and sent to quarantine establishments in accordance with regulations.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will be arranged based on citizens’ wish, the developments of the pandemic and domestic quarantine capacity./.

Can Gio-Vung Tau ferry service to start operation next year

After several delays, a ferry service between Ho Chi Minh City’s Can Gio district and Vung Tau city in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau will be put into operation at the beginning of January 2021.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Transport said on December 28 that wharves were built in Can Gio district and Vung Tau city, while a ferry, which is able to transport 190 passengers, ten trucks, 12 seven-seater cars, and 150 bikes, was prepared for the route.

Currently, competent agencies are working to list ticket price with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Finance and Vung Tau city. The ticket price is expected to range between 60,000 VND (2.6 USD) and 70,000 VND (3.04 USD). Different fares will apply, depending on whether customers use motorbikes or cars.

The ferry service had originally been scheduled for launching in April. It was then rescheduled to debut on September 2 to meet growing travel demand during the National Day holiday but continued to be delayed until October then December.

The ferry, 45m long and 10m wide, has a maximum speed of 43km per hour.

The 15km trip will take half an hour. A trip by bus from HCM City’s city centre to Vung Tau usually takes two hours.

According to the provincial Department of Transport, road infrastructure near the ferry terminal in Vung Tau will be improved.

The new ferry will offer a convenient means of travel for locals and visitors travelling between the two cities.

There is huge demand for travel from HCM City to Vung Tau, which is 120km away.

Developing waterway transport to reduce traffic pressure on roads, especially on weekends and holidays, is one of HCM City’s major transport goals./.

Phu Yen detains suspected illegal immigrants

Competent forces of the central province of Phu Yen have seized a passenger bus with 16 people aboard, including eight Chinese, suspected to enter Vietnam illegally, the provincial steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control reported on December 28.

Vo Cao Phi, chief of the office of the provincial People’s Committee, said the people were arrested in Binh Kien commune, Tuy Hoa district the same day as they failed to present immigration papers.

One of the nine Chinese in the vehicle fled to a mountain in Phu Vang hamlet, Binh Kien commune. The remainder have been quarantined and under medical monitoring.

Meanwhile, the local concerned forces have continued with efforts to search for the fleeing Chinese.

Tran Huu The, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, on December 28 asked competent forces to encourage local residents to report if they spot the Chinese, and synchronously roll out COVID-19 prevention and control measures./.

Over 340 Vietnamese citizens flown home from Taiwan

More than 340 Vietnamese citizens were brought home safely from Taiwan (China) on a flight of Pacific Airlines on December 28.

The flight, arranged by Vietnamese authorities, the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, the carrier and relevant agencies in Taiwan, carried the elderly, the ill or people suffering from occupational accidents, pregnant women, workers with expired labour contracts, students who finished their study and those in extremely difficult circumstances.

The Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei had sent staff to the airport to assist the citizens with boarding procedures.

In-flight safety and preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 were strictly put in place by the airline to protect their health.

Upon arrival at Da Nang International Airport of the central city of the same name, all crew members and passengers were given medical checkups and sent to quarantine in line with regulations.

Authorities will arrange more flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens in the future, depending on the COVID-19 situation and domestic quarantine capacity./.

Hanoi tightens preventive measures against COVID-19

Leaders of the capital city of Hanoi have asked localities to strengthen measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the year-end occasions.

Along with the strict implementation of directions of the Prime Minister and city leaders in pandemic prevention, the localities should increase communications and ask locals to wear face masks at public places, requested Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Xuan Dung.

He asked localities that plan to perform fireworks on the New Year’s eve to design specific plans to ensure top safety against the pandemic.

Meanwhile, it is necessary to prepare scenarios to protect the safety for delegates to the 13th National Party Congress, which is slated for late January 2021 in the city, he stressed. Alongside, local healthcare, tourism, public security, and transport sectors as well as the Capital Military High Command to roll out pandemic prevention measures ahead of the event.

Particularly, the city Department of Health was directed to coordinate with other relevant departments and agencies to build responding plans for different development levels of the pandemic, while preparing human resources and equipment for COVID-19 prevention activities and in case of an outbreak.

The department was also asked to supervise the pandemic prevention activities at healthcare facilities across the city, strictly handling violations./.

Dong Thap takes urgent anti-pandemic measures as new case found

Leaders of the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap on December 29 had an urgent online meeting with the People’s Committee of Lai Vung district, where one COVID-19 case has been found, to seek measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic in the locality.

A woman resident of the district’s Vinh Thoi commune tested positive to SARS-CoV-2 after sharing the same car with Patient 1,440 on December 24. She is being quarantined at Sa Dec General Hospital and her health conditions are good.

On December 29, a provincial medical team was sent to Lai Vung to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus, taking samples of six people having close contact with the case and send them to quarantine. Another 118 people have also been asked to take self-quarantine.

At the meeting, Doan Tuan Buu, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and deputy head of the provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, urged local authorities to promptly trace the movements of the woman and those who had close contact with her, while advising the public to stay calm and not to gather in large crowds.

Places where the woman visited was also sprayed with chemicals. No lockdown orders have been given so far.

Patient 1,440, a 32-year-old man, illegally entered Ho Chi Minh City from Cambodia, then travelled to Vinh Long. On the way to Vinh Long, he visited an eatery in southern Tien Giang province on December 24 morning.

He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on December 25 night and is now being treated at a hospital in Vinh Long.

Meanwhile, the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has also worked hard to trace people who had close contact with the driver who drove the car carrying Patient 1,440.

According to the Medical Centre of Thoi Lai district, people having close contact with the driver have been defined./.

Kien Giang looks to boost cooperation with Indian localities

Leaders of Kien Giang hosted visiting Indian Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City Madan Mohan Sethi on December 28, discussing potential for cooperation between the Mekong Delta province and Indian localities.

At the meeting, Chairman of the provincial People’s Council Mai Van Huynh and Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Nhan highlighted the comprehensive political and economic ties between Vietnam and India.

According to the leaders, Kien Giang welcomed many visits by Indian leaders, which looked for cooperation opportunities in economy, trade, tourism, and cultural exchange, among others.

A number of local fishery enterprises have imported materials from India for their export to Europe. Their total average annual import value was 1.86 million USD in past five years.

The hosts said Kien Giang wants to cooperate with India in training doctors, as its new general hospital will soon become operational.

The province also hopes to sign bilateral cooperation pacts in developing clean and organic agriculture, treating environmental issues, and connecting Vietnamese and Indian fishery firms, they added.

The establishment of tourism collaboration between the province’s Phu Quoc island and Indian localities via the opening of direct flights is also necessary, the leaders said.

For his part, Madan Mohan Sethi said his visit aims at boosting Indian cooperation with Kien Giang, particularly in agro-fishery. He said he hopes for activities to promote tourism in Phu Quoc, link Vietnamese and Indian businesses in fishery, and boost collaboration in support industry.

The diplomat wished that online tourism conferences between the sides will be organised.

He took the occasion to invite local leaders and enterprises to visit India once the pandemic is put under control./.

HCM City sends 13 people to quarantine as man suspected of having COVID-19

The Medical Centre of HCM City’s District 8 on December 28 said it had quarantined 13 people that had close contact with a suspected COVID-19 case, while closing two locations the man had visited.

Samples from the quarantined people are being tested, while others that had contact with them were asked to self-quarantine.

On December 27, the centre received information about the suspected COVID-19 case, a 23-year-old man who resides in District 5. He had earlier entered Vietnam illegally.

After tracing the man’s movements, the centre found 13 people that had close contact with him and identified two places he visited – the ABU restaurant on Bong Sao street in District 8 and the Su Su karaoke parlour on National Highway No.50 in District 8.

The centre sprayed chemicals around the two locations while calling on people who had been there previously to make health declarations at medical centres.

The apartment building where the man stayed on Su Van Hanh street of District 5 has been blocked for spraying.

Meanwhile, the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang has sought people who had close contact with Patient 1440 who had earlier illegally entered the neighbouring province of Vinh Long.

According to the committee, three unknown women were on the same coach with the patient. One of them got off at Hung Loi bridge in Can Tho city before getting on another coach to Cai Tac township of Chau Thanh A district in Hau Giang. The following movements of the women have yet to be defined.

The committee asked authorized agencies to publicise the information on mass media, so that people who moved from Ho Chi Minh City to Hau Giang on December 24 aboard a coach with plate number of 53N-7649 as well as those having close contact with Patient 1440 to make health declarations at the nearest medical centre or via hotline 0961 653 088./.

Severe cold spell hits northern, central regions

A severe cold spell began affecting the northern and north-central regions from December 29 night, with northern mountainous provinces warned to prepare for frost and rime, according to Nguyen Huu Thanh, deputy head of the Weather Forecasting Division under the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

Thanh said that this cold spell will hit the central-central region and south-central regions from December 30, and then spread to the central and Central Highlands localities and farther to the southern region from December 31.

Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces will be the areas most affected, with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees Celsius, and even below 0 degree Celsius in the high mountainous areas.

The expert predicted that between four to six cold spells will hit Vietnam in January, with the temperatures in the first 20 days lower than many years’ average.

The La Nina phenomenon will continue through the first half of 2021, and then the climate will shift to the neutral conditions in summer 2021.

As a result, heat waves in summer months of 2021 will occur in the northern and central regions later than and be less severe than in 2020.

Storms and tropical depressions are forecast to happen in the East Sea earlier than in 2020, and hit the mainland mainly at the last months of the year.

Thanh advised taking precautions against strong storms in the entire country as well as in the East Sea with complicated developments./.




Hà Nội promotes science and technology in agricultural production




Hi-tech melon farming in Mê Linh District. Photo

HÀ NỘI – Science and technology are key to agricultural production, allowing for increases in the capacity and quality of products and improving farmers’ lives.

For many years, Hà Nội has focused on solutions to promote the transfer of science and technology to farmers.

However, to make science and technology the leverage for sustainable agricultural development, more supportive mechanisms and policies are needed, as well as the participation of the authorities.

Initial progress

Thanks to the application of science and technology in production, Kim Sơn Commune in Gia Lâm District has become the capital city’s hub for growing high quality bananas.

“My family grew more than 200 trees of the South African banana variety and earned over VNĐ250 million (US$11,000) per year on average,” Nguyễn Trọng Nghĩa, a banana farmer, told Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) Newspaper.

“We were planting bananas as per the VietGAP process, which raised consumption,” said Nghĩa.

Meanwhile, farmers in Vạn Thái Commune of Ứng Hoà District have invested in raising pigs to produce clean and safe pork.

A farm belonging to Nguyễn Văn Thanh’s family is one example.

His farm is located on an area of 150,000 sq.m, raising 30,000 pigs in a closed and modern barn system.

Every year, his family earns about VNĐ200 billion (US$8.6 million).

According to the president of Ứng Hoà District’s Farmers’ Association, Phạm Văn Hoạch, the association has guided, trained, and transferred technology and techniques to hundreds of local farmers.

Ứng Hoà District has 51 agricultural production establishments applying high technology, bringing high economic efficiency.

To help farmers access and grasp technological advances of the fourth industrial revolution and master some new technologies, in 2020, the Hà Nội Farmers’ Association coordinated with agencies to organise more than 1,800 scientific and technical training seminars for 188,126 farmers, members of the cooperative and agricultural technicians.

The results achieved were remarkable.

“The application of science and technology increased added value in agricultural production by 30 per cent,” said Tạ Văn Tường, vice director of the Hà Nội Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

“Hà Nội formed several high-tech agricultural models with revenue from VNĐ50 billion to hundreds of billions of đồng,” he said.

In particular, the application of biotechnology in seedling production has brought about a positive effect.

Every year, the city supplies more than 100 million poultry to the market, excluding other breeds of livestock and seedling plants, he added.

According to Dương Thị Hằng, vice president of the Hà Nội Farmers’ Association, in the 2015-2020 period, there were 3,200 farming households in Hà Nội achieving the title of good producers and businesspeople thanks to the application of science and technology.

However, Hằng said that the number of farmers in the city who have the ability to access or master science and technology had not yet met expectations.

This limitation was because the supporting mechanisms as well as the facilitation for farmers to access science and technology including training programmes had not yet met the real demand, Hằng said.

Hi-tech applications

In order to improve farmers’ access to science and technology, Thường Tín District would select appropriate models and integrate them into agricultural vocational training programmes as well as support farmers to build hi-tech production establishments, according to Thường Tín District’s vice chairman Bùi Công Tín.

Meanwhile, vice chairman of Ứng Hoà District Tiến Hoàng said the local authority will link with businesses to build high-tech agricultural models which would be venues for directly guiding and supporting farmers in science and technology.

The district would guide and support farmers to promote the application of information technology, proactively create production chains and marketing channels online, Hoàng said.

Hoạch, president of Ứng Hoà District’s Farmers’ Association, suggested that the city should study and create a mechanism to build farmer support centres in each commune and township.

In addition to the application of information technology in production, it was necessary to guide farmers to access and expand consumption markets, Hoạch said.

However, in order for science and technology to reach farmers, first of all, farmers needed to promote autonomy and self-learning.

In the future, the Hà Nội Agriculture and Rural Development Department will also coordinate with Farmers’ Associations and localities to integrate vocational training and science and technology transfer programmes to farmers through many forms such as building agricultural extension models, organising production and branding conferences and seminars.

“To have a modern agriculture sector, farmers must have mastery of science and technology. Bringing science and technology to farmers would help Hà Nội’s agriculture production to thrive,” said Tường. –




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Peach, kumquat tree growers busy ahead of Tết



Customers choose peach trees in Tây Hồ District in Hà Nội. — VNA/ Photo Bùi Văn Lanh

HÀ NỘI — Gardeners growing peaches in Nhật Tân Village and kumquat trees in Tứ Liên Village in Hà Nội’s Tây Hồ District are busy preparing thousands of peach roots and kumquat pots for the Tet (Lunar New Year) market.

In Nhật Tân Village these days, the laughter mixed with the enthusiastic working atmosphere of the peach farmers in the cold weather reminds us that spring is approaching.

The peach roots bear small flower buds, carefully nurtured by the farmers’ skilled hands so they produce the most beautiful flowers to sell for Tết.

At this time, caring for the peach trees is not as strenuous as when the leaves are plucked, but farmers still have to eat and sleep with the trees.

According to Nguyễn Văn Hạnh, who owns a peach garden with more than 400 trees, when it comes to peach care, dedication to the profession is indispensable.

But the most important factor is the weather.

“From the moment we are preparing to pluck the leaves to the time of selling peach blossoms, we have to monitor the weather continuously. If it is too cold, it must be better fertilised, but this weather is normal, there is no need to fertilise. If the tree is a little younger, you must water it more,” said Hạnh.

Many large agencies and companies have come to Nhật Tân peach village and Tứ Liên kumquat village to buy or rent trees for the new year.

Choosing a broad canopy Nhật Tân peach tree with many flower buds and young buds, Thiều Chí Huỳnh, a worker from the Vĩnh Yên City in Vĩnh Phúc Province, said: “Last year I bought a peach tree here and it was beautiful until a month later. Peach trees here have very high quality”.

Next to Nhật Tân Village, Tứ Liên kumquat village is also bustling with customers. Besides traditional kumquat pots, this year, artisans of the village have many unique ideas about the shape of a buffalo for the year of Tân Sửu – the year of buffalo.

According to some garden owners, the bonsai kumquat pots shaped like the back of a buffalo have many special meanings. A golden buffalo symbolises the desire for health and prosperity. The buffalo is an inheritance, strong and hard-working, so it symbolises the desire to have health, fortune and prosperity in the new year.

Not only in Hà Nội, but kumquat tree growers in many provinces and cities are also busy pruning the leaves and beautifying the trees. The work of nurturing the lush trees so that the fruits are ripe and flowering on the occasion of Tết holiday requires a lot of care.

With the creativity of gardeners, kumquats and peach trees in Tết holiday in more and more shapes are available, meeting the high and diverse demands of the people, bringing bright and radiant spring colours to everyone. —


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Looking back on one year fighting COVID-19 in Việt Nam



The otherwise busy Tạ Hiện Street in Hà Nội became quiet in March last year, when a nationwide lockdown order was imposed. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in Việt Nam. On January 23, 2020, a man visiting from China tested positive for coronavirus. Since then all our lives have been turned upside down as the pandemic spread to all corners of the globe. But despite global upheaval, Việt Nam has been praised for the way it has handled this deadly plague.

As of January 22, the country has seen a total of 1,548 cases with just 35 proving fatal, while 1,411 have recovered. The country has undergone 52 days without a case of COVID-19 community transmission.

Viet Nam News takes a look back at the key events of the past 12 months since that very first case was recorded, and the tremendous efforts made by the authorities, medical staff and security forces, as well as the entire nation, to contain COVID-19.

January 23, 2020: The first case of COVID-19 is reported after a 66-year-old Chinese man came from Wuhan to Viet Nam to visit his son. He and his son were then treated at Chợ Rẫy Hospital, HCM City.

February 13, 2020: Sơn Lôi Commune, Bình Xuyên District in Vĩnh Phúc Province is locked down after six cases were discovered there.

Trúc Bạch Street, where patient 17 lives, is quarantined. — photo

March 6, 2020: Patient 17 tests positive for coronavirus after coming back from Europe, marking a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

March 18, 2020: Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc orders a halt to issuing new visas for foreigners to Việt Nam and limited flights from pandemic zones.

March 25, 2020: Việt Nam suspends all international flights to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Soldiers of the Army Chemicals and Military Medicine Department spray disinfectant to sterilise the area around Bạch Mai Hospital. — VNA/ Photo.

March 28, 2020: Bạch Mai hospital is locked down after many cases related to the hospital were reported. Bạch Mai hospital becomes the virus epicentre of Hà Nội.

April 1, 2020: A social distancing order is implemented nationwide.

April 12, 2020: Bạch Mai Hospital reopens after 14 days of quarantine.

April 23, 2020: The social distancing order is lifted in most areas of the country except for some high-risk zones.

British pilot Stephen Cameron recovers after being in a coma. — Photo courtesy of Chợ Rẫy Hospital

May 27, 2020: British pilot Stephen Cameron, Việt Nam’s sickest COVID-19 case, shows signs of recovery.

July 11, 2020: Pilot Stephen Cameron flies back to the UK.

July 25, 2020: The first COVID-19 case is reported in Đà Nẵng City.           

July 28, 2020: All of Đà Nẵng City is locked down.

August 4, 2020: Army disinfects Đà Nẵng City’s Sơn Trà District.

August 13, 2020: Domestic flights take stranded tourists back from Đà Nẵng.

A nurse holds the infant born to a mother with COVID-19. — Photo courtesy of National Hospital for Tropical Diseases

September 10, 2020: A baby is born to a mother with COVID-19.

September 11, 2020: Đà Nẵng loosens social distancing orders.

November 30, 2020: HCM City announces the first case of COVID-19 after 100 days.

December 10, 2020: Call for registration for human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.

December 17, 2020: First dose of the vaccine is administered.

December 26, 2020: Vĩnh Long Province reports a man who entered Việt Nam illegally tests positive for COVID-19.

January 2, 2021: New highly more transmissible variant of coronavirus first reported in HCM City after a woman is repatriated from the UK.


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