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President Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets embassy’s staff in Russia

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc met the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and representative agencies in Moscow, Russia, on November 30.

The President said that he had just had very successful talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders discussed 20 issues related to cooperation between the two countries, upon which they reached high consensus, he said, adding that the Russian President supported many issues raised by Vietnam.

The two leaders agreed to issue a joint vision statement on the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership until 2030.

While appreciating the preparations for the visit made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant agencies, and especially the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia, the President asked the agencies to perform well the tasks assigned by the Party and the State as well as to nurture the good relationship between the two countries. He also underlined the need to promote bilateral trade and cooperation in the fields of economy, defence, security, science and technology.

He emphasised that Russia is a leading important partner in Vietnam’s foreign policy.

The Vietnamese President noted that staff of the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia to implement the Politburo’s Conclusion No. 12-KL/TW on overseas Vietnamese affairs in the new situation, the task of citizens protection and supporting the lives of overseas Vietnamese to have more practical activities and contribute further to the homeland./.

Dak Lak woman dies after receiving Vero Cell jab

A woman living in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak has died after she was given a Vero Cell vaccine shot against COVID-19, local authorities confirmed on November 30.

The woman, 41, received the second shot of the Vero Cell vaccine produced by China’s Sinopharm at a vaccination site in Buon Me Thuot city of Dak Lak on November 29, a representative of the provincial Centre for Disease Control said.  

After being closely monitored at the vaccination site for 30 minutes, she returned home without any abnormal symptoms.

However, one of the woman’s relatives found her ‘in an unconscious state’ early on November 30 and immediately took her to Tay Nguyen General Hospital for emergency treatment.

At the hospital, the woman did not survive and doctors confirmed she had died of unknown causes before hospitalisation.

The victim was said to have suffered from nephrolithiasis or kidney stone.

This is the fifth adult victim of COVID-19 vaccination in Vietnam.

Earlier, four employees of a shoemaking company in Thanh Hoa province also died after being given a Vero Cell shot.

Also on November 30, a 12-year-old boy in Binh Phuoc province, southern Vietnam, died following a Pfizer shot. He was the third young victim of COVID-19 vaccination in Vietnam.

Another teenager dies after receiving COVID-19 vaccine shot in Vietnam

The southern province of Binh Phuoc has established a team of health experts to examine the cause of the passing of a 12-year-old boy after he was given a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

The boy suffered from abnormal symptoms after receiving the vaccine shot on November 29, confirmed a representative of the Binh Phuoc provincial Department of Health.

He was transferred to a military hospital in Binh Phuoc and then a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City for emergency treatment. However, he died on November 30 morning.

Professionals are expected to meet on December 1 to look into the case, said the provincial health official.

Binh Phuoc is carrying out a COVID-19 vaccination campaign for children aged 12 to 15, using the Pfizer vaccine. It aims to inoculate 66,900 people in this age group.

This is the third young victim of COVID-19 vaccinations in Vietnam.

The past week saw two other students die in Hanoi capital and neighbouring Bac Giang province following Pfizer vaccination.

Experts from the Ministry of Health said on November 30 that the two deaths were not related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Both victims suffered from anaphylaxis, an acute and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction after vaccination.

Floods claims four lives in central Vietnam

At least four people have died and tens of thousands of houses have been submerged after heavy rain triggered severe flooding in central Vietnam, said the National Steering Committee on Natural Disasters Prevention and Control on November 30.

In Binh Dinh province alone, floods have left three dead and nearly 24,000 houses and hundreds of hectares of rice and subsidiary crops inundated.

Parts of national highways 1, 14H, 19C, 27, 29 and 40 in Binh Dinh, Quang Nam and Phu Yen were deep under water, disrupting traffic.  

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said water levels in major local rivers are expected to rise to or even surpass the third alert level – the highest warning level – in coming hours.

It warned about widespread flooding and flash floods as well landslides in central provinces from Quang Ngai to Khanh  Hoa and in the Central Highlands region.

The National Steering Committee on Natural Disasters Prevention and Control requested localities in the central region to evacuate local residents from low-lying areas, to a higher ground and ensure a sufficient supply of essential food for evacuees.

National squad depart for Singapore in quest of defending AFF Cup title

Coach Park Hang-seo and his players of the Vietnam national team left for Singapore on December 1 as they head to compete and defend their championship title at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup 2020.

The Vietnamese team aim to defend their championship title they secured in 2018.
The squad held a warm-up session at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City in the morning before flying to Singapore in the afternoon.

Upon arriving in Singapore, the players will train at the stadium of Hougang United FC, which is located roughly 20 minutes from their accommodation.

On November 29, Park announced a shortlist of 30 players for the national line-up, comprising four goalkeepers, 13 defenders, eight midfielders, and five strikers ahead of the tournament. Notably, striker Do Hung Dung, who has just recovered from an injury, was also called in for the line-up. 

The largest Southeast Asian football tournament is scheduled to be held from December 5 to January 1, 2022, in Singapore with the participation of 10 national teams from regional countries.

AFF cup holders Vietnam play in Group B alongside Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos. They are scheduled to take on Laos on December 6, Malaysia on December 12, Indonesia on December 15 and Cambodia on December 19.

Park and his players have set a target of defending their championship title they secured in 2018.

Vietnamese, French experts share experience in marine pollution control

Vietnamese, French experts share experience in marine pollution control hinh anh 1

A seminar on marine pollution control was held in both in-person and online forms on November 30 by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) and the Embassy of France in Hanoi.

Vietnam currently ranks fourth in the world in marine pollution with nearly 40,000 tonnes of domestic solid waste discharged by 28 coastal provinces and cities each day, DAV Deputy Director Nguyen Hung Son said, adding that meanwhile, the country lacks extensive research studies on marine pollution and assessment of its impacts on security and national defence.

He noted that even though Vietnam has proactively coordinated with international organisations, including the UNDP, on ocean plastic waste, but bilateral cooperation in the field remains modest.

Son said he believes that fighting marine pollution is a suitable content for cooperation between Vietnam and France, which suits the common interests of the two countries and reflects the development of bilateral cooperation in economy, development and regional security, especially in non-traditional security issues.

At the event, participants presented their ideas to bolster mutual understanding and highlight the priorities of the two countries regarding non-conventional security issues in the region so as to seek practical measures to boost cooperation in the coming time.

They called on France to share outcomes of research studies on the East Sea with Vietnam, provide equipment to serve deep-sea research activities and arrange training courses./.

Hoi An to host diverse activities to mark festive period

A wide range of activities are set to be held to celebrate Christmas and welcome in the New Year in the ancient town of Hoi An, with a focus on stimulating tourism demand after a prolonged period of being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Van Son, chairman of the Hoi An City People’s Committee, revealed that the locality plans to deploy a broad range of activities, including street art performances, documentary screenings, and a trade fair in Tan Thanh fishing village, in order to welcome the Christmas period.

Furthermore, other events will also be held to celebrate the New Year, including the opening of Hoi An Market and the launch of the second Hoi An Heritage Culinary Market, while New Year’s Eve is scheduled to take place from 22:30 p.m. on December 31 to 1 a.m. on January 1, 2022.

Moreover, a programme aimed at welcoming the first group of tourists to the ancient town of Hoi An will begin at 9:00 am on January 1, 2022, at Chua Cau, also known as Japanese Bridge.

Son emphasized that residents and visitors participating in these events will be required to abide by the 5K message set by the Ministry of Health, while international visitors to the central city via charter flights will not be permitted to get involved in these activities.

Local restaurants, hotels, and other business establishment will decorate the old quarter with an array of lanterns as part of the occasion, according to the local authorities.

Other street food and beverage establishments located on Nguyen Phuc Chu road will reopen on the roadside from 4pm to 1am from December 24 to December 31.

Frequency of domestic flights increase from December 1

The Ministry of Transport has allowed increasing the frequency of flights on many domestic routes.

Under a decision signed by Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan on November 30, the numbers of two-way flights on Hanoi – Da Nang, Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh City routes will be raised to a maximum of 16 per day from December 1-14.

From December 15, the maximum number of daily two-way flights will be 20 on those three routes, and 9 on other routes.

The decision also mentioned conditions for passengers, such as owning certificates of full vaccination against COVID-19 or recovery from the disease, and testing negative to SARS-CoV-2 using RT-PCR or rapid antigen testing methods.

Besides, all passengers have to make health declarations.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) also announced that it completely agrees with the Health Ministry’s proposal on the suspension of international flights to and from African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho and Mozambique due to the emergence of Omicron variant there.

The CAAV also agreed to halt the issuance of entry visa to passengers going to or arriving from the above nations.

Flights carrying Vietnamese citizens home under the combo package plan must receive permission from the ministries of foreign affairs, health, transport, national defence and public security./. 

Five Vietnamese airports receive Airport Health Accreditation

Five local international airports have been granted Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) by the Airports Council International (ACI) for maintaining COVID-19 pandemic safety and prevention measures.

The Vietnamese airports to earn AHA include Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Da Nang International Airport, Noi Bai International Airport, Phu Quoc International Airport, and Cam Ranh International Airport.

The AHA is designed to assist airports around the world in proving to passengers, staff, regulators, and governments that they place the health and safety of passengers as their top priority. Indeed, this is done through the establishment of specific safeguard measures as part of the fight against the potential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order 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 communication, and passenger facilities.

A number of provinces and cities nationwide, including Phu Quoc island in the southern province of Kien Giang, Nha Trang city in the central coast of Khanh Hoa province, and Hoi An City in the central province of Quang Nam, recently welcomed back international tourists. In line with this, all visitors from overseas are must come into the country through the COVID-19 vaccine passport pilot scheme.

Vietnamese delegation attends 143rd IPU Assembly, related meetings

A Vietnamese delegation led by Chairman of the National Assembly (NA)’s Committee for External Relations Vu Hai Ha attended the 143rd General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU-143) and related meetings in Madrid, Spain, from November 27-30.

Speaking at the plenary debate, the head of the Vietnamese delegation affirmed that Vietnam is fully aware that the building of democracy must be based on the will of the people and the strength of the national great solidarity, in order to build a law-governed socialist state of the people, by the people and for the people.

In the fight against COVID-19, the country follows the policy of combating the pandemic and protecting people’s health while maintaining socio-economic development, carrying out policies that support firms and people to surmount difficulties and ensuring social welfare.

The NA has promptly approved proposals of the Government regarding budget and COVID-19 prevention and control measures, he added.

The Vietnamese head delegate put forward recommendations on bolstering cooperation and mitigating risks triggered by current challenges, such as consolidating peace, security, stability and cooperation at the global, regional and national levels, and strengthening cooperation on digital transformation and information technology application.

He called on countries’ parliaments to step up law building and keep a close watch on policy implementation; support the development of parliamentary diplomacy and enhancement of the role and mission of the IPU; and promote cooperation mechanisms between the IPU, the United Nations, international organisations, and regional parliamentary organisations and members.

Members of the Vietnamese delegations attended and contributed opinions at meetings of the Committees on Peace and International Security, Sustainable Development, Democracy and Human Rights, and UN Affairs; the Forum of Women Parliamentarians; and the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP).

On the occasion, Ha discussed Vietnam’s cooperation in the IPU with the President and Secretary General of the IPU, and engaged in meetings with leaders of delegations from Peru, South Sudan, Russia, the UK, Cuba, Cambodia, India and Italy./.

PM chairs first meeting of National Committee on Digital Transformation

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chaired the first meeting of the National Committee on Digital Transformation via videoconference on November 30.

The PM, who is chairman of the committee, said the debut of the committee is meant to realise the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress regarding digital transformation, in the context of digital transformation becoming a common trend of the world and an objective requirement of national development.

He instructed ministries and agencies to build decrees related to digital transformation, including electronic identification to protect personal data, regulations on the management and operation of the national database on population, among others, to submit to the Government.

Chinh hailed ministries, agencies and localities for their achievements in digital transformation, especially in three pillars of digital Government, digital economy and digital society. At the same time, the PM pointed to outstanding shortcomings in the field, such as a low ranking in terms of e-Government, the incomplete legal environment for e-Government and slow progress of building national and specialised databases.

As Vietnam is one of the fastest countries globally to issue national guidelines and strategies on digital transformation, the country was named the top riser in East Asia and the Pacific in the 2021 rankings compiled by the European Center for Digital Competitiveness during 2018-2020.

Between 2022 and 2025, the committee set the goal of meeting 53 criteria for digital Government, digital economy and digital society./. 

COVID-19: New cases on November 30 top 13,972

Vietnam recorded 13,972 cases of COVID-19 in 61 localities during 24 hours from 4pm November 29 to 4pm November 30, including 6 imported cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

Ho Chi Minh City continued to record the highest number of infections with 1,497, followed by Can Tho with 981 and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province with 860.

The national tally reached 1,238,082.

According to the Ministry of Health’s report, 5,788 patients nationwide are in serious conditions, with 602 requiring invasive ventilation and 15 on life support (ECMO).

On the day, the country saw 197 deaths from the disease. The death toll now hits 25,252.

A further 14,624 patients were given the all-clear, taking the total number of recoveries to 989,348.

By November 29, the country had injected over 122.08 million doses of vaccines to date, with more than 50.94 million people now fully inoculated./.

Foreign tourist arrivals to Vietnam up over 42 percent

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Vietnam welcomed over 15,000 foreign tourists in November, up 42.4 percent from the figure in October, the General Statistics Office announced on November 29.

The rise is attributed to the Government’s decision to allow a pilot programme to welcome back international tourists.

The travelers joined package tours and entered Vietnam via either charter flights or international commercial flights to designated places and tourism facilities such as Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Khanh Hoa, and Quang Nam, among others.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, in the first 11 months of this year, the number of foreign tourist arrivals to Vietnam was 140,100, down over 96 percent year-on-year.

Of the total, the number of visitors arriving by air accounted for around 69 percent, down 97 percent while those by road accounted for 30 percent, down 9 percent./.

Binh Dinh ready to become 6th destination to welcome int’l visitors

The central province of Binh Dinh is preparing to become the sixth destination for international tourists before January 2022, together with Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh.

Lam Hai Giang, Vice Chairman of the Binh Dinh Provincial People’s Committee, said the tourism industry had been seriously affected and the country needed to work hard for recovery. However, the opening of international tourism depended on disease control as well as vaccine coverage.

“The connection among localities and businesses in tourism recovery and development is very necessary. Without this connection, the tourism industry will struggle,” Giang said.

He said that the province planned to welcome guests on package tours because it was not safe to receive individual visitors. The province was considering criteria and conditions for tourists. Binh Dinh would set criteria for arrivals to the province to ensure safety.

“Binh Dinh was supposed to be a new destination, but ‘new is old if we don’t know how to renew ourselves’. The province wants to offer the most comfortable experience for guests. This is why procedures for picking up passengers and traffic hubs must be simple and safe. The province will introduce measures to both ensure pandemic control and create comfort for visitors,” he added.

Ultimately, the success of the programme would depend on the efforts of businesses. Enterprises needed to be ready in terms of facilities, human resources and having new products for customers.

Tran Van Thanh, Director of Binh Dinh’s Department of Tourism, said that the province was developing specific plans.

On average, Binh Dinh welcomes around 200,000 international visitors every year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021, the province only received 77,000 visitors.

“We are continuing to research and focus on the East Asian, Southeast Asian and US markets. To prepare to welcome international guests, Binh Dinh gives priority to safety and flexibly adapting according to the Government’s policy. Accordingly, Binh Dinh has strongly implemented COVID-19 prevention measures.”

In addition, it is necessary to encourage tourism businesses to meet 3-4-5 star standards and prepare conditions to welcome guests.

In 2022, if the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, the province will continue to increase the number of tourists, trying to welcome 80,000 – 100,000 domestic visitors.

In the second half of 2022, the province wishes to welcome international guests. Accordingly, the province could welcome 400,000 domestic tourists and over 100,000 international visitors.

Nguyen Hoang Vu, Chairman of Binh Dinh Tourism Association, said that the 4th wave of COVID-19 lasted for a long time, severely affecting the society and the economy. However, Quy Nhon City had vaccinated 97 per cent of the population and was ready to welcome tourists, ensuring the dual goals of both economic development and pandemic prevention.

“Human resources are also an important factor that Binh Dinh needs to pay attention to in stimulating tourism demand. We are facing a lack of human resources in tourism and need a long-term plan for human resources to serve the upcoming tourism development,” Vu said.

Vu The Binh, Permanent Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that Binh Dinh has great potential to become the tourist centre of the South Central region. However, the perception of tourism development in localities was not uniform and neither were their policies. Bình outlined two issues. The first was to always ensure COVID-19 prevention and get people vaccinated, while the second was to prevent further outbreaks.

“Businesses will understand the problems. We must believe in them. The decisive issue is that the locality comes up with a specific and feasible solution, and businesses need to implement it seriously on ways to prevent COVID-19,” he added.

Nguyen Manh Quan, Permanent Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways, said that domestic tourism would be a focus in the fourth quarter. However, the Government and businesses also needed to consider the restoration of flight routes, spreading the message of green tourism with specific criteria. In terms of stimulating demand, the main goal was to create green products.

“Currently, Vietnam has five localities that are eligible to welcome international visitors. If Binh Dinh could become the 6th tourism destination, the development opportunities for the industry would be better. It needs the Government’s support as well as the efforts of localities and businesses,” Quan said.

He added that Bamboo Airways had operated international flights to Vietnam. Most flights, after a rigorous testing and isolation process, ensured safety, and it was very rare that cases arise. This would be an important condition to enter the opening phase to welcome international guests as well as participate in recovery.

Cao Tri Dung, Chairman of the Da Nang Tourism Association, suggested that Binh Dinh province’s leaders create conditions for businesses to overcome difficulties. Service facilities, destinations, and tourism companies in the province needed to quickly offer unique product packages.

For each stream of visitors, it was necessary to have a different ecosystem for travel companies to easily deploy and exploit their strengths. Travel businesses also needed more distinctive products.

From a business perspective, Bui Hai Huyen, member of the Board of Directors, General Director of FLC Group, proposed to get early approval to recognise Binh Dinh as a green destination as soon as possible, before January 2022.

The province should continue to promote co-operation with neighbouring localities to attract tourists. It also needed to quickly give detailed instructions to service providers, tourists and residents. Finally, the province could promote communication, co-ordinate with FLC Group to make Binh Dinh a new and attractive destination. Travel companies needed to come up with initiatives for Binh Dinh in general and FLC in particular to introduce and promote products to foreign travel agencies.

“To prepare for welcoming international guests, FLC also commits that Bamboo Airways and the group’s ecosystem will comply with the instructions by agencies in welcoming international passengers; continuously upgrade services and strengthen disease control capacity. In addition, FLC has expanded vaccination coverage. Currently, all staff of Quy Nhon and FLC have had two doses of vaccines. We have built a self-contained, safe, full-service tourism programme and submitted it to Binh Dinh Province with the hope of early approval to prepare to welcome international guests,” she added./.

US company supports HCM City’s COVID-19 fight

Authorities of Ho Chi Minh City on November 30 received nearly 5 million N95 medical face masks worth 34.1 billion VND (1.5 million USD) presented by US company RAAS Nutritionals LLC. to support the city’s COVID-19 fight.

Addressing the handover ceremony, Chairwoman of the municipal Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Committee To Thi Bich Chau hoped that HCM City will continue to receive support from businesses and RAAS Nutritionals in particular in the battle against the pandemic.

Following the ceremony, the face masks were distributed to the HCM City High Command, Department of Health and various hospitals of the city.

To date, the southern hub has received assistance worth more than 2.74 trillion VND worth of medical equipment, supplies and medicines from 210 organisations and individuals at home and abroad to support the fight against COVID-19, Chau added./.

Vietnam Airlines successfully operates first direct flight to US

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A flight coded VN98 of the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines from Ho Chi Minh City landed safely at San Francisco Airport in the US on November 29.

The flight, which took 13 hours and 45 minutes, marked a mile stone in the development history of the Vietnamese aviation industry as well as the Vietnam Airlines.

From November 28, Vietnam Airlines regularly operates two flights per week between Ho Chi Minh City and San Francisco. The airline plans to increase the number to seven flights after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled and the Vietnamese government allows the reopening of regular international routes.

Vietnam Airlines also considers opening more routes to Los Angeles. All flights between Vietnam and the US will use the most modern wide-body aircraft, such as Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.

On November 4, the national flag carrier officially received a permit from the US Federal Aviation Administration to operate non-stop commercial flight service between the two countries./.

Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Festival slated for December

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The 17th Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Festival will be held from December 4-25. The annual event will take place at a time when the city embarks on the second stage of restoring tourism activities while safely adapting to COVID-19.
In particular, the festival will be also open virtually on the event’s website, the portal of the municipal Tourism Department, Shopee e-commerce site and Traveloka online tour agent.

On both 2D and 3D platforms, the festival will draw 100 virtual stalls by prestigious tour agents and tourism sectors of cities and provinces.

New destinations, local signature tourism products and the latest technologies used in the sector will be introduced to the public.

Co-organised by the municipal Tourism Department and the Tourism Association, the 2020 festival attracted over 200 businesses, 59 cities and provinces nationwide./.

Vietnam – Korea Training Cooperation Centre debuts in HCM City

The Vietnam – Korea Training Cooperation Centre (VKTCC), based in Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP), officially debuted on November 30.

The centre is a joint effort with the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) of the Republic of Korea, with the involvement of the Ho Chi Minh City Centre of Supporting Industries Development (CSID), and Vietnamese and Korean enterprises.

It is expected to become a prestigious training model in Vietnam and provide quality workforce up to RoK standards for firms in and outside the SHTP, contributing to the municipal breakthrough programme on human resource and cultural development for the 2020-2025 period and the national programme on hi-tech development till 2030.

Head of the SHTP management board Nguyen Anh Thi said the centre will train and provide quality workforce in the fields of precision engineering, automation, digital transformation and smart production, thus helping Vietnamese firms participate deeper in the global value chain amid the fourth industrial revolution.

It will also help with the transfer of RoK’s advanced technologies to improve Vietnamese enterprises’ production capacity, and assist domestic enterprises in raising labour productivity and product quality via training courses and programmes evaluating workers’ vocational skills based on RoK standards./. 

Vietnam works closely with WHO, US CDC to deal with Omicron threat

Vietnam is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) in its response to new coronavirus variant Omicron, according to Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long.

The Ministry of Health on November 30 held a meeting on the threats of the very concerning variant with WHO Representative in Vietnam Kidong Park, CDC Southeast Asia Regional Director John MacArthur, and Director of US CDC Vietnam’s Global Health Security Programme Matthew Moore.

Long said as of November 30 morning, Vietnam has not recorded any case of COVID-19 with the new variant.

The ministry last week asked the government to halt flights to/from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Mozambique, as well as suspend the issuance of visas for passengers coming from these countries.

The ministry has also asked to step up surveillance to promptly detect abnormal signs at COVID-19 outbreak clusters, and ordered the Pasteur institutes and the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology to perform genome sequencing on suspect cases with Omicron, especially ones with a history of travel to southern Africa.

The WHO and CDC representatives all stressed the four important steps in dealing with Omicron, including enhancing testing and surveillance to detect the cases, speeding up vaccination, boosting the capacity of the medical system – especially at the grassroots level – to make them able to deal with growing outbreaks, and stepping up communication on COVID-19 prevention and control measures and making public the genetic sequences of COVID-19 cases for further analysis by researchers and experts.

At the meeting, leaders of the Health Ministry together with the representatives of WHO, US CDC in Southeast Asia and US CDC in Vietnam agreed to be ready to share the results of the genetic sequencing of COVID-19 cases.

Long said Vietnam to date had administered 120 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and progress had been steady recently, especially with the rollout of vaccines for children aged 12-17 in more than 30 localities around the country.

He also urged the public to follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures but not to panic or become overly anxious in the face of the Omicron variant./.

PM outlines three priorities for ASEAN sub-regional cooperation

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended and delivered a keynote speech at the opening of the ASEAN High-Level Forum on Sub-Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth on November 30.

The forum, the first of its kind, provided ASEAN member states and their partners, regional and international organisations, and business community with a chance to discuss opportunities, challenges, potentials and orientations to promoting sub-regional development cooperation.

Speaking at the event, PM Chinh stressed that due to ASEAN’s diversity, the development of sub-regions, which are all in important geographical locations, needs the bloc’s attention.

Together with stepping up regional connectivity, it is important to connect areas and zones and ensure that they catch up with the common development of the region, he said.  

He also called for strengthened solidarity and close cooperation among regional countries, which he said is a prerequisite to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.

The Vietnamese leader pointed out three priorities that need to be promoted in sub-regional cooperation, including making the people the centre, goal and driver of development, enhancing regional and global coordination to improve capacity for sustainable sub-regional development, and strengthening infrastructure, economic and cultural connectivity to narrow development gap, thus facilitating sub-regional economic development.

Participants at the event suggested accelerating connectivity, promoting global integration and green growth, sustainably using and managing natural resources, responding to disasters and climate change, pushing digital transformation, developing human resources and bolstering tourism.

They underscored the reciprocal complementarity between sub-regions’ development efforts and ASEAN’s connectivity process, thus agreeing on a need to effectively capitalise on cooperation potential of sub-regions to offer more opportunities to enterprises in and outside the region.

Delegates spoke highly of Vietnam’s role and contributions to promoting sub-regional development cooperation for the goal of even and sustainable growth in the region.

Ideas and recommendations at the event will be submitted to ASEAN leaders for consideration./. 

Forum fosters sub-regional development in line with ASEAN community building

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended Vietnam-initiated ASEAN high-level forum on sub-regional cooperation for sustainable development and inclusive growth held in both in-person and virtual forms on November 30.

The event was also joined by Lao PM Phankham Viphavanh and Cambodian Deputy Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn.

ASEAN is home to sub-regions with different growth, strengths, difficulties and advantages, Deputy Foreign Minister and Head of ASEAN SOM Vietnam Nguyen Quoc Dung said, pointing out that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has yet to pay full attention to sub-regional development.

As ASEAN firms have not taken the advantage of seeking business opportunities in sub-regions, Vietnam put forward the organisation of the forum to integrate the development of the sub-regions into ASEAN’s process.

At the forum, participants highly valued Vietnam’s initiative as precise and timely, amid ASEAN’s recovery in the post-pandemic period.

The holding of the forum also underlined ASEAN’s central role at the ‘home ground’, as the organisation is responsible for linking and guiding sub-regions in all fields, therefore ensuring resources, development, peace, stability in the region and the world.

Dung believed that the event is the continuation of Vietnam’s efforts when it assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, with the aim of promoting the development of sub-regions in accordance with the ASEAN community-building process.

This is a suitable approach supported by nations, so that ASEAN can uphold its role in a large area and sub-regions, he affirmed.

Dung stated that through the forum, leaders of countries in sub-regions and ASEAN will reach consensus on policies so as to create mechanisms facilitating businesses.

It also enabled ASEAN nations to learn difficulties facing enterprises in a bid to seek solutions, and helped businesses realise their strengths in the sub-regional development process./.

Valuable archaeological findings in spite of COVID-19 pandemic

Despite facing many difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, archaeological activities still took place across the country with new diverse and valuable discoveries and research results, Nguyen Duc Minh, Vice chairman of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) said on November 30.

He made the remark at a conference reviewing archaeological excavation results co-organised by the Institute of Archaeology under the VASS in coordination with the Department of Culture and Sports of Ninh Binh province.

The VASS Vice Chairman said the conference, held in both in-person and virtual forms, offers a chance for archaeologists and related researchers to exchange information on new discoveries and academic debates, opening up opportunities for cooperation in research, conservation and promotion of value of national cultural heritages.

These findings have contributed to improving understanding of the origin and evolution of humans as well as the cultural layers and socio-political institutions in history, affirming the values of cultures and civilisations of Dai Viet (Great Viet) in association with glorious victories against foreign invaders to defend the independence of the nation.

Outstanding findings announced at this conference include the discovery of relics that demonstrate the evolution of humans and cultural artifacts of prehistoric people in the provinces of Lang Son, Thai Nguyen, Yen Bai, Ha Giang, Son La, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, Phu Tho, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Excavations and studies are being conducted at Kinh Thien Palace (Hanoi), Ho Dynasty Citadel (Thanh Hoa) and Yen Tu relic site (Quang Ninh and Bac Giang).

The highlight of the archaeology activities during the past year is the continued excavation of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital relic site in Ninh Binh province with new discoveries that contribute to clarifying the palace architecture and cultural identity of the Dinh – Le dynasties in the national history.

The conference is scheduled to end on December 1./.

Day to be chosen to promote mother language among overseas Vietnamese

Some experts and officials have voiced their support for the date September 8 to be selected as the day in honour of the Vietnamese language in the overseas Vietnamese community.

Speaking at a workshop held in Hanoi on November 30, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu, who is also Chairman of the Foreign Ministry’s State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, said to the 5.3 million Vietnamese living in over 130 countries and territories, the Vietnamese language is a national pride and also a “solid fulcrum” for the country’s culture.

The maintenance and promotion of the language, which is a tool for spreading cultural values of the nation, is an important task holding practical, scientific, and human significance, he noted.

Other participants in the event underlined the necessity for a day in honour of the Vietnamese language so as to enhance the love for and pride in the mother language and encourage expatriates to maintain and bring into play the homeland’s cultural identity.

Dr. Nguyen Thien Nam, former dean of the faculty for Vietnamese studies and language at the University of Social Sciences and Humanity (Vietnam National University, Hanoi), said September 8 should be chosen as the day in honour of the language among overseas Vietnamese.

He explained that this was the day when the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) launched the “Binh dan hoc vu” (mass education) campaign in 1945. On that day in 1962, then President Ho Chi Minh delivered a speech on the Vietnamese language at the third congress of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association.

Echoing the view, an official from the Continuing Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Training supported the date September 8 to be chosen for the purpose. He also recommended organising a competition on books and documents teaching the language for overseas Vietnamese, and developing a language teaching website for the expatriates.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism suggested commending the individuals, organisations, and communities with substantial contributions to popularising the Vietnamese language abroad./.

Nearly 28.2 trillion VND from unemployment insurance fund given to pandemic-hit labourers

More than 12.32 million labourers affected by COVID-19 have received total support of nearly 28.2 trillion VND (1.24 billion USD) from the unemployment insurance fund so far, according to the Vietnam Social Security (VSS).

The result was recorded in two months of implementing the Government’s Resolution 116/NQ-CP and the Prime Minister’s Decision 28/QD-TTg on assisting pandemic-hit labourers and employers from the unemployment insurance fund from October 1 to November 29.

The VSS said that it has agreed to allow nearly 152,900 labourers from 810 facilities in 57 localities across the country to temporarily postpone retirement and survival insurance payment with total amount of over 1.07 trillion VND, while approving a list of 2.7 million workers from 67,700 companies enjoying support policies.

Of the labourers, 1.85 million have had their labour contracts temporarily suspended or taken unpaid leave, and 537,700 stopped working to receive support of 1 million VND each. As many as 1,024 employers have accessed loans to pay for 82,500 labourers who became unemployed due to COVID-19 .

On October 1, the Government issued Decision No. 28/QD-TTg providing regulations on the implementation of support policies for employees and employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, using the unemployment insurance fund.

Accordingly, different levels of allowances from 1.8 million VND (79 USD) to 3.3 million VND (144.8 USD) will be given to each labourer depending on the time they has paid unemployment insurance premiums./.

Vietnam squad for AFF Cup 2020 named

Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo has announced a 30-man squad ahead of the upcoming AFF Cup 2020, according to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).

Most notably, midfielder Do Hung Dung was added to the list after recovering from a serious injury which had caused him to miss the recent World Cup qualifiers.

Vietnam’s 30-man squad for the AFF Cup 2020 consists of four goalkeepers, 13 defenders, eight midfielders, and five forwards.

According to the schedule, the largest Southeast Asian football tournament will be held from December 5 to January 1, 2022, in Singapore.

Vietnam will go into the competition as the defending champions and will play in Group B alongside Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos.

Elsewhere, Group A consists of Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and the winner of the play-off match between Timor-Leste and Brunei./.

Vietnam attends 59th meeting of Asian – African Legal Consultative Organisation

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, officials from the ministries of Public Security and Justice, and some researchers and practitioners of international law in Vietnam are attending the 59th meeting of the Asian – African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) via videoconference.

The Vietnamese delegation delivered speeches which highlight international law, respect for the rule of law at the international level, and support for the peaceful settlement of international disputes.

They also shared the country’s experience in handling external relations, as well as its viewpoints on the codification and progressive development of international law, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The AALCO, comprising 47 member states, is an international inter-governmental organisation established in 1956 in the Non-Aligned Movement of Asia and Africa. It aims to promote dialogue, exchange viewpoints, and enhance cooperation in many areas of international law.

Taking place from November 29 to December 1, this year’s event in Hong Kong (China) focuses on such legal issues as activities of the International Law Commission and international law in cyberspace. It is set to elect the AALCO Secretary-General for the 2021 – 2025 tenure.

Vietnam officially became an AALCO member at this organisation’s 56th meeting in Kenya in 2017 after serving as an observer for a period of time./.

Bac Giang city strives to become green urban area

Bac Giang city in the northern province of the same name will mobilise all resources to develop in the direction of green and smart urban area, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Dang Dinh Hoan has said.

To realise the target, the city has set to basically fulfil criteria for the first-tier urban area by 2025 and be recognised as one by 2030.

It aims to raise per capita income of local residents to 8,500-9,000 USD a year and call for more than 100 trillion VND (4.41 trillion USD) in social sources for development.

Bac Giang city will invest in and build two or three green and smart urban areas, two to four three- and five-star hotels, two to three nightlife economy zones and a 100-ha park.

It aims to be among top 10 provincial cities of the country in terms of smart urban area index; and raise the digital economy’s share in the gross regional domestic product to about 30 percent and at least 20 percent in each sector.

The city will work to put power lines underground, build more parks, recreation sites and garbage depots in the city, and invest in a waste-to-energy plant.

It is set to bolster management and supervision over the quality of water in rivers and lakes, as well as the collection and treatment of wastewater at urban areas, industrial parks and clusters. Due attention will be paid to firms’ discharge activities and environmental pollution treatment at craft villages, and safety and order in urban areas.

The application of new technologies in agricultural production will be promoted and a smart urban management centre will be set up to help with management work.

A security camera system will be installed in the city’s central area, key traffic spots and public places. Digitalisation in archive is due to be carried out across all fields, together with e-government applications.

In the coming time, Bac Giang city will mobilise all resources to take the lead in digital transformation, particularly in information technology (IT) and communications to meet demand for the building of the digital government and the city’s socio-economic development.

Priorities will be given to investment in and development of sectors that generate high added value like production of hardware and software, and support services of IT and communication, with an aim to create a smart urban foundation for Bac Giang city.

The city, spanning 66.77 sq.m, has 16 administrative units of communal level. It is the political, economic and cultural hub of Bac Giang province.

Situated on an artery road linking Hanoi with Lang Son, and the Huu Nghi international border gate, the city has a favourable location on an economic corridor running through the four localities of Lang Son, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh. 

Bac Giang city has made strides over the years, with an average annual economic growth rate in the 2011-20 period hitting 11.7 percent. Meanwhile, budget collection surged 38 percent against the estimates. Urban planning and management have improved as infrastructure has been upgraded and rural area given a facelift.

Many major constructions and projects have been completed and helped improve urban quality and landscape in the city, notably the Hanoi-Bac Giang and Bac Giang-Lang Son expressways, the Dong Son bridge and the southern urban area, among others.

A number of big investors such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai have channeled investment into the city. Bac Giang is now home to about 100 cooperatives and more than 4,000 firms, of them 1,670 are newly established ones with registered capital worth 7.54 trillion VND. There are 40 foreign direct investment projects totalling over 236 million USD.

Bac Giang city has to date earned 71.27 out of 100 points to become first-tier urban area./.

Russia, Vietnam strive to further promote partnership: Russian media

Russia’s TASS news agency has run an article highlighting the talks between Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, especially the joint statement adopted by the two leaders.

The statement was issued following the talks between the two Presidents in Moscow on November 30, which outlines the vision on the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries until 2030, the article said.
The statement confirmes the “mutual intent for further promotion of relations of comprehensive strategic partnership” and notes the intent “for further deepening of bilateral relations and escalation of these relations to a new level,” it said.

In a recent article, RIA Novosti news agency stressed the significance and urgency of the Vietnam-Russia cooperation across spheres, contributing to peace and stability in the region and the world.

It cited the joint statement as reporting that Russia and Vietnam will work to ensure security and freedom of aviation and navigation and unhindered trade in the East Sea.

Rossyiskaya Gazeta newspaper quoted Putin at the talks as saying Vietnam is a strategic partner of Russia.

Other Russian newspapers also covered the talks between the Vietnamese and Russian leaders, and emphasised that Vietnam is a loyal and reliable friend, and a strategic partner of Russia.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s correspondents, Prof. Vladimir Kolotov, Director of the Ho Chi Minh Institute at St. Petersburg University in Russia, said the joint statement is of historical significance.

The document puts forth joint work for the two countries in the time ahead and creates a firm foundation to further the bilateral cooperation.

He spoke highly of the vision of the two countries’ high-ranking leaders on security, safety and freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Sea, respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), and the importance of maintaining a peaceful environment in the East Sea.

Kolotov expressed his belief that the two countries will soon comprehensively and effectively implement the joint statement, helping to elevate their relations to a new height./.

HCM City braced for Omicron variant of COVID: steering committee

HCM City is prepared to cope with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 first detected by South Africa, Phạm Đức Hải, deputy head of the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control told a press meeting on November 29.

Without going into details, he said the city had strengthened co-operation between public and private medical establishments and between traditional and western medicine systems, and got military medical personnel to help mobile medical stations treat patients at home.  

It had instructed hospitals to send doctors and nurses to health centres in communes, wards and towns to help treat COVID patients, he said.

People should not be too worried about the new variant, but strictly comply with preventive measures like wearing masks, disinfecting hands regularly, avoiding congregations, and keeping a safe distance to reduce the risk of infection, he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants like Delta.

“The number of people testing positive has risen in South Africa, but epidemiological studies are underway to understand if it is because of Omicron or other factors,” WHO says.

Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of the new variant.  

Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of the city Department of Health Office, said there was no shortage of beds for COVID patients and that her agency was seeking to provide better care including for people being treated at home to reduce mortality.

It has called on the Ministry of Health to provide a booster vaccine shot to people in the city, she said, adding, “We expect to get the Ministry of Health’s instructions on the booster shot soon.”

Relevant agencies are seeking to speed up the second shot, including for most young people aged 12-17, she added.  

WHO has said that vaccines remain critical to reducing severe symptoms and death, including against the dominant variant now, Delta.

The city has treated 14,580 patients as of November 28, including 574 children under 16, 374 severely ill patients requiring ventilators and 14 needing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

The city’s risk designation remains medium.

Districts 1,6,7,8,11, Tân Bình, Bình Chánh, Củ Chi, and Cần Giờ are at low risk, and the remaining 11 districts and Thủ Đức City are at medium risk. 

HCM City: Private healthcare sector to help with home-based care of COVID-19 patients

HCM City’s Department of Health is working to expand the involvement of private healthcare in home-based care of COVID-19 patients in an effort to reduce the burden on public health stations.

Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of office at the city’s department, said that all private clinics can partake in this pilot programme. The plan will be submitted to the city for approval.

HCM City has 319 fixed medical stations and more than 340 mobile stations that care for COVID-19 patients at home. Staff at the stations come from the city’s hospitals and district-level medical centres, and they can be mobilised for different areas if necessary.

Many health care stations are under strain due to the rising number of COVID-19 patients, and some are asking patients to visit the stations for medicine since they cannot easily deliver them to households.

Private hospitals have been taking part in the city’s fight against the pandemic by admitting COVID-19 patients, and doctors from various private hospitals have also registered for HCM City’s programme to provide free medical check-ups and consultations to locals via mobile phones.




Future is now



The winners of the first VinFuture Prize have been revealed. Professors Kariko, Cullis and Weissman were awarded the Grand Prize of US$3 million for their research on mRNA vaccine technology.


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15,935 new coronavirus cases recorded on Friday



A student has his body temperature checked before entering class at Việt Đức High School in Hoàn Kiếm District of Hà Nội. — VNA/ Photo Thanh Tùng

HÀ NỘI — A total of 15,935 new COVID-19 patients were reported in Việt Nam on Friday, raising the total number to 2,110,737.

Thirty-four were imported infections and the remaining domestic. New cases were reported in 62 out of 63 provinces and cities across the country.

A total of 10,912 transmissions were detected in the community.

The capital city of Hà Nội again led the list, with 2,805 cases.

The other localities that reported new infections were Đà Nẵng (964), Hải Phòng (796), Hưng Yên (685), Bến Tre (618), Thanh Hóa (509), Quảng Ngãi (482), Bình Phước (475), Bình Định (420), Bắc Ninh (418), Quảng Ninh (369), Khánh Hòa (346), Quảng Nam (344), Hải Dương (341), Cà Mau (319), Bắc Giang (299), Vĩnh Phúc (280), Thừa Thiên Huế (280), Thái Nguyên (268), Vĩnh Long (263), Trà Vinh (240), Tây Ninh (237), Nghệ An (233), Lâm Đồng (231), HCM City (227), Nam Định (223), Phú Thọ (209), Hòa Bình (208), Thái Bình (187), Ninh Bình (151), Lào Cai (134), Tuyên Quang (129), Hà Nam (128), Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu (127), Điện Biên (115), Bạc Liêu (113), Lạng Sơn (112), Đắk Nông (101), Gia Lai (99), Sơn La (99), Hà Giang (99), Bình Dương (95), Quảng Bình (90), Hậu Giang (87), Phú Yên (84), Yên Bái (84), Đồng Tháp (81), Kon Tum (73), Kiên Giang (72), Bình Thuận (71), Cần Thơ (61), Quảng Trị (56), Sóc Trăng (55), Hà Tĩnh (52), Đồng Nai (51), Cao Bằng (51), An Giang (39), Ninh Thuận (31), Tiền Giang (28), Long An (22), Lai Châu (22) and Bắc Kạn (13).

Việt Nam has seen 133 cases of the Omicron variant so far, in Hà Nội (12), Quảng Nam (27), HCM City (65), Hải Dương (1), Hải Phòng (1), Thanh Hóa (2), Đà Nẵng (8), Khánh Hòa (11), Long An (1) and Quảng Ninh (2).

A further 2,256 patients were declared recovered, taking the number of people given the all-clear so far to 1,797,180.

A total of 177 fatalities related to COVID-19 were announced. To date, the country has had 36,443 deaths, making up 1.7 per cent of total infections and ranking 25th out of 224 countries and territories worldwide.

More than 173.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country so far. —


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Update of COVID-19 new cases in Việt Nam on Jan. 21 afternoon



From 16:00 on January 20 to 16:00 on January 21, 15,935 new infections were recorded on the National COVID-19 Case Management System.
Provinces and cities with confirmed cases are as follows: Hà Nội (2,805), Đà Nẵng (964), Hải Phòng (796), Hưng Yên (685), Bến Tre (618), Thanh Hóa (509), Quảng Ngãi (482), Bình Phước (475), Bình Định (420), Bắc Ninh (418), Quảng Ninh (369), Khánh Hòa (346), Quảng Nam (344), Hải Dương (341), Cà Mau (319), Bắc Giang (299), Vĩnh Phúc (280), Thừa Thiên Huế (280), Thái Nguyên (268), Vĩnh Long (263), Trà Vinh (240), Tây Ninh (237), Nghệ An (233), Lâm Đồng (231), HCM City (227), Nam Định (223), Phú Thọ (209), Hòa Bình (208), Thái Bình (187), Ninh Bình (151), Lào Cai (134), Tuyên Quang (129), Hà Nam (128), Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu (127), Điện Biên (115), Bạc Liêu (113), Lạng Sơn (112), Đắk Nông (101), Gia Lai (99), Sơn La (99), Hà Giang (99), Bình Dương (95), Quảng Bình (90), Hậu Giang (87), Phú Yên (84), Yên Bái (84), Đồng Tháp (81), Kon Tum (73), Kiên Giang (72), Bình Thuận (71), Cần Thơ (61), Quảng Trị (56), Sóc Trăng (55), Hà Tĩnh (52), Đồng Nai (51), Cao Bằng (51), An Giang (39), Ninh Thuận (31), Tiền Giang (28), Long An (22), Lai Châu (22), Bắc Kạn (13).
Up to now, Việt Nam has recorded 130 cases of COVID-19 due to Omicron variant in Hà Nội (12), Quảng Nam (27), HCM City (65), Hải Dương (1), Hải Phòng (1), Thanh Hóa (2), Đà Nẵng (8), Khánh Hòa (11), Long An (1), Quảng Ninh (2).


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