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VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 13

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Prime Minister to attend 4th Russian Energy Week

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will attend and deliver a pre-recorded speech at the 4th Russian Energy Week, which will take place in Moscow from October 13-15, at the invitation of Russian leaders and Government.

Initiated by the Russian Government in 2017, the Russian Energy Week is an important event in the energy sector, which serves as a platform for discussions on development and international cooperation in energy. It brings together leaders from many countries, international organisations and major businesses in energy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders from different countries and international organisations will attend this year’s event./.

Nine days off for 2022 Lunar New Year holiday proposed

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has just drafted a proposal of five days off for the 2022 Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, including one day before Tet and four days after Tet under the Labor Law of 2019.

Following the proposal, officials, civil servants and employees are able to enjoy a 9-day Tet break, including five days of official rest and a four-day weekly break, beginning from January 29 to February 6, 2022 (on the 27th day of the last month- the sixth day of the first month of the lunar calendar).

Currently, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is collecting feedback from 16 agencies and ministries.

Hanoi proposes to resume public and inter-provincial transport services from October 13

The capital’s Department of Transport has just submitted a proposal to resume bus, taxi, ride-hailing and inter-provincial coach services from October 13.

In the document submitted to Hà Nội People’s Committee, the city’s Department of Transport proposes to resume public transport services, with city buses operating at 50 per cent of their planned schedule. Taxi and ride-hailing services of under nine seats are allowed to operate with 50 per cent the number of authorised vehicles.

Regarding inter-provincial road transport, the city Department of Transport also proposes the Standing Board of the city Party Committee to resume several inter-provincial routes at five per cent of the total trips per the schedule previously announced by the Department. The plan includes routes to Hải Phòng, Quảng Ninh, Lạng Sơn, Cao Bằng, Hà Giang, Lào Cai, Lai Châu, and Điện Biên and is expected to take place from October 13 to 20.

Earlier on October 10, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) approved a pilot programme of road transport while ensuring safety measures against COVID-19. The programme runs from October 13 to 20.

During the pilot, the MoT will assess the results and report to the Prime Minister and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The city Department of Transport has also consulted with provincial People’s Committees on commercial transport on fixed routes, and other bus, taxi, contract, travel and student transport services in accordance with the temporary guidelines on passenger transport (including road, railway, domestic waterway, maritime and air transport) while effectively and flexibly taking safety measures against COVID-19.

Vietnamese teams win three prizes at 2021 International Blockchain Olympiad

Vietnamese teams win three prizes at 2021 International Blockchain Olympiad hinh anh 1

Vietnamese teams earn three out of the 11 prizes offered at the recently concluded 2021 International Blockchain Olympiad (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese teams earned three out of the 11 prizes offered at the recently concluded 2021 International Blockchain Olympiad, announced the Ministry of Science and Technology on October 12.

ViFaChain group bagged the Bronze Medal Award for a project to apply blockchain in origin tracing of agricultural supply chain with the third Highest Overall Score, winning 5,000 USD.

KidKat team won a 2,500-USD prize in E-governance theme, for its project to build child trafficking prevention system.

For its part, LifeLink received a prize in HealthTech theme worth 2,500 USD. The team’s project aims to integrate blockchain with federated learning to support artificial intelligence technology in medical research.

The competition this year was held in virtual form hosted by Bangladesh, drawing 600 teams from 59 countries and territories.

Dong Nai firms ask for favourable conditions for experts, workers to travel to work

The southern industrial hub of Dong Nai has asked for favourable conditions for experts and workers to arrive in Dong Nai for working as the province is resuming production and business operations in the context that COVID-19 has been put under good control.

Under a proposal to the provincial People’s Committee on October 12, the Management Board of Industrial Parks of Dong Nai suggested that the committee work with nearby localities to reach consensus on the allowing of experts and labourers who have received at least one vaccine shot at least 14 days ago or recovered from COVID-19 within six months and have been tested negative to COVID-19 within seven days to travel to the province with their personal vehicles for working.

Le Van Danh, deputy head of the board, said that many experts and skilled workers work in Dong Nai and reside in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, many large firms in Dong Nai are employing labourers from other localities such as Binh Duong, Binh Thuan and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Therefore, without immediate solutions to call them back to work, they may switch to work in other localities, causing difficulties to the recovery of local firms in Dong Nai, he said.

Since late September when COVID-19 is basically controlled, Dong Nai has reopened production and business activities. The province has allowed enterprises to apply “three-on-site” model and let labourers to travel to work by their own vehicles. Many local firms have shown their hope that local authorised agencies to create favourable conditions for labourers, especially foreign experts residing in HCM City to enter Dong Nai on a daily basis for work and return their residence by their private vehicle./.

Hanoi rail services to Haiphong and HCM City reopened

Passenger rail services linking Hanoi and Haiphong and HCM City have resumed from today, October 13 following a long suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Tuesday noon, the LP6 train service from Haiphong had arrived at Long Bien Station. Meanwhile, service LP5 left Long Bien Station for Haiphong at 3:30 pm the same day.  

During the pilot operation of passenger railway services between October 13-20, from Monday and Friday, the LP5/LP6 train services departed and arrived at Long Bien Station. The trains will operate from Hanoi Station at the weekend.

Since October 13, Vietnam Railways Corporation has also reopened the SE7/SE8 and SE5/SE6 services on the Hanoi-HCM City route.

The SE7/SE8 services call at Hanoi, Phu Ly, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Yen Trung, Huong Pho, Dong Hoi, Dong Ha, Hue, Danang, Tam Ky, Quang Ngai, Nha Trang, Binh Thuan, Bien Hoa and HCM City.

Passengers are requested to ensure safe distances and other Covid-19 prevention regulations. They have to show full vaccination and the negative Covid-19 testing certificates.

Besides commercial passenger trains, the railway sector has continued running trains to transport people from HCM City to their hometowns. By October 11, around 6,000 people had been brought home by train in different localities from the southern region.

Addressing root of conflicts key to sustainable peace building: Vietnamese diplomat

Countries need to settle root causes of conflicts, including poverty, inequality and injustice, intolerance, discrimination, and incitement to violence, in order to build sustainable peace, said Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN).

Addressing an open debate of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on diversity, state building and the search for peace chaired by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 12, the Vietnamese diplomat said that ensuring transparent and accountable governance, and promoting a culture of peace play an important role in this process.

Countries need short-term and long-term preventive strategies in terms of politics, diplomacy, humanitarian issue, development and institution, he said, adding that the UN and the international community need to support capacity-building to prevent conflicts.

In order to promote solidarity and narrow the gap between ethnic groups and religions, countries should take measures to promote consensus through dialogue and reconciliation with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including women, young people, the elderly and vulnerable groups.

The development of laws, policies and mechanisms at all levels, especially at the local level, needs to be fully take into account the needs of all, Ambassador Quy said.

The Vietnamese diplomat also underlined mobilising resources for relevant countries, and suggested UN missions, UN groups at the national level, regional organisations and development partners need to further strengthen coordination in this work.

In this process, stakeholders should respect principles of non-interference in internal affairs, territorial integrity and political independence of countries, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, and take into account the level of development, historical background and other particularities of each country, Quy said.

He affirmed that Vietnam always considers diversity as strength for its stability and development over different historical periods.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, non-state armed groups and military coups are increasingly appearing around the globe.

Countries need to ensure that their national policies and laws prioritise the protection and promotion of human rights, regardless of race, age, sex, religion and gender identity, he stressed.

Gutteres suggested promoting unity through dialogue and respect for each other’s differences, as well as ensuring the full and active participation of women and young people in the process of building and maintaining peace.

Participants shared experiences in setting up and taking advantage of early warning tools to respond to risks of conflict and violence, while proposing measures for the UNSC and UN agencies, regional organisations and development partners to assist relevant countries in the reduction of conflicts and settlement and post-conflict reconstruction./.

Vietnam opens saving bank accounts for orphaned children

President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) Nguyen Dinh Khang yesterday signed a decision to use the VGCL’s fund for opening the saving account books for children whose parents died of Covid-19.

The expense was taken from VGCL’s accumulated financial resources and the private sector.

According to the decision, the children under 16 years old whose father, mother or both parents were members of the labor union and died due to Covid-19 will be eligible to receive the financial aid.

The interest from the saving accounts will be withdrawn annually at the beginning of the school year or the Lunar New Year and the children will hold the original saving account books until they are 18 years old.

The time to apply for support is from April 27 till the end of this year and the period that the children receiving the support is defined from the time that their parents died due to Covid-19.

Competition seeks ideas to mitigate climate change impact

A competition for Vietnamese students was launched in Hanoi on October 12 to seek innovative communication solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and climate change, in response to International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (October 13).

Co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority (VDMA) and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the event is within the framework of a project on improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change funded by the Green Climate Fund, the UNDP and the Vietnamese Government.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, head of the VDMA’s Department of Science-Technology and International Cooperation Doan Thi Tuyet Nga noted the event looks toward continually raising public awareness of the effort for a long term.

Entries could be comics, short films, videos and posters that could be published on the mass media and will be selected on the event’s fanpage.

The jury board comprise five experts from the UNDP, the VDMA and the national press agencies.

The competition will last till December 15. The awards ceremony is scheduled for the final week of this December in Hanoi.

Vietnam, Singapore hold 12th defence policy dialogue

Vietnam and Singapore sought ways to strengthen their defence ties at the 12th defence policy dialogue held in the form of videoconference on October 12.

The event was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien, and Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for Defence Chan Heng Kee.

Chien thanked the Singaporean Ministry of National Defence for its support for military and defence activities and conferences within ASEAN 2020 when Vietnam served as ASEAN Chair.

For his part, Chan congratulated Vietnam on its successful assumption of the ASEAN Chairmanship last year.

The two sides shared the view that despite complex developments of COVID-19, the bilateral defence ties have been implemented in a flexible manner and reaped marked achievements.

Vietnam and Singapore have maintained the operation of the Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation and the defence policy dialogue, and personnel training, while closely coordinating in multilateral mechanisms and events.

They agreed to continue cooperation in delegation exchange, personnel training, mutual consultancy and support at ASEAN military-defence activities, and maintain ASEAN’s stance on regional and international security issues.

Chien suggested the Singaporean defence ministry help its Vietnamese counterpart with COVID-19 vaccines, treatment drugs and other medical supplies to serve the pandemic combat.

The two sides also looked into regional and international security matters and other issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue, and pledged to make more efforts to contribute to promoting ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture, and boosting dialogues and cooperation for peace and stability in the region and the world at large./. 

Plan for transport between HCMC, Southern provinces completed

The plan for traffic, transportation and transport between HCMC and the neighboring provinces of Binh Duong, Long An and Tay Ninh has been completed, according to the Department of Transport of HCMC.

Accordingly, people using private vehicles travelling from HCMC to Long An have to be vaccinated at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine around 14 days after vaccination, or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19.

Those using cars travelling from HCMC to Binh Duong have to be received at least one vaccine dose around 14 days after vaccination, or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19, certificate of travel showing the locations and roads.

Workers using motorbike have to be allowed travel in border areas among HCMC’s Thu Duc City and Thuan An and Di An cities in Binh Duong. They are fully vaccinated people or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19, certificate of travel.

Resident travelling from HCMC to Tay Ninh have to be vaccinated at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine around 21 days after vaccination, or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19.

Meanwhile people with personal vehicles, workers using businesses’ employee bus, from Binh Duong, Long An and Tay Ninh to HCMC have to be vaccinated at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine around 14 days after vaccination, or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19.

Enterprises must register for Identification paper granted by the departments of transport of localities to carry workers and specialists.

People of vehicle groups running from HCMC to Long An, Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces have to be vaccinated at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine around 14 days after vaccination, or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19.

People of vehicle groups travelling from HCMC to Tay Ninh have to be vaccinated at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine around 21 days after vaccination, or patients who recovered from Covid-19 within six months and have valid negative test result for Covid-19.

Dong Nai Province has not allowed entering and exiting private vehicles coming from HCMC yet.

Virtual reality exhibition highlights Vietnam’s history and culture

A virtual reality exhibition has officially opened by young painters, featuring many artworks on Vietnamese history and culture by new technological advances.

The exhibition, entitled “0 Essential”, was initiated by painter Am Che (also called Phan Thanh Nam) and the group “Viet Su kieu hung” (Heroic Vietnamese History). The project gathered many famous illustrators and manga artists such as Thanh Phong, Do Thai Thanh, Nguyen Hoang Duong, Phuoc Thien, Hoang Nam Viet, Puck (Pham Dang Phuc), Kaovjets (Nguyen Cao Viet) and Rainn (Nguyen Hai).

Especially, when calling for artworks for the project, the organisers did not orient the painting’s themes; however, most of the entries featured historical characters and events or cultural features of Vietnam such as cuisine and traditional costumes.

On the virtual reality meeting platform Seensio, which was developed by a unit in Vietnam, the organising board has developed an event space in 3D format with three exhibition areas for around 80 paintings. This digital platform can create 3D characters representing attendees.

In addition to freely enjoying paintings, viewers can invite their friends to join and make characters and interact with each other. This form will help arouse viewers’ interest and offer a chance for friends and relatives to meet in a new and interesting way in the digital world.

Virtual reality exhibition is now a trend that is strongly applied in all fields, including arts, to conquer audiences of all ages.

At the exhibition “0 Essential”, the artists’ paintings printed in postcards are being sold to raise funds for the COVID-19 prevention and control fund. The event will last until the end of October 2021.

Local Party Chiefs individually responsible before PM for slow vaccine rollout

Party Chiefs and chairpersons of people’s committees in localities will be individually responsible before the Prime Minister for slow vaccination.

In the dispatch, the Ministry of Health stated that, for the effective use of vaccines, and to rapidly increase coverage to control the epidemic situation as soon as possible, the Ministry of Health proposed party secretaries, party committees, and chairpersons of people’s committees in provinces and cities consider Covid-19 vaccination as a key task at present.

Therefore, they must direct relevant agencies to promptly receive the vaccine as soon as accelerate the vaccination schedule for those aged 18 years and over with priority to those aged 50 years and older for people’s safety.

Localities should mobilize all forces for their vaccine rollouts. At the same time, they ought to prepare for vaccination of special persons when the Ministry of Health asks.

In particular, the Ministry of Health emphasized, if a locality has a delay in vaccination, the Ministry of Health will transfer the vaccine to another locality with faster vaccination progress, and then the Secretary of party committees and chairpersons of people’s committees in provinces and cities must be held individually accountable to the Government and the Prime Minister.

As of October 10, Vietnam has received more than 87.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines. With the above vaccine volume, the Ministry of Health has allocated 81.7 million doses to localities and functional agencies.

Under the plan, from now until the end of October, Vietnam can receive about 40 million doses of vaccine. In November and December, more than 65 million doses of vaccine will be brought to Vietnam. Accordingly, the Ministry urged localities to continue accelerating the vaccine rollout.

According to the Covid-19 immunization information portal, as of October 12, 56 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Vietnam. More than 39 million people aged 18 and over have received the first dose of the vaccine and over 16 million people have been vaccinated fully.

Currently, eight provinces and cities have covered at least the first dose of vaccine for over 90 percent of the population from 18 years old; two provinces with 70-80 percent of vaccination coverage rate; and four provinces with 50-70 percent of vaccination coverage rate.

Hanoi-Dien Bien air route resumed

The Hanoi-Dien Bien air route will be reopened from October 13 after a long halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the Hanoi People’s Committee’s agreement, the air route’s pilot reopening will be for October 13-20.  

According to the Ministry of Transport’s regulations, flights on this route are only allowed to transport 50 percent of their capacity to ensure a safe distance among passengers.

Apart from observing the Health Ministry’s safe distancing and anti-Covid-19 precautionary advice and making health declarations at the locations of departure and arrival, passengers need to be fully vaccinated, with the second dose administered at least 14 days but no more than 12 months prior to departure or show a certificate proving they had recovered from the disease no more than six months prior to departure.

Those coming from high-risk areas must present proof of Covid-19 negative test results using the RT-PCR method or rapid tests within 72 hours before departure.

The Ministry of Transport previously approved the trial operation of 19 domestic flight routes between October 10-20. 

Deputy PM emphasizes safety when reopening schools

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on October 12 emphasised safety for students as the first requirement when reopening schools.

He made the instruction at a meeting with the Ministry of Education and Training (MoIT) on the progress of the 2021-2022 school year.

Noting that amid the complex developments of COVID-19, the MoIT and the Ministry of Information and Communications have coordinated with relevant agencies to organise online classes, the Deputy PM said however, it only serves as a support method.

He asked the ministry to put forth plans and solutions to conclude the 2021-2022 school year in a flexible manner depending on the specific situation.

For the long-term, Dam urged the MoIT to instruct Departments of Education and Training in localities and educational institutions to consolidate physical infrastructure, especially in remote and far-flung areas, ensure internet access and other factors to meet teaching and learning needs of students and teachers in the pandemic context.

The Deputy PM also required that the ministry organize the vaccination for students in target age groups in an early and safe manner. The ministry should also strengthen the school health care system to ensure safety for students at schools.

MoIT Deputy Minister Nguyen Huu Do reported that localities have carried out tasks of the school year flexibly in line with their latest COVID-19 situation.

MoIT Minister Nguyen Kim Son said the ending date for the 2021-2022 academic year is not fixed, with localities hit by the pandemic allowed to conclude the year later than scheduled.

Online learning should continue to be a support tool to improve students’ self-learning skills after they return to school, according to the official.

Regarding COVID-19 vaccination for students aged from 12 to 17, Health Deputy Minister Do Xuan Tuyen said his ministry has drawn up a plan and roadmap, with guidelines on the inoculation to be issued on October 15.

The ministry will strive to give full two shots to 95 percent of the 8.1 million children of the age group in the fourth quarter of this year, he added.

It is also counting the number of children from 3 to 11 years old, while seeking access to vaccine sources and consulting experts and scientists on vaccination for the group./. 

Quang Binh organises tour packages to welcome guests from yellow and green zones

On October 12, the People’s Committee of Quang Binh Province announced that it had just assigned the Department of Tourism to prepare a plan to restore domestic tourism, a set of safety assessment criteria to prevent and control the Covid-19 epidemic with tourism activities, and a plan to pilot the tourism package programmes before October 15.

Accordingly, Quang Binh is receiving tourists who are living and working in the province excluding areas that are implementing Directive 16 of the Prime Minister.

As for other localities, Quang Binh welcomes tourists from “yellow” and “green” zones. If coming from a green zones, tourists must have a certificate of full vaccination of two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, of which the last dose must have been injected at least 14 days, and no more than 12 months, prior to the time of entering Quang Binh.

For visitors from yellow zones, guests need to simultaneously present a certificate of vaccination or certificate of recovery from Covid-19 disease along with test results similar to those applied to travellers from green zones.

In addition, visitors from the region need periodic testing every three days until they return to their localities and are only allowed to participate in package tours, self-contained tours or specific tourism products and specific services with small scale as permitted by the local government.

Those who have recovered from Covid-19 must have a certificate of negative test for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR method (within a period of no more than six months) and a certificate of recovery, hospital discharge or confirmation of adequate antibodies as prescribed if treated at home.

Guests participating in tour programs must not exceed 20 people per group. All visitors must strictly implement 5K measures during the tour.

A number of tourism businesses in Quang Binh have built closed tour programmes (pick up guests at the airport, stay, tour and see off) to submit to the Provincial People’s Committee for consideration and approval.

These are all 2-3 day tours with groups of about 8-12 guests that are both safe and new. Service staff have all been vaccinated and will be tested before the trips to ensure safety.

Vietnam calls for respect for peaceful settlement of international disputes

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, has called on countries to respect the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes, emphasising that the rule of law at the national and international levels play an important role in maintaining international peace and security, socio-economic development and ensuring human rights.

He made the remarks on October 12 at a discussion of the Legal Committee (the Sixth Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th session on the rule of law at the national and international levels with the participation of 100 member countries and observers.

Regarding the situation in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea), Quy expressed deep concern about recent complicated developments in the waters that have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.

All relevant parties should abide by international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982); promote trust-building, refrain from unilateral acts that may complicate the situation, and increase tensions at sea; settle disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter, international law, including UNCLOS; and fully respect legal processes and comply with the provisions of UNCLOS in determining maritime claims, he said. 

The Vietnamese diplomat affirmed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) endeavours to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon conclude negotiations on an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) which is in line with international law, including UNCLOS.

Vietnam, together with other ASEAN member countries, is promoting peace, stability and prosperity in its region, he said.

The Legal Committee is one of the six main committees of the UN General Assembly, consisting of representatives of all 193 UN member states, whose function is to consider legal issues. The committee is expected to discuss 24 topics including the rule of law at the national and international levels, report of the International Law Commission, report of the UN International Trade Law Commission, and measures to eliminate international terrorism./.

Vietnam denies reports of fully opening to international tourists in June 2022

Vietnam has yet to determine a date for fully reopening international tourism, denying reports by some news agencies that the country will open its borders for foreign tourists starting from June next year.

The confirmation was made by Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Nguyen Trung Khanh on October 9.

He said that Vietnam is preparing to pilot the plan to welcome foreign tourists to Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province, which is responsible for working with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and relevant agencies to create a detailed plan.

According to Khanh, the date of opening Phu Quoc to international tourism will depend on the COVID-19 control situation, the vaccination rate, and the preparations of the island.

He added that Kien Giang Province is making preparations concerning healthcare, infrastructure, workforce and reception procedures, and seeking opinions of the parties concerned on the pilot plan.

After assessing the plan to welcome international tourists in Phu Quoc, Vietnam will consider whether to expand it to other eligible destinations.

Recently some major tourism centres such as Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Da Nang have expressed their wish to open to international travellers after the pilot project in Phu Quoc is successful.

Khanh stated that the opening roadmap will be determined based on the developments of the pandemic, with the goal of ensuring the highest level of safety for the community.

Such a spirit was also affirmed at a recent meeting between the VNAT, key tourism localities, the Foreign Ministries and Vietnamese diplomatic missions, in which the participants agreed that safety is the prerequisite for restarting tourism in the new normal.

Hanoi revokes quarantine mandate for air passengers from HCMC

The government of Hanoi has scrapped the seven-day quarantine mandate earlier imposed on all passengers flying from HCMC to Hanoi, according to the capital city’s latest dispatch approved by vice chairman Nguyen Manh Quyen.

Quyen said in the dispatch that Hanoi agreed with the Transport Ministry on piloting the resumption of scheduled flights on the Hanoi-HCMC and Hanoi-Danang routes from October 10 to 20, with one daily round-trip flight operated on each route.

Air passengers who meet the Covid safety and travel requirements of the ministries of Transport and Health will only have to monitor their health at home and practice anti-Covid measures after their arrival in Hanoi, instead of having to undergo a seven-day mandatory isolation at either a designated hotel or a state-run quarantine center in Hanoi as previously required.

Hanoi requested the Transport Ministry to direct its subordinate agencies to closely coordinate with the authorities of Hanoi and the relevant localities to ensure Covid safety in organizing the sale of tickets, pick up and drop off of passengers.

The Hanoi health authority was tasked with receiving information about air passengers to serve Covid infection prevention and control, teaming up with the airport authorities and airlines to screen passengers for Covid and reporting it to the district authorities.

The municipal Health Department will give guidelines to the district authorities on managing and monitoring air passengers at their accommodations.

Earlier, on October 9, the Hanoi government issued a document asking air passengers from HCMC to Hanoi to undergo a seven-day paid quarantine even if they were fully inoculated or tested negative for Covid. The regulation caused public controversy.

In related news, Haiphong City and Thua Thien-Hue Province have also revoked the quarantine mandate for all those eligible to fly.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, vice chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue Province’s government, signed a dispatch today, October 12, giving anti-Covid guidelines for passengers traveling to and from this central province by air.

Passengers who meet the Transport Ministry’s requirements are allowed to travel to/from Thua Thien-Hue and have to monitor their health at home for seven days as required by the Health Ministry; or they should be sent to state-run quarantine centers for isolation in seven days if their accommodations do not meet the requirements.

In Haiphong, all passengers arriving at the Cat Bi International Airport on domestic flights and staying in this northern city will not be quarantined at state-run quarantine centers. For those flying from extremely high risk areas, they have to self-quarantine at home for seven days, take two Covid tests during the self-quarantine period.

Passengers returning from areas vulnerable to Covid or under the new normal should self-monitor their health for 14 days and take a PCR test on the seventh day of the quarantine. For those developing the symptoms of cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, they must report to the local health authorities for support.

Scientific workshop to highlight significance of Ho Chi Minh trail at sea

A scientific webinar themed “Ho Chi Minh trail at sea – historical miracle and lesson for national construction and defence cause” will be held on October 19, heard a press conference on October 12.

As part of activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of launching the Ho Chi Minh trail at sea, the event will virtually connect participants of the northern city of Hai Phong and those from military zones, the Army Academy, the Army Officer Training College 2, and Military Commands of provinces and cities nationwide.

Colonel Nguyen Van Sau, Vice President of the Military History Institute of Vietnam, said the workshop aims to affirm and clarify the policy of building strategic logistics lines – the Ho Chi Minh trails in the mainland and at sea, which was a great success in leading and directing the resistance war against the US to save the country of the Vietnam Workers’ Party (now the Communist Party of Vietnam) and President Ho Chi Minh.

The Ho Chi Minh trail at sea is a shining symbol of patriotism, willpower and determination for liberation of the South and national independence of the entire Party, people and army, as well as unyielding revolutionary spirit, heroic tradition, creativity and international solidarity against the common enemies of people of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, Sau said.

Opinions to be raised at the event will contribute to affirming the role of the Ho Chi Minh trail at sea for the battlefields of the three Indochinese countries, coordination between their forces, and the special solidarity against their common enemies, while spotlighting the historical significance and value of the trail for Vietnam’s national construction and defence and international solidarity at present.

On the sidelines of the webinar, a incense offering ceremony will be organised at Wharf K15 in Hai Phong, the starting point of  the Ho Chi Minh trail at sea.

Ambassador seeks to boost Vietnam – Germany ties in nursing manpower

The ambassador had working sessions with Lingen Mayor Dieter Krone and District Administrator of Emsland Marc-André Burgdorf. He also visited and met with leaders of the St. Bonifatius Hospital Society and the Emsland economic association.

At the events, Vu updated the German side about the two countries’ cooperation, noting that Vietnam currently ranks first among ASEAN trade partners of Germany while the latter is also the leading EU partner of the Southeast Asian nation. Bilateral cooperation has covered various fields, from technology, investment to energy and environmental protection.

He held that Vietnamese localities’ partnerships with Lingen and Emsland could be expanded to such fields as new energy and training of nursing manpower.

The ambassador noted with a young population, Vietnam is able to meet German localities’ demand for nursing personnel, adding that the two sides can also work together in climate change adaptation as Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

The leaders of Lingen and Emsland expressed their hope for stronger cooperation with Vietnamese localities, especially in the field of nursing manpower.

Ansgar Veer, General Manager of the St. Bonifatius Hospital Society, said about 60 Vietnamese are learning and working as nurses at establishments of this hospital, but the demand for nursing manpower is still on the rise amid population aging.

Bonifatius chose Vietnam as the supply source of nurses given the Vietnamese people’s hospitality, respect for the elderly, learning capacity, the readiness for learning, and industriousness, according to him.

Ambassador Vu said Germany views Vietnam as one of its main supply sources of nursing manpower, and this strategy has been included in the work programme of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Therefore, German localities can seek support from the Federal Government to find nursing personnel from Vietnam.

At a separate meeting, the Vietnamese diplomat and representatives from the Emsland economic association discussed cooperation opportunities with Vietnam in manpower supply, trade, and investment. He said his embassy is ready to help German enterprises in seeking cooperation and investment opportunities in Vietnam.

Germany is among the most important partners of Vietnam in terms of vocational training. Via vocational training programmes, the number of Vietnamese studying and working in the nursing, tourism, hotel, and technical sectors in the European nation has been growing. By the end of 2019, more than 1,000 nurses from Vietnam came to learn and work there, and they received high evaluation.

Germany is forecast to need 200,000 foreign nurses between now and 2030.

Da Nang to host Routes Asia 2022

The Asian route development forum 2020 (Routes Asia 2022) will be held in the central city of Da Nang, with the municipal People’s Committee and Department of Tourism, and IPP Travel Retail being selected as the hosts of the event. 

The information was announced at World Routes held in Milan, Italy, on October 11, which brought together more than 1,000 delegates from aviation and tourism sectors and communications agencies, according to the Da Nang Department of Tourism.

Steven Small, Director of World Routes  (Photo: baodanang.vn)
Speaking at the event, Steven Small, Director of World Routes said World Routes are excited to be working with the Da Nang People’s Committee and their strategic partners to bring Routes Asia to the Vietnamese city in 2022.

The 16th annual route development forum will play an important contribution, connecting Da Nang with the aviation – tourism business community and international air route network in Asia and around the world, he stressed.

Routes Asia 2022 is scheduled to take place from June 6-8 next year with the participation of reperesentatives from airlines, airports and travel agencies. It aims to promote cooperation relationships in developing and expanding flight routes and airline business networks, contributing to promoting international tourism aviation activities. 

It will offer a chance for Da Nang to introduce its dynamic, friendly and hospitable image, and promote international flights to Da Nang, contributing to accelerating economic recovery, especially tourism.

By hosting the event, Da Nang continues to affirm its position as Asia’s leading event and festival destination, a hub for aviation and tourism development in Vietnam and the region, said Vice Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Nguyen Xuan Binh.

Nguyen Phi Long, Chairman of IPP Travel Retail said Da Nang is a rapidly developing city, possessing extremely strong community strength.

According to him, the forum is an opportunity to connect not only Da Nang but also its neighboring localities to the world. 

Aviation and tourism are two industries that have been making great contributions to the city’s development, so the planning and development of routes is one of the most important tasks for resuming its economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Routes Asia forum was held for the first time in 2003, connecting the air transport industry and the only flight network in Asia-Pacific./. 

HCMC completes draft on laborers’ travel to and from four neighboring localities 

The HCMC Department of Transport has formulated a plan on the travel of laborers between HCMC and four neighboring provinces – Long An, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

The plan has been sent to the municipal government for consideration by the department 10 days after gathering feedback from the four localities, the local media reported.

Under the plan, workers in Long An Province traveling to HCMC by their personal motorbikes or cars should have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot at least 14 days earlier or should have recovered from the disease in the past six months. Besides, they must have a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate.

Workers who travel from HCMC to Binh Duong Province in their personal cars must show a travel pass for the pre-determined route, apart from meeting the requirements mentioned above.

As for those riding motorbikes, they are only allowed to commute between Thu Duc City in HCMC and Thuan An and Di An cities in Binh Duong Province. These employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the disease within the last six months and must undergo Covid-19 tests every seven days.

Meanwhile, workers who travel from HCMC to Tay Ninh Province on their individual vehicles must have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot 21 days earlier or should have recovered from the disease within the last six months. They must undergo Covid-19 tests every three days, instead of seven days.

Meanwhile, Dong Nai Province has yet to allow workers to use their personal vehicles to travel to/from HCMC.

Commuters must use the VNEID and Y Te HCM mobile apps to make health declarations before the PC-Covid app is put to use.

Enterprises using their vehicles to transport workers and experts between HCMC and the four provinces must map out a plan in terms of vehicles, routes and the time and submit it to the Department of Transport of the localities where their headquarters are located for an identification certificate.

Drivers, driving assistants and employees on board these vehicles must have received at least one Covid vaccine shot for 14 or 21 days depending on the provinces’ requirements or have recovered from the disease, and undergo Covid-19 tests every seven or three days.

Earlier on October 1, HCMC sent the four provinces a plan on the travel of laborers between the city and the provinces.

NA leader meets leaders of outstanding enterprises

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue met leaders of outstanding enterprises in applying science and technology in Hanoi on October 12 on the occasion of their attendance at Vietnam Business Leaders’ Forum.

Hue said in the near future, it is necessary to stay more determined to take measures to surmount impacts of the pandemic, towards gradually restructuring and reviving the economy.

He stressed that as the pandemic is bringing about new development opportunities, businesses should make breakthrough in the sci-tech market.

Affirming that the Vietnamese Party, National Assembly, Government and entire political system are always standing side by side with enterprises and businesspeople, Hue urged them to further raise the sense of social responsibility and pay more attention to corporate governance, contributing to rapid and sustainable development and improving economic self-resilience.

Representatives of enterprises suggested the National Assembly and Government create favourable conditions for them to develop telecom infrastructure capacity in disadvantaged areas, consider tax incentives, promote information technology application and digital transformation, facilitate cashless payment and create a legal corridor for national digital transformation.

They also proposed the NA Chairman and lawmakers further uphold their supervisory role in policy enforcement./.

President: Containing pandemic a prerequisite for economic recovery

Bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control is a prerequisite to recover socio-economic activities, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on October 12.

The President made the remarks while joining a delegation of Ho Chi Minh City’s National Assembly deputies to supervise pandemic prevention and control and socio-economic performance in the southern metropolis in 2021.

HCM City’s economic successes and sustainability depend on its recovery capacity and adaptability, he said.

He asked the city to concentrate on major tasks such as ensuring economic activities and the smooth circulation of goods, removing difficulties for enterprises and projects, quickly and effectively implementing credit packages and tax reductions, and attracting private and foreign investments while boosting public investment.

More attention should be paid to spiritual and mental health of people, especially vulnerable groups, he said, urging HCM City to mobilise all resources, together with the State, to roll out social welfare packages, and seek new momentum for its growth.

Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen expressed his hope that the President and the city’s NA deputies will give more heed to the building and implementation of strategies on economic recovery and social development in HCM City.

Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc said HCM City will consider economic scenarios based on the latest pandemic situation, and keep a close watch on budget collection, striving to fulfil over 90 percent of the target set for this year./.

NA Standing Committee discusses 2021-2025 economic restructuring plan

The National Assembly Standing Committee gave opinions on the economic restructuring plan for the 2021-2025 period during its ongoing fourth session in Hanoi on October 12.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said amid challenges in the world as well as complicated developments of COVID-19 pandemic, the above plan needs to be carried out more drastically to step up economic recovery, tap opportunities and make breakthroughs for the next period.

The plan suggests five groups of measures and tasks to restructure economic sectors, consolidate macro-economic foundation, perfect institutions, and step up innovation and digital transformation. It also details 135 tasks for ministries, agencies and localities.

Chairman of the NA Committee on Economic Affairs Vu Hong Thanh said the committee agrees with the above five groups of tasks and measures.

Standing NA Vice Chairman Tran Thanh Man proposed the Government continue updating the impacts of the pandemic and give priority to economic restructuring to each period in tandem with ensuring resources.

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said the plan should be associated with the comprehensive programme on economic recovery and development of capital, labour, sci-tech markets, and economic restructuring in a more eco-friendly manner./.

Vietnam resolved to join efforts for peace, development in Asia: Deputy FM

Vietnam is resolved to work together with other countries to strengthen solidarity, trust and cooperation, for peace and development in Asia and the world, Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Hoang Giang said at the Sixth Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) held virtually on October 12.

The Vietnamese delegate suggested the CICA maintain its focus on promoting dialogues and building trust between Asian nations to address regional and global challenges, while affirming Vietnam’s commitments to the CICA’s process and targets.

The Deputy FM highlighted ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture, and the grouping’s efforts in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing its five-point consensus on Myanmar, realising the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and early concluding negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

The meeting saw the attendance of 15 ministers, five deputy ministers and representatives from 27 CICA member countries, observer states and international organisations.

Delegates shared the view that Asia is facing a range of big challenges such as multi-dimensional impacts of COVID-19, climate change, terrorism, cross-border crime, cyber security and armed conflicts.

They lauded the CICA’s role to peace, security, cooperation and development in Asia, and suggested it carry forward its role as a regional organisation to adapt to changes in the region and the world by supporting multilateralism, boosting cooperation and dialogues, and building trust and solidarity between countries, for the region’s common interests.

The CICA, set up in 1992, is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It was an initiative by the First President of Kazakhstan – Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Vietnam joined the CICA in 2010./.

Prime Minister holds online talks with Turkish Vice President

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh suggested Vietnam and Turkey exchange experience and closely coordinate in the COVID-19 fight and economic reopening during his online talks with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay on October 12.

During the talks, Oktay said Turkey wishes to further enhance its multi-faceted cooperation with Vietnam.

He also announced Turkey’s decision to help Vietnam with 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, oxygen concentrators and many other medical supplies to serve the pandemic combat. PM Chinh thanked Turkey for the decision.

Both affirmed to attach importance to Vietnam-Turkey friendship, and agreed to promote the multi-faceted collaboration.

They shared the view that the two countries boast potential for further cooperation in the time ahead, and stressed the need to roll out such measures as starting negotiations of the bilateral free trade agreement and forging cooperation in air transport and other spheres.

Turkey said it is ready to share its experience in the development of home-grown Turkovac vaccine and provide mutual recognition of the ‘vaccine passport’.

The leaders said Vietnam and Turkey need to continue with consultations and close coordination at international forums and organisations, especially the United Nations.

For the East Sea issue, they emphasised the significance of ensuring the freedom of navigation, aviation, security and peace in the region, and the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

The two leaders exchanged invitations to visit respective countries when conditions permit./.

Training programme launched to support ethnic minorities land and resource rights

A training programme on land policies, land mediation and land advocacy for ethnic minorities was launched on October 12 in the northern province of Hoa Binh.

The programme was launched by the Helvetas, Land Alliance (LANDA) and the Centre for Rural Community Development Research (CCRD).

The training programme is designed to provide essential knowledge and skills to professionals. It will provide support for local officials, members of the Commune Mediation Committees (CMCs) and local organisations at a grassroots level.

This training is key to the “Secure Land Rights for All – Giving Ethnic Minorities a Voice” project, funded by the European Union (EU) and co-implemented by Helvetas, LANDA and CCRD. The project will run for three years, from June 1st, 2020 to May 31st, 2023.

The objective is to educate on the land and forest resource rights of ethnic minorities in the northern provinces of Vietnam.

The programme consists of five training courses over three months, creating 22 highly qualified graduates from LANDA members and local partners in Cao Bang and Hoa Binh.

All of the participants will be provided experience through training courses and communication on legal policies. The training content is specifically designed to suit ethnic minorities in mountainous areas. The training programme will place a great emphasis on skills development.

After completing the five training courses, the trainees will replicate the training courses for local officials, members of CMCs, village elders and reputable people in the project areas, so that they are all capable of supporting marginalised communities in assessing their rights to land and forest resources, and to participate in land governance processes.

The first course on training methods and skills will take place over three days from October 12-14. The following courses include land policies for ethnic minorities, policy contribution skills, mediation skills, communication skills, gender equality in land governance, and providing support to local communities./.

Webinar discusses ASEAN’s braving storm in COVID-19 crisis

The ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute of Singapore held the annual 36th round-table webinar themed “Braving the Storms: ASEAN in Crisis Mode”, with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation of Germany on October 12.

In his opening speech, Director of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute Choi Shing Kwok said the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges and disruptions in the region. Regional countries have issued post-pandemic recovery plans while strengthening connectivity to step up regional recovery in the future.

Participants at the event discussed ways to promote fairer and more inclusive economic recovery, and explored the possibility of tapping the COVID-19 crisis to build a sustainable future.

They also looked into regional political and security landscape such as Myanmar’s challenges to solidarity and ASEAN’s central role and position in regional order.

The annual event provides a platform for leading experts, scholars and commentators in the region to consider key issues and challenges to ASEAN as a region and an institution.

The event will last till October 13. It is the second year it has been held virtually./.

Programme on economic recovery needed: NA Standing Committee

The Government should quickly build a programme on economic recovery, the National Assembly’s Economic Committee said at the 4th session of the NA Standing Committee on October 12.

At the meeting, the Standing Committee looked into the Government’s reports on the implementation of the socio-economic development plan and the State budget estimate in 2021, along with the socio-economic development plan, the State budget and the central budget allocation plan for 2022.

Participants took note of the flexible management of monetary policy, which has helped to keep inflation at a low rate, with January-February CPI growing at 1.82 percent, State budget collection surpassing the estimate, food security ensured, and agriculture continuing to serve as the pillar for the national economy amidst difficulties. Notably, the “vaccine diplomacy” work has seen marked outcomes.

The NA’s Economic Committee, however, said a number of policies have yet to match the complexity and impact of the pandemic, the disbursement remains sluggish, and the inoculation rate is still low, making the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population by the first half of 2022 a big challenge.

The disbursement of public funds in the first nine months of this year met only 47.83 percent of the target, it pointed out.

The committee asked the Government to try its best to protect the public’s health, maintain socio-economic activities as normal, sketch out a master plan on COVID-19 prevention and control in the new situation, and accelerate vaccination to soon reach herd immunity.

The Government needs to continue effectively implementing issued support policies and put forth a roadmap for economic reopening, putting safety first, the committee said.

It suggested the Government persistently pursue the goal of stabilising the macro economy, maintain the financial and monetary market, increase public investment disbursement, and speed up the implementation of key transport projects.

The Government should work harder to improve the efficiency of the external affairs work, step up international integration and roll out the “vaccine diplomacy” strategy more drastically, according to the committee./.

Localities urged to speed up vaccinations against COVID-19

In addition to speeding up vaccinations against COVID-19 in the remaining months of this year, localities must build plans for the inoculation in 2022, Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen has said.

The Deputy Minister of Health made the statement during a virtual conference to review the inoculation progress with all 63 cities and provinces held on October 11.

Vietnam is projected to need 166 million doses of vaccines in 2022, including those for children between 12 and 18 years old.

As of October 10, Vietnam had received 87.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report of the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Preventive Medicine and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. As many as 81.7 million doses have been distributed to localities.

To date, nearly 55 million doses have been administered, with some 16 million people fully vaccinated, or 22.1 percent of the population.

Ho Chi Minh City has to date received the highest number of vaccine doses and taken the lead in vaccination coverage.

As many as 12.3 million doses have been administered, with 5.3 million people, or 72 percent of the southern hub’s population, having received two full shots.

Vietnam is expected to receive more than 65 million doses in the two remaining months of 2021, Tuyen said.

He also asked localities to work to administer the first COVID-19 vaccine jab to foreigners by October 31 and update data to the vaccination system.

He called for prompt vaccine delivery and transport to localities./.

Vietnam treasures strategic cooperative partnership with RoK: PM

Vietnam always attaches importance to the Strategic Cooperative Partnership with the Republic of Korea (RoK) and is ready to work closely with the RoK to optimise existing mechanisms between the two countries to elevate bilateral cooperation, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told RoK Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan during a reception in Hanoi on October 12.

The Vietnamese Government leader suggested the two sides maintain the exchange of delegations and high-level meetings in flexible forms, and promote people-to-people diplomacy for better mutual understanding and trust.

He thanked the RoK Government and businesses for their support for Vietnam in the fight against COVID-19, and expressed the hope that the RoK side will continue to cooperate with and support Vietnam in combating COVID-19, especially in terms of accessing vaccine supplies and medicines for COVID-19 treatment, developing pharmaceutical industry, and improving medical capacity.

Regarding economic cooperation, PM Chinh wished that the two sides would continue to encourage Korean businesses to invest more in Vietnam.

He suggested that the two sides consider the early resumption of commercial flights and recognition of each other’s vaccine passports for resuming economic activities between the two countries. He called on the RoK side to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the country.

For his part, Ambassador Park Noh-wan praised Vietnam’s recent flexible, effective and appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures, especially in responding to the fourth wave of outbreaks, towards the goal “safe adaptation to pandemic”.

He announced that the RoK government will donate 1.1 million doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine to Vietnam, and this batch of vaccine is expected to arrive in Vietnam on October 13.

The RoK will continue to consider more medical assistance, including vaccines, for Vietnam in the near future, he said, affirming that Vietnam is one of the most important partners of the RoK.

The ambassador noted that despite the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade between Vietnam and the RoK still grew 18 percent, and Vietnam remains an attractive and safe destination for RoK investors. The RoK’s new investment in Vietnam this year surged by 24 percent over the previous year.

He said the RoK side wants to lift the relations between the two countries to a new height on the occasion of the 30th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties.

He took the occasion to convey the RoK Prime Minister’s invitation to visit the RoK to PM Chinh./.

Vietnam Airlines carries over 330 people, medical workers back to Da Nang

Two Vietnam Airlines flights landed in Da Nang airport on October 12, carrying more than 330 passengers from southern localities to the central city.

The passengers included 21 medical workers who have completed their mission of supporting pandemic control activities in southern localities.

The others are mostly people having special circumstance such as pregnant women, relatives of dead victims of COVID-19, people discharged from hospital in the recent six months, and the elderly.

The flights were operated with the sponsorship of Da Nang International Terminal Investment and Operation JSC and the support of the People’s Committee of Da Nang as well as relevant agencies and the national-flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.

All the passengers had tested negative to SARS-CoV-2 within 72 hours before departure and will undergo quarantine in line with regulations. Strict pandemic safety measures were applied during the flights.

Earlier, Vietnam Airlines also carried over 600 Da Nang migrants back to the city in late July. As COVID-19 has been gradually contained in many localities and restriction measures have been loosened, the airline is working with localities to build plans to bring migrant workers back to their hometown in a safe manner, while continuing with the transport of frontline forces and medical supplies, and gradually resuming domestic passenger transport activities./.

Quang Nam plans to welcome foreign tourists from February

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Authorities in Quang Nam Province, home to UNESCO-recognised Hoi An town, are considering allowing in fully vaccinated foreign tourists from February 2022.

The province Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has drafted a three-phase vaccine passport program for tourists coming from Europe, the US, Northeast Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, which have successfully controlled Covid-19 and have high vaccination rates.

In the first phase of the program between February and May, 2,000-3,000 foreign visitors will be allowed into Quang Nam every month and to visit Hoi An town, the My Son Sanctuary, UNESCO heritage sites, Cham Island, Phù Ninh Lake, and amusement facilities in five-star resorts.

The tourists will stay in sequestered resorts and be allowed to play golf and visit casinos and beaches. Visitors need to furnish a certificate showing they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or recovered from Covid. Visitors under 18 with a negative Covid certificate will also be allowed entry.

They are required to book a package tour with a designated travel agency and have medical and travel insurance./. 

Lao Ambassador takes office as ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General

Ambassador Ekkaphab Phanthavong, former Permanent Representative of Laos to ASEAN, on October 12 assumed the position of Deputy Secretary General for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

Phanthavong will support the ASEAN Secretary General in the implementation of the ASCC Blueprint 2025, lead the ASCC Department of the ASEAN Secretariat and oversee the realisation of ASCC projects, focusing on establishing a common identity and building a caring and sharing society.

He will serve a three-year term, from 2021 to 2024.

Prior to assuming the post, Phanthavong was Ambassador/ Permanent Representative of Laos to ASEAN for the 2018-2021 tenure. He was also Deputy Director-General of the ASEAN Department at the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Pursuant to the ASEAN Charter, the Secretary General will be assisted by four Deputy Secretaries General who have nationalities different from that of the Secretary General and come from four different ASEAN member countries.

Two Deputy Secretaries General are nominated by ASEAN member states on a rotational basis for a non-renewable term of three years while two others are openly recruited for a three-year term which may be extended for another three years. Phanthavong is one of the two nominated Deputy Secretaries General.

Vietnamese Ambassador Tran Duc Binh took office as Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs at a ceremony in Jakarta in February./.

Southeast Asian countries to open up tourism

Indonesia will begin to receive travellers from 18 countries on October 14, 2021, according to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

He said the list of these countries will be included in a document to be released soon by the Home Affairs Ministry, adding that Singapore is likely not to be on the list.

On October 4, Indonesia announced that citizens from five countries will be permitted to enter the country, namely the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno announced on October 8 that the quarantine period for passengers on international flights and foreign visitors will be shortened from 8 days to 5 days, following the instruction of President Joko Widodo at a meeting one day earlier.  

Thailand is also poised to welcome foreign tourists from low risk countries.

Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Gen Prayut said in a nationally televised broadcast on October 11 that fully vaccinated tourists from at least 10 low-risk countries would be allowed to enter Thailand by air with no quarantine requirements.

The prime minister named the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States among the first group of countries to benefit from the move.

The government’s decision follows the success of the Phuket Sandbox program, which has brought 2.33 billion THB (68.83 million USD) to the Thai economy in the past three months since its launch in July. Meanwhile, tourism operators in the sandbox areas are optimistic about the prospects for the high season after Thailand was removed from the UK’s red list for tourism, possibly effective from 11/10./.

Quang Ninh to hold 50 tourism stimulus events by year’s end

Quang Ninh plans to organise 50 events and activities to stimulate travel demand and promote tourism from now to the end of 2021, Director of the provincial Tourism Department Pham Ngoc Thuy said.

He noted the provincial People’s Committee has built a plan on tourism recovery and tourist attraction for the fourth quarter. It has also completed a provisional set of criteria for COVID-19 safety evaluation for tourism based on which a safe travel model will be devised to minimise pandemic-related risks to locals and visitors.

Quang Ninh identified safety and risk control as the prerequisite for the local administration, travel businesses, and residents to succeed in implementing the tourism recovery plan because only when safety is ensured can tourism activities be resumed.

Besides, each tourism service provider must guarantee the best services at reasonable prices for their customers on the basis of the province’s travel stimulus policy, according to Thuy.

Guided by the provincial administration and tourism authorities’ orientations, localities in Quang Ninh are taking various measures to stimulate local travel demand.

Many entertainment and resort complexes such as Legacy Yen Tu, Vinpearl Ha Long, Tuan Chau international tourism complex, FLC Ha Long, Sun World Halong Complex, Premier Village Halong Bay Resort, and Yoko Onsen Quang Hanh have readied infrastructure, personnel, and plans on pandemic safety control to welcome visitors back.

Quang Ninh has designed several safe travel models applied to the areas relatively isolated from the mainland such as Tuan Chau Island; islands of Co To, Van Don, and Hai Ha districts, and Mong Cai city; along with mountainous communes of Binh Lieu district. It is also encouraging night tours on Ha Long Bay that use all-in-one services and do not cause pandemic risks to the community.

To reactivate tourism in the “new normal”, the People’s Committees of Quang Ninh and neighbouring Hai Phong city held a meeting in late September to discuss cooperation in tourism development.

At this event, the two sides agreed to keep working together to boost tourism, build a coordination mechanism for managing passenger and tourist transport vehicles on Ha Long and Lan Ha bays, and complete a dossier seeking the UNESCO recognition of Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Archipelago as a world natural heritage site.

They are expected to sign a set of regulations on tourism activities, with pandemic safety taken into account, this October so as to reopen this industry.

Since the start of this month, Quang Ninh has resumed some local travel activities with COVID-19 prevention and control measures carried out seriously. That will provide lessons for the province to pilot welcoming visitors from other localities that have put the pandemic under control, starting November, when all eligible residents will have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.

The provincial administration also asked tourism authorities to swiftly work out a master plan on tourism recovery for 2022 and 2023, when Quang Ninh is reopened to more groups of travellers.

Quang Ninh is striving to attract 1.9 – 2 million travellers and earn 4 – 4.5 trillion VND (175.6 – 197.5 million USD) from tourism services in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The province is endowed with natural advantages for sea and island tourism. It has a coastline of more than 250 kilometres and more than 2,000 islands and islets which account for two-thirds of the total number in Vietnam.

It is home to popular destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Ha Long Bay National Park and some islands.

In particular, Ha Long Bay was recognised twice as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO, in 1994 and 2000./.

30,000 welfare packages delivered to pandemic-hit people in An Giang

Some 30,000 welfare packages, worth nearly 15 billion VND (658,690 USD), were delivered to people struggling amid COVID-19 in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang during an event held in Chau Thanh district on October 12.

It was part of a project run by the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee to offer support to people hit by the pandemic in the south.

Speaking at the event, Nguyen Tiec Hung, Chairman of the VFF’s chapter in An Giang, said the welfare packages are expected to contribute to easing difficulties facing local residents, especially those returning from Ho Chi Minh City and other southern provinces stricken by the fourth coronavirus wave, and help them stabilise their life.

The COVID-19 resurgence has severely affected the well-being of people as well as business and production nationwide, particularly An Giang, Hung said.

Many workers were left jobless and struggling to make ends meet every day as a result of months-long social distancing order in HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Long An and others, he added, noting that over 51,000 people have returned to their hometown.

An Giang’s Fatherland Front has so far received cash and in-kind donations, worth around 130 billion VND (5.7 million USD) in total, from enterprises, religious organisations and individuals inside and outside the province./.

Vietnam committed to fostering international peace and security: Diplomat

Vietnam is committed to, together with other countries, promoting international peace and security and addressing regional issues, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, has said.

Quy made the statement during the general debate of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly’s 76th Session on October 11. The First Committee deals with disarmament and international security matters.

He said Vietnam consistently pursues a policy of non-proliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction to prevent the spread of and putting an end to these weapons. The country is enforcing relevant treaties in line with international law in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner, he emphasised, adding that it is important to respect other countries’ legitimate rights in defence and security.

Post-war unexploded ordnances remain a threat to civilians, peacekeeping operations and socio-economic development in more than 60 countries, including Vietnam, he noted.

As the rotating President of the UN Security Council in April 2021, Vietnam pushed for the adoption of the Presidential Statement S/PRST/2021/08 on mine action, which calls on all UN member states and related agencies to continue providing support for affected countries.

The Vietnamese diplomat also said that information and communications technology (ICT) greatly benefits socio-economic growth but all states must cooperate to develop a set of standards for responsible behaviours to tackle common challenges in accordance with international law.

The First Committee’s meeting will convene until early November, during which multiple resolutions regarding disarmament and international security are expected to be adopted./.

Pandemic-hit labourers given over 370 billion VND in unemployment insurance benefits

The Vietnam Social Security (VSS) has paid 371 billion VND (16.29 million USD) worth of unemployment insurance benefits to pandemic-hit labourers nationwide so far, the agency reported.

The amount was paid to 117,000 labourers paying unemployment insurance premiums and over 42,500 others having their premium payment period reserved.

The move is part of efforts to realise the Government’s Decision No.116/ND-CP and the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 28/NQ-CP on the implementation of support policies for employees and employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, using the unemployment insurance fund.

Under the scheme, about 30 trillion VND (1.31 billion USD) from the fund will be used to support labourers who are covered by unemployment insurance as of September 30, 2021, excluding employees in State agencies, socio-political organisations, people’s armed forces and public non-business agencies who are paid by the State budget.

Meanwhile, so far, the VSS has responded to requests from 728 units in 56 localities nationwide with over 133,000 labourers on the suspension of payment to the retirement and survivor benefit fund with total amount of 912.3 billion VND.

At the same time, the agency has verified a list of 1.8 million labourers subjected to support policies from 53,000 units nationwide. Of the total, nearly 1.37 million labourers have their working contract suspended or are on unpaid leave./.

Scientific workshop to highlight significance of Ho Chi Minh trail at sea

A scientific webinar themed “Ho Chi Minh trail at sea – historical miracle and lesson for national construction and defence cause” will be held on October 19, heard a press conference on October 12.

As part of activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of launching the Ho Chi Minh trail at sea, the event will virtually connect participants of the northern city of Hai Phong and those from military zones, the Army Academy, the Army Officer Training College 2, and Military Commands of provinces and cities nationwide.

Colonel Nguyen Van Sau, Vice President of the Military History Institute of Vietnam, said the workshop aims to affirm and clarify the policy of building strategic logistics lines – the Ho Chi Minh trails in the mainland and at sea, which was a great success in leading and directing the resistance war against the US to save the country of the Vietnam Workers’ Party (now the Communist Party of Vietnam) and President Ho Chi Minh.

The Ho Chi Minh trail at sea is a shining symbol of patriotism, willpower and determination for liberation of the South and national independence of the entire Party, people and army, as well as unyielding revolutionary spirit, heroic tradition, creativity and international solidarity against the common enemies of people of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, Sau said.

Opinions to be raised at the event will contribute to affirming the role of the Ho Chi Minh trail at sea for the battlefields of the three Indochinese countries, coordination between their forces, and the special solidarity against their common enemies, while spotlighting the historical significance and value of the trail for Vietnam’s national construction and defence and international solidarity at present.

On the sidelines of the webinar, a incense offering ceremony will be organised at Wharf K15 in Hai Phong, the starting point of the Ho Chi Minh trail at sea./.

Mekong Delta localities speed up COVID-19 vaccinations

Provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta region have been speeding up COVID-19 vaccinations as they have received more vaccines from the Ministry of Health.

The Health Department of Can Tho city reported that the city has received nearly 40,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine and 500,000 doses of Vero Cell vaccine, which will be injected to prioritised groups, including the elderly, people in quarantine and high-risk areas, workers, teachers and students.

Duong Tan Hien, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said that once finishing this campaign, Can Tho’s vaccine coverage will reach about 60 percent.

Meanwhile, in Soc Trang province, the provincial Health Department has been conducting the injection of 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to local residents since October 10, which is scheduled to finish on November 15.

Tran Van Lau, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said that priority will be given to two high-risk localities, namely Vinh Chau township and Tran De district. Prioritised groups include workers in enterprises, industrial parks and business facilities, he added.

At the same time, on October 11, Tra Vinh province mobilised forces to administer 500,000 Vero Cell vaccine doses allocated by the Ministry of Health to local residents, said Kien Soc Kha, Director of the provincial Health Department.

Kha said that previously, Tra Vinh had received about 203,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines of different kinds. So far, 21 percent of local people aging from 18 years old have received the first shot, while 7 percent has been fully vaccinated. This time, the province will prioritise workers so that they can return to work.

In Ben Tre province, since October 10, the province has received 100,000 doses of Vero Cell vaccine as part of 500,000 doses it is allocated. The province plans to inject all the vaccines within October. Since April 27, 33.96 percent of local residents have receive the first vaccine shots, while 6.32 percent have fully got two shots./. 

Vietnam a good example in digital transformation: ITU official

Vietnam has made progresses in development of information and communication technology (ICT), especially the creativity of applications that Vietnam is developing, said General Secretary of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Zhao Houlin.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Zhao said Vietnam’s remarkable achievements in ITC development, including its national strategy for digital transformation, make the country an excellent example for the region and developing countries in the world.

He highly valued Vietnam’s hosting of the ITU Digital World in 2020, and acknowledged its role as a leading provider of information and communication technology and digital economy in ASEAN, as well as an important partner in many markets, from Asia and Africa to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Assessing Vietnam’s ability to realise its digital transformation goal in the near future, Zhao said that Vietnam is currently implementing e-Government and this effort has received the support of the people.

Vietnam is a good example of digital transformation, he noted.

This is not only the aspiration and goal of the Vietnamese Government but also of all people. With these joint efforts, Vietnam will surely succeed, he stated./.

Vietnam active at UNHRC’s 48th session

Vietnam has made active contributions to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s 48th session, held virtually from September 13 to October 11.

The Vietnamese delegation, including representatives of the Vietnamese Delegation to the UN in Geneva and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in and delivered speeches at about 20 meetings and dialogues with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteurs.

Speaking at many meetings, Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Delegation of Vietnam to the UN, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations in Geneva, affirmed the country’s consistent policy of protecting and promoting human rights, supporting the role and activities of the UNSC and the UN’s human rights mechanisms, on the principles of equality, dialogue and constructive cooperation.

Mai called on countries to strengthen solidarity and close cooperation to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to ensure timely and equal access to health services, COVID-19 vaccines and treatment for all; and emphasised that developing countries need to be facilitated to participate in the production and supply chain of COVID-19 vaccines in order to effectively respond to the pandemic and step up inclusive post-pandemic recovery.

She affirmed Vietnam’s determination to put the people at the centre of policies, strengthen health response capacity to the COVID-19 pandemic, implement social and financial support programmes with an appropriate scale to ensure basic rights of people.

The diplomat thanked the international community for its timely support for Vietnam in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when the country has to face the wave of the pandemic caused by new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

The Vietnamese delegation joined ASEAN countries to deliver joint speeches at several sessions, such as the dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia and the Philippines.

It also actively participated in drafting documents and co-sponsoring several resolutions passed by the UNHRC during the 48th session, demonstrating a sense of responsibility, active dialogue and cooperation, and upholding Vietnam’s views, consistent policy, and achievements, as well as ASEAN’s common views and achievements on the promotion and protection of human rights.

The 48th session had a total of 45 meetings, discussed 86 reports, and passed 25 resolutions./.

Ambassador seeks to boost Vietnam – Germany ties in nursing manpower

Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu visited Lingen town and Emsland district of the federal state of Niedersachsen, Germany, from October 8 to 10 to seek ways to promote nursing cooperation.

The ambassador had working sessions with Lingen Mayor Dieter Krone and District Administrator of Emsland Marc-André Burgdorf. He also visited and met with leaders of the St. Bonifatius Hospital Society and the Emsland economic association.

At the events, Vu updated the German side about the two countries’ cooperation, noting that Vietnam currently ranks first among ASEAN trade partners of Germany while the latter is also the leading EU partner of the Southeast Asian nation. Bilateral cooperation has covered various fields, from technology, investment to energy and environmental protection.

He held that Vietnamese localities’ partnerships with Lingen and Emsland could be expanded to such fields as new energy and training of nursing manpower.

The ambassador noted with a young population, Vietnam is able to meet German localities’ demand for nursing personnel, adding that the two sides can also work together in climate change adaptation as Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

The leaders of Lingen and Emsland expressed their hope for stronger cooperation with Vietnamese localities, especially in the field of nursing manpower.

Ansgar Veer, General Manager of the St. Bonifatius Hospital Society, said about 60 Vietnamese are learning and working as nurses at establishments of this hospital, but the demand for nursing manpower is still on the rise amid population aging.

Bonifatius chose Vietnam as the supply source of nurses given the Vietnamese people’s hospitality, respect for the elderly, learning capacity, the readiness for learning, and industriousness, according to him.

Ambassador Vu said Germany views Vietnam as one of its main supply sources of nursing manpower, and this strategy has been included in the work programme of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Therefore, German localities can seek support from the Federal Government to find nursing personnel from Vietnam.

At a separate meeting, the Vietnamese diplomat and representatives from the Emsland economic association discussed cooperation opportunities with Vietnam in manpower supply, trade, and investment. He said his embassy is ready to help German enterprises in seeking cooperation and investment opportunities in Vietnam.

Germany is among the most important partners of Vietnam in terms of vocational training. Via vocational training programmes, the number of Vietnamese studying and working in the nursing, tourism, hotel, and technical sectors in the European nation has been growing. By the end of 2019, more than 1,000 nurses from Vietnam came to learn and work there, and they received high evaluation.

Germany is forecast to need 200,000 foreign nurses between now and 2030./.

Torrential rain to hit the northern, central region from Wednesday

Torrential rain, triggered by Typhoon Kompasu, will blanket the northern and central regions from Wednesday afternoon. 

The National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting warned on Tuesday that rainfall will be about 100-200mm in the northern provinces and Quảng Trị Province, and about 150-300mm in provinces from Thanh Hoá to Quảng Bình.

The typhoon, which entered the East Sea on Monday night, was predicted to make landfall in central provinces from Thanh Hoá to Quảng Bình on Thursday morning, the centre said.

The centre also said the water level in rivers in Thanh Hoá Province was rising. Flooding was forecast to occur in rivers in the northern region, Thanh Hoá Province and Quảng Trị Province between Wednesday afternoon and Friday.

The centre said mountainous areas were put on high alert for flash floods and landslides while inundation was predicted to hit low-lying and river areas in Phú Thọ, Yên Bái, Lào Cai, Hòa Bình, Nam Định, Ninh Bình, Thái Bình, Hà Nam, Hà Nội, provinces from Thanh Hóa to Quảng Trị and the southern part of the Central Highlands.

On Monday, a landslide occurred in the northern province of Hoà Bình due to torrential rain triggered by Typhoon Lionrock. The landslide blocked a section of National Highway No 6 in Trung Minh Commune, Hoà Bình Province. Local agencies have worked hard to fix the situation.

In a related move, the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control has ordered coastal localities in the northern and central regions to ban vessels from going to sea.

The localities were told to arrange anchorage for vessels and evacuate local residents, who live in high-risk areas of flash floods and landslides, to a safe place, the committee said.

The localities had to ensure the safety of dyke systems and reservoirs and arrange rescue forces for emergencies, the committee said.

Quảng Trị administration banned vessels from going to sea on Monday afternoon to minimise the damage due to the typhoon.

The local administration required relevant agencies to finish the arrangement of vessels in safe anchorage before 12pm on Wednesday.

Data from the province showed that all 2,300 vessels with 7,100 fishermen in the province received updates of the typhoon’s developments to find a safe shelter.

In another development, Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, head of the Climate Forecasting Office under the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, said it was forecast that some strong typhoons would hit the south-central and southern regions from now until the end of this year.

Typhoons and tropical low-pressure systems were also predicted to hit the south-central and southern region in January 2022, he said. 

Memorable days for volunteer medics at COVID-19 treatment field hospital in HCM City

The three months of fighting the coronavirus to save the lives of COVID-19 patients in HCM City will never be forgotten by Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Thành and other medical staff from the northern province of Quảng Ninh who have volunteered to come to assist the southern city.

Packing up recently to leave the hospital, Thành said the three-month period has been a valuable experience for him and his colleagues.

The staff always stood shoulder to shoulder to fight the virus.

“After 10 years in the profession, this was the most special business trip, and also my first time fighting a pandemic,” he said.

On July 13, Thành along with others on the volunteer medical team left Quảng Ninh to join force with the frontline medical teams of the southern city as it battled a severe outbreak that sees caseload and deaths surging to unprecedented levels.

They carried out their work at the COVID-19 Treatment Field Hospital No.12 in Thủ Đức City, which is slated to close in November, now that cases have dwindled.

Hospitalised patients are screened and classified. Severely ill patients are taken to the emergency room, put on a ventilator and closely monitored.

Every day, doctors check the patients while nurses measure their heart rates, temperature, blood oxygen levels, and administer drugs to the patients.

On the first days of work, the team faced difficulties due to a shortage of medical equipment, Thành said.

The number of hospitalised patients skyrocketed, with hundreds of patients on peak days and about 30 severe emergency cases.

“The hospital was under great pressure, but everything was new to me. I am not a doctor specialising in emergency resuscitation, so I had to learn from work experience,” he said.

He said the most severe case was a 67-year-old patient with a history of hypertension and diabetes.

The patient showed severe symptoms and was transferred to the emergency department. Thành assigned the patient to be put on a high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) for breathing support.

After 10 days of treatment and monitoring, the patient’s health status gradually improved and he was weaned off the HFNC before switching to an oxygen mask and later being discharged.

Most patients are treated for 7- 10 days before they are discharged. Only about 20 per cent of infections turn critical and need more time for treatment and recovery.

Only one death related to COVID-19, a male patient aged over 60, has been recorded at the field hospital No.12. The man had been treated for pulmonary tuberculosis for two years.

Three days after the date of admission, the patient coughed up blood and was moved to the emergency department. Despite multiple resuscitation efforts by doctors, the patient did not survive because of his serious health conditions.

“None of us could hold back the tears as the patient died without being able to see his loved ones for the very last time,” Thành said.

“So we sat back and told each other not to let our spirits fall, as the fight against COVID-19 would be long.”

“We have been luckier than our colleagues in other places because we have seen many patients discharged. That is the greatest consolation to any medic during this tough time,” he said.

Phạm Văn Võ, a nurse from Quảng Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital, said he had previously participated in the fight against COVID-19 in northern Bắc Giang Province, but he had been overwhelmed with the number of patients at the HCM City hospital.

“The number of new infections in one day in the city was equal to the total cases recorded in Bắc Giang in the last outbreak,” he said.

On the first day he started working, the hospital only used three buildings, but then all six buildings were full of patients.

Võ said patients with severe conditions are often under more stress because they are hospitalised alone. “Some easily panic when hearing that a family member has died,” he said.

Medical staff had to reassure the patients and also let them make video calls with their families, and encourage them to stay positive while fighting the disease, he said.

The latest outbreak in the city has subsided, with the number of new daily infections continuing to decrease.

Only about 10 patients are now being treated in the field hospital No.12’s emergency resuscitation department.

Dr Bùi Hải Nam, head of the Quảng Ninh Province’s volunteer medical team, said more than 70 medics from Quảng Ninh came to support the city in the past three months.

They have helped take care of and treat around 4,500 COVID-19 patients at the field hospital No.12. Of the number, more than 3,300 patients have been discharged from the hospital.

The team has been divided into several smaller groups and will gradually withdraw from the city. Among these, 29 doctors and nurses have applied to continue supporting the city.

Thành and his colleagues are now undergoing isolation at the Quảng Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital before they return home and reunite with their families.

Since July, about 20,000 health workers across the country have been sent to assist the city in the pandemic fight.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn has asked city authorities to plan for withdrawal of healthcare staff reinforcements from the city. They may call on them to help other COVID-19-hit localities in need.

HCM City to date has recorded over 410,000 COVID-19 infections, accounting for half of the country’s total caseload. The number of daily new cases have been on the decline to around 1,500 in recent days since the peak of up to nearly 6,000 in August.

Nearly 16,000 fatalities have been logged, or three quarters of Việt Nam’s total deaths. 

All HCM City districts contain COVID outbreak

All 21 districts and Thủ Đức City have contained the COVID-19 outbreak as defined by the Ministry of Health, HCM City authorities said.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Phạm Đức Hải, deputy head of the city Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, said the southern metro had lifted most lockdown restrictions and reopened its economy.

Bình Chánh and Bình Tân were the last districts to meet the pandemic containment criteria, he added.

The ministry describes the outbreak as under control when the number of cases falls for two straight weeks and is at least 50 per cent lower than during the week with the highest number of cases.

Besides, the rate must decrease continuously for 14 days and there should be no new infection chain for seven days in a district.

Last month districts 7 and Củ Chi became the first to control the outbreak.

Hải said most people had been able to adapt to “living safely with the virus” under “new normal” conditions after the city relaxed the measures.

Businesses and traditional markets had reopened, he said.

He admitted the city now faced some challenges. 

“Some people have failed to implement the ministry’s 5K prevention measures such as gathering in large numbers, not wearing masks and not keeping social distance.”

The number of businesses reopening was low, and travel by people between HCM City and other provinces remained difficult due to the inconsistent travel and quarantine regulations, he noted.

The city has recorded more than 400,000 cases since the fourth wave began in late April.

As of October 10 more than seven million people or 98 per cent of people aged 18 or over had received the first vaccine dose and more than 5.2 million were fully immunised .

The city will continue to speed up vaccination while the country plans to vaccinate children aged 12 to 18, according to city authorities.

The country’s COVID hotspot is treating 15,198 patients, including 1,141 under 16 years of age, with 533 people being on ventilators and 15 requiring ECMO intervention.  

Self-sustaining school aids ethnic minority students

The idea of Từ Thanh Phương, principal of the Phương Độ Secondary School in Hà Giang Province, for a self-sustaining school has helped hundreds of poor ethnic students continue to fulfill their dream getting an education.

Phương Độ is a suburban secondary school about 4km from Hà Giang city centre, with 200 students, mainly ethnic minority children in highland communes living in extremely difficult conditions.

Due to dangerous terrains and lack of transportation, many students have to get up at 3 or 4am to walk to school.

Understanding the difficulties of these poor students, Phương has built this self-sustaining model for about 60 of 200 students in the school. Accordingly, ethnic children who live far away and have difficult family circumstances can temporarily stay and study at school from Monday to Friday and return home at weekends.

Because the students are in difficult circumstances with limited money, in order to reduce the financial burden on their families, the school has guided them in self-catering.

At mealtimes, there is only one instructor and students have to cook, arrange food trays, wash dishes and do laundry themselves.

The children also participate in growing vegetables on the school campus and cleaning their own bedrooms.

“The ethnic students here are used to hard living conditions, so they adapt very quickly. Their cooking skills are even better than those of older children,” Phương says.

Phương says that the reason for establishing this model comes from her love for students, her desire to reduce the burden on their parents and her hope that the children can be more independent in their future lives.

“I do not care about how many of them can participate in the provincial competition for excellent students, but I hope they can improve their life skills and be more independent in the future,” she says.

“Of course, if students can get good grades and be good at life skills at the same time, that is great.”

Each month to join hands with the school in paying for food and accommodation, each parent must contribute from VNĐ300,000 to 400,000.

Thus, each child’s daily meal costs only VNĐ18,000 divided among three meals, which barely meets the nutritional requirements, and usually consists of vegetables, tofu, peanuts, very little meat, and eggs.

Therefore, in addition to building the self-sustaining model, the school also asks for support from organisations, sponsors and sometimes even teachers themselves to ensure the students get meals.

According to Nguyễn Thị Quỳnh, a teacher at the Phương Độ Secondary School, every month each teacher contributes VNĐ50,000 to the student support fund and takes turns on duty at the school to teach them life skills outside of school hours.

“Up to 30 per cent of ethnic children boarding here cannot afford the cost of meals and may have to drop out of school,” Quỳnh says. “So, all of us teachers want to contribute something to help them continue to go to school.”

Quỳnh, although only assigned to teach English at this secondary school three times a week, understands the difficulties of the teachers and students here. She says that students now face a lot of obstacles in homeschooling due to the recent citywide lockdown.

“Ethnic families do not have computers and smartphones for their children to study online at home during the pandemic. So teachers have to make small homework books, then print them out and ask the village chiefs to deliver them to each student’s house,” she says.

“At the end of the week, we collect the homework books, mark them and hand out another book for the following week. Many students before returning home due to the pandemic told me that they did not want to leave school because going home meant they would have less food to eat. That made me sad for a long time.”

The idea for a self-sustaining school was upgraded by Phương from the model of the semi-boarding schools sustaining local people, which appeared in Việt Nam in the 1960s when times were even tougher.

Along with the change and development of the country, more and more parents voluntarily send their children to school, and the number of semi-boarding schools for ethnics is growing fast.

The local self-sustaining schools are diverse, based on the specific conditions of each place. Sometimes parents prepare lunch boxes for their children to bring to school, or contribute food and fuel or cook extra soup at the schools.

With smart, innovative models of schooling on the rise, life will hopefully get better for the children of the country’s ethnic minorities. 

Preserving traditional bamboo handicrafts in Yen Bai

Modernisation and industrialisation are breathing new life into ethnic minorities in remote Mù Cang Chải District in the northern mountain province of Yên Bái. However, it is also threatening many traditional cultural and economic activities, particularly the local handicraft of bamboo and rattan weaving of the Mông.

The ancient craft has waned gradually, disappearing as people pay less attention to preserving it.

Many bamboo and rattan products such as wicker baskets, bags and hats that used to be very common in every household are now being dominated by plastic items in markets.

Fortunately, Giàng A Hành, a young man from Lao Chải Commune, Mù Cang Chải, is making a contribution to not only restoring and developing but also promoting the bamboo weaving craft as a highly valued cultural feature of the ethnic minority.

Hành has a love and determination to recover his ancestors’ traditions, and is a successful craftsman making artistic bamboo and rattan woven products for domestic markets, winning the favour of many customers including those from hotels and restaurants in the cities.

After graduating from a pharmaceutical school in the northern province of Thái Nguyên, he could not find a job in cities, so decided to return to his native village of Hồ Nhì Pá to start a new career.

It took nearly a year of struggling and unemployment until 2019 when he found his passion for wicker basketry, one of the oldest arts and crafts in his village, using environment-friendly and easy-to-find materials.

He decided to attend a vocational programme provided by local senior craftsmen in the commune, with an ambition to develop the Mông’s traditional weaving craft. He has paid much attention to studying the selection of materials to produce high-quality products. 

“Young people like us should learn from our predecessors and promote our group’s traditional crafts,” says Hành.

The craftsman chooses suitable materials to create various kinds of wickerworks such as rice papooses, big baskets, trays and stools with typical characteristics of the Mông.

Hanh says revitalising the weaving craft is difficult because he is a young man and has not always been familiar with such a craft, which is known as being easier for women as it demands perseverance and ingenuity.

“But the bigger the challenge, the stronger my determination is,” he says.  

Luckily, Hành is accompanied by his father Giàng A La, one of the most skilled craftsmen in the village, who taught him how to create products with new designs and high quality.

“The weaving craft is facing a decline so I want the children to restore and keep it up. By doing it, not only can it help them preserve their ancestors’ craft but also provide them with a sustainable income,” La says.

He is among many elderly in Lao Chải Commune trying to push their children to preserve the heritage since they realised it could disappear. The senior villager says he is trying to support his son and other young men in developing the craft and marketing their products to a wider customer base.

With his help, Hành has become good at making souvenirs as new and attractive products for tourists at Mù Cang Chải local tourism spots.

Over the last two years, particularly before the fourth outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hành’s bamboo woven products have been sold at cultural festivals and bought by many restaurants and hotels.  

“I’ve used his products which are of good quality. We can use or display them for decorative purposes,” says Hảng A Dê, the owner of Thu Dê homestay in Mù Cang Chải. 

Hành says that every day he tries to improve his product quality and designs. He wants visitors to Yên Bái, a land of terraced paddy fields, to remember and become more acquainted with its local handicrafts.

The Mông people make up 90 per cent of the inhabitants in Lao Chải Commune. Their lives depend largely on forestry and agricultural production, which used to be associated with traditional crafts.

In many traditional occupations of the Mông community here, bamboo and rattan weaving is a long-standing craft of the local people.

They make many things from bamboo and rattan such as containers, household utensils, and worshipping items. They use different varieties of bamboo and rattan for different kinds of products. 

With help from people like Hành, this craft is sure to be preserved for future generations.

HCMC yet to plan easing of indoor dining restrictions

HCMC has yet to plan the easing of indoor dining restrictions due to concerns over Covid-19, Nguyen Nguyen Phuong, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, told a press briefing on October 11.

It is necessary to carefully consider resuming dine-in services as they may pose a high risk of spreading the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant, the local media reported.

Services which meet the safety requirements can resume gradually while others posing a risk of infection will be weighed carefully, he said.

Speaking at the press briefing held by the city’s anti-pandemic steering committee, Pham Duc Hai, deputy head of the committee, said that as of October 11, the city had seen all 22 districts and Thu Duc City bring the pandemic under control.

However, several residents have failed to comply with safety protocols such as not wearing face masks in public places and attending large gatherings, while the risk of community spread remains high.

As such, residents should stay on high alert for Covid, said Hai.

Over 3.7 million people in the city have benefited from the third round of Covid relief aid distribution, Nguyen Quang Lam, deputy director of the municipal Department of the Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said, adding that the number of beneficiaries will rise until October 15.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes  

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/vietnam-news-headlines-october-13-782596.html

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Ministry asks localities to increase inter-provincial passenger transport

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Coaches at Gia Lâm station in Hà Nội’s Long Biên District. —VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport has issued a document asking People’s Committees of cities and provinces to coordinate on the implementation of temporary guidelines on transport activities.

The measures are to ensure safe and flexible adaptation to and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has issued Resolution No.128/NQ-CP on temporary regulations on safe and flexible adaptation to and effective control of COVID-19. To implement the resolution, the Health Ministry has promulgated temporary medical guidance and the Transport Ministry has also released temporary guidelines on transport activities in the five areas of land, inland waterway, maritime, railway and aviation. 

Therefore, to ensure smooth and concerted transport activities, People’s Committees of cities and provinces were asked to direct local agencies and units to follow the ministry’s guidelines, and instruct departments of transport to increase passenger volume on fixed intra-provincial and inter-provincial routes licensed by the provincial authorities.

The ministry also suggested localities resume other routes depending on the local level of pandemic risk, while striving to maintain from 10 per cent to a maximum 50 per cent of licensed trips per month in line with requirements in the temporary guidelines.

In a report reviewing passenger transport activities on fixed routes during one week of resumption from October 13-18, the ministry said authorities of 48 provinces and cities had allowed the resumption of inter-provincial routes, while in 15 other localities, the transport departments had submitted plans to resume routes to the municipal/provincial authorities. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1063729/ministry-asks-localities-to-increase-inter-provincial-passenger-transport.html

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Ho Chi Minh City doctors excise over 100 tumors from woman’s abdomen

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Doctors at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital on Thursday removed more than 100 tumors weighing about five kilograms from the abdomen of a 50-year-old woman from the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang. 

Dr. Nguyen Van Tien, head of the surgery department at the hospital, said that the patient suffered a swollen, painful abdomen upon her admission.

She had noticed unusual signs about two years ago, but deferred seeking medical care for her abdominal pain over complicated COVID-19 developments in Ho Chi Minh City. 

It was not until the coronavirus pandemic was basically put under control in the southern city that the patient visited the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital.

After a consultation meeting, doctors diagnosed the patient with uterine sarcoma, a disease in which malignant cells form in the muscles of the uterus or other tissues that support the uterus, so they decided to perform a surgery on the woman to remove the tumors.

Surgeons took out a total of more than 100 tumors attached to the patient’s uterus, intestinal loops, junctions, grooves of the small intestine, colon, and renal fossa.

The tumors, which weighed about five kilograms in total, compressed and pushed the positions of many internal organs.

Dr. Tien recommended that people have their health checked periodically, especially when there are abnormal signs in their bodies, so that doctors can detect risks early and provide timely treatment or intervention.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211022/ho-chi-minh-city-doctors-excise-over-100-tumors-from-womans-abdomen/63725.html

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Minor quake strikes Central Highlands region again

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A minor earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale hit Kon Plong district of Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands on October 21 evening, according to the Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre under the Institute of Geophysics.

The latest minor earthquake hits Kon Plong district on October 21 evening.

The latest minor earthquake hits Kon Plong district on October 21 evening.
 

The quake shook the area at a depth of approximately 8.1km at around 20:21 and caused no injuries.

This is the third consecutive earthquake that has struck Kon Plong district since October 17.

Two subsequent quakes measuring 2.8 and 3.5 on the Richter scale jolted the district on October 17.

None of these minor earthquakes posed a natural disaster risk to the locality, said experts from Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre.

According to the centre, Kon Plong district had recorded dozens of earthquakes with a magnitude of no more than 4.0 from April to June 2021, causing no natural disaster risk.

The Institute of Geophysics has set up an additional monitoring station in order to better understand and promptly warn of dangerous geological phenomena, if any.

Source: VOV

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/minor-quake-strikes-central-highlands-region-again-785040.html

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