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Vietnam plans to reopen Phu Quoc to fully vaccinated foreign tourists in October

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The Vietnamese tourism authority is pushing for the trial reopening of Phu Quoc Island off southern Kien Giang Province ​​​​to fully vaccinated foreign tourists in October.

A draft reopening plan devised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, which expects to welcome foreign tourists back to Phu Quoc Island by October, has recently been sent to relevant agencies for their revisions.

According to the plan, the trial reopening will last six months and be divided into two phases.

The first, which lasts three months from October, will welcome some 2,000-3,000 visitors per month. 

During this phase, tourists can only reach the island on charter flights and stay in sequestered areas of selected resorts or destinations of a large size, who have proven their capacity of ensuring safety for tourists.

Starting from the fourth month of the plan, the island may be able to take in 5,000-10,000 visits per month, as regular international flights to and from the local Phu Quoc Airport will have been reconnected, while more travel locations will be made available to foreign travelers.

The culture ministry anticipates to welcome 25,000-40,000 visitors to Phu Quoc during the six month trial.

Eligible visitors must present proof that they have received sufficient doses of one among the Vietnamese government-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

The two doses must be spaced at least 14 days apart, and both must be taken within 12 months from their visits.

They are required to present certificates proving their negative test results within three days before their flights and comply with Vietnam’s coronavirus quarantine rules upon arrival. 

Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 within 12 months’ time from their arrival to Phu Quoc must prepare proof of their hospital discharge, as issued by an institution that Vietnam recognizes.

Visitors also have to purchase one of the tour packages approved by the authorities in order to reach the island. 

Central-level and Kien Giang Province leaders are looking at areas that found success in containing the epidemic, including Northeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, as the target markets for the proposed Phu Quoc reopening.

The plan recommends mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and France as potential customer bases that can come to Phu Quoc during the trial.

A vaccination campaign is slated for July to September to reach at least 70 percent of Phu Quoc Island’s population and helps the community reach herd immunity.

The national government is hastening the rollout of a new visa policy on Phu Quoc, which would make it easier for international tourists and Vietnamese repatriates with COVID-19 vaccination certificates to come to the island.

Vietnam began denying entrance to foreign nationals in March 2020 and currently only allows arrivals who are diplomats, investors, experts, skilled workers, and business managers. All have to follow strict quarantine rules upon entry.

In the past months, tourism heavyweights have been petitioning for the reopening of secluded locations in Vietnam to foreign, vaccinated tourists. 

Phu Quoc Island off southern Kien Giang Province, with low population concentration, adequate isolation from the mainland, sufficient infrastructure, hotel and service quality, and an established reputation in tourism, ticked all the boxes as the ideal location to launch the plan. 

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20210713/vietnam-plans-to-reopen-phu-quoc-to-fully-vaccinated-foreign-tourists-in-october/62049.html

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Vaccination progress “too slow”, minister urges ramp-up

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People in Hà Nội get their COVID-19 vaccinations on August 2. VNA/ Photo Minh Quyết

HÀ NỘI — Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long repeatedly urged localities nationwide to ramp up vaccination efforts, complaining that the vaccination rollouts were “too slow” in many places.

Up to Tuesday morning, more than 6.95 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Việt Nam and 712,864 people have received two shots.

Monday saw the highest number of doses administered in a day with nearly 538,500 jabs given. During the past week, the number of doses administered daily has ranged from 200,000 to 400,000.

The country planned to vaccinate at least 50 per cent of the adult population (18 years old and above) within 2021 and 70 per cent of the entire population of nearly 98 million by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

In an urgent message that the minister sent to chairpersons of cities/provinces People’s Committee on Monday, he emphasised the importance of ramping up vaccination at this time and said Việt Nam expects to receive many more vaccines late this year.

To ramp up vaccination drives and increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the country, Long asked localities to offer vaccines to all people aged above 18 years old with priority given to people working in the front line, elderly people or those having underlying health conditions.

“There is no limit on the number of people getting vaccinated in a day to make full use of the capacity that a vaccination site can provide,” he said.

Local authorities are now allowed to decide the health monitoring time for people after getting the vaccines instead of a compulsory 30 minutes of sitting at the vaccination sites.

The move is expected to help vaccination sites receive more people and ensure safe person-to-person distance.

Those who have to wait for their vaccination will be monitored and arrangements will be made for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible. 

The Ministry of Health also noted in locked-down areas, local authorities could arrange appropriate fixed or mobile vaccination sites, so people would not have to travel to other areas for vaccination.

“Vaccination is now a priority and urgent task for localities,” the minister emphasised.

However, he admitted that some localities have delayed implementing vaccination drives because they were too slow in transferring vaccines to their storehouses.

Meanwhile, other localities were too cautious in delivering vaccine shots as they only opened vaccination sites in hospitals and health facilities.

“It’s OK to set up mobile vaccination stations as long as safe distance among people is ensured,” he said, adding that the Health Ministry would support localities to set up such mobile vaccination stations if asked.

“Vaccination drives must be rolled out as soon as possible,” Long said, adding that from October to December this year, Việt Nam could receive up to 47-50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Storage for a large volume of vaccines is also an issue of concern in Việt Nam.

The minister asked localities nationwide to review their capacity to store vaccines, especially their cooling systems with temperatures from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

“Many localities do not have enough facilities to store vaccines. The Health Ministry has provided them with information about vaccine doses that are expected between now and the end of the year so that provinces can prepare proper storage for their allocation,” the minister said.

Localities that failed to ensure vaccination progress would have their vaccines transferred to other localities. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1002934/vaccination-progress-too-slow-minister-urges-ramp-up.html

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Dong Nai allows resumption of 145 taxis to transport patients to hospitals

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A street is under lockdown in Dong Nai. Dong Nai Province has allowed 145 taxis to resume operations to transport patients to hospitals during the shelter-in-place period – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Dong Nai Province has allowed 145 taxis to resume operations to transport patients to hospitals during the shelter-in-place period, while permitting shippers to return to work from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. each day.

The 145 taxis, which belong to the Mai Linh, Saigon, Lado and Long Thanh taxi operators, will also be used for essential cases, mainly medical purposes, including transporting people from/to quarantine centers, the Dong Nai Department of Transport said on August 5.

The provincial department granted QR identification codes to the taxis to make it easier for anti-virus forces to check and control the operation of these vehicles.

During their operations, these taxis must comply with Covid-19 safety protocols and make hand sanitizers and face masks available, while the drivers must have a negative Covid-19 test certificate and make online heath declarations before work.

Earlier, the Dong Nai Department of Industry and Trade allowed delivery workers, or shippers, to return to work in the daytime, the local media reported.

These shippers were told to have identifying characteristics such as a uniform, boxes, a business logo or a travel permit. Each delivery man is allowed to work at only one commune, ward or district.

The provincial government on July 31 decided to continue adopting the social distancing order under the prime minister’s Directive 16 for 15 more days from August 2 until 15 and imposed night movement restrictions.

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/83567/dong-nai-allows-resumption-of-145-taxis-to-transport-patients-to-hospitals.html

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Girl falls to death at apartment building in Hanoi

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A 12-year-old girl died after falling from the 12th floor to the third floor of an apartment building in Hoang Mai District, Hanoi on Tuesday night.

The incident occurred at the HH4C building in Linh Dam apartment complex in Hoang Mai District at around 10:00 pm on the same day.

Residents of the building heard a loud bang at that time and ran outdoors to check.

At the skylight area on the third floor, they saw a girl lying immobile.

The victim died on the spot, according to local authorities.

She was later verified to live in a flat on the 12th floor of the apartment building, a representative of its management board told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper on Wednesday morning.

The girl was determined to have fallen from the window ventilator of her flat to the skylight.

“The girl’s parents had separated,” the management board’s representative said.

“During their investigation, the authorities discovered a suicide note allegedly written by the girl.”

Hoang Mai District police are investigating to clarify the cause of the incident.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20210804/girl-falls-to-death-at-apartment-building-in-hanoi/62418.html

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