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Vietnam PM says risk of COVID-19 community spread ‘very high’

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Friday warned of a “very high” risk of COVID-19 community transmission as he urged national determination, solidarity and responsibility over the next two weeks to stamp out the current outbreak.

The risk of the disease spreading widely in the community in Vietnam remains “very high” for at least the next two weeks, the prime minister said while presiding over a virtual meeting on COVID-19 response on Friday morning.

The number of community-transmitted cases in Vietnam has risen by 333 since July 25, when the detection of a 57-year-old male patient in the central city of Da Nang ended the country’s streak of 99 days with no local infection.

The government chief thus ordered authorities to take greater responsibility and more drastic efforts to contain the pandemic, especially in outbreak hotspots.

Greater determination, solidarity and responsibility from the “entire political system” is needed, he stressed.

Provincial and municipal leaders are permitted to decide on specific measures in order to promptly and effectively minimize infection rates while medical facilities must stay vigilant to prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Social distancing must be strictly implemented in all COVID-19 hotbeds and fast and precise testing is the key to contain the spread of the virus, Phuc emphasized.

Phuc also stressed the need to wear a face mask at public places and in big cities, manufacture ventilators, and stay prepared to set up field hospitals in such localities like Quang Nam Province and Da Nang, which are the hardest hit by the current COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam.

Speaking at Friday meeting, acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long reported that the number of people having installed the contact-tracing app Bluezone, which was domestically developed to track down people having close contact with COVID-19 patients, has shot up recently, especially in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and northern Quang Ninh Province.

Over 8.5 million people have installed the app as of Thursday, August 6. The Ministry of Health said the app needs at least 50 million active users to have a meaningful impact on contact tracing.

Notably, 21 cases of people with direct and indirect contact with COVID-19 patients have been traced through the app, Long said.

Vietnam has recorded 789 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday morning, with 395 recoveries and ten deaths.

More than 166,000 people are quarantined nationwide at hospitals, accommodation facilities or at their homes.


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Vietnam AI platform rules language programming contest in Japan

Vietnam AI platform rules language programming contest in Japan

FPT.AI’s Natural Language Processing performs best in English, Vietnamese and Korean at the SHINRA2020-ML project. Photo courtesy of FPT.

Vietnam’s artificial intelligence platform FPT.AI ranked first at SHINRA2020-ML, a contest to classify 30 Wikipedia language entities in fine-grained categories, in Japan.

The project is organized by Japan’s RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project and Tohoku University at NTCIR – an annual workshop designed to enhance research into information-access technologies including cross-lingual information retrieval, text summarization etc. earlier this week.

The contest attracted the participation of universities, laboratories and research centers from five countries – Australia, India, Japan, Portugal and Vietnam – with the aim of building an open knowledge base with optimal artificial intelligence (AI) models to share with the technology community.

One of the institutes attending the event was Studio Ousia, a world-leading natural language AI in Japan famed for its LUKE model, its natural language processing ability surpassing models from Google and Facebook.

Participants had to classify 25 million articles in 30 different languages into 219 categories defined in Extended Named Entity, using categorized Japanese Wikipedia pages and interlanguage links to corresponding pages in target languages.

FPT.AI won the highest honors in three categories – English, Vietnamese, and Korean – in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) model competition for its advanced accuracy.

NLP technology focuses on studying language interactions between computers and humans, thereby offering solutions to increase human productivity, optimizing business operations.

The FPT.AI platform includes a solution ecosystem based on AI, featuring the multilingual chatbot system FPT.AI Conversation and virtual assistant of the Vietnamese voice-based interactive switchboard FPT.AI Virtual Agent For Call Center.


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Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia September 25

Fight against COVID-19 under review

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired a meeting in Hanoi on September 24 to review the fight against the pandemic.

Fight against COVID-19 under review hinh anh 1

Preventing pandemic in border area 

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired a meeting in Hanoi on September 24 to review the fight against the pandemic.

As of the same day, Vietnam went through 22 consecutive days without any COVID-19 case in the community. Among 1,069 infections, 412 are imported and the remaining are locally transmitted. There were 35 deaths from the virus, mostly of them suffered serious underlying diseases. As many as 989 patients have been discharged from hospitals while 41 others are under treatment at medical establishments.

Pandemic hotbeds have been basically controlled but the risk remains, especially in major urban areas and those with dense populations.

Head of the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine Dang Quang Tan warned that in the near future, new infections from previous hotbeds or more imported cases could be discovered as several international flights will be resumed.

The ministry proposed stepping up research, production and supply of COVID-19 vaccine as well as access vaccine supply in the world, he said.

Members of the committee said illegal or legal immigrants failing to follow prevention and control measures are at high risk of spreading virus in the community. They cited international experts’ comments that alert should be given to community hotbeds and imported goods.

According to experts, the fight against the pandemic will become harder as the winter is coming near. Moreover, residents have failed to keep vigilant as not any local infection has been found for more than three weeks.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Son requested clarifying responsibility of local authorities for quarantine, which he said, remains loose in hotels and lack of supervision.

The committee assigned the Health Ministry to issue a check list of must-do actions to grassroots-level units while the Ministry of Education and Training must require schools to follow the check-list to ensure safety, thus raising public awareness of the effort.

Hospitals were also asked to step up health-check registration online.

Da Nang resumes all activities from 0am on September 25

All activities in the central city of Da Nang will return to normal from 0am on September 25 as the COVID-19 outbreak in the city has been under control.

Service providers must commit to following pandemic prevention and control measures.

The city will continue seriously following the Health Ministry’s message featuring 5K (in Vietnamese) Khau trang (facemask) – (Khu khuan) disinfection – (Khoang cach) distance – (Khong tu tap) no gathering – (Khai bao y te) health declaration.

Earlier on September 18, the city allowed many activities to resume, except discotheque, bar, pub, karaoke and massage services. 

On September 23, the last COVID-19 patient was given the all-clear from the virus at Hoa Vang field hospital.

Da Nang has gone through 27 days without local transmission and 25 days without new infection cases./.

Da Nang in the ‘new normal’

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After controlling the second wave of COVID-19 to strike Vietnam, Da Nang city has been gradually loosening social distancing measures imposed earlier to curb its spread. Local people have adapted well to the “new normal”.

Da Nang city has now returned to some semblance of normality after being hit by the second wave of COVID-19 in Vietnam. Most local people, however, continue to wear a face mask when out in public.

Like many other people, Theo has returned to her family’s long-time business of selling traditional noodles at home but still pays due regard to prevention and control measures. 

Local people have now started to shop freely, without needing “access tickets” like during the last two months. Pandemic prevention measures are being strictly followed, however, and gatherings remain limited.

Except for bars, karaoke parlours, and discos, which are still closed, other activities have been allowed to operate as normal. The people of Da Nang are ready for the revival of the coastal city post-COVID-19./.

No new COVID-19 cases reported on September 25 morning

Vietnam recorded no new COVID-19 infections overnight, making the tally unchanged at 1,069, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced on September 25 morning.

This day also marks the 23rd consecutive day without community transmissions.

However, experts said Vietnam is facing four infection risk sources: people entering the country illegally, those who enter Vietnam legally but do not follow quarantine regulations seriously, the source circulating in the community, and imported commodities which are made in and transported though disease-hit countries.

As of 6am on September 25, 991 COVID-19 patients had been treated successfully. The fatalities remained at 35.

Among patients under treatment, there is no longer any critical case, while four have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 14 twice and 12 thrice.

A total 21,842 people are being quarantined nationwide.

Vietnam told to keep vigilant against COVID-19

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested ministries and localities to remain highly vigilant and strictly implement COVID-19 control measures following public complacency about the disease. 

In a dispatch dated September 24, PM Phuc noted that Vietnam has basically controlled the disease as no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases have been detected in the country for the past 22 days in a row. The country has now been working toward a dual goal of epidemic prevention and economic recovery, and has achieved initial encouraging results.

However, he pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving in a complex manner globally. The disease has even spreading rapidly again in a number of countries after social distancing measures were relaxed.

To maintain the gains and support economic recovery efforts, the PM asked all ministries, agencies and localities to strictly implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Accordingly, residents are required to wear face masks, frequently wash hands with soap or sanitizer, avoid mass gatherings and keep safe distance from each other in public places.

A primary focus will be on big cities as well as densely populated areas such as schools, industrial parks, markets, supermarkets, and concentrated quarantine facilities. Priority will be given to implementing epidemic prevention in health facilities, testing those with clinical virus symptoms and taking care of elderly people with underlying illnesses.

The PM assigned the Ministry of Health to provide clear instructions on COVID-19 prevention and control in socio-economic activities as soon as Vietnam resumes international commercial flights.

The Ministries of Public Security, National Defense and local People’s Committee were required to tighten border control to timely prevent illegal entrants. The Government demanded serious medical surveillance over entrants to prevent cross-infection at quarantine camps and community transmission of COVID-19.

The PM urged the authorities to ensure safety for international commercial flights. All inbound travellers shall have to fill out a health declaration form and undergo a COVID-19 test.

He ordered media agencies to continue launching communication campaigns and encourage local residents to install Bluezone, a Vietnamese-designed COVID-19 tracing application.

As of 18.00hrs September 24, Vietnam has recorded a total of 1,069 COVID-19 patients, including 991 recoveries and 35 deaths.

Thua Thien-Hue province removes all COVID-19 epidemic checkpoints

Every novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic checkpoint in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue was lifted on the morning of September 25 due to all COVID-19 outbreaks in the locality being successfully brought under control. 

According to the provincial steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control, checkpoints aimed at monitoring the health of people travelling through railway stations and airports were also removed at the same time.

Furthermore, local authorities were permitted to lift checkpoints placed on Phu Loc district, Huong Thuy town, and Nam Dong district.

Moreover, Thua Thien-Hue province’s administration requested that residents and tourists continue to seriously follow the Health Ministry’s message of the 5Ks, Khau trang, (facemasks), Khu khuan (disinfection), Khoang cach, (distance), Khong tu tap, (no gatherings), and Khai bao y te, (health declarations).

COVID-19 shows little sign of abating in some Southeast Asian countries

The COVID-19 pandemic showed little sign of abating in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia which confirmed a record daily number of infections on September 24.

This is the second straight day that Indonesia has seen a record number of new cases in a single day. With 4,634 cases reported on September 24, the country now counts 262,022 cases of COVID-19.

The death toll increased to 10,105 with 128 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The Philippines had 2,180 new cases and 36 more deaths on September 24. The country continued to top the Southeast Asian region in the number of coronavirus infections with 296,755 cases. The fatalities rose to 5,127, with nearly half of the deaths occurring in the past 30 days.

Meanwhile, Myanmar is concerned that its quarantine facilities have become overloaded due to a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Statistics of the Health Ministry showed the number of quarantined people has more than doubled, from around 19,000 in August to over 45,000 as of September 21.

In the afternoon of September 24, Myanmar announced 535 new cases and three more deaths, raising the total COVID-19 tally to 7,827 and fatalities to 133.

The southeastern state of Kayah is the only state in Myanmar still free from the coronavirus./.

Singapore eases coronavirus restrictions

Safe distancing rules will be eased and more activities allowed to resume in Singapore in the coming weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases in the community has remained low, said Singaporean Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a press conference.

More employees will be allowed to return to the workplace from September 28, although safe management measures must be in place and employers are encouraged to implement measures such as flexible working hours and staggered reporting times.

Employers must ensure that such employees continue to work from home for at least half their working time, and no more than half of such employees are at the workplace at any point in time.

Events within the workplace, such as seminars, corporate retreats and annual general meetings will also be allowed to resume, as long as safe distancing measures are in place. However, work-related events at external venues remain prohibited for now.

From October 3, wedding receptions will be allowed to have up to 100 attendees in total, including the couple and their families, Gan said.

To ensure safe distancing, participants have to be split into zones of up to 50 attendees each, or to be separated by staggered time slots with up to 50 persons in each slot.

Also from October 3, all religious organisations will be permitted to conduct congregational and other worship services of up to 100 persons, subject to safe distancing and safe management measures, according to the minister./.


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Improving technical equipment of the Coast Guard’s vessels to put into practical training

The High Command of the Coast Guard specially focuses on research and improvement of technical equipment on vessels of the Coast Guard forces and put into training to fit the actual situation.

Reviewing the implementation of the Education and Training Development Strategy for the period 2011-2020, it is shown that the High Command of the Coast Guard actively researched and built the “Plan to restructure the Center for training and fostering skills of coast guards into the Coast Guard School”; Constantly improved the quality, standardize the contingent of teachers and educational administrators; promoted the application of science, technology and information in teaching and educational management; did well the work of reviewing, evaluating, transferring, appointing, fostering cadres at all levels, adding foreign language criteria in mobilizing and appointing staff; promoted international cooperation activities on education and training and diversify forms of cooperation in order to improve foreign language skills and professional expertise.

Cải tiến thiết bị kỹ thuật trên tàu Cảnh sát biển đưa vào huấn luyện sát với thực tế

Officers and teachers of the Center for training and fostering skills of coast guards attend the lecture on specialized marine equipment – Illustration.

Major General Pham Kim Hau summarized: in the period of 2011-2020, the Standing Party Committee, Head of the High Command of Vietnam Coast Guard assigned the Center for training and fostering skills of coast guards to train and foster 316 primary technicians majored in Maritime, vessel engine, vessel electric system, vessel cannon, information; organize 3 classes to enhance maritime knowledge for 69 trainees; 2 classes fostering professional knowledge and law for 39 people; fostering knowledge of national defense and security for 3,029 trainees of the subjects 2, 3, 4 to ensure the content and program according to regulations.

Related agencies were proactive in scientific research, improving and renovating technical equipment, participating in and organizing competitions at all levels; compiling many electronic documents, lesson plans, model of learning tools for training and coaching; combining the application of information technology, science and technology into education and training.

In addition, the High Command of Vietnam Coast Guard also coordinated with academies and schools inside and outside the Army to train and foster expertise knowledge for 1,150 officers at all levels; send 156 people overseas; recruit 141 officers for the Coast Guard forces.

Hai Van


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