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We must all play by the rules if we want to eliminate COVID




Hà Nội People’s Committee on Thursday announced the suspension of outdoor physical exercise and sports. VNA/ Photo

Thu Vân

Việt Nam is facing the most challenging COVID-19 wave since late April: infections in the past five days alone reached nearly 6,000 infections. This figure is even higher than the total number of cases in the previous three waves. The pandemic has also spread to 57 of the country’s provinces and cities.

Many people believe HCM City has not been able to extinguish the virus completely, despite having already undergone a month of social distancing, and that people have failed to follow social distancing measures. Now it’s high time people do so. The cases of COVID-19 in the fourth wave now have topped 22,000, with HCM City leading the number with more than 10,000 cases. 

Also in the past week, the number of COVID-19 related deaths reached 25. Notably, there have been a number of deaths among young people who have no underlying health conditions.

Đồng Nai Province will adopt social distancing provincewide for 15 days starting Friday while Khánh Hòa will apply the measure in certain areas including Nha Trang City for 14 days.

Other southern localities like Bình Dương, Long An and Tiền Giang have also adopted various levels of social distancing

Hà Nội People’s Committee on Thursday announced the suspension of outdoor physical exercise and sports.

HCM City is now the hardest-hit locality with transmission sources spread all over the city.

City leaders have decided to practice stringent social distancing in accordance with the prime minister’s Directive 16 from July 9 for 15 days.

The only choice

It was not an easy decision. 

The city, and the country more generally, have suffered intense economic hardships since the pandemic started in Việt Nam early last year.

But it was necessary.

Since late May, HCM City has been under the Government Directive 15 and Directive 16 for some high-risk areas. The city has also issued Directive 10 with more aggressive measures. So far, however, the pandemic has not been brought under control and the risk of infection is still high.

Directive 16 bans contact between families, imposes isolation of villages, communes, districts, cities and provinces, and prohibits gatherings of more than two people outside offices, schools and hospitals.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, the directive also requires people to refrain from going out except to buy food, medicines and other necessities or in case of emergency. If they need to venture out residents must wear face masks and wash their hands regularly.

In line with the directive, public passenger transport services and nonessential services are suspended. Even shipping services, via food delivery apps, have been halted.

Factories, construction projects, essential goods suppliers, banks, treasuries, cargo transport service operators, import-export service providers and medical checkup and treatment services are allowed to remain operational, but must strictly comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Ministry of Health also requires people arriving from HCM City in other localities to self-isolate for seven days and monitor their own health for the following week. This includes being tested for COVID-19 three times during their self-isolation.

The Directive, with the strictest anti-epidemic measures issued to date, however, is not a silver bullet.

Awareness of, and compliance with the regulations, are the key to positive results.

In order for the social distancing period not to go to waste, for the next two weeks, people should not go outside to prevent more infections. This is the only way to relieve the burden on the medical system.

But residents of HCM will not be left to police themselves.

City leaders have taken aggressive steps to ensure residents adhere to the rules. They have issued fines ranging from VNĐ1 million to 40 million for individuals and organisations who do not follow the social distancing rules. The heaviest fines are reserved for gatherings of more than three people.

Government support

The Government understands the hardship many people have to go through during this difficult time and has taken steps toward sharing the people’s economic burdens.

Recently it issued Resolution No 68 covering a number of policies supporting employees and employers facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s worth a total of VNĐ26 trillion (US$1.13 billion).

Accordingly, about 80,000 employees who had to temporarily stop working or had to take unpaid leave will receive VNĐ1.8 million ($78.62) per person.

In addition, there will be VNĐ1 million or pregnant workers, people raising children under six years old (VNĐ1 million per child), or carers.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính assured residents “the full support of the Government will be available to support HCM City”. He added that vaccines arriving in July will be prioritised for the southern COVID hot spot.

At the same time, all the stops have been pulled out to bring more vaccines to the people. 

The country’s leaders have been working diligently to acquire COVID vaccines. 

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Minh Vũ told reporters that in hundreds of phone calls at home and abroad, there is not a single foreign meeting of the Party and State leaders that does not mention cooperating on vaccine acquisition, production, and distribution.

Việt Nam has managed to obtain 10 million doses of vaccine in July and August.

The first batch of nearly 100,000 doses of Pfizer COVID vaccine arrived in Việt Nam earlier this week, and two million Moderna COVID vaccines are slated to arrive today.

Up to date, Việt Nam has delivered almost four million jabs to approximately four per cent of the population.

Until the country can get that number much higher, Việt Nam won’t be able to relax its anti-epidemic measures. 

Therefore, the country needs commitment, exceptional behaviour, and for people to take responsibility and acknowledge the gravity of the situation we’re living in.

If we take care of ourselves and follow all the measures adopted by the national, departmental and municipal authorities, we will save lives and contribute to a faster economic recovery, for the benefit of everyone.





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




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. —


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



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.


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Girl falls to death at apartment building in Hanoi



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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