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What will Vietnam do to cope with the Omicron variant?

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) has asked local authorities to strengthen surveillance to discover Covid-19 cases and any abnormal signs of clusters as a new coronavirus variant called Omicron has emerged.

What will Vietnam do to cope with the Omicron variant?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 25, 2021 reported that the coronavirus variant it has named Omicron (B.1.1.529) was discovered in several African countries, such as South Africa and Botswana.

The first patient was a 30-year-old man in South Africa. He had fatigue, body aches with a minor headache, and itching, but no sore throat, cough or loss of taste.

According to scientists, the Omicron variant has 32 mutations in spike glycoprotein and is the most mutated of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses. It is predicted to spread faster than Delta.

Omicron cases have been discovered on several continents. Though epidemiologists think that it’s too late to impose travel restrictions to prevent Omicron from spreading globally, many countries have banned passengers from the southern part of Africa.

Dr Do Van Dung from the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy said it’s still too early to come to a conclusion about Omicron. He believes that viruses have a common evolutionary principle, and that new variants will be more contagious but less deadly. He explained that if viruses cause many deaths, there will be fewer hosts for them to infect. Their virulence then tends to be less deadly.

Keeping high alert

According to MOH, Vietnam has not found any Omicron cases. The ministry has instructed the healthcare system to strengthen surveillance to discover any abnormal signs of hotbeds.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has requested MOH to keep a close watch over the pandemic situation caused by Omicron and frequently contact WHO to get updates about this variant, so as to propose effective measures to cope with it.

MOH has asked institutes of hygiene and epidemiology and Pasteur Institute to carry out genetic sequencing of suspected new variants, especially from people returning from southern Africa.

The ministry has asked the Government to stop international flights from and to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho and Mozambique, and to stop granting entry permits to people from these countries.

Grassroots healthcare

According to Dung, vaccine boosters need to be given to people with top priority – older people, people with underlying health conditions, and medical workers at Covid-19 treatment centers.

To cope with Covid-19, protecting people at high risk in order to to reduce mortality rate is a top priority.

Pham Duc Hai, Deputy Head of the HCM City Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control, said all nCoV viruses are transmitted through the respiratory tract. One of the most important things people must do is wear a protective face mask, and follow the government’s 5K (in Vietnamese: Khau trang – facemask, Khu khuan – disinfection, Khoang cach – distance, Khong tu tap – no gathering, Khai bao y te – health declaration) prevention principles.

Amid the risk of the new variant, Doctors Nguyen Thu Anh and Ngo Hoang Anh from Woolcock Vietnam said Vietnam should prepare thoroughly for all scenarios.

Regarding temporary measures, they said Vietnam should restrict the entry of people from countries with the variant, including Botswana, Eswatini, Lethoso, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel. New names will be added to the list if necessary. The measures should be applied until scientists have a full understanding of the new variant, including the possible influences on vaccine effects, or until the healthcare system is ready and prepared for a new outbreak.

Circulating variants should be screened by either sequencing genes or using random TaqPath of collected patient samples.

Vaccination coverage must be sped up and booster shots given to people at high risk, including people over 65 years old, medical workers, and people with underlying health conditions, especially those vaccinated with non-mRNA vaccines (there are two mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech approved in Vietnam).

Moreover, it’s necessary to consolidate the grassroots healthcare system and increase the capacity for PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) testing to be able to give results within 24 hours.

In theory, the combination of many mutants on spike protein could significantly reduce the effects of vaccines. Though scientists have not discovered the mechanism and the impact of the variant, Vietnam needs to be on high alert about the variant. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Ngoc Trang

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/what-will-vietnam-do-to-cope-with-the-omicron-variant-797315.html

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Vietnamese artists accused of raping underage British girl in Spain await arraignment: deputy minister

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The two Vietnamese artists who have made headlines since last week for their arrest in Spain due to an accusation of having raped a 17-year-old British girl last month have found themselves a lawyer and are waiting for arraignment, according to Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Ta Quang Dong.

The police department of the tourist island of Majorca confirmed last Friday that they had arrested two Vietnamese males over sexual assault allegations on June 25.

Spanish and British media reported that the two Vietnamese citizens stayed at a hotel in Sant Elm on the island and met a 17-year-old girl from the UK, who roomed with her family at a different hotel, at a restaurant on June 24.

The three exchanged ‘intimate’ gestures before returning to the hotel room of one of the two Vietnamese men. 

The girl later reported to local police that she had been raped in the hotel room. 

Authorities took the girl to the Son Espases hospital for a check-up and arrested the accused.

While the men’s identity and occupations were not revealed by the Majorca authorities, local reports said they were “an actor and a musician aged 37 and 42.”

In Vietnam, popular actor Hong Dang and famed musician Ho Hoai Anh have made front-page news ever since Friday last week as a video of the duo enjoying a trip in Majorca uploaded on June 24 cast doubt on their relation to the rape case.

Dang and Anh’s state-run management agencies also suspended their working schedules while national broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) has censored programs featuring the two artists.

This undated file photo shows Vietnamese musician Ho Hoai Anh (L) and actor Hong Dang.

This undated file photo shows Vietnamese musician Ho Hoai Anh (L) and actor Hong Dang.

In response to reporters’ requests during a press meeting on Tuesday morning, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Ta Quang Dong said that the incident related to Dang and Anh remained a question.

“There is no new information, but these two people were still out on bail as of Sunday [July 3] and have not been prosecuted,” the deputy minister said.

“They are waiting to see the judge and have successfully hired a lawyer to handle legal matters.

“The embassy [of Vietnam in Spain] has sent staff to their place to provide legal help.”

Hong Dang, whose full name is Le Hong Dang, is a Vietnamese actor born in 1984 and managed by the Hanoi Opera House and the Vietnam Drama Production Center under VTV.

He started his acting career in 2004 and has played roles in many VTV dramas, but only rose to stardom in 2011.

He won the ‘Impressive Actor’ awards at VTV Awards in 2016 and 2018 and the prize for ‘Best Actor in a TV Series’ at the 2016 Golden Kite Award, Vietnam’s version of the Oscars, by the Vietnam Cinema Association.

Ho Hoai Anh is a Vietnamese musician and music producer born in 1979 and has worked at the Vietnam National Academy of Music for 20 years.

He won the ‘Musician of the Year’ prize at the prestigious Cong Hien (Devotion) Music Awards in 2010 and was awarded the state title of ‘Meritorious Artist’ in 2015.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220705/vietnamese-artists-accused-of-raping-underage-british-girl-in-spain-await-arraignment-deputy-minister/67957.html

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Police parade, martial arts, shooting performances take place in Vietnam’s Hue Citadel

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The final round of a police command, shooting, and martial arts competition, joined by officers from 16 provinces and cities, kicked off in Hue Citadel in north-central Thua Thien-Hue Province on Monday.

Organized by the Ministry of Public Security from Monday to Wednesday, the contest’s finals are aimed at celebrating the 60th anniversary of the traditional day of the People’s Police force (July 20).

A parade of the mounted police force in Hue Citadel, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A parade of the mounted police force in Hue Citadel, Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

The event attracts the participation of 1,500 officers from People’s Police University and police units in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Lam Dong, Tien Giang, Gia Lai, Tra Vinh, Phu Yen, Quang Nam, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Kien Giang, Quang Binh, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Dak Lak, and Thua Thien-Hue.

Female traffic police officers march during the opening ceremony of the police command, shooting, and martial arts competition’s final round in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

Female traffic police officers march during the opening ceremony of the police command, shooting, and martial arts competition’s final round in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

The opening ceremony of the final round was attended by Lieutenant General Le Quoc Hung, Deputy Minister of Public Security, several other police officials, and officials of Thua Thien-Hue Province.

It featured a parade of the mounted police force at Ngo Mon Square, as well as martial arts and shooting performances by police officers.

A performance by traffic police officers in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A performance by traffic police officers in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A female police officer shows her strength during a performance in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A female police officer shows her strength during a performance in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A shooting performance during the opening ceremony of the competition’s final round in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A shooting performance during the opening ceremony of the competition’s final round in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A shooting performance during the opening ceremony of the competition’s final round in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

A shooting performance during the opening ceremony of the competition’s final round in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam, July 4, 2022. Photo: N.Anh / Tien Phong

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220705/police-parade-martial-arts-shooting-performances-take-place-in-vietnams-hue-citadel/67961.html

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Vietnamese commune official suspended amid accusation of groping tenth grader

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The chairman of the commune-level Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Thanh Hoa Province, north-central Vietnam has been suspended from work after being accused of groping a tenth grader.

The 15-day work suspension was given to Luong Van Toi, chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee chapter in Xuan Thang Commune, Thuong Xuan District, Thanh Hoa.

Competent authorities have reviewed and verified the video footage that appeared to show Toi groping the schoolgirl, Do Xuan Nam, Party chief of Thuong Xuan District, confirmed on Monday.

As the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee chapter in Xuan Thang Commune does not have a vice-chairman, the commune’s deputy Party secretary will take over from Toi during this period.

At around 4:20 pm on June 28, a man was caught on CCTV walking into the yard of a local house and talking to L.T., a tenth grader who lives at the residence.

The man then approaches the young girl and touches her shoulder and back.

After a few moments, he grabs T. and tries to kiss her, before she resists and pushes him away.

After looking at the video clip, T.’s family members believed that the man in the footage is Toi, thus they filed a denunciation to the authorities of Thuong Xuan District.

Further investigation is ongoing.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220705/vietnamese-commune-official-suspendedgroping-tenth-grader/67960.html

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