Patient 91 was transferred to Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital on May 22 (Photo: Thanh Nien Newspaper)

Patient 91, the 43-year-old British pilot, was transferred to Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital on May 22 from the Hospital for Tropical Diseases as he repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19.

The patient is now receiving treatment at the hospital’s intensive care unit. He has tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 six consecutive times.

He has been treated for the disease for two months and three days, including 46 days on ECMO as his lungs were condensed by 90 percent.

A second CT scan shows that about 20-30 percent of his lungs have recovered and their function has also improved considerably. His pulse and blood pressure are also stable, according to Director of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases Prof., Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau.

Earlier, a sub-committee of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced that the patient has recovered from the disease and has no possibility of contracting with the virus again.

The Ministry of Health will continue to keep a close eye on the patient to conduct lung transplant for him once conditions are met./.

Province searches for people in contact with suspected COVID-19 case

Hậu Giang authorities check vehicles at the Vị Thanh Coach Station after a man entered the station with a slight temperature and coughing. 

Local authorities in the southern province of Hậu Giang are continuing to look for people who were in close contact with or travelling on the same vehicle with a man who returned from the southwestern border. The man was reported to have a slight temperature and cough.

The announcement was made on Friday by Nguyễn Thanh Tùng, director of the Hậu Giang Department of Health (DoH).

The provincial DoH said that on Thursday, a Vietnamese man entered the country via the Hồng Ngự Border Gate in the southern province of Đồng Tháp to Hậu Giang Province, without coming through a supervision station or providing a medical declaration.

The man was named as H.H.T, 52, from Vị Thanh City in Hậu Giang Province.

He travelled by taxi to the Hồng Ngự Border Gate, and then by coach from the gate to the Western Coach Station, and then on a 16-seat minibus to a restaurant in Tiền Giang Province. He then took another coach to go to Vị Thanh City.

When entering the city at about 2pm on Thursday, he experienced tiredness, a temperature and coughing. He went to the Ward 1 Medical Station for examination. Medical workers at the station reported his case to the Hậu Giang Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The man and three people in close contact with him are under quarantine at the provincial Hospital for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.

The man first tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 at 1.30pm on Friday. 

No new COVID-19 cases recorded in Vietnam on May 23 morning

No new COVID-19 cases recorded in Vietnam on May 23 morning hinh anh 1

Thai Binh General Hospital. Some COVID-19 patients are being treated at the hospital. (Photo: VNA)


Vietnam recorded no cases positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on May 23 morning, marking 37 days in a row without new infections in the community.

According to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the national COVID-19 tally now stands at 324, with 267 having recovered.

Among the total, 184 are imported cases and were quarantined upon their arrival in the country.

Of the patients being treated, six have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, while three others have tested negative for the virus at least twice.

There are 14,744 people kept in quarantine at present, including 266 at hospitals, 7,726 at other quarantine facilities, and 6,752 at home./.



Laos records no new COVID-19 cases for 40 straight days

Laos recorded no cases positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on May 21, marking 40 days in a row without new infections, the Ministry of Health announced at a press conference on May 22.

The ministry said 232 people were tested on May 21, including 130 Lao workers returning home from Thailand and 90 Vietnamese employees working in Laos. All tested negative for the virus. So far, Laos has just reported 19 COVID-19 cases with 14 recovered.

Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meuangpak said Laos has re-opened some international border gates with neighbouring countries. People entering Laos must have temperature checked and fill in health declaration forms.

On May 22, the Indonesian Ministry of Health reported that the country recorded 634 new infection cases in a single day and 48 deaths, raising the total numbers to 20,796 and 1,326, respectively.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said the country confirmed 614 more cases on May 22, bringing the tally to 30,426.       

The Philippines recorded 164 new cases and 11 more deaths on May 22, raising to the total numbers to 13,597 and 857, respectively./.

Indonesian President cancels holiday public gathering

Indonesian President Joko Widodo will not host an open house public gathering at the State Palace on the first day of the Idul Fitri holidays on May 25 to comply with physical distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An open house will involve a large mass gathering that can increase COVID-19 transmission, therefore the President will not host the event, presidential staffer Angkie Yudistia said on May 22.

She said that the president understood that Idul Fitri was a moment to forgive each other and to strengthen ties with relatives and friends. However, people needed to maintain physical distance and communicate online instead.

All meetings held and attended by the Indonesian President are conducted virtually using video. There should be no exception for Idul Fitri gatherings.

The Indonesian government previously declared a ban on all mass religious activities, including Idul Fitri congregational prayers, to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be home quarantined for 14 days after an officer who attended a recent meeting with him tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, the prime minister’s office said in a statement on May 22.

Muhyiddin has tested negative but all members of the meeting have been instructed to undergo screening and 14 days of self-quarantine, the statement added.

Malaysia recorded 78 new cases and one death on the day, raising the national tally to 7,137, with 115 fatalities./.

Thailand extends state of emergency for one month

A health worker helps a person disinfect hands with sanitiser (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has endorsed the proposal of the National Security Council (NSC) to extend the country’s current state of emergency until June 30.

According to CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the proposal responds to developments of the global pandemic and allows time for the preparation of further lockdown easing at the start of next month.

The NSC on May 21 decided to propose the emergency matter as well as those related to the next phase of relaxation of the lockdown and curfew to the CCSA. It invited representatives from related agencies like national security, public health and economy to hold a meeting in order to discuss the state of emergency, which has been enforced since March 26 and was scheduled to expire at the end of May.

Following the approval by the CCSA, the NSC will propose this matter again to the Cabinet on May 26.

The Thai government has planned four stages of lockdown easing, which is expected to last for two months, to completely reopen all activities provided that new COVID-19 cases are controlled. The first phase of the process began on May 3, although the decree on state of emergency and nighttime curfew remains in effect until the end of May.

On May 22, Thailand reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths, keeping its total confirmed cases at 3,037, with 2,910 recoveries, 56 fatalities and 71 patients still in hospital./.

Philippines: Bill plans tax on tech firms to fund COVID-19 fight

A bill has been introduced in the Philippines’ parliament, aiming at taxing big tech firms such as Facebook, Google and Youtube, Netflix and Spotify, to raise funds for the COVID-19 fight.

The bill looks to raise 29 billion PHP (571 million USD) by imposing a value added tax on digital services provided in the Philippines, a key growth area for e-commerce transactions as its people are among the world's heaviest users of social media.

Congressman Joey Salceda, the bill's principal author, said the country spent to fight COVID-19 and it needs more to continue fighting it and recover.

He said starting next year, funds raised from new taxes would also be used to finance digital programmes such as a national broadband project and digital learning to fill the education gap caused by school closures.

However, it may take a while before the proposal is scheduled for debate as lawmakers are busy deliberating on an economic stimulus package to jumpstart the Philippine economy, ravaged by pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Last week, neighbouring Indonesia announced plans for VAT of 10 percent on digital products from July to boost revenues amid the pandemic./.

Thailand, Myanmar to reopen schools in July

Thailand's Ministry of Education said on May 21 that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Public Health to pave way for the re-opening of schools nationwide on July 1 and to ensure the safety of students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students are at a greater risk of infection in schools than shoppers in malls, because they spend five to six hours together during the school day, a local health official said.

It will be challenging for teachers to ensure that students observe the health advisories, such as wearing face masks all the time at school, regularly washing their hands and keeping physical distancing.

Up to 3.8 percent of Thailand's COVID-19 infections are among those aged between 10 and 19, most of whom contracted the virus from other family members.

The Ministry of Education had already distributed handbooks to all academic institutions about social distancing and putting personal hygiene as priority.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has been planning to reopen basic education schools in mid-July.

Myanmar's academic year starts in June after three-month summer holidays from March to June, but this year's term will start a month later.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Education has been carrying out preventive measures against COVID-19 at basic education schools and parents are asked to help their children cope with epidemic preventive measures at home.

At present, there are over 48,000 basic education schools across the country and some are being used as quarantine facilities./.