Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asian May 1
PM orders investigation of Covid-19 testing equipment procurement
Health workers in Haiphong City work on a Realtime PCR machine for Covid-19 testing. The Health Ministry and local authorities have been urged to review and investigate the procurement of medical equipment to combat Covid-19 – PHOTO: VNA
The Health Ministry and local authorities have been urged to review and investigate the procurement of equipment used for testing Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued the order following a Ministry of Public Security proposal to probe the alleged fraud in the use of funding earmarked for Covid-19 prevention and control efforts, reported Thanh Nien newspaper.
PM Phuc asked the Health Ministry and provincial and municipal governments nationwide to quickly review the purchases of medical supplies, especially ventilators, face masks and coronavirus testing machines, to assist in the fight against Covid-19.
Also, they were told to transfer cases of violations to the investigation agencies, who will review them and impose sanctions in line with prevailing regulations, said the Government leader.
Earlier, it was noted that some localities had bought reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines for Covid-19 testing at inflated prices.
The Ministry of Public Security’s investigators found that the head and other employees of Hanoi Center for Disease Control and Prevention were in collusion with medical equipment companies to inflate the price of the bidding package for the purchase of RT-PCR machines.
Overseas Vietnamese in Ukraine present face masks to Odessa's military hospital
Vietnamese in the Ukrainian city of Odessa present 1,200 masks to Ovidiopol district’s fire and health agencies
The Vietnamese Association in the Ukrainian city of Odessa on April 28 handed over 1,000 medical face masks as gifts to the city’s Military Hospital to help it fight COVID-19.
The hospital's director Colonel Roman Kalchuk sent a letter to the association's chairman Nguyen Nhu Manh thanking the organisation for the donation and its support for improving the hospital’s facilities for COVID-19 diagnoses and treatment.
Earlier, the Vietnamese Association in Odessa also donated 3,000 face masks to the city’s department of public security on April 24.
Garment workshops of overseas Vietnamese in the city also presented 1,200 masks to Ovidiopol district’s fire and health agencies.
So far, overseas Vietnamese in Odessa have donated about 12,000 face masks to the Ukrainian city.
The local Vietnamese community has also taken measures to raise public awareness about the danger of the pandemic.
As of April 29, Odessa had 261 cases of COVID-19, none of whom are Vietnamese./.
Thailand to increase COVID-19 tests on at-risk groups
The number of COVID-19 tests on at-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, migrants and new prisoners, is expected to double next month, in line with the Thai government's efforts to contain the virus, according to the Department of Disease Control (CDC).
The department’s chief Suwannachai Watanayingcharoenchai said the board decided that increasing the number of laboratory tests is necessary as the government plans to relax emergency measures. The department expects to be able to conduct at least 5,000 tests per one million people by next month.
He said target places include Samut Sakhon, Bangkok and three provinces in the south of the kingdom.
Suwannachai said CDC board members during the meeting discussed what steps other agencies can take to allow some businesses to reopen.
These include markets, restaurants, department stores, massage shops, gyms, spas and production houses, he added. Owners will still have to abide by social distancing rules and personal hygiene.
Suwannachai said the board will submit a plan to the Centre for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, which is chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Thailand recorded seven new COVID-19 cases on April 30, with no new deaths. The country has to date reported 2,954 patients, of whom 54 had died of the disease./.
Reuters hails Vietnam’s response to COVID-19 pandemic
|Checking body temprature at a Vietnamese hospital|
The UK’s Reuters news agency on April 30 run an article praising the Vietnamese government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reuters wrote: It was late January, just after the Lunar New Year. Vietnam had detected its first two cases of the new coronavirus days earlier, and the government was contacting companies with experience of medical testing for urgent help.
Phan Quoc Viet, General Director of Viet A Corp, said: "The official said Vietnam needed to act quickly." The company later successfully produced the test kit LightPower iVA SARS-CoV-2 1st RT-rPCR which was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As early as January 23, Vietnam suspended flights to and from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started, immediately after discovering its first two cases. It acted even though the WHO was at that point advising against travel restrictions. A week after that, Vietnam effectively closed its 1,400-km (870-mile) border with China to all but essential trade.
By mid-March, Vietnam made the wearing of masks in public places mandatory nationwide, well ahead of most other countries and not heeding the WHO's advice that only people with symptoms should wear them. Some of Vietnam's garment factories turned to making surgical and cloth masks to meet demand.
Vietnam, a country of 96 million people which shares a border with China, is signalling that it has succeeded where many wealthier and more developed countries have not by containing the new coronavirus.
The government is officially reporting a relatively small 270 cases and zero deaths. That puts the country on course to revive its economy much sooner than most others, according to several public health experts interviewed by Reuters.
These public health experts say Vietnam was successful because it made early, decisive moves to restrict travel into the country, put tens of thousands of people into quarantine and quickly scaled up the use of tests and a system to track down people who might have been exposed to the virus.
"The steps are easy to describe but difficult to implement, yet they've been very successful at implementing them over and over again," said Matthew Moore, a Hanoi-based official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who has been liaising with Vietnam's government on the outbreak since early January. He added that the CDC has "great confidence" in the Vietnamese government's response to the crisis.
Vietnam increased the number of laboratories that can test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, from three at the beginning of the outbreak in January, to 112 by April.
As of April 29, 213,743 tests had been conducted in Vietnam, of which 270 were positive, according to health ministry data.
"It is organised, it can make country-wide policy decisions that get enacted quickly and efficiently and without too much controversy," said Guy Thwaites, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City. Thwaites's laboratory has been helping to process tests.
Thwaites said the number of positive tests processed by his organisation's lab was in line with government data.
Todd Pollack, a Hanoi-based infectious diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School, said that less than 10 percent of the people who tested positive for the virus in Vietnam were over 60 – the age group most likely to die from COVID-19. All patients, he added, were closely monitored in health facilities and given good medical care.
Russian news agency praises Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19
RIA Novosti, one of Russia’s biggest news agencies, ran an article on April 29 saying Vietnam’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been amazing.
While many countries have struggled, Vietnam has contained the disease and had zero fatalities, the article said.
The reason lies in the effective preventive measures the Vietnamese Government has taken throughout the two waves of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the country: “Each factory, each neighbourhood, and each citizen must become a fortress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the agency wrote.
The article also quoted Associate Professor Peter Tsvetov from the Moscow diplomatic academy as saying Vietnamese people understand and respect their citizen rights while the Government knows how to mobilise public support.
A Russian woman in Ho Chi Minh City was quoted as saying that everyone observed regulations and stayed at home.
Recent events have reflected Vietnam’s sound organisational capacity and people’s confidence in the Government, she added.
There is no discrimination against Europeans, which has been seen in some countries. On the contrary, Vietnamese are friendly, she said, noting that its secret in the fight is public awareness and prompt responses from authorities.
The article also spoke of Vietnam’s international cooperation in this regard, saying the US Centers for Disease Control sent a delegation to the country in late February to learn from its experience in pandemic response.
Vietnam now helps other countries in the fight, the agency wrote, by presenting them with hundreds of thousands of medical face masks./.
COVID-19 case number remains at 270
Vietnam recorded no new case of COVID-19 for the past 12 hours, with the number of cases remain at 270 as of 6 am on May 1, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
An apartment building was put under quarantine. Illustrative image
The country has had no infections in the community for a full 15 days as from 6am on April 16.
A total of 47,735 people are under quarantine or health monitoring across the country. They are people who returned from epidemic-hit countries or had close contact with COVID-19 patients.
Among patients under treatment at hospitals, 10 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, and five negative for at least twice.
On April 30, Standing Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long signed a document asking hospitals and health departments of provinces and cities to implement telemedical checkup to help with epidemic prevention.
Medical institutions can continue using software they have used until now, or use IT platforms in accordance with guidance of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Information and Communication.
One relapsed COVID-19 patient reported on April 30
A COVID-19 patient who had been previously given the all-clear has tested positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 again, the Ministry of Health reported on April 30 afternoon.
Patient 92 is a student returning from France who had been declared to have recovered by the Cu Chi COVID-19 treatment hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on April 14. After being discharged from hospital, he has been under quarantine and medical monitoring at home.
However, his test result turned positive on April 29. The student is being treated at the Cu Chi hospital.
Also on April 30, the 268th patient, who was quarantined and treated at the Dong Van General Hospital in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, was declared to have fully recovered from the disease
The patient, a H’Mong ethnic minority girl in Dong Van district’s Pho La commune, was confirmed as Ha Giang’s first COVID-19 infection on April 16. She will be quarantined and monitored for the next 14 days at the hospital.
Vietnam reported no new COVID-19 cases on April 30, marking 14 days in a row the country has recorded no infections in the community.
Of the 270 confirmed patients, 130 are imported cases who were quarantined upon their arrival, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
A total of 34,836 people who had close contact with confirmed patients or coming from pandemic-hit regions have been quarantined across the country, including 316 at hospitals, 6,700 at concentrated quarantine areas and 27,820 at home.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed with the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control’s proposal to suspend the purchase of medicines under a scenario the country has 10,000 COVID-19 patients.
Overseas Vietnamese in Voronezh support locals in COVID-19 fight
The Vietnamese association in Voronezh hands over medical face masks and gloves to a social protection agency of the city
The Vietnamese association in Voronezh hands over medical face masks and gloves to a social protection agency of the city
The Vietnamese community in Voronezh city has organised some charitable activities to support local residents as the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading in Russia.
Pham Ngoc Trung, chairman of the Vietnamese association in Voronezh, on April 28 led a delegation to present medical face masks and gloves to a social protection agency of the city, and gift packages to 70 local households with difficult circumstances.
Amid impacts caused by the pandemic, the association has had activities to joint hands with the municipal authority to share difficulties with locals, especially poor households, Trung said.
Members of the association always contribute to the city's social and cultural activities every year, and have been appreciated by the municipal authority, he added.
According to Trung, about 1,000 Vietnamese people are living, working and studying in Voronezh. They have strictly implemented disease prevention measures as recommended by local health authorities. No Vietnamese people in Voronezh have to date infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2./.
COVID-19 still spreads in Southeast Asia
The Philippine Health Ministry on April 29 announced that the total number of COVID-19 infections in the country has surpassed 8,200, including 558 deaths.
In the past 24 hours, the country recorded 254 more cases and 28 fatalities.
Singapore still posted the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia with 15,641 cases. In the past 24 hours, the country recorded 690 new cases, most of them are immigrant workers living in dormitories.
Also on April 29, Indonesia announced additional 260 cases, bringing the total to 9,771 with 784 deaths.
Malaysia has so far confirmed 5,945 cases and 100 deaths.
Meanwhile, Thailand reported single-digit COVID-19 cases for the third successive day with nine new cases confirmed over a 24-hour period. The country has to date recorded 2,947 cases, including 54 deaths. Up to 2,665 of them fully recovered and 228 others under treatment./.
Vietnam Red Cross Society presents medical supplies to US people
US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink receives the donations (Photo: US Embassy in Vietnam)
The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) on April 29 handed over face masks and other medical supplies to help the US people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
These include 120,000 medical masks donated by the VRCS, and 300,000 masks donated by the Vietnam-US Alumni Club (VUSAC)-Hanoi.
In her speech at the ceremony, Chairwoman of the VRCS Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said the donations are a very small number compared to what is needed in the US, but there is so much love behind every one of those masks.
The gifts show the solidarity and friendship between the Vietnamese people and their US counterparts, she added.
In accepting the donations, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink thanked the VRCS and individuals and organisations who contributed to these donations through VUSAC-Hanoi.
He expressed his belief that people-to-people relations are the most solid foundation for close and lasting ties between nations.
“I am so honored to be witnessing this outpouring of love and support”, he said.
The diplomat also praised the Vietnamese Government for successfully responding to COVID-19 with a spirit of initiative, cooperation and transparency, adding that Vietnamese people have joined hands with their high determination to contain the disease.
Fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic together has spotlighted the nature of strength, flexibility and multifaceted cooperation in the Vietnam-US relationship, he said./.
Vietnam donates medical supplies to help Russia fight COVID-19
The Vietnam-Russia Friendship Parliamentarians Group (VRFPG) and a group of Vietnamese alumni who had studied in Russia and are now working at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources on April 29 handed over medical supplies and cash worth over 1 billion VND (42,600 USD) to the Russian Embassy in Vietnam to help the Russian people in the fight against COVID-19.
Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, Chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for Science, Technology and Environment Phan Xuan Dung, who is also head of the VRFPG, said the Vietnamese people, including many Vietnamese alumni who had studied in Russia, have eagerly responded to the campaign calling for support to the Russian people to overcome the difficult time.
The gift is consider as a thank from the Vietnamese people in general and Vietnamese alumni in particular to Russia and its people, and shows Vietnam’s solidarity with the country, he stressed.
Dung expressed his belief that Russia will be successful in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
For his part, Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vnukov thanked the Vietnamese people in general, the VRFPG and Vietnamese alumni in particular for their assistance, affirming that this is a valuable help for the Russian people at present.
He also praised professional and effective response measures taken by Vietnam in the fight against the epidemic, saying that those have been recognised and appreciated by the international community.
With the solidarity and unity, countries will soon push back the epidemic, the ambassador said./.
Australian newspaper spotlights Vietnam’s incredible achievements in COVID-19 fight
An article run by the Australian newspaper "The Sydney Morning Herald" has highly evaluated Vietnam's extraordinary results in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as the nation recorded only 270 cases of infection and no fatalities since the outbreak began in January.
As an increasingly important strategic partner of Australia, Vietnam implemented a sweeping set of measures that significantly slowed down the spread of COVID-19.
“The country has just gone 12 days in a row without reporting any new community-transmitted infections,” it noted.
While other Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia enjoyed similar successes initially before being hit by a second wave of cases, Vietnam has managed to keep its infection rate remarkably low.
The Herald highlighted measures Vietnam has applied to contain the spread of the virus, including regulations on temperature screenings and health declarations at airports as well as banning entry to foreigners from March 22 and public gatherings of 20 or more people.
The country has put in place strict rules that have seen festivals, religious ceremonies, and sporting events suspended, it added.
Vietnam, it wrote, has so far conducted 133,000 tests, one of the highest figures in the region, citing the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)'s COVID-19 tracking website./.
Vietnam Red Cross donates medical supplies to Cambodia
The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRC) has donated 60,000 medical masks and 300 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to its Cambodian counterpart to help the Cambodian people fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation was handed over by Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh to the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) Society in Phnom Penh on the morning of April 29.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, head of the CRC’s Financial Committee Ouk Maly expressed her deep gratitude for the aid, adding that the medical supplies will be distributed to hospitals around Cambodia.
She spoke highly of relations between the Red Cross Societies of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, particularly given the three have signed an agreement to enhance the exchange of experience and expand cooperation.
She went on to say that the CRC has also received donations from many Vietnamese enterprises in Cambodia to assist the country’s COVID-19 relief efforts, for example the Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia, a subsidy of the Vietnam-based BIDV, and Viettel’s Metfone.
The donations, including rice, hand sanitiser, medical masks, and soap, have been given to people throughout Cambodia, she said.
She expressed her appreciation towards the VRC and Vietnamese people at large for sharing with and supporting Cambodia in times of difficulty, preserving long-standing ties between the two countries' people.
Ambassador Minh, for his part, said he is proud to see many Vietnamese firms contributing to the CRC’s efforts. He also took the occasion to thank the CRC for providing regular assistance to Vietnamese-born Cambodians facing difficulties, particularly those hurt by the pandemic.
On April 8, on behalf of the Vietnamese Government, he presented medical supplies worth 7 billion VND (298,200 USD) to the Cambodian Government and people to aid their fight against COVID-19. The aid included PPE, medical and anti-bacterial masks, and coronavirus testing kits./.