Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

First Vietnamese national contracts COVID-19 in Cambodia

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

A female tourist has become the first Vietnamese citizen to be infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in Cambodia, following an announcement by the Cambodian Ministry of Health on April 7.

The statement issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Health notes that the 27-year-old patient originally entered Cambodia on March 10 and went on to be diagnosed with the coronavirus on April 6. She is currently receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh. 

Amid the neighbouring country enduring complicated developments relating to the COVID-19 epidemic, Vo Tuan Ngoc, Counselor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia, stated that the embassy will work closely with the Khmer-Vietnam Association and other relevant agencies to urge Vietnamese citizens to take preventative measures to protect themselves.

In addition, the embassy has been striving to regularly provide Vietnamese nationals with updated information on the pandemic, whilst also urging citizens to strictly abide by health recommendations set out by the Cambodian government. This includes advising them to avoid crowded places and halt all but essential travel.

At present, there has been 115 recorded cases of the COVID-19 in Cambodia, although so far no fatalities have been reported.

Hanoi trade union helps over 50,000 workers affected by COVID-19

The Hanoi Federation of Labor has introduced a raft of measures to support more than 50,000 workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to statistics from the federation, as at April 3 a total of 3,610 enterprises with 121,273 employees were directly affected by the disease. Of the enterprises, 896 had to suspend operations.

The federation therefore took 1.5 billion VND (about 64,000 USD) from its budget to help 1,500 disadvantaged trade union members working in local businesses and producers as well as non-public educational facilities.

Trade unions in the capital have to date provided support to 50,558 affected workers and also presented 915,000 face masks, 52,417 bottles of sanitiser, protective gear, medical equipment, and food, together with nearly 7 billion VND in cash, for local COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.

The federation has set up working groups to actively implement measures to ensure security, social order, and safety among the trade unionists.

Indonesia: Large-scale social restrictions imposed for Jakarta to curb COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

A woman is seen wearing mask on a street in Jakarta to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Jakarta will intensify measures to restrict people’s movements after being granted permission by the Indonesian government to implement large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city had already implemented large-scale social distancing policies but they had now become legally binding to all residents, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told an online press conference on April 7 evening.

Starting on April 10, gatherings of more than five people will be prohibited, Anies said, and public transportation services will limit passenger numbers to 50 percent of capacity and restrict their operational hours from 6 am to 6 pm.

Private vehicles could still enter Jakarta, but a limit will be imposed on the number of passengers allowed in each vehicle, the governor added.

The Jakarta administration and the central government will provide financial aid for low-income people affected by the PSBB policies, he noted.

The same day, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the Indonesian government will distribute cash aid for 3.7 million people in Jakarta and 1.64 million people the capital's satellite cities, such as Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java, and Tangerang in Banten. Each beneficiary will receive 600,000 IDR (37.11 USD) that is supposed to be sufficient for three months.

Jakarta has been the country’s hardest-hit by the COVID-19 which has reported 1,552 confirmed cases, including 144 deaths, as of April 8 morning.

In Thailand, 111 new infections and three deaths have been recorded on April 8, pushing the total cases in the country to 2,369 with 30 deaths. It has raised concerns that the numbers were going back up to 3 digits again after Thailand recorded a drop to only 38 new infections on April 7, the lowest in weeks.

On March 26, Thailand invoked the emergency decree with the aim of limiting people's movements and forcing them to stay at home in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

More than 620 people nationwide have been prosecuted for defying the decree, according to Prayuth Phetchakhun, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

Violators are liable to a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 THB.

Thailand sees increasing demand for drive-through COVID-19 tests

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

The demand for drive-through COVID-19 tests in Thailand has been increasing in the recent time as the pandemic is raging the Southeast Asian country.

Vejthani Hospital in Bangkok is offering this service at the price of 6.500 baht (198 USD) for both Thais and foreigners.

To qualify for the drive-through test, the person’s body temperature should be around 37.5 Celsius (normal body temperature).

The person must show no other symptoms such as coughing, runny nose and having difficult breathing, as well as have no travel history and no visitation to high-risk places since the outbreak began.

If the person has suspected symptoms, he or she has to undergo the standard test at the hospital which could cost around 10,000 baht (304 USD) instead. At Vibhavadi Hospital, the test also costs 6,500 baht and if the result comes out to be positive, the cost for the test will be free.

The hospital said it has administered more than 2,256 drive-through tests between March 18 and April 5 and the demand has been increasing.

Thailand reported 38 new COVID-19 cases and one death on April 7, bringing the total numbers to 2,258 and 27 respectively. Meanwhile, 824 patients have recovered./

Ethnic Vietnamese present medical equipment to Thai province

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

The association hands over the relief to the hospital of Udon Thani province 

An association of ethnic Vietnamese in the northeastern Thai province of Udon Thani has handed over nearly 1,500 plastic face shields to the province in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

Association Chairman Luong Xuan Hoa presented 1,050 shields to local authorities and 400 others to the provincial hospital on April 7. 

Members of the Vietnamese community, he noted, are working to produce more face shields as gifts to hospitals and others engaged in the fight against the global pandemic.

If the disease lingers on, the association will adopt measures to provide food and necessities to the disadvantaged in the province, he added.

Udon Thani is home to the largest number of ethnic Vietnamese in Thailand, at about 60,000.

As at April 8, Thailand had reported a total of 2,369 COVID-19 cases, including 30 fatalities. Bangkok had seen the largest number of infections with 1,223, followed by the neighboring province of Nonthaburi and the tourist island of Phuket./.

Samsung Vietnam contributes VND10 billion to COVID-19 fight

Samsung Vietnam has raised a total of VND10 billion in cash to support the country’s on-going battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

Of the total figure, VND7 billion was donated to the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee with the remainder of the sum going to VFF chapters in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen where the group operates factories. 

In addition, the enterprise has offered a range of high-end smartphone products that can serve in testing activities and assist the Vietnamese government in deploying technological applications as a means of boosting COVID-19 prevention measures.

Simultaneously, Samsung Vietnam has also provided large-screen televisions which will allow local authorities to closely monitor the situation as it unfolds.

Choi Joo-ho, general director of Samsung Vietnam, affirmed that the group is ready to join the government in the fight against the COVID-19 and to help protect the health of the community.

He expressed his belief the country will overcome this current difficult period by utilising the combined efforts of the entire society, businesses, and organisations nationwide.

Previously, Samsung Vietnam had launched a rescue program to assist Vietnamese farmers who were badly affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Most notably, the group’s staff have participated in fund raising programs launched by the company in response to the appeal for public support to boost the fight against the virus.

VNA supports national fund to fight COVID-19

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on April 8 presented 100 million VND (4,250 USD) to the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At a ceremony for receiving the assistance, VFF President Tran Thanh Man expressed his gratitude to staff, reporters, and editors at the State news agency, adding that the two organisations have worked closely together to publicise VFF’s activities to the public.

He also spoke highly of the role and participation of the media in general and VNA in particular in updating the public about the COVID-19 situation, ensuring the prompt publication of Party and State guidelines on disease prevention. 

VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi pledged that the news agency will bolster its reporting on COVID-19 prevention and control in the time ahead, sparing no effort to fulfil the tasks entrusted it by the Party, State, and people.

On the same day, the VFF received 300 million VND from the Ministry of Education and Training, 50 million VND from the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, and 150 million VND from the University of Economics and Technical Industries.

Man said that three weeks since the launch of a fighting fund, donors have presented cash and kind worth more than 770 billion VND (32.58 million USD), while another 129 billion VND (nearly 5.5 million USD) has been raised through the National Humanitarian Portal./.

Four more COVID-19 patients recover

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

As of April 8 afternoon, 126 COVID-19 patients in Vietnam have fully recovered.

Four more COVID-19 patients have been given the all-clear on April 8, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 126.

Among the four patients, three were treated at the Can Gio hospital for COVID-19 in Ho Chi Minh City. Two of them are South African nationals, and one Vietnamese.

The fourth patient, a Vietnamese, was treated at the Cu Chi acute respiratory disease hospital, also in Ho Chi Minh City.

Those newly-cured patients will continue to stay in quarantine and have their health monitored for the next 14 days.

Vietnam had 251 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 6am on April 8.

Embassy helps Vietnamese in Germany overcome COVID-19

The Vietnamese Embassy in Germany will assist the nearly 180,000 Vietnamese people living, working, and studying in the country in overcoming difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ambassador Nguyen Minh Vu said on April 7.

Ambassador Vu called on the Vietnamese community to continue following regulations and warnings from the German Government and strengthen solidarity to overcome the crisis.

He reminded people that those displaying symptoms like a high fever or shortness of breath should promptly visit a hospital for treatment.

He hopes that associations and businesses will continue to publicise the regulations the German Government has introduced.

The embassy had prepared a series of events to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Germany, he explained, but the pandemic has forced the cancellation of all large gatherings.

The embassy has regularly updated information from the German and Vietnamese Governments, especially regarding entry-exit regulations, on the websites of the embassy and the Consulate General. 

Since Germany and the EU are tightening border controls and many airlines have cancelled flights, the embassy has supported Vietnamese citizens seeking to return home. No Vietnamese citizens have been stranded at German airports, he added.

Hanoi imposes lockdown on Ha Loi Village

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Mê Linh District’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control imposed a lockdown on Hạ Lôi Village, Hà Nội’s Mê Linh Commune on Tuesday afternoon.

Mê Linh District’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control imposed a lockdown on Hạ Lôi Village in Hà Nội’s Mê Linh Commune on Tuesday afternoon.

The decision was made following news that the country's 243rd COVID-19 patient, confirmed on Monday, lives and had attended a wedding ceremony in the village during his incubation period.

The People’s Committee of the district will provide free food for all 2.973 households in the village during the lockdown, which run from April 8 to May 5.

During that time, villagers have been told to stay at home, and only one family member is allowed out to collect food each day.

The 243rd patient is a 47-year-old man, from Mê Linh Commune, Mê Linh District in Hà Nội. He took his wife to Bạch Mai Hospital for a health examination on March 12 and returned home the same day. The couple had lunch at a restaurant opposite the hospital and did not return to the hospital.

Last Friday, he took his wife to the Hà Nội Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital for examination without declaring that he and his wife had visited Bạch Mai Hospital on March 12 as per the requirements of the Ministry of Health.

It resulted in 63 doctors and nurses from the Hà Nội Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital being put in quarantine at the hospital on Monday.

On Wednesday morning, a neighbour of the patient 243 in Hạ Lôi Village was confirmed as the 250th patient after having tested positive for the disease.

Ha Nam quarantines 30 doctors, locks down one village

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Some 30 doctors and medical workers in Hà Nam General Hospital have been quarantined for contacting the 251st COVID-19 patient. — Photo thanhnien.vn

Hà Nam Province’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has decided to quarantine 30 doctors and medical workers in Hà Nam General Hospital for contacting the 251st COVID-19 patient.

The decision was made at an urgent meeting at midnight on Tuesday after the committee received test results showing the patient was positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The committee also immediately imposed a lockdown on Village Ngô Khê 3, Bình Nghĩa Commune, Bình Lục District at midnight on Tuesday. The 251st patient lives in the village.

As per the Ministry of Health’s bulletin announced on Wednesday morning, the 251st patient is a 64-year-old Vietnamese man. Since March 20, he was being treated at the Department of Gastroenterology in the Hà Nam General Hospital where his son and daughter-in-law, who live in Hà Nội, had been taking care of him. The man tested positive for COVID-19 on April 7. This source of his infection is under investigation. 

The committee had sprayed disinfectant at the hospital and implemented epidemiological surveillance for all relevant people at midnight. 

COVID-19 affects relocation of Indonesian capital

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

The project to move the Indonesian capital from Jakarta to North Penajam Paser in East Kalimantan might be delayed by COVID-19. 

The project to move the Indonesian capital from Jakarta to North Penajam Paser in East Kalimantan might be delayed by COVID-19 as the government shifted some of its budget to pandemic relief efforts, according a government official.

Jodi Mahardi, spokesperson of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, said there have been no further talks on the budget for the project as the ministry is following orders from President Joko Widodo to focus on fighting COVID-19.

The ministry’s focus now is to seek appropriate measures to cope with the pandemic as instructed by the President, Jodi said.

He added that the government has been reallocating spending in non-critical and non-urgent categories to anti-coronavirus programmes.

Although a large amount of investment in the new capital development is expected to come from private investors, the government has also allocated around 6.3 billion USD from the state budget for the project over the next five years.

Most of this money was supposed to be spent on land clearance and construction of basic infrastructures at the end of 2020.

Ward chairman suspended for allowing karaoke bar to remain open

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8
The karaoke bar on Minh Khai Street, Đông Ngàn Ward, Bắc Ninh Province.— Photo thanhnien.vn

The People’s Committee of Từ Sơn Town, Bắc Ninh Province, has decided to suspend Phạm Quyết Tiến – chairman of the People’s Committee of Đông Ngàn Ward – for seven days.

The move came after the town committee reported on Monday that Sao Băng Karaoke Shop on Minh Khai Street, Đông Ngàn Ward, was still open during the imposition of social distancing to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 under Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s order.

The town committee also told the authorised agencies to strictly deal with the karaoke bar for violating regulations on COVID-19 pandemic prevention.

Agencies were asked to clarify the responsibility of the head of the ward’s police office for letting the karaoke bar stay open.

The town committee assigned vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Đông Ngàn Ward Tạ Đức Huy to be in charge and manage work during Tiến’s suspension. 

Another 27 COVID-19 patients recover, total at 122

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Eleven COVID-19 patients have recovered and discharged from the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy of the hospital

Another 27 COVID-19 patients have recovered and were discharged from hospitals on April 7, bringing the country’s total to 122 cases being given the all-clear in Việt Nam.

They include seven foreign patients and 20 Vietnamese patients from six health facilities across the country.

This is the second time a large number of COVID-19 patients have been declared as recovered and discharged from treatment facilities in a day in Việt Nam.

Previously, on March 30, the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases also said goodbye to 27 patients who had recovered from COVID-19.

“The 27 patients recovering today are thanks to constant efforts from treatment facilities of Việt Nam, showing significant progress of the health sector in treating COVID-19 patients,” said Lương Ngọc Khuê, deputy head of the Treatment Subcommittee of the Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.  

At the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, there are 11 recovered patients, including 10 Vietnamese and a female French citizen. They were the country's 21st, 72nd, 84th, 111th, 116th, 136th, 137th, 192nd, 197th, 200th and 222nd cases. All are in a stable condition.

The recovered patients in full are:

Patient 21, male, 61, living in Ba Đình District, Hà Nội, was admitted to the hospital on March 7. His three tests have been negative for SARS-CoV-2 on March 25, April 1 and 3. 

Patient 72, female, 25, French nationality, was admitted to the hospital on March 14. The patient’s test on March 31 had a weak positive result. However, her tests were negative on April 2 and 3.

Patient 84, male, 21, living in Phương Mai Ward, Đống Đa District, Hà Nội, was admitted to the hospital on March 19. The patient’s test showed negative result on March 29 and weak positive result on April 1. His final two tests confirmed negative for SARS-CoV-2 on April 3 and 5. 

Patient 111, female, 25, living in Hải Hậu, Nam Định Province, was admitted to the hospital on March 22. Her test results showed a weak positive on March 27 and negative on March 30 and April 3. 

Patient 116, male, 29, in Hoài Đức District, Hà Nội, was admitted to the hospital on March 21. His tests showed a positive result on March 27 and negative results on March 30 and April 2. 

Patient 136, female, 23, Vietnamese nationality, was admitted to the hospital on March 24. Her test results showed positive on March 28 and negative on March 31 and April 3. 

Patient 137, male, 36, living in Yên Thành District, Nghệ An central Province, was admitted to the hospital on March 23. His three tests were negative three times on April 2, 3 and 5.

Patient 192, female, 23, living in Lý Nhân District, Hà Nam Province, was admitted to the hospital on March 29. She tested positive on March 29 and negative on April 1 and 4. 

Patient 197, male, 41, living in Thanh Oai District, Hà Nội, was admitted to the hospital on March 30. His tests were negative on March 30, April 4 and 5. 

Patient 200, female, 61, living in Đại Từ District, Thái Nguyên Province, was admitted to the hospital on March 29. She tested negative three times on March 29, April 1 and 4. 

Patient 222, female, 28, living in Long Biên District, Hà Nội, was admitted to the hospital on March 23. Her tests showed a positive result on March 23 and negative on March 26 and 29. 

At the Củ Chi field hospital in HCM City, there are four patients discharged, including two Vietnamese, one American and one Canadian. Patients who were declared cured include: Patient 95 (male, 20, Vietnamese nationality); Patient 96 (female, 21, Vietnamese nationality); Patient 119 (male, 29, United States nationality); and Patient 120 (male, 27, Canadian nationality).

At the Cần Giờ COVID-19 Treatment Hospital, there are four patients, including two Vietnamese patients; one UK and one Brazilian. They include: Patient 98 (Male patient, 34, British national); Patient 142 (male, 26, Vietnamese nationality); Patient 159 (male patient, 33, Brazilian nationality); and Patient 160 (female, 30, Vietnamese nationality).

Patient 150, male, 55, Vietnamese nationality, also has recovered and was discharged from the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases today.

At Huế Central General Hospital, there are two British patients discharged. They are: Patient 30 (female, 66) and Patient 31 (male, 49). The British couple left the hospital on Tuesday morning, meaning there are no more confirmed cases in Huế.

At Sa Đéc Đồng Tháp General Hospital, there are four Vietnamese patients discharged, including a 9-year-old girl. They include: Patient 101 (female, 26); Patient 102 (female, 9); Patient 103 (male, 23); and Patient 104 (female, 33).

Patient 123, female, 17, Vietnamese nationality, also recovered and was discharged from the Bình Đại District Medical Centre in Bến Tre Province today.

All patients will continue to be isolated and monitored for the next 14 days.

Group of Hà Nội residents do their bit in fight against COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8
A group of Ciputra apartment's residents in Hà Nội prepare meals for doctors and health workers in the fight against COVID-19. — Photo laodong.vn

A group of residents living in the Ciputra apartment complex in Hà Nội have raised VNĐ1 billion (US$42,600) to help the fight against COVID-19.

They are collaborating with a private enterprise, Khóa Huy Hoàng Ltd.Co, to provide meals for doctors and health workers in two branches of the Hà Nội-based National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

The group members in co-ordination with a local restaurant prepare raw materials, cook, and transport about 640 meals (including a soup, fruit and rice with meat) every day, of which 360 are for Đông Anh District branch and 280 for Hà Nội branch.

"We want to share with the doctors and health workers, who are day and night on the front line struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic," L., a resident of Ciputra who contributed to the fund and helped prepare the meals, said.

Ms. L, asking to remain anonymous, said the meals, worth VNĐ50,000 each, for doctors and health workers will be maintained regularly every day until the COVID-19 pandemic ends in Viêt Nam.

A representative of the resident group said: "After talking with the Social Work Department of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, we learned that the doctors and health workers were in need of meals.”

“Therefore, we have coordinated with a restaurant to prepare a menu for the hospital to choose from.”

Phương Văn Đức, a representative of the resident group, said: “We want hygienic and nutritious meals for doctors and health workers, who are helping patients fight against COVID-19.”

Currently, the members are helping the staff of Khóa Huy Hoàng Co., Ltd. in meal preparation and delivery during the week.

 

To ensure that the delivery of meals to the two hospital branches was done by 5pm, members begin cooking at 1pm.

“All members are enthusiastic and happy when participating in this social work,” L. said.

“After being carefully boxed, meals will be delivered to cars to be taken to two hospital branches.”

With the fight against COVID-19 entering a difficult stage, hundreds of thousands of doctors and health workers across the country are living away from their families for a long time, day and night they were taking care of sick patients.

In particular, on the front lines against the pandemic, like at the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases, there are a high number of patients who are under treatment and isolation. 

Financial assistance provided to workers affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

A landlord in Bình  Phước Province, who has reduced rent for tenants, presents masks to renters.

Financial assistance from the Government, organisations and sponsors is being given to many businesses and individuals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In HCM City, local authorities will allocate VNĐ1.8 trillion (US$77 million) to provide allowances to 600,000 workers who have been affected by the crisis, including job losses. The allowances will be provided for a maximum of three months, beginning this month.

Affected workers in industrial parks, export processing zones and Sài Gòn Hi-tech Park, as well as teachers at private kindergartens, will be the beneficiaries.

The HCM City Labour Federation has raised a fund of nearly VNĐ8 billion ($343,198) to support 4,700 workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19.

The Labour Federation in eight districts has called on 93 landlords to reduce rental fees from VNĐ100,000 to VNĐ1 million per month for 4,500 workers. Many of the landlords have presented rice and other essential items to workers who rent their rooms. Workers have been allowed to pay rent at a later date. 

Nguyễn Thị  Giám of District 8 has reduced rent on 200 rooms for workers, while Nguyễn Thị Xuân Hà of District 8 has donated 20 kilogrammes of rice and is taking care of children of workers who rent her rooms. She has also decreased their rent.

Phạm Ngọc Lan, chairwoman of the Labour Federation in Tân Phú District, said that monthly rent for rooms in the district has been reduced from VNĐ1.8 million – VNĐ2 million to VNĐ800,000 – VNĐ1.4 million.

Lê Thị Thu Hương, who rents a room in Tân Phú District’s Tây Thạnh Ward, said that her rent was reduced by 50 per cent. 

The Labour Federation in the neighbouring provinces of Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Bình Phước and others have called on landlords to reduce rent.

In Đồng Nai Province, more than 27,000 workers at 29 enterprises have seen their working hours cut or have lost jobs because their enterprises have gone bankrupt.

Lê Hữu Hiền, chief of the Đồng Nai Province’s Labour Federation, predicted that more and more enterprises in the province will be affected, leading to an increase in job losses. 

According to the Đồng Nai Province Employment Service Centre, the number of unemployed visiting the centre for unemployment benefits has increased.  

Last month, nearly VNĐ120 billion from the province’s unemployment insurance fund was paid to unemployed workers in the province.

As many as 6,600 people who have lost jobs have been introduced to new jobs by the centre.

In Bình Dương Province, more than 500 landlords have exempted or reduced rent for people affected by the pandemic.

Several of them have exempted 100 per cent of rent for two months, and others have exempted rent for this month. Landlords who have reduced a part of the rent have also presented food to tenants who rent their rooms.  

In the first quarter, 34,900 enterprises in the country temporarily suspended operation or were dissolved, an increase of 2 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. 

Vietnamese donate thousands of protective medical items to Czech hospitals

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Protective health supplies, such as socks, masks and gloves are donated by Vietnamese people in the Czech Republic to Motol University Hospital in Prague. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese people in the Czech Republic have donated thousands of protective health supplies, such as socks, masks and gloves alongside other necessities for local medical workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response in Prague.

The sought-after items have been collected by Vietnamese volunteers in just three days in response to the call for help by the Na Homolce Hospital and Motol University Hospital in the capital city.

The donations were presented to the two hospitals on April 6 as a gesture of motivation for Czech health workers who have been working day and night to care for an increasing number of COVID-19 patients.

Deputy Director of Na Homolce Hospital Mgr. Ivana Kirchnerova expressed her gratitude for the “wonderful gifts” from the Vietnamese community. “We are deeply touched and appreciate what the Vietnamese community has done for us,” she said.

Not only in Prague, similar support has also been sent by Vietnamese expats to major hospitals in other cities across the Czech Republic, such as Ostrava, Brno, Plzen and Teplice.

Since early last month, Vietnamese people have shown their solidarity with the Czech community in the fight against the COVID-19 through a number of charity and relief projects.

They have worked alongside locals to make homemade masks to donate to ill-equipped medical, police and emergency units in the European country.

Many Vietnamese restaurants and food stores have offered police as well as health and emergency workers free food and drinks like tea and coffee.

They have also presented thousands of masks and protective gloves to the governments of Vyssi Brod, Cesky Krumlove, Ricany and Vectek, and hospitals in Znojmo and Prague.

 Ha Nam province holds urgent meeting following new COVID-19 infection

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

The steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control of northern Ha Nam province held an urgent meeting on late April 7 after a local man had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but authorities haven’t found out exactly where he contracted the coronavirus from.

This patient is a 64-year-old resident in Binh Nghia commune of Binh Luc district, who has been undergoing treatment at the Ha Nam General Hospital since March 20. He was confirmed as a COVID-19 case by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on late April 7.

Director of the provincial Department of Health Le Quang Minh noted that the source of the infection hasn’t been identified.

The patient, who has many other diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, gout and pneumonia, is currently quarantined at the provincial General Hospital.

Shortly after the notification of this case, the local health sector has carried out an epidemiological survey of all patients, medical workers and visitors at the General Hospital and disinfected the entire facility. Medical workers and patients at the department where the COVID-19 patient has been receiving treatment have also been quarantined, Minh noted.

Ngo Khe 3 hamlet of Binh Nghia commune, Binh Luc district, where the COVID-19 patient resides, has been put in isolation.

Addressing the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Ha Nam provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Vuong stressed that this is a serious and complex case, so it is necessary to take drastic disease prevention and control measures.

As of April 8 morning, Vietnam had recorded 251 COVID-19 cases, 122 of them or 49 percent of the total have fully recovered.

Hanoi maps out scenario to fight COVID-19 at Level 4

Hanoi has mapped out a scenario for Level 4 of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, under which all forces involved in the fight will receive training, its Department of Health has announced.

The capital aims to minimise fatalities during the pandemic and prevent infections at hospitals and between medical workers and patients.

The department has ordered the stepping up of screenings and quarantine at medical facilities, Deputy Director of the department Tran Thi Nhi Ha said.

Under the scenario, patients 100 to 300 will be transferred to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases No. 2 in the outlying district of Dong Anh. Patients from 301, meanwhile, will be admitted to Bac Thang Long, Me Linh, Duc Giang, Thanh Nhan, Ha Dong, and Dong Da hospitals.

Local medical facilities that violate regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control will be suspended or have their operation certificates revoked, Ha said.

Hanoi has prepared the equipment and human resources needed to combat the pandemic, she added.

Cambodia announces three main tasks in COVID-19 fight

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the conference (Photo: en.freshnewsasia.com)

Cambodia has unveiled three main tasks which the government has been carrying out in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking in a press conference held on April 7, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the country works to prevent external cases of COVID-19, prevent the spread of the disease in the local community, and treat all the patients to full recoveries.

In a message to the national committee for COVID-19 combat, he emphasised that Cambodia must ensure the sufficiency of face masks, protective clothing and sanitiser.

As of April 7, Cambodia had confirmed 115 COVID-19 cases, with 58 having fully recovered.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) said it is working to produce 100,000 rapid diagnostic test kits in the next one or two months.

Research and Technology Minister of Indonesia Bambang Brodjonegoro said on April 7 that the country has been developing two types of test kit, a non-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic test kit, or rapid diagnostic test kit, and a PCR diagnostic test kit that requires a swab test.

Though the rapid diagnostic test kit is not as accurate compared to the PCR diagnostic test kit, it is hoped to help authorities to perform initial screenings.

Bambang added that Indonesia has developed a portable ventilator using nearly 100 percent local components. The ventilator has been tested by the Health Ministry, hospitals and doctors before mass production.

Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said that Indonesian industries are ramping up their capacity to produce the medical equipment required to combat COVID-19 and will potentially export the products to other countries.

About 35 companies will produce some 18.3 million pieces of protective gear by early May, he added.

Vietnamese, Lao health officials discuss ways to fight COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long 

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long and Lao Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong have agreed to set up a connection system to provide technical assistance in the prevention and test of COVID-19 and treatment of patients.

During a teleconference on April 7, the officials also consented to propose the Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group (Viettel) to support a connection line for Laos, especially between hospitals of the two countries so that they can share experience and methods in treating COVID-19 infection cases.

Apart from a relief package given to Laos in early April, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health has also pledged to provide its Lao counterpart with additional medical equipment such as diagnostic tools, face masks, and protective clothing, Long said.

He added that although Vietnam has been damaged by the disease, the Ministry of Health still stays ready to offer all possible support to its Lao counterpart to push back the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bounkong, for his part, thanked the Vietnamese Government and people for their assistance, saying that it has been a major source of encouragement for the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic./.

Thai House Speaker: AIPA parliamentarians should help others in COVID-19 fight

Speaker of the House of Representatives of Thailand Chuan Leekpai has recently showed his support for Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan’s call for ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) member states to jointly protect ASEAN against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his letter in reply to Ngan’s March 30 letter, Chuan Leekpai stressed that it’s time for all to take actions.

AIPA parliamentarians have the responsibility to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with civilians to help them overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic, he noted.

The speaker also expressed his backing for the leadership role of Ngan as the Chair of the 41st AIPA General Assembly, as she had a quick response to the regional situation by appropriate actions of the legislative body.

Suggesting the organisation of an extraordinary teleconference if necessary, Leekpai said that regional cooperation is essential at this time to jointly protect ASEAN against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 30, the Vietnamese top legislator sent a letter to heads of the organisation's members, calling for their engagement in the fight against COVID-19.

In the spirit of “cohesive and responsive”, she proposed AIPA members to join hands to protect the common home ASEAN in face of the pandemic.

Ngan wrote that peoples in ASEAN and the globe are facing an unprecedented threat for decades - the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her position, she expressed her sympathies to the peoples in the bloc as well as the mankind over the losses caused by COVID-19.

More than ever, the ASEAN Community needs to uphold the spirit of solidarity, sharing, mutual assistance and support amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ngan stressed.

Vietnam Airlines offers free transport for health workers, medical equipment

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

An aircraft of Vietnam Airlines 

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has launched a programme offering free travelling for health workers engaged in epidemic prevention and control work and the transport of medical equipment on its domestic routes, said a representative of the carrier on April 7.

Starting from April 9 until April 30, the airline will present free air tickets to doctors, nurses and health experts who are sent on missions related to the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

This is another effort in the national flag carrier's programme Flights of Nation to assist with the country's epidemic control work since the COVID-19 broke out in Vietnam. Aside from passenger flights which had brought Vietnamese citizens and foreigners home, Vietnam Airlines has operated flights carrying necessities such as face masks, protective clothing and medical equipment.

It has carried 100,000 face masks, protective clothing, testing systems and COVID-19 test kits as gifts from the Vietnamese Government and people to their Lao and Cambodian counterparts.

Earlier, the airline also carried over three tonnes of protective clothing and medical masks from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi free-of-charge, and 10 ventilators funded by Temasek Foundation from Singapore to Vietnam./.

Hanoians come together to fight COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Donors receive certificates honouring their contributions

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Committee in Hanoi on April 7 received over 10 billion VND (429,200 USD) in cash as well as goods worth 162 million VND from offices, religious organisations, enterprises, and individuals in the capital to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the VFF Hanoi Nguyen Lan Huong said she very much appreciated the contributions and added that the city now has more resources and equipment for its disease prevention and control efforts.

Tackling the disease will continue to be a complex matter into the foreseeable future, with Huong expressing a hope that businesses and donors will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the city.

The committee will work with the city’s Department of Health to ensure that the funds and goods are allocated in a transparent manner.

The VFF Hanoi has handed over 40 water purifiers to the Department of Health, which will be installed at local hospitals, and provided 130 million VND and 2,600 face masks to 26 inter-sectoral COVID-19 prevention and control stations around the capital.

It has received a total of over 27 billion VND to date in support of the fight against COVID-19.

Health Ministry receives medical supply donation

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

The Health Ministry on April 7 received medical supplies for SARS-CoV-2 testing worth 1 million USD from real estate group CapitaLand.

The supplies include chemicals and the Vietnam-made LightPower iVASARS-CoV-2 1stRT-rPCR PLUS KIT (VA.A02-055G) test kits.

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony in Hanoi, Patrick Liau, General Director at CapitaLand, said the company hopes that the aid will give the Vietnamese Government more resources in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

CapitaLand, one of the biggest real estate developers in Asia, has been invested in Vietnam for over 25 years. The company, along with its CapitaLand Hope Foundation, has engaged in supporting disadvantaged children in Vietnam for years.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long thanked the company for standing side by side with the Vietnamese Health Ministry in the anti-COVID-19 fight, saying that the gift is an encouragement for the health sector./.


Vietnamese workers in RoK receive free face masks

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8
People line up to buy face masks in Daegu of the RoK (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Vietnamese workers in the Republic of Korea (RoK) will be given ten face masks each free of charge for use in two weeks amid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
 
This will also apply to workers who stay in the country illegally and those not joining the country’s health insurance. They could come to the nearest labourer support centres to receive the masks.

Vietnamese workers are eligible for allowance during the 14-day self quarantine and will not be penalised if unable to extend their residence permission during the period.
 
When they fully recover from the COVID-19 or complete the quarantine period, the workers could go to immigration offices to apply for extension of their stay. 
 
However, if they leave the assigned facilities during the quarantine period, workers may receive hefty fines, or have their visa cancelled, or even be deported./.

Bac Ninh province applies pay-to-stay quarantine service

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

A check-point for COVID-19 prevention in Bac Ninh (Photo: bacninh.gov.vn)

People who come from or passing through COVID-19 hit areas will have to pay for concentrated quarantine when arriving in the northern province of Bac Ninh from April 7.

Under a new document on urgent measures to cope with the COVID-19 signed by the Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee, exceptions will be made for those who have finished quarantine in other localities or have been certified by authorised agencies.

Those who perform special duties, providing food or essential necessities, shuttle buses for workers or experts are also included. However, they have to show their working schedule and contact persons and implement disease prevention measures as required by local authorities.

Meanwhile, local residents will have to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine period at home if they have come from or passed through the pandemic-struck provinces and cities.

The measure is issued to curb the spread of disease in the locality and ensure the effectiveness of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Directive 16 on COVID-19 prevention and control.

The provincial People’s Committee asked agencies and local administrations to strictly follow the PM’s order on social distancing.

For businesses whose experts and workers from or passing through Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces arriving at Bac Ninh to work, they should be asked to restrict contact with others and keep a minimum distance of 2m when in contact. A private working area should be arranged for them and their health should be monitored regularly.

Local administrations are requested to collaborate with the provincial health department, the police and relevant agencies in supervising quarantined people. All violators should be strictly dealt with, according to the document.

Earlier, the province has set up six checkpoints to monitor people and vehicles entering the locality.

Thailand delays school reopening until July

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Illustrative image (Photo: Bangkok Post)

Thailand’s cabinet on April 7 approved a proposal of the country’s Ministry of Education to postpone the reopening of all schools for the new semester from May 16 to July 1, part of measures to control the COVID-19 epidemic.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said the ministry will change learning methods to suit the curriculum at all levels for the 2020 school year.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said classes would be moved online. The ministry would prepare both teachers and students for online classes, and take into consideration the capabilities and differences of each location.

However, he gave no indication when online classes would begin.

Thailand reported 38 new COVID-19 cases and one death on April 7, bringing the total number to 2,258 and 27 fatalities. Meanwhile, 824 have recovered.

The rate of infections may be on the decline compared to the 51 new cases recorded one day earlier and 102 on April 5.

Cambodia cancels Khmer New Year festivals amid COVID-19 outbreak

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia on April 8

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on April 7 that he has decided to cancel the Khmer New Year celebrations scheduled for April 13-16 in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference, Hun Sen said State institutions and private firms should continue to work as usual, noting that the cancelled five-day holidays will be offset when the COVID-19 is over.

“The government wants to reduce the travelling of people to prevent the spread of infection from one place to another. This m,easure is to prevent the people from contracting the virus,” he was quoted by a local newspaper.

The same day, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said as from April 7, Cambodia will temporarily close all massage parlors and health spas across the country.

Earlier this month, the country ordered the temporary closures of all schools, karaoke clubs, cinemas and museums nationwide. All religious gatherings at public areas were also banned.

The Southeast Asian country has so far recorded a total of 115 COVID-19 cases, with 58 patients cured.

Thailand to launch training schemes for jobless amid COVID-19

Thailand will launch training programmes for unemployed people as part of the third series of its government's stimulus measures to ease the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

The Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry is set to organise training programmes for 40,000 workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic, said Supachai Pathumnakul, deputy permanent secretary of the ministry.

He noted the training programmes are estimated to cost 144 million THB (4.5 million USD) and will be funded by the central budget in fiscal 2020.

The programmes will be supported by 80 universities, covering language skill development for tour guides, tourism and business management for entrepreneurs, and farm-related development.

Each programme will take 10 days and trainees will receive a daily allowance of 200 THB a day.

The ministry also plans training programmes to upskill and reskill workers in advanced technology, notably for the 12 targeted industries, aiming to benefit 50,000 workers.

It expects the training programmes to be implemented by May or later, once the Thai government lifts the state of emergency,

The third stimulus package is expected to be finalised and presented for cabinet approval this month. It is designed to provide comprehensive and continued assistance for all groups of people affected by the virus and keep the economy running without disruption.

Millions of labourers in Southeast Asia could lose their jobs as economies grind to a halt due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte on April 7 approved the extension of lockdown and quarantine measures covering more than half of the population in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Restrictions of movement and gatherings have been in place in and around the capital Manila since nearly a month ago./.

Nearly 1,200 curfew breakers nabbed in Thailand

Nearly 1,200 people were arrested over the last three nights in Thailand for violating curfew that has been imposed since April 3 to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were spotted on the roads and at varied places during the six-hour curfew, from 10:00 p.m. to 04:00 a.m. (local time) daily, the Thai police said on April 6.

Those curfew breakers, found to have had no understandable reasons for remaining outside of their home, would be faced with legal actions in court under the current emergency rule.

They included adolescent motorcyclists on the roads, groups of alcoholic drinkers or drug users and groups of indoor gamblers, among others.

The same day, Thailand decided to extend the restriction of all flights to the country from April 6 to the end of April 18 in an effort to contain the pandemic.

 
 

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