Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

More Vietnamese from Covid-19-hit countries repatriated

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Vietnam will send 13 flights to take local citizens from countries affected by Covid-19 pandemic to return to the country.According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will conduct 10, while budget airlines VietJet Air and Bamboo Airways will provide one each.

The citizens are Vietnamese living in the US, Canada, Japan, France, Russia, Spain and Singapore.

The flights would land at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi or Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh or Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned the ministries of transport, health, national defence and foreign affairs to decide the licensing of flights to bring Vietnamese citizens abroad to home based on specific conditions of each country and the global Covid-19 situation.

However, the priority needs to be given to some groups of people, including those aged below 18, the elderly and those facing visa expire.

On April 22, the Vietnamese Embassy in Vietnam co-operated with Vietnam Airlines to transport medical equipment to Japan for help in the Covid-19 fight.

On the return flight, Vietnam Airlines carried nearly 300 Vietnamese back home. The passengers were given medical examinations and sent to quarantine areas.

Vietnam records no new COVID-19 cases over eight consecutive days

Vietnam recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on April 24 morning, making it eight days in a row since April 16 without new infections, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Vietnam records no new COVID-19 cases over eight consecutive days hinh anh 1

Checking temperature of passengers at Hanoi rail station

Of those, 224 people have been successfully treated, accounting for 84 percent.

The remainders are being treated at seven health facilities across the country. Two of them have tested negative for the coronavirus twice and 15 others have returned negative results in their first tests.

Currently, 68,890 people are under quarantine or health monitoring, including 352 at hospitals, 17,832 at other facilities and 50,706 at home or their accommodations./.

Footballers support MoH in coronavirus fight

National football players have joined the effort to raise people's awareness of the coronavirus.

Goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng, striker Nguyễn Công Phượng, defenders Quế Ngọc Hải, Đỗ Duy Mạnh and midfielder Nguyễn Tuấn Anh spread the message on a video clip launched recently by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Keeper Dũng of HCM City FC said: “People should strictly follow advice for the Government and the Ministry of Health. We need to stay at home as much as possible, and only go out for special reasons. Make sure you declare your health status.”

Captains Hải and Phượng called on people to keep a safe distance from each other and clean their houses frequently.

Mạnh, who is recovering from an ankle ligament injury, appealed for face masks to be worn by anyone who needs to go out, and reminded viewers to keep a 2m gap from the nearest person.

Midfielder Anh backed calls for people to wash their hands regularly with soap and sanitiser.

The clip finishes with all five shouting 'Việt Nam cố lên', which is a call to tell the country to keep fighting.   

HCM City to continue with preventive measures despite end of COVID-19 restrictions

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

A COVID-19 patient was discharged from Cần Giờ Hospital in HCM City on April 18.

HCM City will continue to carry out the COVID-19 prevention methods stipulated in a directive sent by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc though it has been downgraded from high risk to medium risk and social distancing ended at midnight on Wednesday.

It calls for limiting gatherings, with meetings and events with more than 20 people to be postponed and restrictions at workplaces, schools and hospitals.

People have to keep a distance of at least two metres between each other in public.      

No religious activities with more than 20 attendees can be held and all cultural, sport and entertainment events are to be cancelled.

All establishments except those trading essential goods and services should remain closed.

Transportation between cities and provinces remains curtailed. 

Lê Thanh Liêm, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the suspension of transport vehicles would continue until the Department of Transport issues a set of criteria to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

However, some ferry services have not been suspended and they operate with safety requirements in place.

The Bình Khánh ferry serves workers in Cần Giờ District and industrial parks and export processing zones and vehicles that carry people to the quarantine in the district. 

Passengers have to wear masks and keep a distance of two metres between each other. Ferries are not allowed to carry more than 50 per cent of their capacity.

The services between Cần Thạnh town and Phú Lợi islet in Cần Giờ District between Phú Lợi and Thiềng Liềng islets also continue to operate.

The People’s Committee has said people should continue to wear masks in public.

The head of the city Department of Health, Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, said all specialised private health facilities would resume operations after 22 days of closure. They are required to comply with the department’s criteria to assess transmission risks.

The city has had 54 COVID-19 patients so far, and 53 of them have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.   

The remaining patient is currently undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which adds oxygen to the blood and pumps it through the body just like the heart. 

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Vietnamese in favour of Government’s response to COVID-19: Forbes

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Vietnam leads the list of the countries most supportive of their governments’ efforts to combat COVID-19, revealed a  recent article run by US magazine Forbes.

Contributor Mark Travers cited the latest polling data from the company YouGov which showed that 95 percent of Vietnamese people think their government is handling the pandemic “very” or “somewhat” well.

The author also noted that in reality, despite a population of 95 million and a close proximity to the source of the outbreak, Vietnam has yet to report a single COVID-19 death. 

Of the 26 countries measured by the YouGov researchers, others that are handling the crisis well in the eyes of citizens include India, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Canada, and Finland.

Meanwhile, France’s daily Le Monde published an article with the titled “Vietnam's successful ‘spring offensive’ against COVID-19”.

It quoted World Health Organisation Representative to Vietnam Kidong Park as saying that risk assessment was done in early January, shortly after China announced the first infections.

“It is the result of an effective policy for identifying and monitoring infected and at-risk people and groups,” wrote the article.

“Vietnam has obtained prodigious results,” former French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean-Noël Poirier wrote to Causeur magazine while staying at a Hanoi hospital after contracting the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.

He also affirmed the transparency of the Vietnamese Government in announcing new COVID-19 infections and fatalities, stressing that he hospitals are not overwhelmed and the flow of patients, inbound and outbound, is under control./.

Vietnam mobilising all of society to curb spread of COVID-19: US centre

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24
Banner on COVID-19 prevention and control set up in a public building in Vietnam

Vietnam has relied upon mobilising society and conducted massive social closures and extensive surveillance of citizens to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has said.

“Singapore and Vietnam got off to a very early start in responding to the initial outbreak,” said Senior Adviser and Director of CSIS’s Southeast Asia Programme Amy Searight.

While Singapore is now grappling with a new wave of infections, “Vietnam has weathered the epidemic remarkably well, with only 268 cases out of a population of 95.5 million people and not a single reported death.”

In the early stage of the pandemic, Vietnam shuttered non-essential businesses and schools and enacted large-scale quarantining.

The northern province of Vinh Phuc was put under a 21-day quarantine starting on February 13 and tens of thousands of citizens have gone into quarantine, she added.

Vietnam’s monitoring and surveillance of citizens has been supported by the Government’s extensive network of informants, which has helped identify and quarantine those suspected of infection and those who have been in contact with them, Searight explained.

People’s confidence in the Government’s response to COVID-19 remains high, with up to 62 percent of respondents to the largest public survey on the disease, conducted by the Berlin-based Dalia Research, saying it is doing the “right amount” in response to the pandemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai previously lauded the prevention efforts of many countries, including Vietnam.

He said the country has shown the world its effective leadership at different levels, from the Prime Minister and ministers to local authorities./.

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Ambassador: Vietnam’s anti-epidemic efforts impressive

Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam Nadav Eshcar said he was impressed by the achievements made by the Vietnamese government and the country in the fight against COVID-19. The diplomat made the remark in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

Foreign airline crews to stay at designated hotels to prevent COVID-19 spread

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The Ministry of Transport has proposed Hanoi and relevant municipal departments to designate hotels for the accommodation of foreign airline crews as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 spread.

The proposal was made in an official document signed by Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan recently sent to the Hanoi People’s Committee as well as the city’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and departments of Health, Tourism and Public Security.

The move aims to not only prevent new infection from being imported to Vietnam but also ensure safety for the foreign crew members and flights coming in and out the country.

The ministry also asked Hanoi to tighten quarantine and monitoring of all foreign crew members. The crews must undergo daily medical checks, the ministry said, adding that those having COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath must be put into quarantine and tested for the coronavirus in compliance with regulations./.

SK Vietnam donates covid-19 test kits to Hanoi

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

At the hand-over ceremony.

SK Vietnam has donated 100 SARS-CoV2 test kit sets, which can be used for 10,000 tests to Department of Health under Hanoi People’s Committee in order to support for the efforts of the city in controlling the epidemic.

Ms. Tran Thi Nhi Ha, Deputy Director of Hanoi Department of Health and Mr. Koh Jong Hwan, Hanoi Representative of SK Vietnam witnessed the handing-over of the donation. 

The donated test kits were produced by Seegene Inc., a leading manufacturer of SARS-CoV2 test kits in Korea, and have been confirmed by Vietnam National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to be highly sensitive and specific, and is allowed to be used for testing SARS-CoV2 virus in Vietnam. 

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, Ms. Tran Thi Nhi Ha, Deputy Director of Hanoi Department of Health said: “We highly appreciate the donation, which demonstrates the SK’s social responsibility in Hanoi in particular and Vietnam in general. This is an extremely valuable and practical support that help us to conduct more tests in the community. We would like to express our gratitude to SK Group, and hope that the company will continue to accompany Hanoi in the efforts to prevent and control the Covid-19 epidemic as well as other activities.” 

In response, Mr. Koh Jong Hwan, Hanoi Representative of SK Vietnam, shared that: “We highly appreciate the effective efforts and timely actions of Vietnamese Government and Hanoi administration in controlling the Covid-19 epidemic in the past months. As a corporate citizen of Hanoi, we would like to make a small contribution into the efforts. SK Vietnam commits to accompany the Vietnamese government and Hanoi administration in the activities to control the epidemic for the sustainable development and prosperity of Hanoi as well as Vietnam.”

German media: Vietnam – bright spot in COVID-19 fight

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

People working at Long Bien market waiting for COVID-19 test

The German media continued seeking for answers for Vietnam’s success in the COVID-19 fight. In the past month, major news agencies, newspaper and research institutes of Germany have appreciated the country’s disease response strategy.

On April 22, the Handelsblatt (Commerce) newspaper run an article saying that the Vietnamese Government’s rapid response is the main reason for the nation’s surprising victory in the fight against the disease.

The article started with the lockdown of a commune 40km outside of Hanoi capital city when it had reported just six infections. With a decision to quarantine the entire commune with 10,000 residensts in 20 days, Vietnam became first country outside China to conduct a large-scale quarantine to prevent the disease.

The early response is now paying off for Vietnam as on April 22, the national health authorities did not report a single new coronavirus case for the sixth consecutive day, the article said, adding that the country has confirmed 268 infection cases, with no deaths.

Therefore, Vietnam is considered by experts to be one of the few bright spots in the global fight against the SARS-CoV-2, and hoped to well cope with the economic crisis.

According to the article, Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the Western Pacific praised the Vietnamese Government for dealing with the virus crisis, and affirmed that the discipline of the population in the implementation of social distancing measures helped as well.

While large parts of Asia are in danger of slipping into recession, economists believe that Vietnam can still expect noticeable economic growth. Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in their annual forecasts released in April, expect the country to see the strongest growth this year among Southeast Asian economies, it said.

The article’s author also assessed that Vietnam is also open and transparent in the disease fight, as its Government organises daily press conferences to release specific information about the situation.

In addition, Vietnam has also provided support for many countries around the world by presenting them with medical face masks, with Germany being one of the receivers, the author noted./.

Russian TV spotlights Vietnam’s COVID-19 combat

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24
An overview image of the talk show on The Star (Photo: screen snapshot)

The Star TV channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defence has lauded Vietnam’s outcomes in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

A high-rating talk show titled “Open Talk” aired on the channel on April 22 ran a number of short video clips featuring Vietnam’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly 15 minutes late in the programme.

During the show, the hosts and guests expressed their admiration and surprise at Vietnam’s achievements in the fight against COVID-19.

The show also interviewed a Russian national in Hanoi. He said he had seriously followed Hanoi’s social distancing order, and was staying at home apart from going out for essential services. If he has to go out, he always wears a face mask, just like all other bus passengers in Hanoi.

The ten guests of the show, including renowned journalists, film producers and military experts, showed an interest in how a developing nation has been able to control the pandemic so well, and become one of the least-affected countries in the world.

They also expressed their admiration for the low number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam out of its 96 million people.

Likewise, the news website Rusvesna (Russia Spring) on April 19 published an article titled “Vietnam’s miracle - how a brave nation defeats terrible pandemic".

The article affirmed that Vietnam was one of the world's most successful examples in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, Vietnam has recorded a total of 268 COVID-19 cases with 224 patients making a full recovery, accounting for 84 percent. Since the first case was confirmed in the country three months ago, no deaths from the disease have been recorded.

There have been no new COVID-19 cases detected in Vietnam for the past eight days./.

Lao Cai keeps guard up as hundreds of migrant workers return from China

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, which borders China, remains on guard to prevent any new COVID-19 cases coming into the country as hundreds of Vietnamese migrant workers have returned from Vietnam’s northern neighbour via its border gate over the last few days.

All Vietnamese returnees must go through body temperature and medical checks at border crossings and be immediately put into quarantine at a State-designated facility for 14 days.

The provincial Border Guard has accelerated efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of the pandemic among villagers living along the borderline. It has sent officials to every village and hamlet to encourage people to stay home and to stop them from illegally leaving the country to work abroad.

Local border guard stations have also raised funds to provide essential goods for villagers who have been told to stay home as part of the nationwide social distancing order.

In addition to the provincial military school, Lao Cai has set up a quarantine facility at the local campus of Thai Nguyen University to cater to the increasing number of returnees.

The provincial Department of Health has provided instructions on proper quarantine measures and monitored and conducted testing on quarantined people, while the Lao Cai Provincial General Hospital has cooperated with a local urban environment company and relevant agencies to treat waste at quarantine facilities./.

Russian media commends Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Police in Nha Trang city examine and remind commuters of COVID-19 prevention and control regulations (Photo: VNA)

The Russian website kommersant.ru ran an article on April 23 lauding Vietnam’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the country’s role as the ASEAN Chair in promoting regional cooperation in the endeavour. 

Vietnam has now relaxed social distancing measures imposed in major cities and provinces on April 1 to stem the spread of the pandemic. 

The article cited an April 22 report from the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control as saying Vietnam had reported no new infections for six days in a row, with its total remaining at 268, of whom 222 recovered, while deaths are at zero. 

Vietnam’s strategy has been unique, the article said, despite sharing a long border with China. 

It also pointed out the differences between measures undertaken by Vietnam and other countries that cost little and involve no mass testing and the application of digital technologies in controlling self-quarantine. 

With a limited budget, the country has sealed off clusters and stepped up preventive measures, according to the article. 

Vietnam’s “secret” is “risk level classification”, it noted, explaining that the committee has classified all the 63 cities and provinces into high, medium and low risk. Social distancing measures have been applied based on these classifications. 

It is the Vietnamese people who have affirmed that the Party leadership has been a significant factor in this success. 

The Party has called on the public to stay united and view the fight against the pandemic like a fight against a visible enemy. 

The article quoted analyst Peter Mumford from the US’s Eurasia Group as saying that Vietnamese authorities exceeded expectations and were quick to close borders and restrict movement in areas where clusters of infections were developing. 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam was in the fight together with other ASEAN countries and regional leaders have agreed to support each other. 

The article also reviewed phone talks between PM Phuc and Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin. 

It quoted the Russian PM’s press agency as saying that the two sides discussed prospects for enhancing cooperation, with attention to be paid to bolstering exchanges between health experts and medical facilities./.

Thai firm donates 1 billion VND for Ben Tre to fight COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Leading Thai energy producer Gulf has donated 1 billion VND (43,000 USD) to help Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre overcome difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money has already been sent to local authorities by Director of Gulf Vietnam Prasert Thirati through the provincial Vietnam Fatherland Front’s chapter.

Ben Tre is the second locality in Vietnam to receive support from the Thai group to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Earlier, Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited donated 2 billion VND to the south-central coastal province of Ninh Thuan.

The company has 28 energy projects at home and abroad./.

ASEAN, Japan enhance cooperation against COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

ASEAN and Japan have agreed to support each other in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on easing its impact, enhancing economic flexibility, promoting export and solving problems faced by small- and medium-sized enterprises, according to the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

Local media quoted Director-General of Department of Trade Negotiations Auramon Supthaweethum as saying that ASEAN economic ministers and representatives from Japan issued a notice on cooperation on April 22.

They aimed to keep their markets open and adjust to regional and global demands by providing exports to stabilise market conditions while not obstructing transport of core commodities such as food, consumer products, medicines and medical equipment, she said.

To aid the recovery of micro, small and medium businesses, the two sides will lever digital technology advantages to boost the region’s status as a trade and investment hub, she added.

Japan became ASEAN’s fourth largest trade partner following the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement in 2008. In 2019, trade between the two sides was worth over 214 billion USD./.

ADB approves 1.5-bln-USD loan for Indonesia to curb COVID-19 outbreak

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

A medical worker checks body temperature of a citizen in north Sumatra, Indonesia (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on April 23 approved a loan of 1.5 billion USD to support Indonesia's efforts to cushion the impacts of COVID-19.

The loan will help Indonesia finance measures to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on public health, livelihoods and the economy, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a statement.

ADB's budget support aims to help the Indonesian government address the challenges posed by COVID-19, with a strong focus on the poor and vulnerable, including women.

The quick-disbursing financing for Indonesia is part of a larger support package ADB will provide to help Indonesia respond to COVID-19.

The loan for Indonesia is part of ADB's rescue package of 20 billion USD to assist developing nations in Asia to mitigate risks of the pandemic.

This is also part of a loan worth 7 billion USD the ADB, World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have provided for Indonesia in the fight against COVID-19.

Indonesia’s economy is expected to rise 2.5 percent this year compared to 5.02 percent in 2019, the lowest recorded in decades./.

Nearly 880 tonnes of rice to help Cao Bang needy

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided to allocate 879.405 tonnes of rice from the national reserves for the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang to support local people during this year’s between-crop period.

The PM assigned the Finance Ministry to be in charge of the work, while ordering the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to take responsibility for the accuracy of reports on contents and data.

The provincial People’s Committee was requested to use the rice for the right purposes and people./.

Masan Consumer supporting the needy during COVID-19

The Masan Consumer Corporation, one of Vietnam’s largest food and beverage producers, has conducted a host of projects to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will present 10,000 free food portions to poor families and 300 gift packages to disadvantaged children in HCM City before April 26.

In collaboration with the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights and the HCM City Centre for Social Work and Vocational Education for Youth, it will distribute free lunch packages to the needy from 11am to 12pm at eight locations around the city.

Masan has also donated thousands of cartons of instant noodles, bottles of fish sauce, fresh meat, and sausages to medical workers and soldiers at the front lines of the battle against the pandemic as well as those facing difficulties in quarantine facilities, hospitals, and border areas.

It has also presented 700 water filters worth around 1.4 billion VND (59,000 USD) to people affected by drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta./.

Military Region 4 High Command presents medical supplies to Lao armed forces

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The High Command of Military Region 4 handed over medical supplies to the Lao People’s Armed Forces (LPAF) on April 23, in support of the country’s fight against COVID-19.

 

At a ceremony at the Lao Bao International Border Gate in the central province of Quang Tri, Deputy Commander of Region 4 Major General Ha Tan Tien presented the relief worth over 2 billion VND (85,220 USD) and comprising of 2,000 kg of disinfectant, 4,000 sets of protective suits, 80,000 medical masks, and 72,000 cloth masks, among others.

The commander of the LPAF’s Division 4 expressed his gratitude for the aid, saying it will contribute to efforts by Laos’ Party, Government, armed forces and people in COVID-19 prevention and control endeavour and also demonstrates the friendship and solidarity between the two neighbours.

Female staff at Military Region 4 High Command also handed over 30,000 medical masks worth more than 120 million VND to the LPAF.

Authorities and organisations in Quang Tri previously offered support to the Lao people in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Quang Tri Military High Command handed over medical supplies to their counterparts in the Lao province of Savannakhet.

Quang Tri’s Huong Hoa district also sent 10 tonnes of rice to Savannakhet and Salavan provinces, along with antiseptic and protective clothing to Savannakhet./.

Support for COVID-19 treatment of staff of Vietnamese agencies abroad

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued guidelines regarding COVID-19 test and treatment for staff at Vietnamese agencies abroad.

Accordingly, the PM agreed on a plan to use State budget to cover medical expenses related to COVID-19 examination and treatment which are beyond the scope of insurance contracts. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been requested to work with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice and relevant agencies to devise a resolution on the issue to submit for the Government's consideration./.

Returning Cambodian migrant workers to receive gov’t aid

Cambodian Minister of Interior Sar Kheng held a meeting on April 22 to discuss the possibility of providing short-, medium- and long-term assistance for the more than 85,000 migrant workers who have returned home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Phnom Penh Post newspaper quoted Sar Kheng as saying that the workers need help while waiting for migrant-receiving countries to re-open their borders.

So far 85,000 migrant workers have returned from various countries, especially Thailand, and they are scattered across the country. Some of them cannot support their livelihoods for too long, he said.

Thailand has declared a state of emergency, with many parts of the nation in lockdown, so Cambodian migrant workers cannot go back.

The meeting focused on certain challenges in managing risks to vulnerable Cambodian people, especially migrant workers who have returned to their families and communities.

The government has put forth principles and measures with the Ministry of Health in curbing the spread of COVID-19, said the minister.

Pauline Tamesis, the UN resident coordinator for Cambodia, said the World Health Organisation will continue to support the country in the fight against the pandemic.

The Cambodian Government has allocated a package worth 50 million USD through the Bank for Rural Development and Agriculture to provide low-interest loans to support the agricultural sector, particularly in animal rearing, fisheries and vegetable plantation, Fresh News reported.

CEO of state-owned Rural Development and Agricultural Bank Kao Thach said the loan will be offered to companies with an investment of less than 300,000 USD with a 6.5 percent interest rate./.

Binh Dinh hospital meets requirements to conduct primary SARS-CoV-2 testing

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

Health workers collect samples from small traders in Hanoi's Long Bien Market for rapid tests

The Binh Dinh Provincial General Hospital has been verified by the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang as being qualified to administer primary testing for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, according to the south central province’s Department of Health.

Samples from people suspected of carrying the virus will be sent to the hospital for initial screening, Department Director Le Quang Hung said.

If required, the samples will later be transferred to the Pasteur Institute for confirmatory tests, he added.

The hospital is capable of administering about 270 tests a day.

Its Department of Microbiology has been renovated and provided with necessary medical equipment for SARS-CoV-2 testing, while some 500 test kits were donated to the hospital by the Ho Chi Minh City-based Viet A Corporation.

Binh Dinh expects the newly-qualified coronavirus testing laboratory will help the province cut costs and quickly respond to COVID-19.

As of April 20, a total of 111 laboratories have been qualified to administer diagnostic testing for the virus by using real-time RT-PCR technology across the country.

Of these, 39 have been given the go-ahead to administer confirmatory tests, including 22 central-level healthcare establishments and hospitals, 14 centres for disease control, and three other units outside the health sector. Their maximum capacity is 13,000 samples per day.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided Vietnam with about 10,000 test kits and is considering the provision of 40,000 real-time RT-PCR kits made in Germany. Meanwhile, the Viet A Corporation has distributed more than 70,000 test kits to labs around the country, according to the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.

The Ministry of Health has also allocated 40 rapid testing machines and over 30,000 accompanying kits, along with 140,000 biological products produced by Viet A for real-time RT-PCR tests./.

Thailand records 40-day low daily number of COVID-19 cases on April 23

Thailand reported 13 new COVID-19 patients and one more death on April 23, raising the total cases to 2,839 and death toll to 50.

It is the lowest number of new infection by day since March 14.

It is a small success, but it is not over yet because the crisis is worldwide and will continue, spokesman of the Thai Government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administation Taweesilp Visanuyothin said.

Thailand is under an emergency decree from March 26 until the end of April to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. The decree includes a ban of mass gatherings and a nationwide curfew from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am.

The country has also added Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Myanmar to the list of countries and territories considered to have high risk for COVID-19 infection published on the Royal Gazette website.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian capital of Jakarta has decided to extend the partial lockdown in the city as the COVID-19 continues spreading.

Jakarta's Governor Anies Baswedan announced that the partial lockdown, which was planned to end on April 23, will be extended to May 22.

The partial lockdown was imposed on Jakarta on April 10.

On the implementation of the restrictions, the governor said that there had been many violations including gatherings and operations of firms with staff working in offices.

He called on people in the capital city to obey the restriction rules. 

Indonesia to provide interest subsidiary for small borrowers

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The Indonesian government has announced that it will provide interest subsidies for small borrowers in banks and finance companies to help them cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on April 22 that the government, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) and Bank Indonesia (BI) were currently finalising the regulations as a response to President Joko Widodo’s call for financial assistance for small businesses to survive the pandemic.

The subsidy will be designed for individuals as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the financing capped at 500 million Rp (32,269 USD), which is the credit limit in the government’s microcredit programme (KUR).

Sri Mulyani said that businesses that borrow from finance companies were in a similar situation to KUR entities, so they are also eligible for relief in the form of delays in interest payments for six months.

Acting Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises of Indonesia Hanung Harimba Rachman estimated that 70 percent of the total existing KUR entities would be able to join a business restructuring programme with the government’s interest subsidy./.

Vietnamese, Russian defence ministries come together to fight COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The defence ministries of Vietnam and Russia exchange online about cooperation against COVID-19

The Ministries of Defence in Vietnam and Russia held an online meeting on April 22 on cooperating to fight COVID-19.

Major General Nguyen Xuan Kien, Head of the Military Medical Department at the General Department of Logistics, and Major General Evgenii Kriukov, Director of the N.N.Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital, co-chaired the discussion.

The two sides highlighted the role of the international community in fighting COVID-19 in recent times.

The Vietnamese side briefed its Russian counterpart on the situation in the country and affirmed the determination of the Government and the Vietnam People’s Army to beat the coronavirus.

It also suggested enhancing the defence partnership and international cooperation, especially in military medicine and disease prevention.

The Russian side, meanwhile, said it highly appreciates the proactiveness of the Vietnam People’s Army in the fight against COVID-19 by controlling land border gates, researching a test kit, and managing the quarantining of suspected cases.

Both agreed to maintain the sharing of experience online and promoting cooperation in fields of mutual concern, such as exchanging experts in biomedical technology, supplying medical equipment to prevent diseases, providing pharmaceuticals, and enhancing collaboration between research institutions.

Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence earlier presented medical supplies for fighting COVID-19 to the Embassy of Russia in Vietnam./.

Indonesia boosts ventilator production to curb COVID-19

Indonesian Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita has said the ministry had coordinated with four major local producers to develop ventilators to meet skyrocketing demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four producers include those from the University of Indonesia (UI); Yogya’s Gajah Mada University (UGM) in Yogykarta which is collaborating with PT Yogya Presisi Tehnikatama Industry and PT. Stechoq Robotika; Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB); and Surabaya Institute of Technology (ITS).

The ministry will help these producers gain access to necessary materials and components for quick production of standardised ventilators, Agus said, adding that most of the producers are developing low-cost ventilators and will begin production this month.

After the pandemic is brought under control, Indonesia will prioritise development of pharmaceutical and medical equipment sectors to meet domestic demand and reduce dependence on imports.

The Industry Ministry is also encouraging the production of herbal ingredients to add value for local medicine manufacturing as the country is well-known for its rich variety of herbs.

As of April 22, Indonesia had confirmed 7,418 cases of COVID-19 infection, with 635 deaths and 913 recoveries./.

Voluntary group actively supports OVs in Russia during pandemic

A group of over 60 volunteers in Russia, which was formed on March 28, has timely provided much-needed support for overseas Vietnamese affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

One of the main activities of the group is to assist those who are infected with the coronavirus or get sick. The volunteers worked as interpreters for them during medical examination or hospitalisation, and gave them advices.

Nguyen Hung Phong, a founding member of the group, said many Vietnamese living in Moscow are not fluent in Russian, lack of information, have no knowledge of health and no medical insurance, so they are very confused and often feel abandoned when falling ill.

Phong said that was the reason why the group was founded, aiming to support the compatriots to overcome the difficult time.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Russia also set up a group of medical students and held consultations to help the community.

The embassy has organised two online consultation programmes to connect OVs with doctors back in Vietnam, which have proved effective, helping to equip the Vietnamese community in Russia with essential knowledge for about the pandemic./.

Vietnamese students abroad urged to avoid flight scam

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has called on Vietnamese students abroad to take caution with entities and individuals that collect deposits to arrange flights to Vietnam in the name of Vietnamese diplomatic representative agencies.

Based on the document No.146/TB-VPCP dated April 7 of the Government Office announcing the Prime Minister’s conclusion at the meeting of permanent Government members on COVID-19 prevention and control, the MOET said all Vietnamese citizens learning abroad need to seriously follow epidemic prevention and control measures in line with regulations of the host countries as well as recommendations and guidelines by Vietnamese representative agencies.

Those wish to return home must directly register at Vietnamese representative agencies in the host countries.

Further assistance could be found at Vietnamese representative agencies in the host countries, or via the citizen protection hotline ( 84) 981.84.84.84, or the MOET’s Department of International Department at No.35 Dai Co Viet street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi with phone number ( 84) 24.3869.5144  or ( 84) 365.12.74.07, email: htqt@moet.gov.vn./.

Metfone partners with Cambodian govn’t in COVID-19 fight

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

At the MoU signing ceremony between Metfone and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport

Viettel Cambodia company, known as Metfone, has assisted the Cambodian Government with various activities in the fight against COVID-19.

As all schools nationwide have been shut down since late March, Metfone has offered free data services to all students when accessing learning portals, a 50 percent discount of Internet subscription to all students and teachers, and free telecom infrastructure and online learning platform with 500,000 users.

Metfone has also been chosen as a partner of the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to launch telecom solutions for the ministry and schools across the country during the 2020-2025 period.

It is the largest project between both sides, opening up a chance for Metfone to access 3 million students and 20,000 schools at all levels since this year. 

In health care, Metfone helped the Cambodian Health Ministry send messages to the public to update epidemic situation free-of-charge. The company also provides the latest news for 9 million customers on Metfone’s website, fanpage and app.

For front-line medical staff, Metfone also offered them free data, calls and SMS.

For each of its installed app, Metfone will contribute 0.25 USD to the fund for COVID-19 prevention and control in Cambodia. After 15 days since the initiative was launched, the company drew over 100,000 customers, meaning that over 25,000 USD will be given to Cambodian authorities in the fight.

In early April, Metfone’s branch in Sihanoukville province and the Vietnamese Consulate General presented 57 gifts, including a tonne of rice to needy Vietnamese Cambodians in Preah Sihanouk province.

Its Kampong Cham, Kandal and Phnom Penh branches in collaboration with the Cambodian Health Ministry installed more than 200 panels along local roads to raise public awareness of pandemic prevention.

With its network covering  97 percent of the country, Metfone was chosen as the only Internet provider to serve Cambodia's participation in the online ASEAN Special Summit and ASEAN 3 Special Summit held by Vietnam on April 14.

Inaugurated in 2009, Metfone is now the largest telecom provider in Cambodia with a mobile market share of 42 percent and a 97 percent coverage nationwide, 11,000 Base Transceiver Stations and 23,000 km of optic cables.

It is offering jobs to 3,000 workers and 30,000 collaborators, and has so far donated about 85 million USD to social welfare services./. 

Embassy in Japan supporting Vietnamese citizens affected by COVID-19

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24
Ambassador Vu Hong Nam (R) presents a box of instant noodles to Buddhist nun Thich Tam Tri, President of the Association of Vietnamese Buddhists in Japan.


The Embassy of Vietnam in Japan and the representative office of Vietnam Airlines in the country presented 100 boxes of instant noodles to the Association of Vietnamese Buddhists in Japan on April 22 to support Vietnamese citizens affected by COVID-19.

Ambassador Vu Hong Nam said many Vietnamese workers in Japan have lost their jobs after local enterprises suspended operations.
The Embassy, therefore, launched a campaign to support the Vietnamese community by presenting them with food and essential goods.

Embassy staff have donated a day’s salary to support Vietnamese workers in Fukushima prefecture who lost their jobs to buy food, he said.

He added that the Embassy will continue coordinating with Vietnamese organisations in Japan to boost campaigns.

Buddhist nun Thich Tam Tri, President of the Association of Vietnamese Buddhists in Japan, thanked the Embassy and the national flag carrier for their valuable support.

She said her association has worked with the Embassy and other organisations to assist disadvantaged workers, students, and the unemployed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

On the same day, the Embassy and relevant Vietnamese agencies worked with Vietnam Airlines to transport medical supplies and equipment from the Vietnamese Government and people to Japanese counterparts.

They also coordinated with relevant Japanese agencies to arrange a flight taking 298 Vietnamese citizens home.

According to the immigration and residence management department at Japan’s Ministry of Justice, Vietnamese are the third-largest expatriate community in the country, at an estimated 411,968 as of the end of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 24.5 percent./.

Vietnam Airlines, Vinpearl offer 5,000 trips to frontline COVID-19 health workers

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and Vingroup’s Vinpearl JSC will present 5,000 five-star trips to health workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

Under a special programme proposed to the Ministry of Health, each medical worker will receive a round-trip ticket and a stay of three days and two nights at one of Vinpearl’s five-star resorts after the pandemic has passed.

Each health worker can go with three family members, with two receiving a 75 percent discount on airline tickets.

A representative from the Ministry of Health said the involvement of companies such as Vietnam Airlines and Vinpearl will give medical workers an added boost as they fight the pandemic.

As at the afternoon of April 22, Vietnam had a total of 268 COVID-19 cases, of which 160 people (59.7 percent) were infected abroad and 108 people (40.3 percent) were infected in the local community.

Six more COVID-19 patients at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases were announced to have recovered on the same day, bringing the number of patients in the country given the all-clear to 222./.

Social credit programmes supporting rural Hanoi households

Social credit programmes have contributed to the fruitful results Hanoi has obtained in poverty alleviation in the 2016-20 period.

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said the city has focused on policies and solutions over the years to give rural areas a facelift and help as many rural families as possible escape from poverty.

The national target programme on building new-style rural areas has also helped improve infrastructure and set up intensive production zones, raising farmer incomes.

As of the end of March, branches of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policy in Hanoi had disbursed 13.59 trillion VND (581.4 million USD) to nearly 434,000 customers via 17 preferential credit programmes.

Social policy programmes have been launched in all Hanoi localities since 2016, helping some 147,000 households gain access to loans and generating 184,000 jobs.

Nearly 217,000 clean water facilities and more than 4,000 houses for the poor were also built in rural areas.

Hanoi’s poverty rate was less than 1.2 percent as of late 2018, fulfilling its target for the 2016-2020 period two years ahead of schedule.

As of the beginning of this year, the city had 4,112 poor families and about 3,940 near-poor families, accounting for 0.2 percent and 0.19 percent of all households, respectively./.

Vietnamese Embassy donates 6,800 USD to Laos’ COVID-19 fight

Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia April 24

The Embassy of Vietnam in Laos has raised 160 million VND (6,830 USD) in donation to help the host country fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The donation was handed over to the Lao Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Vientiane on April 22.

The sum may be small but it comes from the heart in the hope of helping the Lao Government and people quickly contain the pandemic and recover the economy, Vietnamese Counsellor Vu Van Hoa said.

On behalf of the Lao Government, Minister of Health and Deputy Head of the Steering Committee Bounkong Syhavong thanked the Embassy for the donation.

Since COVID-19 spread globally, the Vietnamese Government and people, though facing their own difficulties, have provided tremendous support for Laos, he said.

Medical supplies have been donated and experts sent to share their experience in curbing the epidemic, he noted, adding that Vietnam has always stood by Laos’ side in times of need./.

Prudential provides additional support to doctors, medical staff fighting COVID-19

The Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) received 152,000 medical masks and 10,000 bottles of sanitiser from Prudential Vietnam Assurance on April 22 to help doctors and medical staff tackle COVID-19.

Worth a total of 1 billion VND (42,000 USD), the donations will keep medical staff, patients, and volunteers safe at ten hospitals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight in Hanoi and HCM City.

VNRC President Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu highlighted Prudential Vietnam’s participation in VNRC’s community charity campaigns and said the donations are part of its contribution to ensuring sustainable development in Vietnam.

Vietnamese medical workers have received a huge degree of support from the community in recent times, she went on, expressing a hope that the country would soon see the end of the pandemic from the joint efforts of the Party, the State, and the Vietnamese people.

For his part, Prudential Vietnam Assurance CEO Clive Baker expressed his gratitude towards the Government, Vietnamese doctors and medical staff, and others engaged in the fight against COVID-19 fight for their resilience in recent times.

Prudential Vietnam wishes to continue accompanying VNRC in community activities, realising its motto of “Act for a healthy and prosperous community”, he said.

VNRC launched a COVID-19 prevention and control programme in April, calling on everyone to provide support to doctors and medical workers in the fight against COVID-19.

VNRC and the Global Healthcare Company Abbott earlier presented 27,600 bottles of milk to doctors and medical workers at 22 hospitals nationwide./.

Thai government asks public to continue work from home

The Thai government’s COVID-19 center has asked the public to continue working from home and refrain from travelling despite a decline in newly reported cases each day, in order to prevent a second wave of infections, and aimed at easing lockdown measures in some cases.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) Spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said in a briefing that the nationwide State of Emergency remains in effect, despite the lower number of newly reported cases each day, asking the general public to continue avoiding travel.

He said the situation may seem to have improved, but new infections can still rise significantly if precautionary measures are not complied with by everyone.

The private sector is asked to continue allowing their employees to work from home, in order to prevent crowding at offices and in public places.

The government has decided to maintain the State of Emergency and other precautionary measures to ensure an effective response to the situation, and in order to prevent a second wave of infections as in other countries.

Some of the measures may be eased based on the situation in each area. The government will take into consideration lessons from foreign countries and data in Thailand, to strike a balance between health, the economy, and society.

The CCSA spokesman has asked the Thai public to continue cooperating with the disease containment measures, with a target to suppress daily new cases to be fewer than 10 for 14 days./.

Thai cabinet shifts budgets into fund for COVID-19 combat

The Thai cabinet on April 21 approved to transfer 10 percent of the fiscal 2020 budgets of each ministry to be allocated to a central fund to fight the pandemic and rehabilitate the economy.

According to Budget Bureau Director Dechapiwat Na Songkhla, the government will get nearly 100.4 billion baht (3 billion USD), most of which has yet to be disbursed and is not tied-over budget.

The plan is part of the third round of Thai government measures to stem the impact of the outbreak. These measures will focus on people living in rural areas and on stabilising the financial and capital markets.

The central fund will be managed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, empowered by the emergency decree.

Dechapiwat said the Thai government will also revise the fiscal 2021 budget in order to allocate funding to cope with the pandemic. The central budget in fiscal 2021 budget is set at 99 billion baht.

In a separate development, the cabinet yesterday approved a rice insurance scheme for the 2020-21 season worth 2.91 billion baht, aiming to cover 45.7 million rai of farmland.

On the same day, the Thai Cabinet also approved the Finance Ministry’s proposal to offer a 5,000 baht monthly relief to 14 million people instead of just 9 million./.

Vietnam extends another quarantine exception for arriving Samsung experts

Despite the travel restriction in Vietnam to prevent infection risks, Samsung Electronics has received another exception for its engineers, who are allowed to skip quarantine after entering the country.

Vietnam barred all travellers arriving from or through China on February 1. On February 29, the country began requiring people arriving from South Korea to undergo a two-week quarantine. Foreigners were banned from entering the country in mid-March, with possible exceptions for certain categories such as highly skilled workers and internal travel restricted as well.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Vietnamese government ultimately decided to let in about 200 Samsung employees since late last month, waiving the quarantine requirement. They are engineers arriving to expand capacity at facilities producing OLED panels.

Samsung is among the top foreign companies in Vietnam, generating a quarter of the country's exports. Its two plants in northern Vietnam handle more than half the company's global smartphone output.

Last week, on April 13, a worker at a Samsung plant in Bac Ninh tested positive for coronavirus, and about 40 people were directed to self-isolate.

Previously, last month, 700 South Korean engineers of Samsung Display, a supplier of Samsung Electronics and Apple, were exempted from the mandatory quarantine requirement to allow the urgent preparation of the production of screens for new smartphones. 

The Samsung exemptions illustrate the Vietnamese government's struggles to balance public health with economic health during the pandemic. Over the last five days, no new COVID-19 cases have been recorded. The total number of COVID-19 case in the country is 268, with 203 given the all-clear, and no death.

 
 

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