COVID-19: No new cases in 2 days, only 70 in treatment
Vietnam has continued to bring the novel coronavirus under control as no new cases were confirmed by the Ministry of Health on April 18 morning, while the number of patients fully recovering from the disease has increased to 198.
With the announcement, Vietnam has reported no new cases of the coronavirus for the past two consecutive days.
Since the first person was hospitalized for coronavirus treatment in Vietnam in late January, a total of 268 cases have been confirmed to contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. NO fatalities have been reported.
Of the total, 198 patients have fully recovered and received discharge from hospital. April 17 alone saw as many as 21 healthy patients leave the hospital, a record high figure so far.
Currently, 70 COVID-19 patients, including four foreigners, are being treated at 12 health facilities across the country.
More than 10 patients have tested negative for the deadly virus, and they need more negative tests to ensure they completely recover from the disease.
At a meeting in Hanoi on April 17, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam noted that the very low rate of infection over the past days indicated that the disease has been brought under control in Vietnam.
However, he warned localities do not rest on their laurels and they need to brace themselves for a long battle against the disease as the outbreak is far from over.
On April 18, the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control is to submit a new directive on coronavirus prevention to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The new directive will detail ways of dealing with the epidemic on a national level and groups of localities falling into three risk categories.
HCM City says penalty for not wearing mask in public too low
|HCM City wants to increase the penalty for not wearing masks in public from the current VNĐ100,000-300,000. — Photo phcm.chinhphu.vn|
The HCM City People’s Committee has sought the Government’s permission to increase the fine for not wearing a mask in public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the number of violations has increased in recent days since the fine of VNĐ100,000-300,000 is too low.
According to a report by the People's Committee, since March 28 the city has fined 4,360 people for not wearing a mask in public, collecting VNĐ868 million.
The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has decided to extend the social distancing campaign, originally rolled out from April 1 to 15, for at least one more week in HCM City.
On Wednesday, the city’s COVID-19 inspection unit checked the Samsung factory in city’s Hi-tech Park in District 9 after a Samsung worker tested positive in the Bắc Ninh northern Province.
The unit decided that the risk of infection is only 23 per cent, low enough to continue operations. But the inspection unit suggested that the company should reduce the number of workers in each shift.
The factory plans to cut down the number of workers from 6,000 to 3,900 and equip them with masks and hand sanitisers.
Online art auction raises over VND500 million for COVID-19 battle
An art work put up for auction under the programme. (Photo: Hanoimoi)
More than VND500 million (US$21,415) has been collected from a recent art auction programme, jointly organised by An Ninh Thu Do (Capital Security) newspaper and Indochine Art JSC, to support frontline medical workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launched on March 27, the programme received an enthusiastic response from artists through the donation of many valuable art works, 65 of which were selected by the organising committee for auction.
After six online auction sessions from March 29 to April 9, successful transactions were concluded for 46 works, raking in more than half a billion in total proceeds.
From April 15, An Ninh Thu Do newspaper and Indochine Art JSC will present the aforementioned amount and the remaining 19 paintings (worth over VND500 million) to six frontline hospitals and medical units of the country and particularly in Hanoi, including the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, Bach Mai Hospital, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control, the Me Linh General Hospital, and the Hanoi Police Hospital.
Regarding the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control, the organising committee will present four US rapid testing machines, worth VND25 million (US$1,071) each, instead of cash.
Ministry of Public Security to investigate Hanoi’s medical equipment purchase
All healthcare centres in the city are requested to review the list of medical equipment purchased.
The Ministry of Public Security has summoned officials of the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to clarify the purchase of medical equipment, said chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung on Friday.
At a meeting of the city steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control, Chung said the police department for corruption, economic crimes and smuggling will investigate the case and all violations must be strictly punished.
He asked the city Department of Health and CDC to review the list of purchased medical equipment. All purchased equipment must be maintained in the stores and can only be used in COVID-19 prevention and control.
Hospitals and healthcare centres are not allowed to use the medical equipment for check-ups and treatment of common diseases, he said.
According to the chairman, the city Department of Health is in full charge of purchasing medical equipment and not allowed to allocate budget to hospitals and healthcare centres at district level.
He requested all healthcare centres in the city to review the list of medical equipment purchased in the first phase and report to the city’s steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control what has been used before April 19.
Three quarters of COVID-19 patients nationwide recover
Up to 201 out of 268 COVID-19 patients across the country have fully recovered, reported the Treatment Subcommittee under the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
On April 18, three more people, including a man from the UK and a married couple from Brazil, were given the all-clear after treatment at hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City.
One patient released on April 18 is a 34-year-old British man who after initially testing positive had a number of subsequent tests during treatment at the Can Gio COVID-19 Treatment Hospital which all came back negative.
The couple from Brazil, a 45-year-old woman and her 49-year-old husband, had been treated at the Cu Chi COVID-19 Treatment Hospital in HCM City.
All three patients will have to undergo quarantine for the next 14 days and their health will be monitored.
As of April 18 morning, Vietnam reported no new cases of COVID-19 over the past two days. The country’s number of confirmed patients with SARS-CoV-2 stands at 268 and no fatalities has been reported.
Leaving quarantine areas to be considered criminal act
A quarantine area at Ham Rong Conference Centre, Thanh Hoa Province
People who flee quarantine and cause losses of VND100m (USD4,300) and over will face criminal charges according to the Ministry of Public Security.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, depending on the outbreak local authorities can quarantine or lock down a village, commune or province. Even people who haven't been tested positive but live in the area must follow the rules.
Anyone who flees or avoids the quarantine areas, fails to declare or lies about their medical conditions or history of travel and subsequently causes over VND100m in excessive expenses for disease prevention and control will be considered a criminal for violating safety regulations in crowded places in accordance with the Criminal Code.
The expenses for disease prevention and control include expenses to mobilise the military, police and health employees. Expenses for vehicles, medical equipment, meals, disinfectants and testing kits. There are costs incurred from finding the runaway people and contact tracing and further quarantine measures.
The local authorities and the head of quarantine areas are often assigned the task to review and make the list of expenses.
Agencies conducting legal proceedings will verify the expenses and investigate the case by collecting evidence showing the value of used goods and materials. The violators will then be prosecuted.
Youngsters actively join fight against COVID-19
In an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, young intellectuals in Da Nang city have invented and installed automated hand washing machines at local markets.
Five automatic hand washing machines have been installed at major traditional markets in Da Nang city since March 30. The machines have been made by students from the Da Nang University of Education.
Washing hands regularly and avoiding physical contact have been recommended to prevent COVID-19. Demand for no-touch hand washing machines is huge. Understanding the situation, local youngsters have come up with this invention. The machines’ appearance is also expected to raise people’s awareness of personal hygiene amid the pandemic.
Besides government efforts, such contributions by dedicated individuals are expected to help Vietnam win the war against the fatal disease.
German newswire lauds Vietnam’s economic policy amid COVID-19
The Deutsche Welle (DW) newswire on April 17 ran a story praising Vietnam’s successes in fighting COVID-19 with all of its power while the global economy is facing depression due to the pandemic.
The article quoted a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as saying that the world economic growth is forecast to drop by 3 percent this year. For the first time in 60 years, the Asian economy has been predicted to not expand. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government has announced that its economy downsized 6.8 percent in the first quarter.
However, Vietnam has so far done a fairly good job in economic term. Though the figure in the first quarter is lower than the estimate, the growth still hit 3.82 percent, it said.
Talking with DW, Carl Thayer from Australia’s University of New South Wales, said it was a noteworthy achievement.
According to the article, Vietnam launched a strategy to contain SARS-CoV-2 from early. Therefore, data from the Johns Hopkins University showed that the total number of infection cases has only reached 268 to date.
Despite social distancing measures, electronics and medicine-pharmaceuticals sectors still grew by 14 percent and 44 percent, respectively, in the first quarter, said the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK) in Vietnam, adding that the Vietnamese Government is adopting different measures to prevent economic slowdown.
It said like other countries, Vietnam has also faced difficulties, especially in services, tourism and aviation. The tourism sector lost 3-4 billion USD in the first quarter.
Thayer also added that Vietnam could succeed in maintaining the balance between protecting people’s health and economic benefits in the short term.
Charity group manufactures mask buckle to help relieve ear pain
A charity group in Hanoi has made face mask buckles which will help reduce the pressure on the ears for the medical staff.
Phan Manh Ha, a member of the group, said this was an original idea from a boy in Canada. After seeing the idea, Ha and his group realised that this is a very useful idea for all medical staff that have to use face masks for a long period of time.
"Dr Vu Quang Hung from the National Institute of Hematology & Blood Transfusion is the one that sparked the idea that we should manufacture the buckles because since the outbreak started, the medical staff have also had to deal with ear pain too," Ha said.
The group redesigned the buckle a bit to fit Vietnamese head sizes. The buckles are made from silicone which is light and can be reused. "At first we wanted to use leather but after much considering, we came to the conclusion that leather is not easy to clean but easily stained by bacteria," Trang, another member said.
The cost for a silicone roll is around VND10m (USD426), not to mention the transportation cost from HCM City to Hanoi. However, after knowing that the group is doing a charity project, many people have helped to find cheaper sources. The group has made over 6,000 and donated them to the doctors on the front line. Each day, they can make about 5,000 buckles.
"Luckily, one of our members has a textile workshop. With the materials, we can speed up the manufacturing process," Trang said.
Deputy PM: With public unanimity, Vietnam will win over COVID-19
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on April 17 said despite numerous hardships, Vietnam will surely win over COVID-19 pandemic if ministries, agencies, localities and the whole people are unanimous.
Chairing a teleconference with representatives of the 63 provinces and cities of the country to launch anti-pandemic tasks, Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said as the epidemic will persist while medicines or vaccines are being invented, the entire country must not lower its guard so as to keep the disease from spreading and to develop the economy at the same time.
He called on the people nationwide to seriously continue following the appeal by Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong, directions by the Politburo, the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Government, the Prime Minister and the steering committee, as well as guidelines by the Health Ministry.
Dam said the first measure is continuing to closely control entry-exit by air, water and roads, except those with diplomatic, public service and business purposes. Those suspected of infection must be put under quarantine immediately and at-risk areas zoned off and sprayed with disinfectants.
In the near future, suitable measures will be applied for different areas and sectors, he said.
The official highlighted the need to further classify at-risk groups at the communal, district and even village levels, which requires daily data update in localities.
In order to have a safe live in the context the pandemic, he reiterated that citizens must wear masks when going out, keep distance with others, regularly wash hands with soap and sanitisers, and not gather in crowd areas. They should go to medical establishments only in necessary cases after consulting with doctors.
As for safe learning, the Ministry of Education and Training and localities were required to offer specific measures to each education level.
He also asked for specific guidelines for safe travelling, production and trade, culture-sport-tourism activities, as well as ensuring the safety of public administration agencies.
It is necessary to continue heightening the sense of discipline and responsibility of each individual and organisation in the effort in the immediate future, Dam said.
Also according to him, it is time to utilise digital transformation amid the fourth industrial revolution, including facilitating online meetings, public services, learning, health check-ups and digital payment.
Vietnam presents medical supplies to Sweden
Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung (R) symbolically presents the medical supplies to Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Mawe
Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung handed over the token of the 100,000 antibacterial cloth face masks manufactured in Vietnam to the Swedish government and people to support them in the fight against the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing the hand-over ceremony, Dung, empowered by the Prime Minister, said Vietnam highly valued the Swedish government’s efforts in response to the pandemic and the country stands ready to cooperate, exchange experience and join hands with other nations, including Sweden, in the COVID-19 fight.
He emphasised the importance of international cooperation and solidarity to ensuring people’s health, and expressed thanks to the valuable support and assistance provided by Sweden to Vietnam during its struggle for national independence and reunification in the past and the current cause of development and international integration.
Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Mawe expressed her thanks to the Government and people of Vietnam for the valuable gift, describing it as a vivid evidence of the traditional friendship and close cooperation between the two countries.
She spoke highly of the Vietnamese Government’s outstanding achievements in combating the COVID-19, expressing her belief that with efforts and solidarity, the countries will win the fight, and relations between Vietnam and Sweden will continue advancing in both bilateral and multilateral aspects in the time to come.
Vietnam helping Cuba’s battle against COVID-19
|Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha (R) presents the token of the relief package to Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera|
Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha on April 17 handed a letter from Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong, addressed to Cuban high-ranking leaders, to the country's Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera, as well as the token of the 5,000 tonnes of rice from the Vietnamese Government and people to the Cuban people to support their COVID-19 fight.
The minister was acting under the empowerment of Vietnamese Party and State leaders.
Ha, who is also Chairman of the Vietnam Sub-Committee of the Vietnam - Cuba Inter-governmental Committee, said the Party and Government of Vietnam greatly appreciate the timely support of their Cuban counterparts in COVID-19 prevention and control, adding Vietnam is also ready to provide medical supplies as relief aid to support Cuba.
Amid the complexities caused by the global pandemic, countries need to enhance solidarity, cooperation, and preventive measures in order to protect the people's health and ensure socio-economic stability, he said.
The minister also spoke highly of the efficient cooperation between Vietnam and Cuba in the health sector. The two are holding online conferences involving leaders from health ministries and other relevant agencies as well as experts on strategies to fight the COVID-19.
Support in medical supplies and research into vaccines and treatment for COVID-19 patients, as well as other long-term collaboration, were also on the agenda.
Minster Ha voiced his belief that with determination and effort, Vietnam and Cuba will soon overcome the pandemic.
For her part, the Cuban diplomat said her country greatly appreciates the Vietnamese Government’s support at a time of the global pandemic.
As the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Vietnam has demonstrated its willingness to assist other countries on a multilateral basis to the best of its abilities, she added.
The ambassador also highly valued a recent initiative by former Vietnamese students in Cuba to support the country in the face of the pandemic, noting that it shows the long-standing friendship and solidarity of the two peoples, especially as Vietnam and Cuba are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic relations this year.
Ambassador to Russia calls for public joint efforts in COVID-19 fight
Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh
Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh sent a letter on April 16 (local time), calling for joint efforts of the community in the host country in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
In his letter, the diplomat voiced his sympathies to the difficulties of the overseas Vietnamese in Russia due to impact of the COVID-19.
He also thanked people who supported others in seeking medical help, interpretation, accommodation arrangement and medicine and food, as well as presented self-made face masks to Russian friends at the time of hardship.
Manh called on Vietnamese in the European country to join in a network of their compatriots in the COVID-19 combat in Russia, which aims to support its members in disease prevention and control, thereby stabilising their lives.
The diplomat also announced a fundraising campaign to benefit Vietnamese people in Russia hurt by the pandemic.
He underlined that people’s compliance with local regulations in the COVID-19 prevention and combat will help promote the image of Vietnamese in the country and contribute to the Vietnam-Russia friendship.
Embassy responds to queries on citizen protection measures in Canada
The Embassy of Vietnam in Canada has responded to queries regarding whether the Vietnamese Government will arrange a commercial flight to fly its citizens home and the embassy’s protection measures in the coming time.
Charge d'Affaire of the embassy Nguyen Huong Tra said the embassy is making a list of citizens who wish to return home and submit to relevant agencies, in line with guidelines by the Prime Minister.
Priorities will be given to children under 18, the elderly, people with illness and special needs, she noted, adding flights bringing citizens home will only be launched upon permission of the Government.
Furthermore, they will be arranged by relevant agencies together with diplomatic representative offices and domestic airlines, in a suitable manner for Vietnam’s quarantine capacity.
The Vietnamese embassy over the time has taken concerted citizen protection measures, she said.
It has required the Global Affairs Canada and the country's association of universities and colleges to offer accommodation in dormitories for Vietnamese students until the end of the school term.
Local agencies have been asked to launch medical support and create optimal conditions for the extension of residence permits of Vietnamese expats.
The Vietnamese embassy has also set up a volunteer network to assist students facing troubles and provide medical examination and treatment in Vietnamese in case of emergency, Tra added.
In the coming time, the office will closely join hands with relevant agencies at home and in Canada to continue ensuring legitimate benefits of the Vietnamese citizens, she affirmed.
Vietnam is the Southeast Asian nation having the largest number of students in Canada, with more than 21,000.
As of 7pm on April 16 (local time), Canada had reported 30,092 COVID-19 cases, with 1,193 deaths.
Singapore reports 623 new COVID-19 cases on April 17
Singapore recorded 623 new COVID-19 cases on April 17 (Photo: https://mothership.sg/)
Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 623 new COVID-19 cases on April 17, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 5,050.
The ministry also said that 69 percent of the new cases were linked to detected clusters, while the rest were pending contact tracing.
During the past day, 25 more COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.
A total of 708 patients have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, the ministry said.
The number of cases that have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection increased to 11.
Malaysia reports lowest daily new COVID-19 cases since start of movement curbs
A health worker in Malaysia (Source: www.straitstimes.com)
Malaysia on April 17 reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since movement curbs began on March 18, with 69 announced by the Health Ministry.
The country has to date recorded 5,261 COVID-19 cases, including 86 deaths.
Meanwhile, Indonesia confirmed 407 new cases of COVID-19 on the same day, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 5,923 nationwide. The total confirmed cases made it the worst-hit country in Southeast Asia.
The country’s COVID-19 death toll reached 520 after another 24 deaths were recorded on April 17.
Also on the same day, the health ministry of Philippines reported 218 new infections and 25 deaths. The country has to date recorded 5,878 COVID-19 cases, including 387 deaths.
Singapore has to date confirmed 4,427 infection cases, including 10 deaths, while Thailand has reported 2,700 COVID-19 cases, including 47 deaths, so far.
Philippine President eyes martial law-like COVID-19 crackdown
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on April 17 warned about a martial law-like crackdown to stop people flouting a virus lockdown in the nation's capital.
In a televised speech, Duterte said the army and police will take over if discipline is not taken.
He spoke a day after authorities reported an upsurge of cars on Manila's roads which have been nearly deserted since a sweeping lockdown was imposed a month ago.
As reported cases of the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 started to climb in March, the leader ordered a quarantine of the main northern island of Luzon, which includes the capital's 12 million people.
Only essential workers and people buying food or medicine are officially allowed outside their homes, yet many others have flouted the rules.
The Philippines has detected some 5,660 infection cases and recorded 362 deaths, but those figures are expected to climb as the nation ramps up testing.
Thailand’s provinces continue COVID-19 curbing measures
Provinces across Thailand have continued to enforce stringent measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
In Nong Khai, the alcohol sale ban has been extended to April 30, while the governor of Phichit has attended a local flea market, giving vendors recommendations for personal protection.
Nong Khai province has announced an extension of the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages, initially expiring on 20th April, to 30th April. The Provincial City Hall has also announced a ban of public vehicles carrying passengers in and out of the province, affecting both scheduled and charter services. These measures have been introduced in an effort to minimize the transmissions of COVID-19.
In Phichit, Governor Sirirat Chumupakan has visited Khlong Thom flea market in Phichit city to promote personal protection measures preventing the transmission of the coronavirus disease. Almost all vendors are now wearing face masks, while a temperature screening point and alcohol gel dispensers are placed at the entry for customer access.
The market’s management has asked all vendors to wear a face mask, and maintain at least 1-meter distance between one another. While the market remains open however, only shops selling takeaway food are allowed to operate.
In Nan, Nan Hospital Director Dr Achara Laongnaulpanich has led a tour of the hospital’s lab for COVID-19 tests, which enables Nan hospital to conduct tests for the coronavirus causing COVID-19, using the PCR method in-house, increasing capacity, improving accuracy, and reducing waiting time.
Nan hospital previously needed to send specimens for tests at a regional medical sciences center in Chiang Rai, resulting in a 3-4 hour delay for specimen transportation, as well as higher costs.
The newly opened lab at Nan hospital is capable of testing specimens submitted from all community hospitals in Nan province.
ASEAN pledges to ensure food security during COVID-19 pandemic
The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) have issued a joint statement reaffirming commitment to ensure food security, food safety and nutrition in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The joint statement was issued at the recent ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry.
AMAF Chair Dato Ali Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei, affirmed that ASEAN will continue working to ensure the sustainable supply of sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meet the dietary requirement of ASEAN populations during and after the pandemic.
While it is too early to assess the full impact of COVID-19, the pandemic-related disruptions on travel and supply chain markets will have potential risks on the availability and prices of food and agriculture produce in the region depending on the duration of the outbreak and the severity of containment measures needed, according to the statement.
The AMAF pledged, among others, to minimise disruptions in regional food supply chains by working closely together to ensure that markets are kept open and transportation of agricultural and food products are facilitated. They also stressed the importance of reducing excessive price volatility particularly price spikes, ensuring adequate emergency food and reserves and providing timely and accurate market information.
The ministers urged ASEAN member states to implement necessary measures, projects and programmes at the national level to meet the immediate food needs of the ASEAN population, particularly the vulnerable groups in the society.
Further, they highlighted the need to boost the ASEAN nations’ social protection programmes for smallholder farmers, and micro, small and medium enterprises to increase food production and ensure food security in the region.
According to the statement, ASEAN countries are discussing a study focusing on the challenges and solutions to reduce disruptions in food and agriculture trade before, during and after the pandemic.
Youth Federation launches blood donation drive
The Vietnam Youth Federation (VYF) Central Committee launched a nationwide blood donation campaign on April 17.
The campaign is in response to a letter from Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on the occasion of “All-People Blood Donation Day” on April 7.
Central Committee Permanent Secretary Nguyen Anh Tuan called on federation members to join the drive and ease the shortage of blood supplies during the struggle against COVID-19.
The federation also urged its affiliates to launch similar drives during a one-month period starting from April 19 in response to the top leader’s call and to mark the 130th birthday of late President Ho Chi Minh on May 19.
Events needv to closely follow health regulations and avoid becoming crowded to ensure health and safety.
Donor number has been down 60 percent in recent times due to fears over COVID-19, resulting in severe shortages of the valuable fluid around the country, especially Types A and O.
People are urged to register to donate blood at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion at www.vienhuyethoc.vn.
On the same day, the federation presented 30,000 food portions to the poor, homeless, and those who have lost their jobs in Hanoi, HCM City, Hai Phong, and Can Tho, as part of its programme offering support to those hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hanoi to conduct quick COVID-19 tests at wholesale markets
Many provinces and cities, particularly those at high risk of a COVID-19 outbreak, will continue to keep schools closed, while others have not decided on a date to reopen schools.