No new COVID-19 cases found on February 18 morning

No new COVID-19 cases were detected from 6pm on February 17 to 6am on February 18, keeping the national count at 2,329, including 1,430 community infections, reported the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

At present, a total of 144,071 people who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are being under quarantine nationwide, including 577 in hospitals, 14,325 in state-designated establishments and 129,169 others at their residences.

Since January 27, when the pandemic broke out in northern localities, 737 new cases were detected in the community.

Among patients still undergoing treatment, 46 have tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 33 twice and 25 thrice. The total number of recoveries is 1,580.

Currently, the patient with the worst conditions is receiving treatment at Da Nang Lung Hospital due to old age and a medical history of high blood pressure and diabetes.

According to Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, the ministry is working hard with partners in importing COVID-19 vaccines, while speeding up the research of domestically-made vaccines.

The Health Ministry advised people to remain proactive in pandemic prevention and control by continuing to wear face masks when going out, disinfecting frequently, maintaining a safe distance, refraining from mass gatherings, and making medical declarations./.

47-year-old South Korean executive found dead in apartment negative for COVID-19

The South Korean man who was found dead in his apartment Wednesday morning tested negative for COVID-19, Hà Nội’s authorities announced later Wednesday .

Born in 1974, and residing in Việt Nam since 2014, the construction director lived alone in his apartment at Goldmark City apartment complex in Bắc Từ Liêm District.

The man was found dead Wednesday morning by a guard after his friends failed to contact him and raised the alarm.

The apartment building was immediately locked down pending the man’s COVID-19 diagnosis, but the order is expected to be lifted soon following his negative result.

The cause of death is initially reported as stroke.

The incident drew heightened attention after a 54-year-old Japanese expert working for Mitsui and staying in Hà Nội was also found dead in his hotel room while positive for coronavirus on the evening of February 13, more than a month after his arrival in the country.

Two others who came into contact with the man during a meeting on February 2 have also tested positive.

The Japanese man arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City on January 17, and had completed two-week mandatory quarantine lasting from January 17-31 here and tested negative for the virus twice.

On January 1, he flew to Hà Nội and stayed at a hotel in Tây Hồ District.

Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long at a Government meeting said it’s likely that the man contracted the virus in Hà Nội within the five to seven-day window prior to his death because the virus load detected in his body was still quite high.

Long didn’t rule out the possibility that he got the virus in the quarantine facility in HCM City but said the chance is pretty slim.

Hà Nội’s health authorities also Wednesday announced the suspension of Raffles Medical clinic in Hà Nội due to its failure to collect a biological sample from the Japanese man to test for COVID-19 when he visited the clinic on February 2 and 8 when he showed suspect symptoms of mild fever and fatigue. 

Hai Duong hastens testing, disinfectant spraying

Military Zone 3 assisted Cam Giang district, the northern province of Hai Duong – the country’s current COVID-19 largest hotspot, in spraying disinfectants in 12 areas on February 17 amid the complicated developments of the pandemic.

As scheduled on February 18, disinfectants will be sprayed in several concentrated quarantine sites and high-risk companies.

Earlier, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and head of the provincial Steering Committee Nguyen Duong Thai signed a Decision assigning Chairman of the Council of the Hai Duong Medical Technical University Dr. Tran Quang Canh to the provincial Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to assist in testing from February 9 until the pandemic is under control.

During a working session with local leaders on February 17, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Pham Xuan Thang asked local political system to raise public awareness of the danger of the pandemic and the sense of responsibility for fighting it.

The provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control issued a set of criteria assessing the infection risk at workplaces, production and service areas.

According to the Cam Giang district Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the district recorded 76 infection cases as of 4:30 pm on February 17.

Cam Giang is now home to five industrial zones with nearly 60,000 workers. Currently, 1,024 people are being under quarantine in 27 concentrated quarantine facilities in the locality. It also set up 585 community-based working teams, nine control stations at the provincial level, five others at the district level and 116 at communal level./.

Random COVID-19 testing to be conducted on arrivals at Tan Son Nhat airport

COVID-19 testing will be conducted randomly on passengers aboard flights from Hanoi, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong to Tan Son Nhat International Airport by the local health sector as a large number is returning the city after the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, the national-flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said.

From February 17, the airlines strengthens COVID-19 prevention and control measures for flights from Hanoi to southern localities to ensure safety for passengers and its staff.

The measures include wearing facemasks throughout the flights, making health declarations and measuring body temperature before boarding. It may refuse to serve passengers who fail to follow medical regulations against the pandemic, a leader of the carrier said.

Airplanes from Hanoi will be sprayed with disinfectant  according to international standards right after landing at airports in Da Nang and HCM City.

Other safety measures will also be implemented on all domestic flights of Vietnam Airlines.

Passengers can seek support at website, the mobile app Airlines, Facebook fanpage, the carrier’s hotline at 1900 1100 or its ticket offices nationwide./.

Automated real-time PCR system facilitating HCM City’s COVID-19 testing

An automated real-time PCR system for COVID-19 testing, worth 5.2 billion VND (224,000 USD), was presented to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health by the Hung Thinh Group on February 17.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, organised by the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) - HCM City chapter, Deputy Director of the municipal Health Department Nguyen Hoai Nam thanked the chapter and the Hung Thinh Group for supporting the city’s health sector in properly conducting testing and tracing related to COVID-19 patients.

The system will help reduce the time needed for and increase the efficiency of testing, while minimising the risk of infection for medical staff completing tests.

The health sector commits to using the system effectively and for the right purpose, Nam added.

Duong Thi Huyen Tram, head of the Movement Department at the VFF - HCM City chapter, said the city’s COVID-19 Prevention and Control Fund has to date received over 260 billion VND in cash and goods and medical equipment from units, organisations, and individuals inside and outside of the country.

Cash, goods, and medical equipment worth 156 billion VND have already been delivered to forces participating in prevention and control efforts at hospitals, health centres, and quarantine facilities, and to poor people affected by the pandemic.

Da Nang: Policies supporting agriculture, rural development introduced

The People’s Committee of Da Nang city has released a plan for implementing a resolution issued by the municipal People’s Council last year, with regulations on a number of policies to support agriculture and rural development in the central city.

It forms part of an action programme from the municipal Party Committee's standing board on accelerating agricultural restructuring towards high-tech production and concentrated and large-scale production in close association with new-style rural area building.

The city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is in charge of monitoring, reporting, and summing up the budget for the programme, which is sent to the municipal Department of Finance for preparing an annual budget estimate for submission to the municipal People’s Committee.

Resolution No 329/2020/NQ-HDND dated February 9, 2020 from the municipal People’s Council stipulates many policies to support agriculture and rural development, including those related to supporting commercial loan interest rates for enterprises investing in agriculture and rural areas, with the maximum amount not exceeding 70 percent of total investment of the project.

The city encourages cooperation in the production and consumption of agricultural products and supports high-tech agricultural production and concentrated and specialised agriculture, with 50 percent of the budget for infrastructure development, equipment, and seedlings for production, fertilisers, and pesticides, but not exceeding 2 billion VND (86, 172 USD) per project.

Local businesses and individuals have also received support to upgrade or relocate concentrated cattle and poultry slaughterhouses in line with the city’s planning for such establishments.

Apart from supporting improvements to brand building, packaging, and product quality, municipal authorities have also assisted the building and upgrading of sales points for key agricultural products and specialties in the “One Commune, One Product” programme./.

Vietnam supports, congratulates new WTO leader: Ambassador

Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations, has affirmed that Vietnam together with ASEAN member states and other WTO members support and congratulate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her election as WTO General Director.

Addressing a special session of the WTO General Council held online on February 15, Ambassador Mai stressed that Vietnam will closely with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and believed that she has enough qualifications to helm WTO through present challenges and achieve targets of the multilateral trade system.

At the event, Okonjo-Iweala expressed her hope to work with member states to shape and carry out necessary policies to reboot the global economy which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

When taking office as the seventh WTO General Director on March 1, Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and the first African to be elected as a WTO leader.

She used to serve as Finance Minister of Nigeria and former Managing Director of the World Bank. As Chair of the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), she is also a global financial expert, an economist and an expert on international development with over 30 years of working experience across the world./.

Hanoi workers return to work after Tet

As many as 91 percent of local businesses in Hanoi had resumed operations and 94.5 percent of the labourers had returned to work after the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday as of February 17, according to the Hanoi Federation of Labour.

The first firms in some industrial parks and export processing zones started working early on the fourth day of the new Lunar Year (February 15), while some plan to resume operations on the 11th day (February 22).

Prior to the festival, the most important event of Vietnamese people in a year, the Hanoi Federation of Labour organised a number of activities to support poor workers, ensuring that all enjoyed a warm festival.

Trade unions at all levels as well as workers in the capital city have strictly implemented regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control.

Inspection groups have also been set up to ensure working disciplines are observed./.

Hanoi’s Huong Pagoda Festival suspended to curb spread of COVID-19

Hanoi’s outlying My Duc district was ordered to suspend the annual Huong Pagoda Festival and stop receiving visitors in an attempt to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Xuan Dung has said.

Districts in the capital city hosting festivals are requested to suspend all activities until the 15th day of the first lunar month, Dung said at a meeting of the city’s committee for COVID-19 prevention and control on February 13.

During February 10-13, the first days of the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, Hanoi logged two new COVID-19 cases, including a two-month-old child, informed Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Health Hoang Duc Hanh.

The city had reported a total 30 infections in the community since the start of new outbreaks on January 27.

Hanh added that all employees at Noi Bai International Airport tested negative with the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.

Hanoi's localities are asked to bolster inspections and impose fines on those who fail to wear face masks in public places. They must also devise scenarios and plans as workers will return to work after the Tet holidays end. 

The Huong Pagoda Festival, the longest of its kind in Vietnam, begins on the sixth day of the lunar new year and lasts for three months./.

Exotic chrysanthemum garden dazzles Hanoians

Chrysanthemums may be popular among many Vietnamese people but few know how many species there are. Let’s take a trip to an exotic chrysanthemum garden in Hanoi to see around 40 species showing off their beauty as the Lunar New Year approaches.oi students
Sunday, January 31, 2021 17:56

“Cat tuong” and “Hoang long cao” are among dozens of exotic ancient chrysanthemum species being nurtured at Vietnam’s Ornamental Park on Phan Trong Tue Street in Thanh Tri district, Hanoi, which attracts many visitors as the Lunar New Year draws near.

Vietnamese people for generations have considered chrysanthemums as among the symbolic plants for the four seasons, alongside juniper trees, golden bamboo, and apricot trees. Now that more ornamental trees and flowers are found around the country, chrysanthemums receive less attention, so this space is hoped to pique people’s interest in the flower once again.

Apart form 40 chrysanthemum species, the park also features nearly 2,000 ornamental trees and flowers, creating a relaxing green space in bustling Hanoi.

Vietnam’s Ornamental Park is like a green oasis in the capital and a getaway for city-dwellers. It is also expected to nurture people’s responsibility in protecting the environment./.

Over 5.5 trillion VND earmarked for policy beneficiaries on Tet

Over 10.4 million gifts worth more than 5.5 trillion VND (239 million USD) were granted to policy beneficiaries and workers on the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival 2021, reported by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) on February 17.

Of the figure, 543 billion VND were from the State budget, over 3.37 trillion VND from local budget and the remainder from the Vietnam Father Front (VFF) chapters at all levels, funds for the poor and other sources.

Over 1 million people who rendered service to the nation received gifts from the State President at a cost of more than 538 billion VND. Localities also offered monthly allowances to policy beneficiaries and paid tribute to martyrs.

The MoLISA also worked with the Finance Ministry and the Government Office to propose to the Prime Minister the provision of over 9,000 tonnes of rice for more than 605,000 people in the provinces of Nghe An, Quang Nam, Ninh Thuan, Binh Dinh, Ha Giang, Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Quang Ngai, Cao Bang, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Binh Phuoc, Dak Nong and Gia Lai.

It also proposed supplying over 2,400 tonnes of rice to more than 166,500 residents in the provinces of Quang Binh, Lang Son, Dak Nong, Lai Chau and Gia Lai.

In collaboration with the VFF Central Committee, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour and the Vietnam Red Cross Society Central Committee, the MoLISA also handed over gifts to workers living in need and those hit hard by the pandemic./.

Ca Mau launches tourism stimulus programme

The southernmost province of Ca Mau has launched a tourism stimulus programme for this year with the dual goal of fighting COVID-19 and developing a safe, efficient, and sustainable tourism sector.

Many accommodation facilities are offering discounts of between 5 and 30 percent, while a number of travel agents have cut the price of tours by 10 percent for groups of more than 10 people.

The Ca Mau Cape national tourism area is offering free entry to teachers and students nationwide.

To promote the potential that local tourism holds, the province plans to hold the “Ca Mau Destination 2021” event, with activities including a marathon race, the Nghinh Ong (whale worshipping) festival, a festival to commemorate national ancestors, an exhibition showcasing “One Commune, One Product” goods, cultural-artistic activities, and famtrips (familiarisation trips for those in the tourism sector) to local tourism areas.

Nearly 70,000 people visited local landmarks from February 10 to 16, with revenue standing at over 51 billion VND (2.21 million USD).

According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, tourist arrivals last year slumped by more than 56 percent compared to 2019, leading to a decline of over 71 percent in revenue.

Department director Tran Hieu Hung attributed the decline to economic difficulties caused by COVID-19./.

Traffic accidents down in all three criteria during Tet holiday

Traffic accidents dropped across all three criteria during the week-long Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from February 10-16, according to the Ministry of Public Security’s Traffic Police Department.

The department's statistics showed that there were 182 road accidents nationwide during the period, killing 109 and injuring 123 others, down 16 cases (8.08 percent), 24 deaths (18.05 percent) and 51 injured victims (29.31 percent).

Specifically, 106 lost their lives and 123 others were wounded in 179 road accidents. One was dead in a railway accident and two others died in two inland waterway accidents.

Two especially serious traffic accidents happened in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai and the southern province of Binh Dinh during the holiday, leaving seven dead and three others injured.

Traffic police dealt with 16,758 violators of road traffic rules, collecting total fines of over 17 billion VND (739,000 USD). Up to 101 automobiles and 5,642 motorbikes were seized while 1,930 driving licenses were revoked. Drink driving was a common violation.

On waterway, 458 violation cases were found with a fine of 490 million VND./.

Prime Minister pays tribute to King Quang Trung

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on February 15 offered incense in tribute of King Quang Trung at the Dong Da Mound in Hanoi, a special national relic site which reportedly witnessed one of the most famous battles in Vietnam’s history of fighting invaders.

An annual festival is held at the relic site on the fifth day of the lunar year to mark the Dong Da-Ngoc Hoi battle between King Quang Trung’s troops and Chinese Qing invaders in spring 1789. The battle smashed the intention to occupy Vietnam of the Qing dynasty.

King Quang Trung (1753-1792), whose real name is Nguyen Hue, was the second king of the Tay Son dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 1788 until 1792. He mastered the Tay Son army’s speedy operation from Phu Xuan (Hue) to the north to defeat 20,000 Qing aggressors and liberate Thang Long citadel in 1789.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanoi suspended the Dong Da Mound festival./.


Vietnamese in Macau gather to celebrate Lunar New Year

The Association of Vietnamese in Macau (China) held a gathering on February 14 to welcome the Year of the Ox with the participation of local authorities and the expatriate community.

Speaking at the event, head of the association Duong Trung Duc reviewed negative effects caused by COVID-19 for Vietnamese in Macau, saying many lost their jobs and others could not return home due to the postponement of commercial flights.

According to him, receiving assistance from the Vietnamese Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau and recognition of the local administration, the association, established in November last year, has so far operated well and significantly supported Vietnamese expatriates in legal consultations, organisation of flights, and unemployment aid, among other aspects.

The gathering aims at reminding the community about their responsibilities for the home country, particularly via building a good image of Vietnamese people overseas and making efforts to overcome obstacles and contribute to Vietnam.

Macau now hosts more than 22,000 from Vietnam or those of Vietnamese origin. The lion’s share of the number are people working as housemaids or at casinos./.

Binh Thuan gears up to develop ocean economy, ensure sovereignty protection

With a 192km-long coastline and 52, fishing ground, the south central province of Binh Thuan has great potential for marine economy development. The locality, with largest titanium reserve, has also implemented many tourism, energy and industrial projects.

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Secretary of Binh Thuan Province’s Party Committee Duong Van An talked about the development strategy of the locality and recommendations made to the Government to tap its huge potential, making the province rich in economy and strong in defence and security.

- With great potential in the ocean’s natural resources and important location, what are the orientations and solutions to develop the marine economy in association with ensuring sea and islands sovereignty protection of Binh Thuan province?

Binh Thuan is a coastal central southern province with 192km of coast line, where international ships pass through. With 52, of fishing area, this province is one of the three key fishing grounds of Vietnam. Its Phu Quy Island district has a strategic location in marine economy and security and defence. There are also oil and gas fields in the water of the province. We have huge potential to develop the marine economy especially tourism, renewable energy and seafood exploitation and processing, in association with the island and sea sovereignty protection.

The Binh Thuan provincial Party Committee issued an action plan to make the province become one with a strong, sustainable and comprehensive marine economy. In order to achieve the goals, the province also takes into account other tasks including conservation, climate change, marine environment protection and coastal encroachment prevention, among others.

The coastal area will become a driving force to promote growth with the development of urban and tourist areas, coastal industrial and service zones and clusters, along with renewable energy and seaport system development. The priority industries include tourism, energy, manufacturing and processing and logistic services.

In tourism for example, the province will build many luxury tourism areas with resorts, ecology, heath treatment and water sports. In the next five years, tourism is expected to become a spearhead economic sector. Mui Ne National Tourism Zone is targeted to be one of the leading destinations in the Asia-Pacific region in the next 10 years.

In industry, the province will promote both manufacturing and processing, and energy industries. It prioritises offshore wind power and Liquefied Natural Gas power projects. Offshore wind power is a new industry that is both cost-effective and sustainable. Several local and foreign investors have looked at investment opportunities and asked for permission to survey the wind power projects with the total capacity of up to 22,000MW. However, it should be noted that whether they are to be approved or not also depends on the National Power Development Master Plan in 2021-2030 and other sea and island-related issues.

To achieve the goals, the province has accelerated the construction of the infrastructure system in coastal areas and Phu Quy Island. Many structures have been or are being built, including Ham Tan-La Gi industrial, service and urban zone in Ham Tan district, coastal roads and logistics facilities for fishing. In addition, the province has strengthened the capacity of the fishery surveillance forces to protect aquatic resources and combat illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.

We also aim to develop Phu Quy Island district to ensure that it can fulfil the marine security and defence tasks and serve as a logistical and technical base for Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago and the DK1 rigs. Phu Quy will also serve as a marine search and rescue centre for the central southern region.

At the same time, the province will strengthen its national defence capacity, build a strong armed force, enhance its combat readiness and meet the requirements of protecting sovereignty over sea and islands. It will also focus on building and consolidating the all-people defence as well as strengthen the efficiency of law enforcement forces at sea. At the same time, it will pay attention to improving the life quality of locals in coastal localities and Phu Quy Island district.

- Could you tell us more about the proposals and recommendations of Binh Thuan province to the 13th National Party Congress on the task of marine economy development in association with sovereignty protection in the upcoming term?


Tapping sea and island potentials is a significant and strategic issue in most countries especially in the context that the resources on land are becoming exhausting. The resolution on the strategy for the sustainable development of Vietnam’s marine economy to 2030 and vision to 2045, known as Resolution No 36, affirmed that Vietnam will be a strong and rich country based on the sea. The marine economy is not merely about fishing and exploitation of the ocean’s natural resources. The combination of sectors; marine infrastructure; socio-economic, security and defence factors all contribute to the development of the marine economy.

Despite impressive achievements, Vietnam has yet to tap the potentials of a country with more than 3,000km-long coastline. There are shortcomings in the development process including the unsustainable development, lack of planning and poor management. Fishing activities have not been controlled properly, leading to the depletion of aquatic resources.

Sustainable development of the marine economy in association with sovereignty protection is an imperative and strategic, long-term task. To this end, it is necessary to develop sectors that have high added-value, use modern technologies and are environmentally friendly while still ensuring the security and defence as well as protecting the sovereignty of the nation.

Vietnam is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, therefore it needs to work on solutions to protect the ocean environment and develop the marine economy sustainably.

Binh Thuan aims to become a province strong in ocean economy. The province has many solutions to develop its maritime economy and has achieved positive initial results, however, there is still much room to tap its potentials and make breakthroughs.

One of the projects much anticipated by locals is Phan Thiet airport. The plan to build an airport in Phan Thiet was approved by the then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2014 and it will be used for both civil and military purposes. Nearly 600ha of land have been cleared ready to build an airport. We hope that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will direct competent authorities to accelerate the progress of the project to put the airport into operation soon.

Investment in some projects in Binh Thuan is also facing legal difficulties. Binh Thuan province has the largest titanium reserve in the country with more than 82,000ha, accounting for some 10 per cent of the province’s total land.

We hope that permission will be given for the implementation of development projects on the surface of areas of mineral reserves.

With 192km-long coastline, Binh Thuan has many beautiful beaches for tourism development. However many have also degraded by erosion. We hope that the Government has programmes to support the building of sea dykes which are used for both erosion prevention and military defence purposes.

For Phu Quy, we hope to continue to receive support and investment from the Government so that this will be a district rich in economy and strong in defence and security./.


Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines report new COVID-19 cases

Over the past 24 hours, Indonesia recorded 9,687 new COVID-19 cases, raising the national count to 1,243,646.

The Health Ministry said on February 17 that the country recorded 192 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 33,788.

In 24 hours, West Java saw the highest number of confirmed cases with 4,124, followed by Jakarta, 1,445; Central Java, 869; East Java, 580; and East Kalimantan, 452.

On February 17, Indonesia began the second phase of a free vaccination programme against COVID-19.

President Joko Widodo said the country targets to vaccinate at least 38.5 million people in the second phase, including teachers, market traders, public servants, military and police personnel, journalists, athletes, religious figures, and workers in hospitals, transportation offices and tourism industry.

Indonesia officially launched the first phase of a massive vaccination programme against COVID-19 in mid-January.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry of Malaysia reported 2,998 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,991 in the community, over the past 24 hours.

The country has to date logged 272,163 COVID-19 cases.

Also on the day, the Health Ministry of the Philippines documented 1,184 new COVID-19 cases and 53 deaths. The total numbers of COVID-19 cases and death toll are 553,424 and 11,577, respectively./.

More than 19,600 babies born during seven-day Tet holiday

There were 19,624 newborns delivered during the seven-day Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from February 11 to 17, according to the Agency of Health Examination and Treatment at the Ministry of Health.

The agency reported that healthcare facilities maintained round-the-clock operations throughout the holiday and provided emergency aid to 351,322 patients, up nearly 20 percent compared to Tet last year, including 32,674 victims of traffic accidents.

As of February 17, healthcare facilities had given treatment to 89,094 patients during the holiday and discharged 115,125.

The road toll stood at 180 for the holiday; 22 more than last Tet.

Medical examinations and emergency aid were provided to 270 people for injures caused by firecrackers; 70 cases fewer than last Tet and with no fatalities.

There were also 4,583 emergency cases due to fights, with eight deaths./.

Army lauded for efforts in maintaining social order during Tet festival

Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang, Politburo member, member of the Central Military Commission’s standing board, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and Deputy Minister of National Defence, on February 17 said the army has closely coordinated with the public security force in maintaining political security and social order during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Speaking at a working session between the Ministry of National Defence and the General Staff, Giang urged the General Staff to continue implementing the Party’s guidelines and the State’s laws and policies on national building and safeguarding in the new situation, along with the Resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress, and other relevant documents.

The General Staff should swiftly propose suitable policies and measures to the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of National Defence, and Party and Sate leaders, he said.

He asked units to maintain combat readiness and join hands with the public security force to ensure safety for major national events, especially the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 tenure.

At the same time, they need to improve the quality of scientific research and education in the army, while stepping up efforts in natural disaster and disease response.

Giang called on the entire army to work harder to overcome challenges, carry forward its pioneer and core role and effectively cope with non-traditional challenges.

At the working session, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, briefed on achievements recorded by the General Staff in 2020.

Provinces launch tree planting festival to support 1 billion tree programme

A number of localities launched tree planting festivals on February 17 as part of this year’s efforts in response to the Government’s programme on planting 1 billion trees to 2025.

At the launch in northern Phu Tho province, Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Bui Van Quang said that following late President Ho Chi Minh’s teachings, the tree planting festival held every spring has become a tradition around the country over the last 60 years and more.

Quang called on all-level authorities, sectors, agencies, economic organisations, armed forces, and people in Phu Tho to support the programme on planting 1 billion trees and to step up afforestation and forest protection.

The province is set to grow 1.5 million scattered trees this year.

In Ninh Binh, meanwhile, a ceremony was also organised to mark the tree planting festival and support the 1 billion tree programme.

The northern province is looking to have an additional 5.5 million trees and 200 ha of forest in the 2021-2025 period, including 1 million trees and 40 ha of forest this year.

Similar activities took place in eight district-level localities in Thai Binh province on February 17.

On November 28, 1959, President Ho Chi Minh wrote an article published in the Nhan dan (People) newspaper stressing the significance of tree planting for each person, each family, and the entire nation. Since the first tree planting festival was held in the spring of 1960, the activity has become a common practice whenever a new year arrives./.

Vietnam-Poland medical centre begins COVID-19 vaccinations

The Lotus Medical Centre, which was set up under a cooperative arrangement between Vietnam and Poland, has been licensed to conduct COVID-19 vaccinations in the European country.

According to Tran Anh Tuan, chairman of the centre and President of the Vietnamese Association in Poland, Lotus is one of more than 6,000 COVID-19 vaccination locations in the country.

To obtain a licence, the centre underwent tests on epidemiology, the qualifications of doctors and nurses, and COVID-19 information access and processing, he added.

The Polish Government has provided the centre with free doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Lotus has closely coordinated with the Vietnamese Association in Poland to help thousands of Vietnamese and local residents with testing, while giving them pandemic prevention and control advice, Tuan said.

The centre has been vaccinating people aged 70 or above since January 27.

Front leader commemorates late President Ho Chi Minh

President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Tran Thanh Man on February 17 offered incense in tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at House No. 67 in the Presidential Palace’s area on the occasion of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet).

At the event, Man, who is also a Politburo member, stated that despite tough challenges in 2020, the country completed its set goals and missions thanks to the high determination of the entire Party, people and army.

The VFF made significant contributions to the country’s achievements in the past year, he said, adding it promoted the great national solidarity bloc through activities to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, while enhancing social supervision and feedback and offering suggestions to the draft documents submitted to the 13th National Party Congress.

Man pledged to enhance the role of the VFF’s member organisations and gather the strength of Vietnamese people to successfully implement the Resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress.

President Ho Chi Minh led the country to success in its struggle for national independence. On September 2, 1945, he read the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming to the world the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

He was a talented leader and a national hero who devoted his whole life to the cause of national independence and freedom and happiness for the people while tirelessly striving for peace and progress in the world.

Located in the President Ho Chi Minh relic site, House No. 67 was named after the year 1967 when it was built, in which the late leader worked and passed away. It was the venue of Politburo meetings during the fiercest years of war./.

National programme to boost development of high technology

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a decision on the national programme on high technology development to 2030, which aims to develop and master 20 prioritised technologies in different fields.

One of the major objectives of the programme is increasing the export value of the high-tech products to about 60 percent of the total in the manufacturing-processing industry, increasing the proportion of the value of the high-tech agricultural production in the total agricultural production value, while creating new products and services with high added value.

The programme targets the building of about 500 new high-tech product suppliers along with about 200 high-tech agricultural enterprises.

By 2030, three component programmes are expected to be developed - one on technology research, application, and development from the Ministry of Science and Technology; another on developing a number of high-tech sectors from the Ministry of Industry and Trade; and a third on boosting high-tech agriculture, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

To this end, the programme provides a number of solutions, including completing institutions, supporting technology research and transfer, fostering links between businesses and science-technology organisations, and strengthening international cooperation in high technology./.

Vietnam to host competition for int’l chess Grandmasters for first time

The 2021 Grand Ho Tram Chess Tournament is set to take place from March 10-17 at The Grand Ho Tram complex in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

It is the first competition for international Grandmasters hosted by Vietnam, organised by the Vietnam Sports Administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and The Grand Ho Tram.

The event is expected to draw 22 Vietnamese Grandmasters, eight of them female, who have an Elo rating of between 2200 and 2400 awarded by the international chess governing body FIDE.

Each male contestant will play seven matches while their female counterparts will compete in a round robin format.

The winner of men’s contest will walk home with a prize of 200 million VND (8,640 USD) while the female champion receives a prize worth 100 million VND./.

Statutes of National Technology Innovation Fund issued

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a decision promulgating the organisational and working statutes of the National Technology Innovation Fund (NATIF).

Accordingly, the NATIF is a non-profit State financial fund which is subordinate to the Ministry of Science and Technology and not covered by the State budget. It operates as a single-member limited liability company with all of its charter capital owned by the State.

It provides soft loans and guarantees loans or offers financial aid for enterprises, organisations, and individuals to research, apply, transfer, innovate, and complete technology.

The purpose of the fund is to assist businesses in transferring, innovating, and completing technologies that are encouraged to be transferred as stipulated in the Law on Technology Transfer; promote technology transfer to serve agricultural development in rural, mountainous, and disadvantaged areas; support the development of technologies and science-technology companies, as well as technology decoding; and aid the training of science and technology human resources to serve technology transfer, innovation, and completion.

The NATIF is tasked with receiving, managing, and using sources of capital such as the State budget, legal financial sources, and voluntary donations by domestic and foreign businesses, organisations, and individuals; selecting missions and projects to be supported by the fund; making rules on financial aid and deciding on support levels in a transparent manner; examining and managing mission and project implementation; and assessing implementation outcomes.

It has the right to suspend or take back financial aid if any of the assisted businesses, organisations, and individuals is found to have violated regulations on the use of the fund’s capital. It can also deal with complaints or sue businesses, organisations, and individuals that infringe their contracts and commitments with the fund./.

National men’s football team remains in FIFA top 100

The national men’s football team is ranked 94th in the latest FIFA rankings, with 1,258 points.

This ranking also helped Vietnam occupy the 14th spot among Asian teams.

Vietnam led Southeast Asia, followed by Thailand, world No 113 and Asia No 20, with 1,178 points.

Vietnam witnessed a strong surge in rankings in the past 10 years, leaping by 43 spots from the 137th place in 2010.

Meanwhile, the women’s squad came at the 34th place in the FIFA rankings with 1,657 points./.

Khanh Hoa sets to welcome 5 million visitors in 2021

The central province of Khanh Hoa targeted to serve 5 million visitors in 2021, including 3.5 million domestic tourists, the local Department of Tourism said on February 16.

The figure is equivalent to 72 percent of the number recorded in 2019.

Tourism revenue is expected at 17.5 trillion VND (754.8 million USD).

To realize the set goal, the local tourism sector will carry out an array of promotion programmes such as “Vietnamese people support Vietnamese tourism – The call of Nha Trang beach”, and adjust popularisation campaigns to make it suitable for tourists’ changing habit.

During the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday from February 11 to 15, the province welcomed 27,100 visitors, as compared to 205,000 arrivals seen in the same time in 2019 when the country was not hit by the pandemic.

With a coastline of more than 380km and numerous bays, lagoons, islands and golden sandy beaches, Khanh Hoa has a lot of potential to develop sea-based tourism.

The Star, a leading Malaysian newspaper, has described the province’s Nha Trang beach city as the “underrated pearl” of Vietnam.

Stretching over 6km of powdery white sand, the crescent-shaped Nha Trang Beach overlooks one of the most beautiful bays in the world – Nha Trang Bay – and is easily accessible by foot from the bustling heart of the city, it said.

Meanwhile, Cam Ranh Bay was named among the world’s seven best destinations in May 2018 by top travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler.

Located near the city of Nha Trang, Cam Ranh boasts pristine and mesmerising beaches. It is where one can find a "lifetime fascination" in the deep waters, the US magazine said.

With 46,000 ha of water surface area and an average depth of 20-30m, Van Phong Bay boasts several favourable conditions for the development of international seaports, logistics services, as well as tourism and maritime urban areas.

Hon Gom peninsula and the islands of Hon Lon and Diep Son have the potential to house large-scale leisure and entertainment projects./.

Hai Duong tightens control of quarantined, lockdown areas to stem cross infections

The northern province of Hai Duong has ordered its provincial and district-level Steering Committees for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to tighten management of concentrated quarantine centres, lockdown areas and COVID-19 hospitals to prevent cross transmission.

There are 103 concentrated quarantine centres across Hai Duong at the present, including 29 in the hardest-hit Chi Linh city, 27 in Kinh Mon town, and 16 in Cam Giang district.

Some experts from the Ministry of Health voiced serious concern over a high risk of cross infection at poorly-managed concentrated quarantine facilities in Hai Duong during a virtual meeting with the provincial Party Committee and town- and district-level administrations in COVID-19 response on February 14.

A day later, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Pham Xuan Thang requested stricter preventive measures against COVID-19 in local lockdown areas and quarantined centres. District top leaders must take responsibility and will be disciplined if more cross infections are founded in concentrated quarantined centres, he said.

The provincial Party Committee’s Standing Board has also issued a directive assigning the local military to take up management of quarantine facilities accommodating more than 100 people, and cooperate with local authorities to manage those housing less than 100 people. The directive also asked Military Zone 3 to allow the use of military facilities and schools in Hai Duong for quarantine purpose.

As of 3:00pm on February 16, the northern province confirmed a total of 539 COVID-19 cases across all 12 districts and towns. On February 16 alone, the province reported 40 new cases. Meanwhile, 64 patients have been given the all-clear

In Hanoi, local authorities have been tracing contacts of a Japanese man who was found dead in Somerset West Point Hotel in Tay Ho district four days ago and later tested positive for COVID-19.

On his visit to check on the quarantined hotel on February 16, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue asked for coordination between the municipal Department of Health and the district’s administration to determine the cause of his death and the source of infection. They were also tasked to continue enforcing strict quarantine rules and quickly tracing direct (F1) and indirect (F2) contacts.

According to Director of the municipal Department of Health Nguyen Khac Hien, the department has collaborated with Tay Ho district to trace 63 F1 contacts of the Japanese man, two of whom had already tested positive for the novel coronavirus while the remainder negative; and 116 F2 contacts, all of whom tested negative for the virus./.

Hanoi serves 122,000 visitors during Lunar New Year festival

The capital city of Hanoi welcomed over 122,000 tourist arrivals during the first seven days of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival which lasts from February 10-16 , according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

The most favourite destinations during the holiday included the Temple of Literature (18,500 visitors), Hanoi Zoo (12,300 visitors), Thang Long Imperial Citadel (15,000), Ba Vi National Park (1,200 visitors), and Bao Son Paradise Park (1,700 visitors).

In the context of complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, all disease prevention instructions and regulations have been strictly observed, aiming to ensure the safety of tourists.

Visitors were requested to wear face masks, keep a safe distance, and wash hands and get their body temperature checked before participating in tourism, cultural, and sports activities in public places, visiting museums, historical relics, landscapes, and festivals.

In a bid to promote local tourism, many lodging facilities slashed down their service prices with many attractive packages and menus./.

Vietnam proposes COVID-19 vaccination for UN peacekeepers

Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy has emphasised the need to offer COVID-19 vaccine to peacekeepers, particularly those at high risk, such as medical workers at field hospitals and forces operating in areas severely hit by the pandemic.

He underlined the responsibility and role of host countries as well as the importance of close coordination between UN missions and the host countries in ensuring security and safety for peacekeepers and the COVID-19 vaccination for them during an informal discussion on the Initiative on Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) and COVID-19 vaccine on February 12.

The Ambassador said Vietnam is committed to the United Nations (UN)’ peacekeeping operations and efforts towards improving peacekeeping effectiveness.

Quy called on the international community to provide suitable resources to fulfill political commitments, strengthen partnership between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations, promote women’s empowerment and participation, and ensure security and safety for peacekeepers.

The discussion was co-chaired by the Republic of Korea, Ethiopia and Norway with the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Martha Helena Lopez and more than 50 ambassadors and deputy ambassadors of UN member states in attendance.

The A4P was initiated by UN Secretary-General António Gutteres on March 28, 2018 to strengthen peacekeeping by spurring collective action by all peacekeeping stakeholders and foster political commitments to peacekeeping.

The initiative includes a set of 45 mutually-agreed commitments endorsed by more than 150 member states across eight areas./.



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