VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 22 (Updated hourly)

A healthcare worker infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Vietnam

An orderly working for Transport Hospital in Hai Phong city, northern Vietnam, has been confirmed as a COVID-19 patient in Vietnam.

The female worker, 26, has been diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus after a COVID-19 screening campaign for all healthcare workers at Hai Phong Transport Hospital.

She has tested positive for the virus twice, said the Hai Phong Preventive Medicine Centre on February 22, adding the remaining 88 workers have tested negative.

The patient was said to have stayed in Hai Phong for the past 14 days. She showed no flu-symptoms.

She was transferred to Vietnam-Czech Republic Hospital for medical surveillance and treatment.

Relevant agencies scrambled to cordon off Transport Hospital and Lo village in Thuy Nguyen district, her hometown, for chemical disinfection and epidemiological investigations.

They also tracked down people who had come into contact with the patient for immediate quarantine and testing.

Earlier Hai Phong recorded just one case at its Children’s Hospital who was then transferred back to Hai Duong province, the country’s biggest coronavirus hotspot at present.

As many as 795 cases have been confirmed in Vietnam since the virus recurred in Hai Duong late last month. The outbreak has spread to 13 cities and provinces across the country, with Hai Duong, a gateway to Hanoi capital, reporting 615 cases alone.

Haiphong locks down commune due to new Covid-19 case

Haiphong City locked down Hoang Dong Commune after a 26-year-old woman living there tested positive for Covid-19 today, February 22.

Haiphong Transport Hospital at No. 40, Street 5, Hong Bang District, where the patient works, has also been locked down and disinfected.

The woman, residing in Hamlet 4, Hoang Dong Commune, Thuy Nguyen District, has neither left Haiphong City nor developed Covid-19 symptoms over the past 14 days.

Pham Thu Xanh, head of the Covid-19 quick response team of Haiphong City, said the local authorities are identifying venues the patient visited and people who came into contact with her. The citizens are not allowed to enter or leave Hoang Dong Commune until further notice.

The steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control of Haiphong City asked people who had close contact with the patient to immediately contact the nearest medical center for health declarations, an epidemiological investigation and quarantine procedures.

Local residents were encouraged to strictly comply with preventive measures such as wearing masks while stepping out, using hand sanitizers, keeping a safe physical distance from each other and avoiding large gatherings. They should immediately contact the health authorities if they develop symptoms such as a fever, a cough or shortness of breath.

Nearly 35,000 returnees from Covid-19 regions to Hanoi tested negative for coronavirus

Hanoi has recorded 36 cases, with health authorities saying that the outbreak could last longer if drastic measures to control the disease are not taken.

The Hanoi Department of Health on February 21 reported 34,600 returnees from the northern epicenter of Hai Duong province and other pandemic-hit areas have tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

As of February 21, the number of returnees from Cam Giang district, a Covid-19 hotspot in Hai Duong province, stands at 2,388, of which 2,368 have been tested in Hanoi. More than 1,900 people have tested negative while the results of the rest are pending, the municipal health department reported.

The number of returnees from other parts of Hai Duong province and 11 high risk provinces and cities from February 2 is 46,460 people, of them, 44,355 people have taken Covid-19 test and 32,692 people tested negative. The results of the rest are still pending, the department added.

Hanoi has gone five days without confirming any new cases of Covid-19. At the time of writing, Hanoi has recorded 36 cases, with health authorities saying that the outbreak could last longer if drastic measures to control the disease are not taken.

There have been 791 cases confirmed across Vietnam since the pandemic resurgence late January. Quang Ninh is the country’s second latest Covid-19 outbreak with its first case being detected on January 28. The infection has since then spread to 13 other cities and provinces.

Vietnam has so far had 2,383 cases, 627 of them active.

Capital “rescues” unsellable produce from pandemic-stricken province

Volunteer groups and authorities from Hanoi over the weekend after Lunar New Year successfully distributed and sold tons of unsellable agricultural produce from Hai Duong Province, which has been in Covid-19 lockdown for weeks.

A whopping 15 tons of fresh produce from Hai Duong were sold on February 21 alone at makeshift vegetables stalls at 38 Giai Phong Street in Hanoi, which received 30 tons more the following day.

The produce and transporting vehicles were disinfected at least thrice - at the source, when going through quarantine posts in Hai Duong, and before entering the capital city.

According to the Deputy Director of the Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Le Viet Nga, some major domestic distributors have reached out to Hai Duong authorities with offers to help distribute slow-selling products.

Meanwhile, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade transported and distributed 300 tons of agricultural produce from Hai Duong and Quang Ninh province over the course of last week.

Hai Duong Province during the Lunar New Year holiday locked down multiple localities for 14 to 21 days, including the major Hai Duong Province, making regular citizens as well as retail distributors refrain from entering these regions.

Hanoi Mayor urges enterprises to put health, safety as utmost priority

The Hanoi Mayor expected local firms to accelerate the digital transformation process, which remains the city’s priority for development in the next five years.

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh urged local firms to put health and safety as utmost priority to prevent a potential Covid-19 spread, which in turn leads to disruption of production chain.

The Hanoi’s Mayor gave the remarks during his visit to TOTO Vietnam, INTERSERCO Vietnam International Trade My Dinh, and CMC Technology & Solution last week.

Business Manager of TOTO Vietnam (located at Thang Long industrial park, Dong Anh district) Takashi Yokoyama expressed his thanks to local authorities’ efforts in effectively containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the pandemic continues to cause severe impacts to the global economy, many subsidiaries and affiliates of the corporation were forced to close, but TOTO Vietnam remains operational and records positive growth,” said Yokoyama.

In 2020, TOTO Vietnam posted revenue of nearly VND4 trillion (US$173.5 million), in which export turnover contributed VND2 trillion (US$86.75 million).

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Anh highlighted TOTO Vietnam’s creativity and flexibility in timely adjusting its business strategy to cope with Covid-19 impacts.

“Hanoi is committed to accompanying TOTO Vietnam and other FDI enterprises during their operations in the city,” he noted.

Meanwhile, INTERSERCO My Dinh during the recent Covid-19 outbreak gave permission for employees from Hai Duong province, the country's pandemic hotspot, to stay at home but still get paid their full salary until the situation is under control.

Anh expected INTERSERCO My Dinh to continue focusing on logistics as its core business activity in 2021 with greater application of modern technologies and higher level of automation.

At CMC Technology & Solution, the Hanoi’s Mayor was briefed on the firm’s advanced technologies application in real-time monitoring, analyzing and warning in the fields of traffic and environment.

Anh requested CMC to accelerate the digital transformation process and enhance its competitiveness.

“Hanoi gives priority to innovation and digital transformation in the next five years,” stated Anh, adding the city expects digitalization to make up 30% of the total gross regional domestic product by 2025.

NA Standing Committee examines preparations for general election

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 22 (Updated hourly)

The National Assembly Standing Committee is to convene its 53rd session in Hanoi on February 22 to discuss preparations for the upcoming general election.

Key legislators will debate a revised report on the component and numbers of candidates to be introduced for elections to central and grassroots-level organisations.

The NA Standing Committee is scheduled to approve the report following in-depth discussions.

Vietnamese people will cast their ballots to elect deputies to the 15th National Assembly and local People’s Councils in May this year.

The following legislature is expected to be comprised of 500 deputies, including 207 deputies working at central agencies. 95 deputies are members of the Party Central Committee.

The Standing Committee will also examine preparations for the 11th session of the 14th National Assembly, the last in its 2016-2021 tenure.

No new COVID-19 infections recorded on early February 22

Vietnam posted no new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases in the past 12 hours until 6am on February 22, keeping the national tally at 2,383, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Of total, 791 cases have been found since January 27 when a new COVID-19 wave broke out.

The number of recoveries and fatalities remains at 1,717 and 35, respectively.

Among patients still undergoing treatment, 69 have tested negative for the virus once, 39 twice and 55 thrice.

At present, a total of 120,827 people who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are being under quarantine nationwide, including 588 in hospitals, 12,984 in state-designated establishments and 107,255 others at their residences./.

Vessels need to proactively respond to storm Dujuan

The National Center for Hydro-meteorology Forecasting and warning centers in the Asia-Pacific region predicted that storm Dujuan will quickly downgrade to a tropical low pressure system and dissipate at sea when it enters the East Sea this week. 

Amidst the warnings, the Standing Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control asked provinces and cities from Quang Ninh to Ca Mau to regularly keep in touch with captains, ship owners and timely provide information related to big waves and blustery winds at sea under the impact of an ongoing cold air mass and storm Dujuan.

The General Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control informed that the number of fishing vessels in the East Sea would be numerous as it has been in the fishing season. 

Accordingly, storm Dujuan yesterday made landfall in the Philippines. 

Hai Duong province sees 90 new recoveries from COVID-19

Ninety patients were discharged from the temporary hospital for COVID-19 treatment No 1 of northern Hai Duong province on February 21 after making a full recovery.

This is the largest number of COVID-19 patients discharged at a time in Hai Duong, the largest hotspot of the coronavirus transmission at present, in the latest outbreak.

They will have to conduct self-quarantine and health monitoring at home for another 14 days, after which they will undergo testing again.

The COVID-19 hospital No 1 of Hai Duong, based at the healthcare centre of Chi Linh city, has provided treatment for 293 patients, including nine children and four pregnant woman, since the new outbreak began on January 27.

As of February 21 morning, this province had recorded 603 infections, including five new cases linked with a previously confirmed patient in Kim Thanh district, according to the provincial steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.

Pham Quang Hung, Chairman of the Kim Thanh People's Committee, said authorities have sealed off the entire Kim Lien commune, where the new patients live, sent persons in close contact with them to concentrated quarantine sites, and speeded up taking samples from local residents to carry out testing. They look to complete sample collection on February 21./.

HCM City Writers’ Association honours best literary works in 2020

The HCM City Writers' Association has honoured publicly acclaimed literary works created in 2020 at an awards ceremony held in HCM City.

The memoir Gánh Gánh… Gồng Gồng… (Burden of Life) by female documentary filmmaker Nguyễn Thị Xuân Phượng of HCM City was named the best literary work.

The 308-page book includes stories about the ups and downs of the life of the 92-year-old Phượng since 1945.

Phượng quit school to join the war of resistance against the French in Huế City in 1945.

She served as a dynamite maker and a doctor, before being assigned by President Hồ Chí Minh to become an interpreter and guide to foreign journalists and filmmakers in 1967.

In 1968, she became a documentary director and war correspondent for the Television Department (now Việt Nam Television).

She has made a series of documentaries about the country’s historical events such as Khi Tiếng Súng Vừa Tắt (When Gun Sound Ends), 1975; Khi Những Nụ Cười Trở Lại (When Smiles Return), 1976; and Hai Tiếng Quê Hương (My Homeland), 1978.

In 2011, she was conferred the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honour), the highest French order of merit, both military and civil, for her contributions to developing Việt Nam - France relations.

Gánh Gánh…Gồng Gồng… was published by the Culture, Literature and Arts Publishing House.

The association also awarded a prize to the novel Đất K (Land K) by author Bùi Quang Lâm, and poetry book Bấm Chân Qua Tuổi Dại Khờ (Walking by Innocent Age) by poet Cao Xuân Sơn.

Both works were released by the Writers’ Association Publishing House.

According to the association’s managing board, the association will recruit 21 new members at the ceremony.

Author Trịnh Bích Ngân, chairwoman of the association’s managing board, said: “The association is working to build solidarity among members and create inspirations for each member to release more quality literary works in the future.” 

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 cultural-artistic activities, and famtrips to local tourism areas.

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

Tourist arrivals to Ca Mau last year slumped by more than 56 percent compared to 2019, leading to a decline of over 71 percent in revenue./.

Hanoi launches tree-planting festival on New Year of Ox

The launching ceremony of a tree-planting festival on the New Year of Ox was held in Hanoi on February 21 as part of this year’s efforts in response to the Government’s programme on planting 1 billion trees to 2025.

Addressing the launching event, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh said tree planting has remained as the city’s annual programme. Planting a tree is just the beginning; it is more important to take good care of it and let them grow well, he said, adding that it is a responsibility of everybody.

He asked all districts and towns to accelerate public awareness campaigns on the meaning of the tree planting festival and the importance and benefits of growing and protecting trees.

Hanoi sets to plant more than 300,000 trees this year and strives for each Hanoian to plant at least one tree by 2030, he unveiled.

Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Tran Hong Ha said increasing natural disasters and extreme weather events have taken heavy toll on Vietnam for years. At the same time, pollution, especially air pollution, has been rising in an alarming rate, causing harmful effects on the quality of life in humans and social and economic activities in metropolises, while rapid urbanisation and industrialisation have put enormous pressure on the environment, he added.

He highlighted the significance of the five-year campaign of growing one billion trees, saying that various effective models, initiatives and actions have been put in place to scale up the tree planting campaign nationwide in response to President Ho Chi Minh’s teaching and the one-billion-tree-planting campaign.

Previously, the capital city has fulfilled its goal of planting one million trees two years ahead schedule. It has planted around 600,000 new trees along over 250 urban streets to not only expand urban tree canopy cover but also prevent dust and noise pollution.

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 attends int’l round-table on preserving linguistic diversity

Vietnam has been among countries attending an expert round table on “Topical Issues of Preserving Linguistic Diversity” held to mark International Mother Language Day (February 21).

The virtual event was organised on February 19 by the International Union of Non-Governmental Organisations “The Eurasian People’s Assembly” under the auspices of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.

 

It gathered member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (SNG) and countries from other parts of the world.

The aim of the round table was to find ways to expand the linguistic and intercultural communications of peoples, to promote multilingualism in the interests of Eurasian integration.

Its discussion focused on a number of issues, for example, the role of the native language as a carrier of culture, traditions and history of each nation; increasing interest in languages and stimulating the study of native languages; the role of education in the preservation and development of the languages of the people of Eurasia; creation of an accessible communicative language environment in the context of Eurasian integration; and the role of public associations in the preservation and development of the languages of the people of Eurasia.

At the event, To Thi Tuyet Khanh, a representative of the Banking Academy of Vietnam in Russia and advisor to the union’s first vice secretary-general, delivered a report focusing on education of Vietnamese and Russian languages in both countries.

Vietnam and Russia have boasted a long-standing cooperation in education and training, particularly in linguistics, which has produced good results, she said.

Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese students have pursued education in Russia and with their acquired knowledge, they have made contributions to the national construction and development in Vietnam and strengthening the bilateral relations, Khanh noted.

She voiced her hope that the Vietnamese will be taught in Russia’s schools and universities as a foreign language, especially for Vietnamese children born in Russia.

PM asks for greater effort for Phu Yen to further prosper

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on February 20 urged Phu Yen to exert efforts so as to attract more investment into key projects, thus creating breakthroughs for the locality’s development.

In a working session with key officials of the central coastal province, PM Phuc stressed that the locality needs to give attention to developing the private economic sector, making the area’s growth stronger.

It should work hard to accelerate the implementation of investment projects, especially in agriculture, real estate and tourism, in order to fully tap its strengths and potential in these fields.

Phu Yen’s tourism is like a rare and raw gem that needs the hands of skilled and qualified workers to make it shine, the leader said.

He also emphasised the importance of proper planning and vision in attracting investment and prompting sustainable development in the locality.

PM Phuc praised local authorities’ strong determination to promote socio-economic development, saying that the province has concentrated on the planning work, applying information technology, proposing mechanisms, and improving its business and investment environment.

Phu Yen has done well in implementing core strategies, including developing economic and industrial zones, tourism areas, transport, airport and seaport infrastructure, he noted.

Despite difficulties facing the locality amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Phu Yen still completed and even exceeded important socio-economic development goals, particularly in poverty reduction, the PM noted.

However, he also pointed out weak points the province needs to overcome in the coming time, especially in improving the investment and business environment and speeding up the progress of projects./.

Quang Ninh has no COVID-19 cases in community in 12 days

The northern province of Quang Ninh has gone through 12 straight days with no COVID-19 infections in the community, and four consecutive days without any new cases.

As of February 19, only 20 COVID-19 cases out of the 43 infections in Quang Ninh had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus.

From February 14 -18, 15 cases were cured in the locality.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in the community confirmed on January 27, the locality has recorded 60 infections, of which two cases are being quarantined and treated at the Central Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi's outlying district of Dong Anh, and the rest are treated in health facicalities in Quang Ninh.

Regarding testing, more than 136,000 locals have been tested from January 27 to February 19.

Provincial authorities on February 8 announced that the pandemic was kept under control in the locality.

OVs in Malaysia get support for COVID-19 prevention

The Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia, on behalf of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented medical equipment, antibacterial cloth face masks and sanitiser to the Vietnamese community in the country at a ceremony on February 20.

The activity is part of the programmes conducted by the committee to support overseas Vietnamese in preventing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Tran Viet Thai touched upon difficulties and challenges facing the mankind amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, including the Vietnamese community in Malaysia.

The committee has made every effort to support the Vietnamese community in the fight against the pandemic, helping them overcoming difficulties posed by the health crisis, he stressed.

The ambassador also announced the COVID-19 vaccination programme for foreigners in Malaysia, which is expected to be held in May or June. He affirmed that the embassy will serve as a bridge to support Vietnamese citizens in this programme.

The Vietnamese Party and State always pay attention to the Vietnamese community abroad in general and Vietnamese expats living and working in Malaysia in particular, Ambassador Thai said.

He also highly appreciated contributions by overseas Vietnamese to the homeland’s development./.

Tree planting festival: Individual trees make a forest

The tree planting festival initiated by President Ho Chi Minh has beeen a tradition in Vietnam for more than 60 years, encouraging afforestation and forest protection and greatly contributing to national development.

On November 28, 1959, President Ho wrote an article 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, following the late leader’s teachings, authorities and sectors from the central to grassroots levels, along with people nationwide, have joined hands in planting trees whenever a new year arrives.

To uphold this tradition and cope with global climate change, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on December 31, 2020, issued Directive No 45/CT-TTg on organising a tree planting festival and stepping up forest protection and development at the beginning of 2021.

Accordingly, Vietnam is to plant 1 billion trees from now to 2025, including about 182 million this year.

In response, many cities and provinces nationwide have been promoting tree planting this spring.

On February 17 (the sixth day of the Lunar New Year), Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong, together with leaders of central agencies and Hanoi, offered incense in commemoration of the country’s ancestors, heroes, and martyrs at the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. They also planted trees there on the occasion.

Apart from the tree planting festival, the Vietnam Environment Administration is also establishing a plan for the implementation of a 1 billion tree programme, with a view to protecting the environmental, adapting to climate change, preventing natural disasters, and moving towards sustainable development.

The country views its forests as important ecological resources for socio-economic development and community happiness.

About 25 million Vietnamese people earn 20-40 percent of their annual income from forests./.

Spring festivals suspended as part of COVID-19 prevention efforts

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested that localities nationwide cancel all spring festivals in order to prevent mass gatherings, therefore minimising the potential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic following the Lunar New Year (Tet).

Hoa Ban, also known as Bauhinia variegate, festival 2021 in Dien Bien province is suspended for COVID-19 fight.
The Government leader also urged the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and localities to manage culture, sports, and tourism activities across the country, whilst also implementing safe measures regarding COVID-19 prevention.

With the country facing fast-spreading outbreaks, people nationwide are required to limit their attendance of cultural festivals, with local authorities suggesting that such events should be suspended to protect residents from SARS-CoV-2.

Following the Prime Minister’s guidelines, many localities have decided not to hold spring festivals, including the long-standing Huong Pagoda festival, the Hai Ba Trung Temple festival in Hanoi, the annual Hoa Ban, also known as Bauhinia variegate, festival in Dien Bien province, and a traditional boat race in Quang Ngai province.

Hanoi families faces shortage of home helpers after Tet

Many families in Hanoi are facing difficulties finding home helpers after Tet Holiday due to Covid-19 pandemic. 

Duong Thu Huong from Thanh Xuan District said she has a two-year-old child and is in need of a home help before she returns to work. She already placed advertisements online but has not been able to find anyone suitable yet.

"I can't contact our previous home helper after Tet. As schools are still closed for Covid-19 prevention, I need someone to take care of my child from 7 am to 7 pm nearly all week, except Sunday," she said. "People I have interviewed either can’t work right away or only want to only work in the afternoon. I want to find someone healthy and who can work for us for a long time. The starting wage is VND5m (USD216) a month and will increase."

Trinh Thi Linh from Nam Tu Liem District had a good relationship with a home help for two years. But after the Tet Holiday, their home help said she wanted to take leave for several months and has stayed in her hometown as Hanoi is still discovering new cases.

"We’re really busy, so we need someone to take care of our two children. We’ll pay VND7m (USD302) a month and a Tet bonus," she said.

Nguyen Van Thuong from Cau Giay District also said he wanted to find a home help who could stay at their house and work for a long time. Thuong said he was willing to pay VND10m (USD432) a month if the house helper can take care of all housework.

"There are many three-generation families that have both old people and young children like us," he said. "I want to find someone in their forties and fifties. I had the same difficulties last year too and I had to let my old parents look after the children at home."

Quang Binh fishermen enjoy big post-Tet catches

Fishermen in Nhan Trach Commune, Quang Binh Province have enjoyed bountiful catches after Tet.

For the fishermen in Nhan Trach, the first fishing trip after Tet Holiday is meaningful and signifies their luck for the new year. Most fishing boats in Nhan Trach are small so they often have a quick trips overnight and return in the early morning. The beach was busy with all the boats and activity.

Pham Nguyen said his crew were able to bring back 700kg of anchovies. "We’re all really happy to have such a good trip after Tet. We'll be able to earn about VND20m (USD866). We just hope for good weather and bountiful trips," he said.

Another fisherman, Pham Tan, said they caught nearly a tonne of anchovies. As they reached the shore, they could see the traders already waiting along the beaches. Anchovies and baby shrimp can be sold for VND30,000 (USD1.30) or VND20,000 per kilo respectively. Both of them can be used to make fish sauce and shrimp paste.

According to the fishermen, if they have a bountiful trip with baby shrimp they will have good herring scad and cutlass fish trawls too.

Nguyen Van Nghi, chairman of Nhan Trach Commune People's Committee said they have over 100 fishing boats. They are mostly nearshore fishing boats so they only work seasonally. Bountiful anchovies trips also mean local fish sauce manufacturing facilities will have good materials and an optimistic outlook.

Construction of My Thuan - Can Tho expressway and My Thuan 2 bridge commenced

The construction of the My Thuan - Can Tho expressway and the My Thuan 2 bridge recently commenced in the southern province of Vinh Long in the presence of Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The.

The My Thuan - Can Tho expressway and My Thuan 2 bridge are expected to be completed in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

The My Thuan - Can Tho expressway is nearly 23 km long, passing through Vinh Long province and Chau Thanh district in Dong Thap province while the My Thuan 2 bridge is 6.6 km long. The two projects are being funded by the State budget with a total investment of over VND10 trillion.

* The Management Authority for the Urban Railways of Ho Chi Minh City (MAUR) and contractors kicked off work on the power supply for the southern economic hub’s first metro line project on February 19, which now has 82 percent of work completed.

Consultation and construction are now underway to link the power sources from the 110kV Binh Thai and Tan Cang electricity stations to supply all power stations along the metro line.

According to the MAUR, if COVID-19 can be controlled, the work of cable pulling will be completed in the second quarter of this year, which would allow for trial runs and commercial operations to take place earlier.

* The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) said that 150,000 workers from the Group's units have returned to work after the week-long Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

Currently, Vietnamese textile and garment enterprises, including Vinatex have secured signed orders until the end of April. This is considered a good signal for the recovery of the Vietnamese textile and garment industry, especially as the country in a good position in a global supply chain redeployed after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in 2020.

* The Trung Nam Construction Investment Joint Stock Company has launched the first phase of the Ca Na port project in Thuan Nam district in the south-central coastal province of Ninh Thuan.

The project covers an area of ​​more than 108 hectares, including two ports of 70-100 thousand tonnes; a port of 20 thousand tonnes, a warehouse, and service infrastructure.

Nature-friendly farmers in the Delta

Over the years, the Mekong Delta has fallen victim to drought and salinity invasion which cause great damages for the local people. However, there are some rays of hope. During the past five years, facing the shortage of freshwater in the dry season, some farmers in Dong Thap—a province of the Mekong River—have taken regulatory measures in agricultural production to adapt to climate change in a “nature-friendly” approach.

Many models of water-saving agricultural practices have been underway, contributing partly to reducing the volume of water used, greenhouse gas emissions and production costs in unfavorable weather conditions. Local farmers also practice alternate wetting and drying techniques, the use of in-field concrete irrigation systems, smart fertilizers, IoT (Internet of things) in irrigation pump system management.

This model was pioneered by My Dong 2 Agricultural Service Cooperative in Thap Muoi District of Dong Thap Province. According to Ngo Phuoc Dung, director of My Dong 2 Cooperative, to cultivate rice, farmers had to use a significant amount of water for irrigation. However, rice paddies do not have to be submerged in water all the time of the growth process. There are times, rice paddies can develop very well in a dry field. Therefore, applying alternate wetting and drying techniques and watering by concrete troughs may help save the volume of water used.

“Compared to the technique of flooded fields using pumped water, the new farming practice helps reduce 30% of water and also 20-30% of electricity costs. These figures represent not only economic benefit but also a message to the community that we farmers are making a change to be more responsible to the environment,” said Mr. Dung.

Aside from rice, water-saving models are also integrated in the cases of vegetables, flowers and fruit trees across the localities in Dong Thap. By the end of last year, the total area with the new economical irrigation system had reached 24,299 hectares versus 21,506 hectares in 2019. In addition, other agricultural models have been applied, such as net houses and smart water-saving irrigation systems along with training programs for farmers. From these State-supported models, quite a few farming households have taken in the integrated fish-rice or lotus-fish systems, which  yield a high economic efficiency, and, at the same time, use freshwater rationally. 

During a recent meeting with leaders of Dong Thap Province discussing the impacts of climate change on agriculture in the region, Assoc. Prof. Le Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Institute for Climate Change of Can Tho University, stressed on the necessity of being “nature-friendly” in cultivation. “Climate change is inevitable and we need to come face to face with it,” said Mr. Tuan. “However, rather than seeing it as a confrontation, we should adapt ourselves to be more nature-friendly.”

According to Mr. Tuan, in the past, although climate change grew more extreme, the people in some provinces have come up with adaptive and effective agricultural practice models. For instance, the integrated rice-shrimp system in the coastal provinces, discharge dike system in Dong Thap to lure natural fish instead of building dikes for the third rice crop and the integrated lotus-fish or lotus-tourism systems. “To be harmonious with nature, people in the Mekong Delta have come up with new measures,” said Mr. Tuan. “The crucial point is we need to change our mindset about climate change to live in peace with nature.”

What’s more, experts say facing climate change which is ravaging the world, commodity production has to comply with environmental protection criteria, which is also one of the top binding regulations on imports under new-generation free trade agreements (FTA) singed by Vietnam.

That is how farmers in Dong Thap are going more “nature-friendly” to introduce their products to the world market.

HCMC proposes to exchange information of illegal immigrants

Ngo Minh Chau, Deputy Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee proposed to exchange information of illegal immigrants through trails along borderlines with neighboring countries. 

In his urgent letter to provincial administrations in the southern provinces of Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Thap, Kien Giang and An Giang which share a border with other neighboring countries, Mr. Chau stated clearly that for the past time, many immigrants have entered Vietnam through trails along borderlines violating the governmental regulations of Covid-19 prevention and control.

Deputy Chairman Chau said in the letter that illegal immigrants have traveled many places contacting with many people; as a result, they have been causing the widespread transmission in the community.

Subsequently, state competent forces must be mobilized to track down all contacts as well as adopted preventative measures and quarantine contacts for the safety of city dwellers.

Therefore, to proactively prevent Covid-19 locally-transmitted cases because of illegal immigrants, the municipal People’s Committee made proposal to administrations of six neighboring provinces to send the information of illicit immigrants who are permanent dwellers or temporary residents in HCMC so that the People’s Committee have timely tracking and preventative measures.

Vietnam to deploy 500 policemen to Covid-19 hotspot

Hai Duong, the fresh coronavirus outbreak, is home to dozens of industrial parks with hundreds of thousands of workers.

The Ministry of Public Security will send 500 policemen to support the fight against Covid-19 in Hai Duong, the fresh epidemic center in Vietnam since late January.

The deployment of police officers to the coronavirus hotspot is to respond to the call for support by the local government, according to Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Van Son, deputy minister of Public Security.

So far, Hai Duong recorded nearly 600 infections after the locality was affected by the resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 in late January. Rising infections have brought some localities under lockdown while the entire province is observing shelter-in-place order.

Police will help local authorities check the enforcement of safety rules in residential areas and at industrial parks to ensure social distancing and economic activities.

They assist the local government in keeping social security, residency management and illegal immigration.

At present, there are 959 checkpoints deployed with policemen to tighten control over quarantine and stay-at-home order.

According to Associate Prof. Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), Hai Duong currently has nearly 18,000 people who made contact with confirmed cases (F1), nearly 67,000 made contact with suspected cases (F2), and nearly 50,000 F3.

More than 160,000 people have been tested for the virus.

As the situation remains complicated, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said Hai Duong needs to prepare for the worse-case scenario in which the pandemic breaks out again.

As the Covid-19 outbreak remains uncertain, the local government has called for both financial and medical support by the central government. So far, some cities and provinces have committed money and face masks to the hotspot.

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 22 (Updated hourly)

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes

 
 

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