Vietnam reports 1,922 new COVID-19 cases on July 15 evening

Vietnam recorded 1,922 new COVID-19 infections, including 33 imported and 1,889 local cases, from 6am to 7h30pm on July 15, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the new domestic cases, 1,399 were in Ho Chi Minh City, 122 in Binh Duong, 63 in Dong Thap, 60 in Dong Nai, 41 in Long An, 33 in Da Nang, 30 each in Ben Tre and Phu Yen, 17 each in Vinh Long and Binh Thuan, 13 in Binh Phuoc, 12 in Hung Yen, 11 in Can Tho, 10 in Ninh Thuan, seven in Hanoi, four each in Soc Trang, Quang Ngai and Khanh Hoa, three each in Bac Ninh and Tra Vinh, and one each in Binh Dinh, Ca Mau, Vinh Phuc, Lam Dong, Dak Lak, and Bac Giang.

The figure raised the total cases recorded in the past 24 hours to 3,416, including 3,379 domestic infections. Ho Chi Minh City, the largest coronavirus hotspot in the country, documented 2,691 cases.

Of the total, 3,099 cases were detected in quarantine or locked down areas.

By 7h30pm on July 15, Vietnam had a total of 38,858 locally transmitted cases and 1,992 imported ones. The number of domestic infections since the fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreaks hit the country on April 27 was 37,288, including 6,914 recoveries.

Among the active patients, 307 tested negative for the coronavirus once, 114 twice and 81 thrice.

As many as 64 patients were given the all-clear on July 15, raising the total number of recoveries to 9,688.

Twelve provinces and cities have gone through two weeks without any new infections.

A total of 4,146,767 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far, with 3,859,995 people getting the first shot and 286,772 others receiving two jabs./.

Da Nang suspends sport activities, closes hair salons over COVID-19 concerns 

Secretary of the Da Nang Party Committee Nguyen Van Quang has ordered the suspension of sport activities and sea bathing, and closure of hair salons in the central city from 12pm on July 15 due to COVID-19.

Quang also asked relevant agencies to step up contact tracing and testing during a meeting of the Da Nang steering committee on COVID-19 prevention and control on July 14.

The city has logged 47 new COVID-19 cases since July 10, according to Director of the Da Nang Centre for Disease Control Ton That Thanh.

As many as 118 COVID-19 patients are being treated, and 953 people having contact with COVID-19 cases are being under health monitoring in concentrated quarantine or health facilities in the city./.

Malaysia affirms role of int’l law in East Sea issue settlement

Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammuddin Tun Hussein affirmed the country’s standpoint on the East Sea issue during the ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held virtually on July 14.

Malaysia upholds the country’s standpoint on solving the East Sea issue in a peaceful and constructive manner via dialogue and consultation, along with diplomatic channels in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), he said.

Hishammuddin reiterated that Malaysia always puts regional stability as a top priority and will exert efforts to ensure peace, stability and freedom of navigation in the waters.

Meanwhile, Dr Valentin Yakushik of the Department of International Relations and Social Sciences at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, said that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s ruling issued five years ago, which refuted groundless claims of China in the East Sea, upholds the principle of resorting to peaceful measures in the settlement of international disputes.

He emphasised that the PCA’s ruling is binding and based on the foundation of the UNCLOS 1982, which affirms that China’s “nine-dash line” is groundless and violates international law.

International disputes need to be resolved in line with international law, especially the principle of using peaceful measures, the Ukrainian scholar added./.

Three more COVID-19 related deaths in HCM City and Long An

Three more people have died of COVID-19 complications, including a 42-year-old man from Long An Province.

The other two fatalities were both women from HCM City. The total number of people to die related to coronavirus now stands at 138.

One of the three, an 80-year-old woman from Bình Chánh District, had diabetes, heart failure and high blood pressure. She was being treated at Bình Chánh Hospital but was transferred to Hồ Chí Minh City's Hospital for Tropical Diseases after testing positive for COVID-19.

She died on July 7.

Her cause of death has been recorded as septic shock, pneumonia caused by COVID-19, diabetes and heart failure.

Another patient to die was a 67-year-old woman from HCM City's District 5, who had high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. She was being treated at Cần Giờ Hospital.

She tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on June 13 and died on July 9.

Her cause of death was recorded as pneumonia caused by COVID-19, septic shock, multiple organ failure and type 2 diabetes.

The final of the latest fatalities announced is a 42-year-old man from Cần Giuộc District in Long An Province.

He had high blood pressure and asthma. He tested positive for COVID-19 on July 5 and was initially treated at Đức Huệ Health Centre in Long An Province.

He was transferred to Hậu Nghĩa General Hospital on July 8, then Long An General Hospital on the same day.

He died on July 11.

Cause of death has been recorded as respiratory failure, severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19, cardiac arrest, emphysema in patients with bronchial asthma and obesity.

HCM City outlines three scenarios after 15 days of Directive 16 enforcement

15 days after implementing the Prime Minister’s Directive No.16, Ho Chi Minh City will consider three scenarios relating to the current pandemic situation, which depends on how effective anti-pandemic measures have been.

During a press briefing held to discuss the implementation of Directive 16 in Ho Chi Minh City held on July 13, Phan Van Mai, deputy secretary of the municipal Party Committee, presented the scenarios. The first is that Ho Chi Minh City will be able to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and then consider implementing Directive 16 or Directive 15, depending on changes in the pandemic situation.

The second scenario is that the southern city’s issues get out of control leading to a sharp increase in local infections, thereby meaning it is necessary to continue implementing Directive 16 for a while longer, even moving to intensify drastic measures in some areas.

As for the worst case scenario, the third scenario involves the number of new domestic cases rising sharply, leading to the city to lose control of the situation. It must therefore consider a blockade, or take stronger measures to deal with the issue, or take another approach.

Municipal authorities are currently studying all of the plans and will make proposals on suitable solutions aimed at dealing with the pandemic situation to competent agencies, such as the Ministry of Health and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Mai said.

The deputy secretary of the municipal Party Committee emphasized that no matter what the situation is following the 15 days, the most decisive thing to do is to strictly carry out Directive 16 over the remaining days. The southern metropolis therefore thanks the people, agencies, and organisations at all levels for sharing the ongoing difficulties, providing support both spiritually and materially, and strictly complying with anti-epidemic measures. 

The consensus of the people, coupled with the effectiveness of pandemic prevention and control measures, will determine which scenario the city faces.

“Every household, every residential community,  every agency and enterprise must strictly implement 5K message given by the Ministry of Health, and strictly follow anti pandemic measures. This is one of the decisive factors behind the successful containment of COVID-19. In addition, functional agencies and forces involved in pandemic prevention and control need to well fulfill their responsibilities and duties," Mai stressed.

Ho Chi Minh City now represents nation's largest COVID-19 hotspot and has recorded more than 17,230 local cases since the fourth wave hit the country in late April. Over the past few days, the southern city's number of daily cases has consistently surpassed 1,000 infections, with no signs of the current situation abating.

Hanoi to test 10,000 people with high risk

Hanoi’s Department of Health on July 14 sent an urgent dispatch to the centres for disease control and health centres of districts and towns to conduct COVID-19 testing on 10,000 people.

The tests are specifically aimed at those considered at-risk including people working in Thang Long Industrial Park (Dong Anh district), the communities in districts of Dong Anh, Soc Son and Me Linh; people who work in transport services, drivers, driver assistants, ticket salesmen, people who work regularly at major city bus stations or train drivers, service staff, staff on trains and train stations; traders, people who often work in wholesale markets, traditional markets and professional security staff at companies providing security services.

From July 14-18, health centres of districts and towns will take pooled samples and transfer them to the city's Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC is responsible for providing professional guidance and urging health centres of districts, towns to conduct the task before July 19.

From 9am to noon on July 14, Hanoi recorded nine more positive cases of SARS-CoV-2, of which five are related to the outbreak of SEI Company, two related to Hoa Voi outbreak in Quoc Oai township, one related to An My outbreak in My Duc district and one in Bac Tu Liem district./.

Army helps to deliver, store COVID-19 vaccines

Military units are preparing cold warehouses and transportation to help deliver and preserve nearly 113 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, a top army official has said.

Speaking at a meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control at the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, Major General Nguyễn Xuân Kiên said the headquarters for the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been established at the ministry.

Kiên, who is head of medical at the ministry’s General Department of Logistics, said the army is reviewing and establishing cold storage at eight locations throughout the country, including the capital city of Hà Nội, to keep and preserve the vaccines from now until 2022.

More than 1,300 military trucks have been prepared to deliver the vaccines, with another 562 on standby, he added.

“We have asked for 295 inoculation teams, as well as 91 resuscitation and emergency teams, to be established, and stand ready to carry out inoculations at hospitals, military health centres, academies and schools,” Kiên said.

Major General Nguyễn Đức Tùng, head of transport at the General Department of Logistics, said his unit has been tasked with transferring the vaccines to 63 districts across the country.

Due to the differences in travel conditions in each area, they will be using different types of transport for the deliveries, mostly road transport, he said.

From now until July 31, in circumstances of the utmost importance, the vaccines will be delivered to localities in three days, including on the day of inoculation, Tùng added.

Vaccines that must be preserved at 2-8 degrees Celsius (which include Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen) will be delivered in two days. Those that must be preserved at -25 to -15 degrees Celsius (Sputnik V in the frozen form) will be delivered in less than two days, he said.

Tùng asked for close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to review and confirm the number of doses each locality needs, as well as contact points and places of delivery locations three days in advance.

“For mountainous provinces such as Điện Biên, Lai Châu and island districts such as Côn Đảo, Trường Sa, I suggest that the Ministry of Health work with the Ministry of Transport to arrange deliveries by airplanes, and prepare specialised equipment for cold storage throughout the deliveries.”

Vietnamese President to hold phone talks with Indonesian counterpart

Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is scheduled to hold phone talks with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in the afternoon of July 15.

The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced./.

HCMC gets 235,200 doses of Moderna vaccine, instead of 1 million as earlier reported

HCMC, the nation’s biggest coronavirus hotbed, will receive a mere 235,200 doses of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine under a Ministry of Health vaccine allocation plan, instead of one million doses as earlier reported by the local media.

On July 10, Vietnam received more than two million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine donated by the United States through the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility. The local media then quoted the Ministry of Health as announcing that Minister Nguyen Thanh Long had ordered an urgent allocation of one million doses of the Moderna vaccine for HCMC to combat the virus.

However, in its Decision 3400/QD-BYT on allocations of the over-two-million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health allocated the doses to 53 virus-hit provinces and cities, the police, the military, and 20 hospitals and institutes under the ministry.

In southern Vietnam, 10 provinces and cities will get 505,680 doses, with HCMC accounting for the most at 235,200, followed by Dong Nai and Binh Duong with 65,520 each and Long An with 31,920.

In the northern region, the ministry allocated 870,240 doses to 28 provinces and cities. Hanoi City will get the largest number of doses, at 120,960, followed by Hai Duong Province with 43,680, Quang Ninh with 42,000 and Haiphong City, Bac Giang and Bac Ninh with 40,320 each. The remaining 22 localities received 7,000-30,000 doses each.

The central region has 10 provinces and cities gaining access to 309,120 doses, while four Central Highlands provinces, comprising Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Daklak and Dak Nong, were allocated a total of 80,640 doses.

The ministry allocated 42,000 doses to the military and 33,600 doses to the police nationwide.

There are 20 hospitals, institutes and universities under the ministry getting a combined 158,760 doses, with Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi City receiving 15,120 doses, the National Children’s Hospital, the National Lung Hospital, the Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC and the HCMC University Medical Center got 13,440 doses each.

Health condition of 21 Covid-19 patients in Dong Thap worsens

Among the active Covid-19 cases in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, 21 patients are currently in critical condition and at risk of fatality, according to a doctor who is now treating them.

Nguyen Trung Cap, deputy head of the Health Ministry’s task force dispatched to Dong Thap to support the Covid-19 fight, said that the province has reported 681 infections since May 30.

Of them, 215 were under treatment at the Sa Dec General Hospital, with most of them being severely ill patients who were being treated for other diseases at various departments of the hospital. The 21 cases belong to this group of severely-ill patients.

Health specialists of the ministry said that most of the Covid-19 patients at the hospital have underlying medical conditions. Even if they were not infected with Covid-19, they could still face a high risk of fatality.

Cap added that members of the task force are teaming up with the local health sector to set up a 50-bed intensive care unit to cope with a situation in which the number of severely-ill Covid-19 patients rises sharply.

The health specialists have surveyed six local medical facilities which receive and treat coronavirus patients, set up a treatment network to update the health developments of the patients and to offer remote medical support if necessary. The specialists also provided training to medical workers who are in charge of treating Covid-19 patients in the province.

Up to now, Dong Thap has reported 17 Covid-19 deaths and currently takes the lead in the number of cases in the delta.

Vietnam, Japan boost ties in public security

Minister of Public Security Gen. To Lam has said Vietnam always attaches importance to strengthening its extensive strategic partnership with Japan.

During an online talks with Minister and Chairman of the National Public Security Commission of Japan Tanahashi Yasufumi on July 14, Lam said the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security stands ready to work with the Japanese commission on issues ensuring national security and social safety and order, especially at Olympic Games events in Japan.

Vietnam is willing to partner with Japan to deal with issues of shared concern, he said, adding that both sides will continue working closely together at regional and global forums.

He said Vietnam welcomes and highly values Japan’s role in promoting multilateral security architecture in the region. He also vowed to coordinate with Japan to successfully hold the upcoming Mekong – Japan Summit.

Yasufumi, for his part, affirmed that his commission is ready to expand ties with the Vietnamese ministry in all fields for the benefits of the two countries' people, and for the sake of peace and stability in the region and the world.

The two sides discussed issues of mutual concern and agreed on several contents to develop the two countries’ relations, and ties between the Vietnamese ministry and the Japanese commission and relevant agencies in particular./.

Two more trains Metro Line No.1 arrives in HCM City hinh anh 1

Embassy launches vaccination campaign for French nationals, spouses

The French community in Việt Nam will receive COVID-19 vaccinations after the French Embassy in Việt Nam received approval to launch a vaccination campaign from the Việt Nam's authorities.

The French Embassy in Hà Nội and the French Consulate General in HCM City have been actively preparing for this campaign for weeks, the embassy said in a statement on Tuesday.

Vaccination is available to all French citizens aged 18 years and over and their spouses (married or by a civil union), and to all employees of the French diplomatic network and their spouses.

The vaccine campaign, paid for entirely by the French state, will use Moderna's mRNA vaccine, with two injections several weeks apart.

The campaign will begin between now until the end of July in Hà Nội and in HCM City. Specific information on vaccination dates and centres and appointment scheduling will be announced later on the website and social media platforms of the French Embassy and the French Consulate General.

Several email addresses will be set up by the French Embassy and Consulate General at the beginning of the vaccination campaign to answer questions.

Vietnamese President holds phone talks with Romanian counterpart

Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on July 14 held phone talks with his Romanian counterpart, Klaus Iohannis.

During the talks, the two leaders discussed various measures to expand and deepen the bilateral relations, and agreed to maintain and promote exchange mechanisms and cooperation in some prioritised fields such as economy-trade, education-training and labour, among others.

The Romanian President said he treasures the 70-year friendship between the two nations and spoke highly of positive growth in the bilateral ties over the past time, affirming that Vietnam is an important partner of Romania in Asia-Pacific. 
President Iohannis affirmed that Romania is willing to stand side by side with Vietnam in repelling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

On the foundation of the two countries’ solid friendship, the Romanian Government has decided to present 100,000 doses of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine to Vietnam, and consider the reselling of another amount of the vaccine to the country in the coming time, he said.

President Phuc expressed his gratitude to the sentiments and prompt support of the Romanian President and people give to Vietnam, affirming that the donated vaccine will greatly contribute to the country’s fight against COVID-19.

He noted with pleasure that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) have fostered economic cooperation between the two countries. 

Despite the negative impacts of COVID-19, two-way trade rose 10 percent to nearly 300 million USD last year, he said.

President Phuc took the occasion to invite the Romanian President to visit Vietnam at an appropriate time in the future. President Iohannis accepted the invitation with pleasure and expressed his wish to welcome President Phuc to Romania in the coming time./.

Top Vietnamese, Singaporean legislators hold online talks

Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue held online talks with Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore Tan Chuan-Jin on July 14.

The two leaders shared the view that Vietnam and Singapore have close ties both bilaterally and within the framework of ASEAN and multilateral forums. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides have offered mutual support at national and regional level, including in fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX Facility.

They said the two countries have held the same stances and visions on maintaining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s central role and solidarity.

The leaders agreed that the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks have drawn over 14 billion USD in investment and generated more than 270,000 jobs, proving fruitful economic ties and contributing to the Vietnam – Singapore strategic partnership. Singapore is now the largest foreign investor in the country, showing its enterprises’ trust in Vietnam.

Amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, they agreed to continue sharing experience, especially in accessing vaccines and adopting technological advances in pandemic prevention and control.

Both top legislators expressed their wish to further boost the bilateral strategic partnership, including relations between the two legislatures.

They agreed to continue maintaining meetings in different forms, working closely together at multilateral forums such as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum and other multilateral parliamentary organisations, and supporting each other's stances on regional and global issues of shared concern.

Hue suggested discussing the possibility of mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, soon reaching an agreement on priority travelling mechanism, and resuming commercial flights when conditions allow.

He also proposed considering the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two legislatures to lay a legal foundation for cooperation activities, lifting legislative ties to be on par with the bilateral strategic partnership. Further attention should be paid to upholding the role of the two law-making bodies in promoting the bilateral relationship.

The Singaporean Speaker agreed with Hue's proposals, saying that the two countries’ mutual support in the region and multilateral forums play a extremely important role.

He stressed that ASEAN has an important position thanks to collective power of each member state, including Vietnam’s increasing stature in the region./.

Airport project in Hanoi's Ung Hoa District falling short of feasibility

Transport consultants and related agencies have agreed that Hanoi’s southern district of Ung Hoa is unfeasible to house the hypothetical second airport of the capital region with the aim of alleviating the congestion at Noi Bai International Airport - the second busiest airport in Vietnam after Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

In a document sent to the Hanoi People's Committee’s on the latter’s proposal to build the capital region’s secondary airport in Ung Hoa District, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan suggested other locations including Thanh Mien District in the northern province of Hai Duong or Tien Lang District in the port city of Haiphong.

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) said it will study an additional airport after 2030, depending on the real socio-economic development situation, the recovery, and the development of the air transport network.

In another move, in March, Haiphong City People's Committee asked the MoT to consider choosing Tien Lang as the location for the second airport of Hanoi.

The basis for Haiphong's proposal is in line with Resolution No. 45 of the Politburo on construction and development of this city to 2030, with a vision to 2045, which set the target for Haiphong to become one of the most developed cities in Asia by 2045.

According to the adjustment of the capital region master plan to 2030 and a vision to 2050 approved by the Prime Minister in 2016, Ung Hoa District is one of four options for the location of the second airport, including Ly Nhan District (Ha Nam province, 60-65 kilometers from downtown Hanoi), Thanh Mien and Binh Giang Districts (Hai Duong Province, 45-50 kilometers from Hanoi City’s center), and Tien Lang District (Haiphong City, 120 kilometers from Hanoi).

Tran Ngoc Chinh, Chairman of the Vietnam Association for Urban Planning and Development, in a recent workshop said that Tien Lang in Haiphong City should be the second airport of the capital region. If it is allowed it will also help reduce the overload at Cat Bi Airport.

The MoT suggested the Hanoi's leaders support the plan to expand the Noi Bai Airport so that it would be able to handle 100 million passengers per year until 2025. A large air transport hub will be worthy of the position and political role of the capital, said the ministry.

However, Hanoi’s authority recommended the ministry should raise its prediction of Noi Bai air passenger traffic to 130-150 million per year by 2050 to proactively prepare the land fund.

National Assembly Chairman hosts Philippine Ambassador

National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue received Philippine Ambassador Meynardo Los Banos Montealegre in Hanoi on July 14.

At the reception, the top legislator asked the ambassador, during his term of office, to coordinate in promoting the implementation of cooperation focuses between the National Assembly of Vietnam and the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, towards considering signing a cooperation agreement between the two parliaments.

First of all, the two sides should well implement the Action Plan for the 2019-2024 period, he said, stressing that the two countries need to strengthen dialogue and consultation as well as support each other's views on the East Sea issue in accordance with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s agreed principles.

Vietnam and the Philippines should fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and closely coordinate in negotiations for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters on the basis of respect for international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), he noted.

For his part, the Philippine ambassador said that the two countries need to find solutions to promote bilateral trade relations and soon sign a memorandum of understanding on trade cooperation.

Vietnam is a major trade partner of the Philippines, he said, thanking Vietnam for committing regular and stable rice supply to the Philippines, making an important contribution to ensuring the country’s food security.

Regarding maritime security and safety in the East Sea, the Philippine diplomat applauded Vietnam for always complying with international law, especially the UNCLOS 1982 and the processes ASEAN is promoting such as the DOC and the COC./.

Poster contest launched for National Resistance Day

The Department of Grassroots Culture under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has launched a posters contest to celebrate the 75th anniversary of anniversary of National Resistance Day (December 19, 1946 – December 19, 2021).

The contest aims to propagate widely throughout the Party, people and army to review the patriotic tradition and glorious history, the independent will, freedom, and resilience of Vietnam in the past wars against foreign invaders. Thereby, the contest contributes to consolidating and fostering the people's confidence in the Party's guidelines and leadership.

The contest is open to professional or amateur painters who are Vietnamese citizens and overseas Vietnamese. Each author can submit one or more works to the contest. Entries must be recent creations that have never been entered in other contests and have not been disseminated in any form.

The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2021. The organising board will receive the entries in two ways: via email to and directly (or by post) at the following address: the Department of Grassroots Culture, at No. 86A, Lane Le Van Huu 3, Ngo Thi Nham Ward, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi City.

The organising board are expected to have one first prize, worth VND15 million; two second prizes, worth VND8 million each; three third prizes, worth VND5 million each; and ten consolation prizes, worth VND2 million each, for excellent authors and works. In addition, there is a movement prize worth VND8 million for the unit that mobilises many authors and many good quality works to participate in the contest.

The award ceremony is expected to take place in December 2021.

HCM City hotspot reports three more COVID-19 fatalities

Three local patients in Ho Chi Minh City have died after suffering from severe underlying health conditions and COVID-19, said the Sub-committee for Treatment under the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on July 14.

The deceased are aged between 67 and 87 and had suffered from a number of chronic diseases, including hypertension, stroke, arthritis, and heart failure.

All three had originally tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in late June and passed away several weeks after being admitted to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases to receive treatment.

Their condition saw them suffer from pneumonia brought on by complications relating to COVID-19, along with progressive respiratory failure.

The nation has now recorded 100 deaths linked to COVID-19 during the latest outbreak of the epidemic, thereby raising the total death toll caused by the pandemic to 135.

Cambodia halts entry and exit for most Vietnamese citizens

Cambodia has decided to temporarily suspend the entry and exit of Vietnamese citizens who are employees and experts of Vietnamese companies operating in the neighbouring country for a period of one month, starting from July 18.

The decision was taken on July 13 following the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issuing an announcement to Vietnamese agencies regarding the widespread transmission of the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This move falls in line with the strict requirements of both nation’s COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

The latest announcement states that this regulation will not apply to patients who wish to travel to Vietnam to receive treatment, diplomats, and state employees performing their duties at the invitation of the two governments. This is in addition to trainees and students who have completed academic programmes or who have been involved in special missions authorised by either government.

With regard to employees and experts of Vietnamese companies who have entered the neighbouring country, even those who have finished their isolation period and are in quarantine are not allowed to return home due to the current temporary suspension placed on acts of entry and exit.

Most notably, Cambodia appreciates Vietnamese sympathy regarding their need to implement these temporary measures. They therefore request that competent agencies from the two countries work closely to promote cross-border freight transport, while also fully complying with the pandemic prevention measures of both countries, the communique said.

The temporary entry restriction measures into Cambodia are set out in diplomatic note 734 dated March 27, 2020, along with other measures which remain valid.

Ca Mau to penalise shrimp breeders causing environmental pollution

The southernmost province of Cà Mau will fine shrimp breeders who violate regulations on dredging shrimp ponds and cause environmental pollution under a new decision to take effect on July 24.

The country’s largest shrimp producing province has more than 300,000ha of shrimp bred using various methods like advanced extensive, semi-intensive, intensive, and super intensive farming.

But dredging shrimp ponds to renovate them and taking the mud and other residues, especially where intensive farming is done, is a major cause of pollution if dumped into rivers and canals, which they often are.

To address this problem, the province People’s Committee requires the mud to be stored in proper containing areas and not poured into rivers and canals.

Besides, the dredging of ponds is not allowed in protective and production forests if they cause damage to the forests.

Dredging can be done manually year round but only between August 15 and October 15 if done by machines.

Dredged mud and wastewater have to be stored in a containing area, and the water can only be released after two to three days.

Under the decision, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, districts and communes will strengthen advocacy to enhance awareness about the proper ways to dredge shrimp ponds.

They will also tighten inspection of the activity to protect the environment.

HCM City traditional markets increase food prices amid lockdown

Prices of foods and necessities at traditional markets in HCM City have sharply risen since the lockdown regulation was applied.

On July 13, only a few stalls at Nguyen Tri Phuong Market were still open. 32-year-old Minh Thuy said she was surprised when the traders told her that the prices for vegetables had doubled or tripled to around VND100,000 (USD4.3) per kilo. The prices for cabbages and lettuces are VND50,000 to VND100,000 per kilo and the prices for carrots, potatoes and tomatoes are VND60,000 to VND70,000.

Thanh Lan, a resident in District 7, bought seven onions for VND100,000. "The authorities said the prices would not increase but the reality is everything is now more expensive and in short supply. You have to go early," she said.

Pork also increased by VND10,000 to VND20,000 and chicken is in especially short supply. According to the traders, after the three biggest wholesale markets in HCM City were closed, supplies have been scarce, and some ingredients have a short expiry date and the transportation costs have increased.

The prices at supermarkets are lower but many people have to wait for one to two hours in line as supermarkets limit the number of customers. Some people said they ordered online but still couldn't buy everything after two days.

Saigon Co.op said despite various pressures and increasing prices, they have tried to keep the prices stable. However, they have detected some cases in which people bought food at supermarkets in bulk and resold them outside for a profit. As a result, some items at the supermarkets weren't refilled in time.

HCM City Department of Industry and Trade said the three biggest wholesale markets and two-thirds of the markets in HCM City were closed. The department admitted that traders had raised the prices when items were in short supply and demand increased. Moreover, after moving businesses online, traders have to spend more money on petrol which had also increased.

Thu Duc Farmers Market Business Management JSC, the manager of Thu Duc Market, has established an 8,000-square-metre transhipment centre for 1,000-1,500 tonnes of products every night.

Hoc Mon Market also submitted a plan to reopen a part of the market as a transhipment terminal that covers 2,000 square metres for 10 trucks and 100 tonnes of products a day.

Informal meeting of APEC leaders: cooperation to accelerate post-pandemic recovery

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will attend a virtual informal meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on July 16 at the invitation of APEC 2021 chair - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

In 1998, Vietnam officially joined APEC - the leading economic cooperation mechanism in Asia-Pacific, which was a crucial step forward in implementing Vietnam’s foreign policy of openness, multilateralisation, diversification and international economic integration.

Over the last 22 years, Vietnam has made active contributions to the forum, helping promote peace, stability, cooperation and economic connectivity in the region.

It is noteworthy that the country successfully hosted APEC Economic Leaders' meetings in 2006 and 2017.

It was also one of the most active members in proposing initiatives and projects in many fields.

Vietnam made significant contributions when it served as Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat in 2005 – 2006, and as chair and vice chair of many committees and key working groups.

Vietnamese businesses have also demonstrated their increasingly important role within APEC cooperation. During the 2017 APEC Year, Vietnamese enterprises contributed wisdom and efforts, and directly participated in many activities, affirming their integration capacity, role and responsibility for the APEC cooperation mechanism as well as regional economic connectivity.

After successfully hosting the APEC 2017 Economic Leaders' Meeting, Vietnam has continued to actively participate in and contribute to the APEC cooperation framework.

Amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has closely coordinated with other APEC economies in maintaining cooperation mechanisms, and promoting the building of long-term cooperation strategies of the forum.

With the theme “Join, Work, Grow. Together”, APEC 2021 will focus on COVID-19 and measures to cope with its negative impact on the economies. New Zealand – host of the 2021 APEC Year - said that all APEC activities in 2021 will take place virtually.

The informal meeting of APEC leaders on July 16 is hoped to seek immediate steps to address the COVID-19 crisis, and accelerating post-pandemic economic recovery in Asia Pacific.

President Phuc’s attendance at the event will help strongly affirm Vietnam's role and voice in APEC./.

Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa prepared to welcome back international tourists

The resort island of Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang is planning to vaccinate its residents and tourism workers against COVID-19 in preparation for launching its pilot policy aimed at welcoming back international tourists in the future.

According to Kien Giang People's Committee, there are approximately 127,607 people who will be vaccinated in the island city of Phu Quoc. Of the figure, 60,000 people who are officials and employees working in the hospitality sector, especially at tourist resorts and amusement parks, will be selected during the pilot vaccination scheme.

These individuals will receive their first shot from July 15 and their second injection from September 1, with the COVID-19 vaccines being allocated by the Ministry of Health and other legal sources.

This comes after the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism had previously proposed that Phu Quoc pilot receiving international visitors from October, with between 25 and 40 flights being conducted per month.

A representative of Sunset Beach Resort in Phu Quoc also revealed that the company has registered to vaccinate more than 100 officers and employees, while simultaneously preparing infrastructure in order to welcome the return of foreign tourists

Furthermore, the Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee also announced that it adopted a pilot scheme aimed at welcoming international tourists who have valid vaccine passports via charter flights.

It is hoped that these positive signs will help the tourism industry rebound after a long period of being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phu Quoc to welcome 40,000 foreign tourists under pilot scheme

Phu Quoc island, a famous tourist destination in Vietnam, is likely to receive between 2,000 and 3,000 tourists per month through charter flights touching down on the island for the first three months of a trial scheme aimed at welcoming back international tourists.

The Ministry of Transport has sent a document to its relevant agencies, including the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, and the Department of Health and Transport, detailing the draft plan which will see the return of international tourists to Phu Quoc at the request of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The pilot project is anticipated to run for a period of six months, starting from October, and will be divided into two phases. It will be carried out in limited locations across a number of large-scale tourist attractions.

The island is expected to receive between 2,000 and 3,000 tourists each month in the opening three months through charter flights, and between 5,000 and 10,000 guests per month in the next three months via commercial flights.

The island will be expanding the scale and locations in order to accommodate an increase in the number of international tourists to the locality.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism intends to welcome between 25,000 and 40,000 international tourists to Phu Quoc throughout the six-month pilot period.

Foreign visitors who have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate which is recognised by Vietnam will be eligible to visit the island, with certificates valid for no more than 12 months.

Alternatively, visitors could enter by using a certificate stating that they have recovered from COVID-19 and the certificate is valid for 12 months from their hospital discharge to their date of entry. They must also have a negative RT-PCR/RT-LAMP test result within 72 hours before departure.

Guests can register to participate in a package tour programme through a local travel firm, during which time they must strictly abide by preventive measures in line with the Ministry of Health’s regulations.

Tourists from countries and territories which are potentially safe against COVID-19 in regions such as Northeast Asia, the United States, the Middle East, and Europe, will be welcomed as part of the scheme.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism says it targets markets with a high vaccinate rate including China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan (China), the US, Germany, the UK, Russia, and France.

Intra-provincial tourism promoted

In the context of international tourism being “frozen” and domestic tourism activities not being smooth due to the complicated development of COVID-19, the promotion of tourist markets in localities (intra-provincial tourism) that have basically controlled the epidemic is considered an urgent and prompt step to maintain and gradually rejuvenate the tourism market.

Up to now, more than 10 provinces in the country have passed 14 days without any new COVID-19 cases in the community, including some recording no infections over the past 30 days. This is a favourable basis for the development of intra-provincial tourism in localities that have not been affected by the fourth outbreak of the pandemic or who have controlled the epidemic well. Since the beginning of June, several localities with great tourism potential, such as Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thua Thien Hue and Ninh Binh, have announced the reopening of some tourism activities for local tourists on the basis of ensuring epidemic prevention regulations. According to experts, in the face of the current epidemic situation, when people are still worried and afraid of travelling far from home, the development of intra-provincial tourism is an essential solution to restarting tourism activities in localities and awakening destinations that are "hibernating" in the middle of summer as well as meeting people’s travel demands and contributing to helping tourism businesses overcome their difficulties.

However, the problem is how to attract these special guests, especially when they are quite familiar with the province's tourism resources. According to General Director of AZA Travel Company Nguyen Tien Dat, it is essential to have an appropriate policy to stimulate domestic tourism on the basis of linkages among the providers of various services including transportation, accommodation, destinations and restaurants to bring attractive travel packages with good prices and quality. In terms of high-end services that previously mainly aimed at attracting foreigners or high-spending tourists, businesses and managers have offered preferential prices to encourage locals to sign up. For example, the management board of Sun World Fansipan Legend tourism site in Sapa town, Lao Cai province has decided to launch a discount of up to 73% on cable car tickets for visitors who are residents of the Northwest region. The Sun World Ha Long Complex has also provided local residents with a big discount on tickets to the Nu Hoang (Queen) cable car and water park.

In addition to attractive prices, travel enterprises should focus on refreshing tourism products while increasing creativity and the visitor experiences. For example, previously, Hoa Lo historical relic site in Hanoi mainly welcomed international visitors; however, after travel businesses joined to promote night tours with vivid stories about imprisoned revolutionary soldiers in the past, the site has attracted a large number of domestic tourists, including many young people. This shows that with the right investment, familiar tourism products still have a lot of potential to attract local tourists.

Many businesses and managers have also said that experiencing many epidemic outbreaks, the tourism sector should get used to the "new normal" to serve the dual goals of fighting the epidemic and developing the economy. The development of intra-provincial tourism in safe provinces and cities is the premise for the building and implementation of post-COVID-19 tourism recovery scenarios.

From encouraging local people to visit and experience tourism services in their own areas, localities that have controlled the epidemic and have safe means of transportation can promote their linkage thereby increasing the diversity of tourist experiences for visitors on the basis of the indispensability of negative COVID-19 certificates for participants.

Currenty it is the summer holiday period of students; therefore, demand for travel to nearby and safe destinations is quite high. The appropriate products suggested by the experts are small travel packages for short-term vacations in the forms of relaxation, spiritual and entertainment tourism. Catching up this demand, intra-provincial tourism in localities where the epidemic has been controlled will prosper, gradually creating momentum and preparing the necessary conditions to restore domestic tourism. However, localities should thoroughly comply with the epidemic prevention and control regulations of the health sector, avoiding a subjective spirit and regularly updating the epidemic situation to business establishments and tourists.

US Ambassador nominee to Vietnam prioritizes security in his term

The diplomat prioritizes security in the four-area relations that also include trade and investment, war legacy and humanitarian issues, and people-to-people ties.

Nominee to be US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E. Knapper highlighted security in the relations with the Southeast Asian country in his upcoming term.

Speaking at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing held on July 13, Knapper shared his plan to develop the US-Vietnam relationship across a wide range of four areas with security placed the first.

He said the two countries have significantly expanded security cooperation, including through US support to strengthen Vietnam’s maritime capabilities. Last year, Vietnam welcomed the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the second US aircraft carrier to visit since they established diplomatic relations in 1995.

The US and Vietnam share an interest in upholding international law and resisting provocative behavior in the South China Sea and Mekong region, Knapper said, adding that “if confirmed I will make every effort deepen our cooperation in this area.”

The second importance is trade and investment. The two-way trade has grown significantly, increasing from nearly nothing in 1995 to more than US$90 billion in 2020, benefiting American manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, and consumers. The diplomat expected that Vietnam will maintain equitable market access for US digital services and agricultural products.

War legacy and humanitarian issues are placed third. In which, Knapper hoped to pay significant attention to the fullest possible accounting for US personnel missing during the wartime in Vietnam. “For decades, Vietnam has provided critical assistance to those efforts,” he noted.

According to the diplomat, the US has contributed more than $160 million to mitigate lingering threats posed by unexploded ordnance since 1993. In cooperation with Vietnam, the US completed the remediation of dioxin contamination in Danang in 2018, and in 2019 broke ground on the 10-year dioxin remediation project at the Bien Hoa airbase area.

In addition, the US has since 1989 provided more than $125 million in humanitarian assistance, directly and indirectly supporting over a million persons with disabilities, regardless of the cause. The cooperation on these issues continues to build a foundation of trust to expand the relationship, he said.

Knapper included the people-to-people ties in his coverage for the relationship. He said the bonds between the American and Vietnamese people are strong and growing. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 700,000 Americans traveled to Vietnam annually, including more than 1,200 American students.

Meanwhile, the US welcomes 30,000 Vietnamese students each year. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam relations last year, the two countries signed an agreement to bring Peace Corps volunteers for the first time ever, a significant and symbolic milestone.

Knapper, a Senior Foreign Service member in Asia for years, was nominated as new ambassador to Vietnam in mid-April by President Joe Biden to succeed Daniel J. Kritenbrink who stressed the importance of solving war legacies.

Art exhibition and auction to raise fund for the community

An online exhibition in the form of a 3D gallery is organized by the Song Foundation from July 12 to 31, featuring over 20 artworks by Vietnamese and international artists.

The River’s Story, or Cau chuyen Dong song in Vietnamese, will be on display at, with the participation of domestic and international artists including painters Doan Hoang Lam, Le Dinh Nguyen, Ton That Bang, and painter Nicolaos D. Kanellos- former Greek ambassador to Vietnam and Indonesian painter Hadi Soesanto.

During the seven days of the exhibition (from July 22 to 29), four online auctions will be organized on Facebook Jang Kieu ( to raise money for the launch of the River Oi - a new project of Song Foundation. The project is aimed at promoting creativity and dialogue about sustainable development of the Mekong River Delta through art, technology, and education.

According to Huong Giang, founder of the Song Foundation, she conceived the idea of the River Oi project in May 2016. when the Mekong Delta was experiencing a severe drought and saltwater encroachment. The project aims to raise funds to help the poor in the area to overcome these natural disasters.

The novel tells the story of Siddhartha, a respected son of a Brahmin who decided to become a ferryman. In contemplating the river, Siddhartha has a revelation: Just as the water of the river flows into the ocean and is returned by rain, all forms of life are interconnected in a cycle without beginning or end. Birth and death are all part of a timeless unity. Life and death, joy and sorrow, good and evil are all parts of the whole and are necessary to understand the meaning of life.

Since 2013, the Song Foundation has already successfully organized more than 20 fundraising events to build two charitable projects “Flood Resistant Homes” and “Green Happiness”.

“Green Happiness” is a project to promote tree planting to expand forest coverage in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the project “Flood-resistant houses” calls on the community to build safe and free houses for the poor in the areas prone to natural disasters.

76 outstanding scientific projects enter Vietnam Yellow Book of Innovation 2021

The Judge Board for Vietnam Yellow Book of Innovation yesterday announced 76 excellent scientific-technological projects to appear in the 2021 Book.

The Judge Board of the Vietnam Yellow Book of Innovation is holding a meeting to select the outstanding projects

Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee reported that it received in total 151 nominated scientific-technological projects from 47 ministries, industries, and provincial authorities, ranging from technology to natural science. These projects have won several awards of contests held by members of Vietnam Fatherland Front and provinces around the country from January 1, 2019 to June 20, 2021.

Among them, the Judge Board chose the 76 most prominent ones, which are highly practical in manufacturing, trading and applying in daily life, to published in the Vietnam Yellow Book of Innovation 2021.

In the past 5 years, the Vietnam Yellow Book of Innovation have been able to honor individuals and organizations that have significantly contributed to scientific-technological activities in the nation.

The book is also a way to encourage the innovation spirit and research activities in the community in order to increase work performance, product quality, and competitiveness in the globalization process, positively affecting the national development and defense.

The Vietnam Yellow Book of Innovation is announced annually on the Independence Day, with the quantity of selected projects equal to the number of years celebrating the Independence Day.

Seeking solutions for transport in the Southern affected regions

Speaking at an online conference between the Ministry of Health and the people’s comittees of HCMC, and 18 cities and provinces in the Southern region on July 13, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The asked localities to implement solutions to ensure uninterrupted trans-provincial transport of goods amid the Covid-19 epidemic.

Director General of the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam (DRVN), Nguyen Van Huyen said that the Road Management Department No.4 has cooperated with the departments of Transport of cities and provinces to reduce traffic congestions at Covid-19 control stations on the National Highway 22 in Tay Ninh Province, National Highway 1A in Long An Province, National Highway 1K in Dong Nai Province.

The Transport Department of HCMC as of July 12 had granted QR identification codes to over 19,000 vehicles, which are allowed to transport essential goods through Covid-19 quarantine checkpoints in the city, said Vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Hoa Binh.


The city also encourages priority vaccination for transport participants, he added.

According to chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Transport Association, Nguyen Van Quyen, the relevant units need to consider the regulations and duration of documentation of negative Covid test and quarantine rules that are not unified in localities to create favorable conditions for transport participants and avoid stuck in traffic at checkpoints

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The asked departments of Transport to coordinate with localities to idenitify demand for truck drivers in transportation of essential goods when provinces and cities have imposed social distancing measures

Thu Duc City locks down two wards with nearly 80,000 residents

Thu Duc City in HCMC decided to put two of its wards---Long Thanh My and Tang Nhon Phu A---with a total of nearly 80,000 residents on lockdown starting from 12 p.m. today, July 14, until further notice to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier, an area which is home to over 7,000 people in Tang Nhon Phu A Ward was put on lockdown for three days starting from 6 a.m. on July 11 to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. However, the situation there worsened, prompting Thu Duc City to lock down the ward with an additional 45,000 residents starting from today.

Similarly, Long Thanh My Ward with over 34,000 residents will be subject to the lockdown restrictions, the local media reported.

The Thu Duc City government tasked the authorities of these two wards with directing and dispatching the competent forces to monitor the areas on lockdown.

Previously, many areas in the wards of Linh Trung, Hiep Binh Chanh, Hiep Binh Phuoc, and Binh Chieu in Thu Duc had been asked to follow the three-day lockdown order.

The two wards of Binh Chieu and Truong Thanh were also put on lockdown yesterday.

On July 7, Thu Duc City also locked down Tan Phu Ward as part of its efforts to detect coronavirus infection clusters in probable virus-hit areas.

Three COVID-19-related deaths announced on Wednesday

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday announced three COVID-19-related fatalities on Wednesday afternoon, raising the number of deaths in Việt Nam to 135.

The three were elderly with serious underlying diseases.

The first was patient No 21,842, an 87-year-old woman, living in District 8, HCM City. She suffered from hypertension and senility. She tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on July 4 and was treated at the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases. She died on July 10 and the cause of death was recorded as acute myocardial infarction, septic shock, severe pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection in hypertensive patients and old age.

The second was also from HCM City. Patient No 27,272 was a 67-year-old man. He suffered from cerebrovascular accident, chronic arthritis requiring medical treatment.

He lived with his son who was positive for COVID-19. From June 17 to 27 he had a high fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. He was quarantined for treatment at the Bình Chánh District health centre and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. On June 27, he was transferred to the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

He died on July 10, with cause of death recorded as septic shock, skin infection, severe pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, multi-organ failure in patients with cerebrovascular accidents and chronic arthritis.

The last was an 83-year-old woman. She was from Bình Thạnh District in HCM City. She suffered from hypertension, senile dementia, cerebrovascular accident and percutaneous gastrostomy.

On June 28-29, she developed a fever and cough, was admitted to the Bình Thạnh Hospital, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was transferred to the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

She passed away on July 12, with cause of death recorded as septic shock, severe pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with hypertension, senility and myocardial infarction.

HCM City charities help poor, frontline COVID workers with food, accommodation

Free meals, vegetable, and accommodation have been provided to people especially the poor, social welfare shelters, and frontline volunteers as well as health workers in COVID-19 prevention and control in HCM City during the 15-day social distancing period.

Non-profit Food Bank Việt Nam’s volunteers ride motorbikes with food boxes every day into small alleys where people selling lottery tickets, scavengers and other poor informal-sector workers live.

They have been told to stay off the streets and at home during the 15-day social distancing mandate by the city under Directive No.16.

The motorbikes with the food are parked in the middle of the alleys so that people can keep a safe distance.

Nguyễn Tuấn Khởi, the founder of Food Bank Việt Nam, said each meal comprises eggs, tomato fish stew, fried mustard greens, cabbage soup, and banana so that they “could have nutritious meals.”

Before the social distancing began, the food was mostly handed over to needy people at the charity’s Bếp Yêu Thương (Loved Kitchen) in Bình Thạnh District’s Ung Văn Khiêm Street.

The volunteers have been issued cards that allow them passage around the city to deliver the meals.

Khởi said he had also got in touch with sponsors in many provinces to ask for donations of vegetables and others needed for making food at the city’s social welfare shelters.

On July 9, the first day of social distancing, the Food Bank Việt Nam took vegetable and other requirements by car to Vinh Sơn Nursing Home, Diệu Pháp Shelter, and Hiệp Bình Phước Social Welfare Centre.

Two days later it brought more than 20 tonnes of vegetable from Đà Lạt and delivered to other social welfare shelters.

The HCM City Youth Social Work Centre on July 11 cooked meals for 101,844 poor people and people living in locked-down areas, the highest number following 37 days of charity. Initially it had planned to feed only 28,000 people daily.

Because of the social distancing, volunteers have to stay at the centre to cook, Võ Quốc Bình of the centre, said.

“The city has more and more areas being locked down because of COVID-19 patients there. Lottery ticket sellers and garbage collectors do not earn anything during the social distancing period. Free meals are imperative for them.”

The centre gets orders for food from people’s committees, the Việt Nam Fatherland Front and Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union in districts, its volunteers cook the needed food, and the agencies placing the orders collect and distribute the meals.

The centre has solicited donations to ensure it has enough vegetables, fruits, meat, and others.

Bình said: “Previously, traders in the city’s wholesale markets donated them, but the markets are closed temporarily. We contact vegetable farmers in the city and other provinces to seek donations.”

Many individuals, locals and overseas Vietnamese, and companies have donated vegetables to people in locked-down areas and opened charity places dubbed 0 đồng food stores and mini marts in many places to benefit thousands of needy people.

The so-called rice ATM machines continue to be used during the fourth wave of COVID.

In District 12 for instance there are six 0 đồng food stores and an ATM machine.

Đỗ Kim Ngọc told Tin Tức online newspaper belonging to the Việt Nam News Agency that she has a four-month baby and her family’s income depends on her husband and has been affected by the pandemic.

Vegetables, rice, noodles, and milk being provided by the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee of District 10 help her family survive, she added.

Ambassador Hotel in HCM City’s District 1 provides free accommodation for frontline health workers, police officers and volunteers involved in fighting COVID. Photo Courtesy of Nguyễn Tuấn Khởi
The Food Bank Việt Nam is working with Đinh Quốc Huy, who owns the Ambassador Hotel in District, 1 to provide free accommodation for frontline health workers, police officers and volunteers involved in fighting COVID, and even others who have difficulty finding accommodation.

Khởi said, “Many of the health workers, police officers and volunteers taking samples from the community cannot go home late at night.”

Huy said, “They also need temporary accommodation while they wait for test results. Besides, they are afraid they might transmit COVID to their family.

“My hotel does not have many guests and so I provide free accommodation to these people. They feel assured while working.”

Khởi is asking CP Livestock Joint Stock Company to provide food for the volunteers and other workers and seeking other aid for their laundry, electricity and water at the hotel.

At the 12 checkpoints at the city’s gateways, the Department of Transport and the Youth Social Welfare Centre have redesigned 12 old containers for police officers, health workers and volunteers there to rest between work.

The containers are equipped with electricity, air conditioners and exhaust fans.

The Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee units in districts have called on landlords to reduce rents especially for workers and people affected by the outbreak.

Miss Eco Vietnam held for the first time

An online photo contest seeking to spread a positive message of environmental protection for the wider community has kicked off the first Miss Eco Vietnam pageant.

Officially licensed by the People's Committee of HCM City, the national beauty contest is in response to an initiative put forward by former Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc to plant one billion trees between 2021 and 2025.

It is jointly held by Môi Trường Và Đô Thị Việt Nam (Việt Nam Environment And Urban) magazine and Q-Talent company.

Entrants must be Vietnamese women aged between 18 and 26 who are above 1.65 metres tall. Candidates must send their profiles to the organisers at before July 31.

Since the online photo contest was launched on the page on July 3, the organisers of the competition have received hundreds of entries from across the country and Vietnamese students studying abroad.

However, it is a separate contest that will not affect the results of Miss Eco Vietnam 2021.

Besides activities to promote tourism and culture, the contestants of the beauty pageant will have to participate in many environmental activities that prove their ability to inspire positive messages about environmental protection.

The judges are experts in the fields of economy, culture, art, journalism, fashion, beauty, modelling and anthropometry.

The grand final of Miss Eco Vietnam 2021 is scheduled to get underway on October 20 in HCM City.

“We were planning to hold a press conference to announce the contest and the pre-qualification plan but fortunately the fourth wave of the pandemic struck. In the immediate future, we will focus on the ongoing online photo contest," said a media representative of the Miss Environment Vietnam 2021 in an interview with Pháp Luật TP.HCM (HCMC Law) newspaper.

“Depending on the actual situation, there will be a flexible enrollment form for this contest. If the situation of the pandemic is complicated, the candidates could be selected via virtual form, but it is just the second option. The organisation must be decent and not in a hurry so we will probably consider a plan of delaying the pageant until the pandemic is under control. The candidates could still submit their entries online as normal. We expect to meet the candidates in person."

As the candidates might come from the pandemic-affected area, the representative revealed that the organisers will consider online entries but “they must be present on the competing days”.

The winners of the photo contest and the beauty pageant will take part in various environmental protection activities hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for the rest of this year and into 2022.

Medical staff busy at Ho Chi Minh City biggest Covid-19 field hospital

Nearly 200 medical staff and 100 local militia personnel of the largest field hospital in Ho Chi Minh City are treating and caring for 3,400 Covid-19 patients.

The hospital opened on July 11 with 6,000 beds and has already received 3,400 patients. Each medical worker is responsible for 20 patients on average.

The militia helps in the transportation of foods and necessities to the hospital. Dr Trinh Minh Giang also gave them guidance about procedures when dealing with positive patients.

"Our schedules are very tight and we nearly have no time to rest," Giang said. "Because of thin personnel, we also have to help provide meals and other daily necessities to the patients."

Dr Truong Nhat Cuong, the coordinator at the hospital, said they mostly receive patients with light or non-existent symptoms. Patients in serious condition will be transferred to other hospitals with better equipment.

They mostly take body temperatures and check if any symptoms appear among the patients who do not show any symptoms. Patients with light symptoms will be given medicine based on their condition. A shift often lasts for 14 hours.

After each shift, the staff are disinfected before they can leave the treatment area.

Dr Phan Minh Hoang, director of the field hospital, said, "The number of positive patients placed huge pressure on our system. The field hospital only opened recently so many parts are still incomplete. There are still many things that need to be done."

10,000 meals are brought to the patients each day by the militia. The staff always remind the patients to follow preventive measures and social distancing rules.

All of the staff stay in a separated building block and are tested regularly.

NA Standing Committee wraps up 58th meeting

The 14th National Assembly Standing Committee concluded its 58th meeting in Hanoi on July 14.

In his speech at the closing ceremony, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said after the meeting, all contents prepared for the upcoming first session of the 15th legislature slated for July 20 have been completed.

Hue noted the 58th meeting ended with a high consensus among participants, especially regarding socio-economic development, public investment, national finance, and public debt payment plan, and a medium-term public investment for 2021-2025.

Agreements were also reached concerning the national target programmes on new-style rural building, and sustainable poverty reduction for 2021-2025 and other contents submitted by the Government, the Fatherland Front and relevant agencies during the session.

The top legislator attributed such outcomes to proactive and responsible work by the committee as well as the early and close coordination between Government and NA agencies.

The first session of the 15th legislature will discuss important matters that ensure the success of the entire tenure, he said, urging further throughout paperwork preparations to be made, particularly regarding the election and approval of key leadership and high-ranking positions in the State apparatus as well as socio-economic development tasks for the period.

Hue also ordered the readiness of suitable options in response to COVID-19 developments./.

Military to help transport close to 113 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The military will help transport a total of about 112.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines around the country by 2022, according to Maj. Gen. Nguyen Xuan Kien, Director of the General Department of Logistics (GDL)’ military medicine division.

The military has worked out plans to deploy 1,333 vehicles for the distribution of the vaccines to vaccination centres nationwide, Kien said on July 14, adding that personnel are receiving training to ensure the safe deliveries of the vaccines.

The vaccine transportation, mostly by land, is underway until April 2022, said Maj. Gen. Nguyen Duc Tung, Director of the GDL’s transport division. He proposed that the Ministry of Health consult the Ministry of Transport about delivering the vaccines to mountainous areas and islands by air.

The transport division will order its units to provide adequate supplies for COVID-19 prevention and prioritise vaccination for people in charge of vaccine transport duties./.

Vietnam News Agency attends ASEAN Media Partners Forum

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) attended the ASEAN Media Partners Forum hosted by the China Media Group (CMG) in Beijing on July 14.

As part of its attendance, the VNA signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral information cooperation with CMG’s video news agency CCTVPLUS.

Besides the VNA, the Nhan Dan Newspaper, the Vietnam Television, and Radio The Voice of Vietnam also sent their delegations to the event.

Themed ‘Media Cooperation and Regional Development’, the forum aimed at boosting solidarity and collaboration between the CMG and its ASEAN partners in the post-COVID-19 era and spotlighting the importance of the mainstream communications in cultural exchange development and for a more suitable international order.

Participants discussed the role of communications and media partnerships between China and ASEAN in regional development in the context of serious impacts of the pandemic taking place globally.

In his recorded speech sent to the forum, Vietnamese Ambassador to China Pham Sao Mai congratulated achievements obtained from the cooperation between ASEAN and China, and expressed his wish to see further contributions from the press to such ties in the future.

The forum issued a joint statement proposing the establishment of an ASEAN media partnership mechanism./.

ASEAN, US agree to boost consultation, dialogue, cooperation

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son attended the Special ASEAN - US Foreign Ministerial Meeting held virtually on July 14 under the co-chair of Lao Foreign Minister Saleumsay Kommasith and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

ASEAN and the US affirmed that they attach importance to and pledge to enhance the bilateral partnership, especially amid the serious challenges negatively affecting people’s life, development, security, and stability of countries in the region.

ASEAN countries reiterated their message to the new administration of the US, which is making long-term commitments to the region, upholding multilateralism and international law, making efforts to control disease outbreaks, promoting recovery, and responding to climate change.

They welcomed the US’ continued support for the bloc’s centrality in maintaining dialogue; intensification of cooperation; and joining efforts to build an open, inclusive, and law-based regional architecture and to effectively deal with challenges.

Blinken emphasised the Biden administration’s commitment to multilateralism, affirming that the US always attaches importance to its relations with ASEAN, supports the bloc’s centrality, and will pay attention to fostering a dynamic and effective strategic partnership with ASEAN on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefits.

He noted that the US will keep taking the lead in stepping up global efforts against COVID-19.

The country has donated 2 billion USD of the committed 4 billion USD, and pledged to supply 500 million vaccine doses for the COVAX Facility. It is working to support countries around the world, including ASEAN nations, with 80 million doses. It has also earmarked 96 million USD for helping the regional countries improve their pandemic response capacity, according to the State Secretary.

He also proposed several orientations for the ASEAN - US cooperation in such fields as energy, transport, women empowerment, environment, and climate change response on the basis of even and sustainable recovery efforts across the region.

Both ASEAN and the US shared the view that there are many latent and complex challenges in the region and the world, agreeing to boost consultation, dialogue, and cooperation, particularly at the forums chaired and led by ASEAN, so as to help maintain regional peace, stability, and security.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two sides reaffirmed their respective stances and stressed the importance of peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters.

They also highlighted their expectation for the early finalisation of an efficient and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) that matches international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and respects and appropriately mentions the rights and legitimate interests of the relevant parties.

Reviewing the Myanmar situation, the US highly valued ASEAN’s recent steps to assist Myanmar to return to normal. It also voiced support for the bloc to successfully implement the “Five-Point Consensus” reached at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in April 2021.

Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son underlined the importance of the ASEAN - US strategic partnership to the cooperation, development, peace, and stability in the region.

He applauded the role and contributions of the US to global COVID-19 response efforts, its vaccine provision for countries in the region, including Vietnam, as well as its support for the temporary waiver of vaccine patents within the WTO framework.

ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, are ready to create optimal conditions for US enterprises to expand investment and business in their markets amid a pandemic-triggered shift in trade and investment flows, Son said.

The minister expressed his hope that the US will actively assist ASEAN to narrow the development gap, promote development in sub-regions, and connect the Mekong - US ties with the common development of ASEAN.

As the region is facing many major and complex challenges, countries need to uphold their sense of responsibility, maintain dialogue, and reinforce cooperation to concurrently guarantee peace and stability and secure successful recovery, he went on.

The minister called on the US to keep close coordination with the bloc at the forums established and led by ASEAN, thereby creating a favourable environment for the formation of a rules-based regional architecture.

In terms of the East Sea issue, Son emphasised the role of international law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and the maintenance of a peaceful, stable, and favourable environment for development.

He stressed ASEAN’s principled stance on the East Sea, asking the US to continue playing a constructive role, supporting ASEAN’s efforts to sustain peace, stability, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, and advocating the bloc’s endeavours to help seek solutions to the Myanmar situation./.

Vietnam plans to receive 40,000 international visitors with vaccine passports

Vietnam planned to receive international tourists with vaccine passports in the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang’s Phu Quoc Island by air, via charter flights or commercial flights from October 2021.

According to the pilot plan of receiving tourists with vaccine passports by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnam will eye around 2,000 - 3,000 international tourists with vaccine passports to Phu Quoc Island a month in the first phase and 3,000 - 5,000 visitors with the special passports a month in the second phase.

Generally, the Southeast Asian country will welcome 25,000 - 40,000 international tourists to the well-known island in six months.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will receive visitors from Northeast Asia, Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Australia.

The pilot period will last for six months starting from October 2021 in the first phase. The Ministry and relevant competent agencies will assess the first phase of the pilot plan. If Kien Giang Province meets the safety requirements, the second phase will eye 5,000 – 10,000 travelers a month.

The plan also mentioned the rollout of vaccination drive for all inhabitants and laborers on the island, regulations on certificates of vaccination, procedures for taking samples for Covid-19 testing for international tourists; supply of transportation means, and medical emergency for foreign visitors.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also set the criteria for selecting service providers to ensure the safety of visitors, service staff, and the prevention of the Covid-19 epidemic as a top priority. Moreover, these selected travel agents must ensure providing high-quality services to satisfy first international tourists to Vietnam.

The Ministry has sent its plan to relevant competent agencies for collecting opinions.

Vietnam - Philippines strategic partnership deepened

Vietnam and the Philippines are celebrating the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties this year (July 12, 1976-2021).

Throughout the past journey, the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between the two sides have developed in both bilateral and multilateral aspects, bringing practical benefits to the two countries’ peoples and proactively contributing to the peace, cooperation and development of the region.

In order to further strengthen their relationship and improve the efficiency of their cooperation, the two sides have signed many important agreements including the Bilateral Cooperation Framework in the first 25 years of the 21st century and the following period and the Action Programme during the 2007-2010 and 2011-2016 periods. In November 2015, Vietnam and the Philippines officially lifted their relations to a strategic partnership, opening a new chapter in their cooperation. The two countries have been making efforts to implement the action programme for their strategic partnership during the 2019-2024 period.

Economic and trade relations between the two countries have achieved positive results over the recent years. Their trade turnover has increased annually, from US$2.92 billion in 2015 to US$5.31 billion in 2019. In the context of the epidemic, the two sides’ bilateral trade turnover reached US$5.32 billion in 2020 and began to show signs of recovery in the first four months of 2021 with US$1.95 billion, a year-on-year increase of 14%.

The Philippines is currently Vietnam's largest importer of rice, with 2.22 million tonnes purchased in 2020. In terms of investment, the Philippines has 82 valid investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of US$615 million as of the end of April 2021, ranking 28th out of 140 countries and territories with investment in Viet Nam.

Regarding defence and security cooperation, the two sides have proactively implemented the signed agreements. Their cooperation in sea and ocean-related areas is one of the main pillars of the two countries' relations. The two sides established the Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns which has been upgraded to the Joint Commission on Maritime and Ocean Cooperation at the Vice-Minister level. Cooperation in the fields of education, culture, sports, tourism, agriculture, and fishery has been enhanced. In terms of cooperation in response to COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries have supported each other in epidemic prevention and control, including the organisation of flights to bring citizens home. Vietnam gave donations of medical supplies to the Philippines. The people-to-people exchange activities have been boosted with the core role of the Philippines - Vietnam Friendship Association and the Vietnam - Philippines Friendship Association. Vietnam, as home to nearly 5,000 Filipinos, also has about 3,000 citizens living, studying and working in this island nation. The expatriates have been making contributions to the countries’ socio-economic development.

Regarding regional and international issues, Vietnam and the Philippines have closely coordinated and supported each other at multilateral forums. Both countries are active, proactive and responsible members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). They have always made efforts to develop ASEAN Community as well as promote the central role of the Association, contributing to ensuring stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Phuong Khanh set to judge Miss Philippines Earth 2021

Phuong Khanh, Miss Earth 2018, has announced in a video clip that she is set to join the judging panel of the upcoming Miss Philippines Earth 2021.

The move will see the local beauty judge the final night of the beauty pageant, an event that will be virtually held on August 3.

This year has seen the Miss Philippines Earth 2021 attract the particiaption of 68 contestants from across the country.

The winner of the competition will succeed last year's winner, Roxanne Allison Baeyens, who later went on to be named as Miss Earth – Water in the Miss Earth pageant.

Phuong Khanh was born in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre in 1994 and became the second runner-up at the Miss Ocean Vietnam Global in April and Miss Earth 2018.

She stands at 1.7 metres tall, weighs 51kg, and has body measurements of 90-58-94 cm.

Human-wildlife conflict one of the greatest threats to wildlife species: WWF and UNEP report

Conflict between people and animals is one of the main threats to the long-term survival of some of the world’s, and Việt Nam’s, most emblematic species, a new report from WWF and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned.

These types of conflict often lead to people killing animals in self-defence, or as pre-emptive or retaliatory killings, which can drive species to extinction, the A future for all-the need for human-wildlife coexistence report says.

Việt Nam’s wild elephants, for example, are known for raiding farms for food and water. Over 100 hectares of crops, five temporary houses, and several hundred cashew and rubber trees were damaged by wild elephants between 2016 and 2020.

Though no cases of human casualties have been recorded in recent years, at least two cases of juvenile elephants being injured by illegal snares have occurred.

According to the WWF, there is still significant concern for the safety of wild elephants due to ongoing habitat loss. Stopping land conversion along the elephants’ movement corridors and restoration of their habitat are strongly recommended for a safer environment for both people and elephants.

The report notes that though people the world over reap the benefits of maintaining flourishing wildlife populations catastrophic impacts such as injury and death and the loss of property and livelihoods place a strain on those who live alongside wildlife.

WWF-Viet Nam has been working with Yók Đôn National Park and Đắk Lắk Elephant Conservation Centre to conduct a Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) assessment and has developed a five-year HEC management strategy to run from 2021 to 2025.

The organisation has also supported the establishment and operation of a community-based management group in nearby Drang Phok Village. This includes staff from Yók Đôn National Park, Elephant Conservation Centre and villagers in four of the most-impacted communes who were trained on HEC mitigation strategies.

The WWF-Việt Nam, in cooperation with Đắk Lắk Elephant Conservation Centre also launched a GPS supervision project on wild elephant herds found in the province in 2019. This focuses on the possibility of GPS applications for tracking and monitoring the movements of wild elephants.

Furthermore, Đắk Lắk has attempted to protect its elephant population through a scheme to compensate people after crop losses due to elephant damage.

However, lessons learned from other countries suggest that this kind of compensation should be replaced by an insurance scheme for local communities that have been affected by elephants.

At least four Asian elephant herds, comprising 60-70 elephants, live in the provincial Yok Đôn National Park.

Đắk Lắk hosts the largest habitat of the endangered Asian elephant although WWF-Việt Nam says that at least 25 elephants had died since 2009, 75 per cent of which were calves.

According to the report, however, more needs to be done to reduce instances of human-wildlife conflict. It notes that the relationship between humans and wildlife is imperative to meeting many of the SDGs.

“If human-wildlife conflict is not adequately addressed by the international community, WWF believes it will have a considerable negative impact on countries’ ability to meet the majority of the SDGs,” says Margaret Kinnaird, Global Wildlife Practice Leader at WWF International.

Kinnaird also stresses that the impacts of human-wildlife conflict continue to be overlooked by policymakers and this needs to change.

“If the world is to have a chance of meeting the SDGs by the 2030 deadline, human-wildlife conflict must be explicitly included in SDG implementation plans, as well as at the heart of the Convention on Biodiversity’s new framework.”

The report says that completely eradicating human-wildlife conflict is not possible but that well-planned, integrated approaches to managing and reducing conflicts can lead to a form of coexistence between people and animals.

The report says this can have a number of benefits for local communities.

Reducing human-wildlife conflict can lead to opportunities and benefits not only for biodiversity and impacted communities, but for society, sustainable development, production, and the global economy at large, it says.

“Within a human lifetime, we have already seen extraordinary and unparalleled changes to our planet. Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 68 per cent since 1970,” says Margaret Kinnaird, Global Wildlife Practice Leader at WWF International.

“Human-wildlife conflict, in combination with other threats, has driven significant decline of species that were once abundant, and species that are naturally less abundant have been pushed to the brink of extinction. Unless urgent action is taken, this devastating trend will only worsen, wreaking detrimental and, in some cases, irreversible impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.”

Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division, echoed a similar sentiment.

“This report is a clarion call to elevate the problem of human wildlife conflict and give it the attention it deserves in national and international processes,” she says.

“It is a call for the adoption of approaches that identify and address the deeper, underlying causes of conflict while developing systemic solutions with affected communities as active and equal participants in the process,” she goes on.

She is, however, optimistic about the future.

“As demonstrated in many of the case studies in this report, coexistence,” she says, “is both possible and attainable.”

Google, WWF-Viet Nam join forces in Saola conservation campaign

Google has joined forces with the WWF-Viet Nam on World Saola Day (July 9) to help raise awareness and call for action to save this unique and endangered species.

For its part Google was launching a 3D Augmented Reality (AR 3D) saola on Google Search that global users use to view a saola close up, with full details of this spectacular species, on their smart devices.

WWF-Viet Nam said this was the first time Google had digitised one of Việt Nam’s rare wild animals and produced an AR 3D replica.

The saola, native to the Annamite Mountains, spanning the border between Việt Nam and Laos, is symbolic of the rich biodiversity of Việt Nam and the wider Mekong region.

In launching the ‘Preserve the Saola’s footprints’ campaign and AR 3D Saola, Google and the WWF-Viet Nam hope to bring the species closer to the public and help people to better understand the way that their behaviour and activity impacts nature and rare wildlife.

WWF-Viet Nam said the campaign, which started in July, will include two phases.

The first phase, titled: ‘Follow the Saola’s footprints’, will bring to the audience interesting information about Saola, resolving common misunderstandings about the critically endangered species.

In the second phase, via online interactive activities, the public will learn about how their daily consumption behaviour may impact the saola, other wild animals and nature.

Trâm Nguyễn, Country Manager of Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia at Google Asia Pacific, said: “By bringing the AR 3D model of Saola on Google search, we’d like to introduce to the world this rare endangered animal. You will get to see them up close, in the most vivid way possible.

“Google hopes to apply its technology in conservation efforts, digitizing information and images, so that they can be accessed by everyone which is the objective of this campaign.”

Dr. Văn Ngọc Thịnh, CEO of WWF-Viet Nam, said: “The first time I saw the Saola AR, I was so excited by its vibrancy and authenticity. It is really hard to tell the difference from the real Saola, which I was lucky enough to be one of the few scientists in the world to see in real life.”

“Hopefully, this will help the public learn more about this species and give the public a new appreciation of its unique beauty.”

“WWF-Viet Nam appreciates Google’s effort in using their brand to support conservation and biodiversity. We are also delighted to join forces with Google in other activities to raise public awareness and call for public actions for the saola, bringing hope for a brighter future for our country’s biodiversity.”

Since the species’ was first discovered in 1992, in Vũ Quang Nature Reserve, in Hà Tĩnh, only about 10 saola have ever been captured alive. They were all caught by local villagers in Laos and Việt Nam but without professional veterinary and husbandry care, the longest that any of the animals lived was a few months at most.

The last saola known to be captured alive was in 2010 in a village in Laos. It died in less than a week.

Biologists have also only photographed the species five times in the wild in the last 25 years, all by camera traps — twice in Laos and three times in Việt Nam.

The most recent camera trap photos were taken in 2013, when the WWF captured images of the animal in a saola nature reserve in central Việt Nam. It was the first photo of a saola in the wild in more than 15 years.

Saola are nicknamed the Asian ‘unicorn’. They are difficult to find, living in dense forests, in remote and difficult terrain.

The saola is considered to be critically endangered with the global population being estimated to be less than 100. Habitat loss caused by human development, rampant snaring to supply the illegal wildlife trade, and climate change are threatening the entire species with extinction.

The Bạch Mã National Park in the central Thừa Thiên-Huế province was selected as the site for the world’s only breeding centre for the saola.

Media play important role in promoting safe, equal migration: seminar

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam held an online seminar on July 13 to discuss measures to strengthen the role of the media in promoting safe and equal migration.

According to Luong Thanh Quang, deputy head of the Department of Consular Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that in the 2014-2019 period, each year, more than 100,000 Vietnamese labourers go abroad for working under fixed-term labour contracts, along with tens of thousands of students and people marrying foreigners.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of migrants travelling through official channels has reduced, but the illegal migration has still seen complicated developments despite border control measures, he noted.

He said that the provision of full and accurate information on issues related to migration will help promote legal, safe and orderly migration and prevent illegal migration as well as human trafficking, especially in women.

He stressed the significance of the role of the media, which has been stated in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

Agreeing with Quang, ILO Vietnam Labour Economist Valentina Barcucci lauded the Vietnamese Government’s drastic directions in encouraging safe and equal migration, especially through the issuance of important legal documents, including a plan to implement the GCM.

She underlined the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in ensuring that the GCM implementation plan is approved and carried out.

She warned that women labourers are facing greater challenges and obstacles than men, along with higher risk of suffering violence and sexual abuse as well as discrimination, during the migration process.

She called on media agencies to show more active and responsible engagement in ending violence against migrant workers.

At the event, representatives from the Foreign Ministry, ILO and UN Women as well as media agencies shared ideas to strengthen mutual support to create a network with close cooperation in exchanging information, thus contributing to carrying out the GCM implementation plan in Vietnam./.

New report shows potential 20 per cent GDP gain via connecting schools

Nations with low broadband connectivity have the potential to realise an increase in GDP by up to 20 per cent by connecting schools to the internet, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by Ericsson.

Today, education systems worldwide have been hit hard by the pandemic, with more than 190 countries instituting nationwide closures of schools. During this time, it is connectivity at home that ensured continued learning for at least a 100 million out of the 1.6 billion out-of-school students across the world. The temporary school closures are shifting perceptions on the need for connecting schools to support learning and close both the educational as well as the digital divide.

A well-educated workforce is more likely to be innovative and foster ground-breaking ideas, leading to economic development and job creation. Access to the internet in schools can also help provide equal opportunities to students in the form of improved learning and skills. These in turn can open doors to new career pathways and better quality of life, thereby benefitting the individual as well as the society at large.

Both the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (2017) and the World Bank Human Capital Index (2017) show a clear correlation between access to internet and quality of education. EIU analysis shows that for every 10 per cent increase in school connectivity in a country, GDP per capita could increase by 1.1 per cent.

While the global internet penetration rate has increased substantially over the years from 17 per cent in 2005, it is still at a modest mark of just over 50 per cent in 2021 and is not uniform across regions. In the context of the West African country of Niger, the report finds that improvements in school connectivity to Finnish levels could increase GDP per capita by almost 20 per cent , from $550 per person in the baseline to $660 per person by 2025.

The report focuses on four key actions to make a change:

1. Collaboration is key: A holistic, public/private partnership strategy is needed to coordinate efforts with stakeholders to overcome barriers to school connectivity.

2. Accessibility and affordability: Building infrastructure to enable access to the internet is a starting point. Quality of connection and cost are important factors as well.

3. Embedding internet and digital tools into education: Once access to school connectivity is achieved, it must be embedded into the curriculum. Teachers must be trained to integrate technology into everyday learning.

4. Protecting children online: School connectivity provides opportunities for children. Additional steps must be taken to ensure healthy and protected online learning environments. Internet usage must be properly managed to ensure safe and secure use.

The report also recommends that public, private, and NGO sector leaders around the world can make a dramatic impact towards bridging the digital divide by joining forces to make internet connectivity a global reality for school children of all ages.

As a result, Ericsson today appeals to these players to get behind the efforts of Giga (a school connectivity initiative founded by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union) through actions such as: funding, data sharing, technological expertise, and reimagining sustainable business models for connectivity. Ericsson has committed its efforts through a three-year partnership with UNICEF to help map the current school connectivity gap across 35 countries.

The Ericsson-backed EIU report – Connecting Learners: Narrowing the Educational Divide – has reinforced the company’s belief that the ambitious goal of Giga, to connect all schools and their surrounding communities by 2030 is achievable.

Heather Johnson, vice president of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, says: “When Giga was announced, we immediately understood the positive impact it could deliver – bridging the digital divide between and within countries, to give children the world over the opportunity of bright and rewarding futures.”

She added: “The report makes it clear that partnership between business leaders, public sector leaders, and NGOs can take effective action to address this issue and significantly impact lives. Every player in these sectors, no matter how big or small, can make a difference. We encourage stakeholders to read the report and more importantly join the Giga initiative to help realise this important goal.”

Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, says: “Together, we’re mapping schools around the world to identify connectivity gaps in communities. It’s key that we collaborate across sectors to connect schools and provide quality digital learning, so every child and young person can leapfrog to a brighter future.”

The EIU report shows how school connectivity can lead to improved educational outcomes and enhanced career opportunities for children, resulting in higher economic activity and community growth. The report finds that these individual-level benefits for children have a snowball effect leading to higher incomes, better health, and improved overall wellbeing. The benefits can extend beyond children, supporting wider community development and economic growth.

Other potential school connectivity benefits highlighted by the report include:

• Increasing quality of education;

• Better access to emerging fields such as blockchain, big data, machine learning, and AI;

• Creating a more productive workforce that fosters innovation and ground-breaking ideas;

• Job creation;

• Community development; and

• Driving economic growth and development.

HCM City to pilot treating Covid-19 patients at home

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health on July 13 issued an urgent document on the pilot of quarantining and treating Covid-19 patients at home following instructions from the Health Ministry.

According to the document, Covid-19 patients who show no symptoms and test negative for SARS-CoV 2 on the 10th day since their first testing, or test positive for COVID-19 but have a very low viral load can be sent home for further quarantine and treatment.

These patients will have to strictly follow virus prevention and control regulations at their home; frequently check their health condition and report to local health agencies who will closely monitor their situation. They will be given two more RT-PCR tests at home on the 14th and 21st day. They will be immediately sent to hospitals if they show symptoms or their condition worsens.

HCM City Department of Health will also pilot letting F1 contacts self-isolate at home due to the fact that quarantine centres are being overwhelmed.

Ho Chi Minh City has continued to report the highest number of new infections in the country with over one thousand new cases daily. On Tuesday, the city also recorded 1,797 new patients. The city has imposed social distancing measures in 15 days starting from July 9 in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.

Vietnam, Indonesia strengthen defence cooperation

Minister of National Defence Gen. Phan Van Giang hosted a reception in Hanoi on July 14 for Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Denny Abdi.

The two sides shared the view that bilateral ties between the two armies have been deepened with practical results in several fields such as the exchange of delegations, training and naval cooperation, especially since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on enhancing cooperation among defence officials and relevant activities in October 2010, and a joint vision statement between the two defence ministries for the 2017-2022 period.

Giang spoke highly of Indonesia’s position and role as well as its active and proactive participation in promoting ASEAN collaboration, contributing to strengthening the internal solidarity and improving the bloc’s stature on the regional and global arena.

On the East Sea issue, the minister affirmed that Vietnam supports countries’ rights to maritime freedom in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He suggested Vietnam and Indonesia’s competent forces at sea increase the exchange of information via existing mechanisms to effectively deal with contingencies, including fishermen-related issues, and avoid unnecessary misunderstanding, helping to accelerate negotiations on the delimitation of exclusive economic zones between the two countries.

Abdi, for his part, expressed his belief that the minister will continue making important contributions to further boosting the strategic partnership between the two nations in general and the two defence ministries in particular.

In the near future, the two sides pledged to hold online consultations and dialogues while reinforcing cooperation between law enforcement forces at sea to effectively address arising matters, especially issues related to fishermen./.

Suspected Covid-19 cases surge across Dong Nai Province

The Director of Dong Nai Province Department of Health reported rise in daily new coronavirus infections and suspected Covid-19 cases across the province with a total of 697 during the outbreak of the fourth pandemic wave.

Of which, Bien Hoa City has the highest number of Covid-19 cases totaling 82 in lockdown wards of Hoa An, Tan Bien, Tan Hoa, Ho Nai, Trang Dai and Long Binh Tan. It was followed by Cam My District with 34 cases and Nhon Trach District with 24 ones.

This morning, 177 suspected Covid-19 cases have just been announced, an increase of nearly three times compared to the previous day.

Currently, the functional forces are carrying out quarantine for the suspected Covid-19 cases in districts of Trang Bom, Nhon Trach, Cam My and Vinh Cuu, Bien Hoa City, many residential areas, industrial parks and rental houses. All those people are related to HCMC’s wholesale markets Hoc Mon, Thu Duc and Binh Dien.

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



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