VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 3

1,700 volunteers register for Nano Covax vaccine trials, third stage

As many as 1,700 volunteers have registered to participate in the third stage of human trials for the domestically-produced Nano Covax vaccine, with tests scheduled to begin in June.

According to Chu Van Men, director of the Military Medical University’s Centre for Clinical Trials and Bioequivalence, it is anticipated that the third phase will involve up to 15,000 people both in Vietnam and in other Asian countries hit by severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

Volunteers will be administered with the only 25mcg dose of the vaccine, and the interval between the two shots is 28 days.

Men revealed that a total of 560 volunteers were administered with 25mcg, 50mcg, and 75mcg doses during the second phase of trials, and the initial assessment indicates that the Navo Covax vaccine is “relatively safe”.

All of the vaccinated volunteers developed antibodies against COVID-19 at different levels, he said.

He added that the vaccine has proved effective against mutated variants identified from the United Kingdom and South Africa. Scientists will asse the effectiveness of the virus against the Indian variant in the upcoming third phase.

In the event that the virus spreads very quickly in Vietnam, the vaccine manufacturer, Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, will make a proposal to the Ministry of Health to use its product in early 2022.

Vietnam logs 79 domestic COVID-19 infections on June 3 afternoon

The Health Ministry announced 79 domestic infections and 12 imported cases of COVID-19 that were detected during six hours to 6pm June 3.

Among the locally-transmitted cases, 58 are in Bac Giang, 10 in Bac Ninh and 11 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The new cases brought the total infections during the past 24 hours to 250, including 19 imported cases.

The national tally rose to 8,063, with 4,955 recorded since April 27.

The number of recoveries stood at 3,085, and the death toll was 49.

Among active patients receiving treatment, 196 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 84 twice and 89 thrice./.

Thirteen provinces have passed 14 days without new COVID-19 infections. /.

All workers of Tan Thuan EPZ to be taken samples for Covid-19 test

The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDC) in coordination with the HCMC Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) and the People’s Committee of District 7 yesterday took samples of nearly 30,300 employees who were working in the second and third shifts at 22 enterprises inside the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone (EPZ).

Previously, to control and prevent Covid-19 infection for workers, the Labor Union of HEPZA in coordination with the Medical Center of District 7 had performed a random Covid-19 sample test for 400 workers among the total of 8,600 employees of Furukawa Automotive Parts Vietnam Company Limited and Kim Organ Garment Vietnam Company Limited.

It is expected that the Labor Union of HEPZA would continue to collaborate with relevant units to take samples of nearly 280,000 employees for coronavirus tests.

Sample collection and testing priority will be given to companies with a huge number of worker.

Additional 96 domestic cases of COVID-19 recorded

An additional 102 COVID-19 cases, including 96 domestically-transmitted infections, were reported in Vietnam over the past six hours to 12pm on June 3, raising the total number of patients to 7,972, said the Ministry of Health.

Of the new cases, 55 were detected in Bac Giang province, 14 in Bac Ninh province, 19 in Ho Chi Minh City, six in Hanoi, and two in Long An province.
 
The six imported cases have been quarantined in An Giang province and HCM City right after entering Vietnam. 

All the cases in Bac Giang are associated with the province's industrial parks and other locked down areas.

The cases in HCM City are linked to the pandemic outbreak at the Revival Ekklesia Mission.

The cases in Bac Ninh and Hanoi previously had contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients and have been quarantined.

Among active patients, 196 have tested negative to the virus once, 84 twice, and 89 thrice. The death toll remained at 49 and the number of recoveries totalled 3,085./.

A healthcare worker tests positive in HCM City

A healthcare worker is one of 18 more coronavirus cases confirmed by the Ho Chi Minh City Centre for Diseases Control (HCDC) on June 3 morning.

A house in Go Vap district has been cordoned off on June 2 evening for field investigations after a local tested positive for the virus. 
The patient works at South Saigon Hospital, said HCDC, adding that the source of infection is unknown.

The remaining 17 cases are linked to the coronavirus outbreak at the Revival Ekklesia Mission Vietnam, a Christian congregation in Go Vap district.

They have tested positive after having close contact with COVID-19 patients.

HCM City has so far recorded 265 cases tied to this religious sect since the first such case was detected on May 26.

COVID-19: Vietnam logs 96 locally transmitted cases over six hours

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 3

The Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed an additional 96 infections in five localities across Vietnam, mostly in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City.

Bac Giang alone, the country’s largest coronavirus hotspot, recorded 55 cases in quarantine and lockdown areas linked to outbreaks at industrial parks.

Elsewhere, 14 cases were detected in Bac Ninh, the country’s second largest COVID-19 hotspot, 19 cases in Ho Chi Minh City, six cases in Hanoi and two cases in Long An.

Notably, the fresh outbreak at the Revival Ekklesia Mission Vietnam, a Christian congregation in HCM City’s Go Vap district has yet to show signs of abating.

Of the 19 new cases announced at 12.00am by the MoH, 18 cases are tied to the outbreak at the religious sect. The remaining patient is a healthcare worker at South Saigon hospital.

Also in its 12.00am COVID-19 update, the MoH announced six imported cases, including a Russian citizen and a Chinese citizen.

Both foreign experts entered Vietnam from their home countries recently and were placed in quarantine upon their arrival, thus posing no risk to the community.

Around 347 million USD spent on COVID-19 prevention and control

Vietnam has to date spent more than 8 trillion VND (some 347 million USD) on implementing policies for COVID-19 prevention and control, the Ministry of Finance announced on June 2.

More than 6.1 trillion VND came from the central budget, with 5.35 trillion VND allocated to ministries to purchase medical supplies and equipment and vaccines, and 762 billion VND going to support localities.

A further 13.1 trillion VND (568.6 million USD) has been spent on supporting more than 13 million people facing difficulties due to the pandemic, primarily the poor, social policy beneficiaries, those who rendered service to the nation, and workers who lost their jobs.

According to the finance ministry, total funding for COVID-19 prevention and control from the central budget reserve to support ministries, branches, and localities has hit 823 billion VND this year.

The Government has submitted a plan to the National Assembly Standing Committee with expected funding of about 25.2 trillion VND to buy vaccines and vaccinate about 75 million people, of which the central budget will ensure about 16 trillion VND and about 9.2 trillion VND will come from local budgets, businesses and organisations./.

Brave little fellows in pandemic hotspot

Bac Giang is now the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam, with cases of new infections increasing daily. Many people with direct contact with cases have been sent to quarantine sites and isolation zones, including children. They are so young they don’t fully understand how dangerous the disease is. But they are all cooperating with family and staff at quarantine sites.

Viet Tien Kindergarten in Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province is a quarantine site for several people with direct contact with COVID-19 cases. Many of those in quarantine are children.

50 kids from Viet Yen commune are now in quarantine. On International Children’s Day on June 1, they all received small gifts from local authorities and charitable people and organisations.

Viet Tien Kindergarten lacks the laughs of children these days, even though dozens are still here every day. They are all quiet and behave themselves. This is how little kids contribute to the fight against COVID-19./.

President sends letter to Russian counterpart

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 2 sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral ties, including enhancing joint work to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his letter, President Phuc affirmed that Vietnam always treasures its traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, and wishes to effectively deepen bilateral ties.

He expressed his delight at the positive development of bilateral ties in various areas despite the impacts of the pandemic.

The leader also congratulated Russia on driving back the pandemic and successfully researching and producing many kinds of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as spoke highly of Vietnam – Russia joint work to fight the pandemic with practical activities.

Expressing thanks to Putin and Russia for providing Vietnam with 1,000 vaccine doses and medical supplies, Phuc wished that Russia would make it easier for Vietnam to access its vaccines and join in vaccine production in Vietnam.

On the occasion of Russia Day (June 12), the Vietnamese leader also extended his wishes to Putin and Russian people./.

HCM City asked to use IT in COVID-19 prevention and control

The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has ordered Ho Chi Minh City’s authorities to soon apply information technology such as automatic switchboards calling local residents to ask about symptoms of cough and fever for timely collection of samples for COVID-19 testing.

This request was made at an online meeting of the steering committee on June 2 under the chair by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the steering committee.

Director of the municipal Department of health Nguyen Tan Binh reported that HCM City recorded 227 COVID-19 cases since May 26, with most of those linked to the infection cluster at “Hoi thanh truyen giao Phuc Hung” (Revival Ekklesia Mission).

Up to 20 out of the city’s 22 districts have reported infections, except for district 11 and Can Gio district. The districts with infections have a high population density, posing a high-risk of rapid spread in the community if the city has no specific measures to stamp out the pandemic.

According to Binh, the city’s health sector averagely collected 100,000 samples for COVID-19 testing, with 50 percent of those tested every day.

It has also prepared a standby plan for quarantine and treatment, while strengthening preventive measures to ensure safety in medical facilities, Binh added.

Dang Quang Tan, Director of the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s Department of Preventive Medicine, said HCM City needs to conduct COVID-19 screen testing on a large scale, especially in high-risk areas.

Associate Prof. Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the advisory group for SARS-CoV-2 testing and diagnosis of the MoH, revealed the ministry’s plan to build draft guidelines for testing and quarantine for imported cases.

Regarding vaccine, the steering committee requested the MoH to create all favorable conditions for the import of COVID-19 vaccines, and have flexible plans to reasonably distribute vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Science and Technology was asked to urgently promote research of technology and new testing methods and equipment in order to meet the demand of screen testing./.

Vietnam confirms 57 more COVID-19 cases

Vietnam recorded 57 more cases of COVID-19 over the last 12 hours to 6:00am on June 3, including 56 domestically-transmitted and one imported, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the new cases, Bac Giang, which is the country’s current largest pandemic hotspot, accounted for the majority with 32, followed by Bac Ninh (20), Lang Son (3) and Hai Duong (1).

So far, Vietnam has recorded a total of 7,870 COVID-19 cases, including 6,350 domestic and 1,520 imported, with the number of infections reported since April 27 when the fourth coronavirus wave hit the country amounting to 4,780.

Among active patients, 196 have tested negative to the virus once, 84 twice, and 89 thrice. The death toll remained at 49 and the number of recoveries totalled 3,085.

A total of 151,295 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients and entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions have been quarantined.

More 11,733 people received COVID-19 vaccine shots on June 2, raising the number of vaccine doses given to Vietnamese to more than 1.1 million. A total of 31,177 people were fully vaccinated with two shots.

Bac Giang has asked the Ministry of Health to provide an additional 150,000 vaccine doses for frontliners and workers at industrial parks. The ministry will also supply the northern province with Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, ventilators, medical masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) as part of an emergency assistance to help it fight the pandemic.

People nationwide are advised to strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration).

Those having suspected symptoms, for examples, fever, cough and shortness of breath, are urged to call the ministry’s hotline 1900 9095 for assistance and support.

Prime Minister chairs Government’s regular meeting

The Government convened its regular meeting on June 3 under the chair of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

During the meeting, the Government will listen to reports on and discuss COVID-19 prevention and control, the socio-economic and State budget situation in May and the first five months of 2021, the socio-economic and State budget forecasts in the first half and solutions for the second half, as well as the outcomes of the implementation of the medium-term public investment plan during 2016-2020 and a plan for the next five years.

The Government will consider projects on building expressways in the 2021-2025 period with a vision to 2030, and the 15th-tenure Government’s organisational apparatus, and other important issues.

In his opening remarks, PM Chinh said that the meeting is taking place at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is developing more complicatedly with a broader scale, a faster speed and more contagious variants of coronavirus SAR-CoV-2, especially in industrial parks and religious activities.

However, with joint efforts of the entire political system and people, the pandemic is basically put under control and socio-economic activities have been maintained and recovered, he affirmed, adding that the country also successfully organised the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 term.

The PM asked participants to exchange opinions truthfully and straightforwardly so as to set forth effective solutions./.

Archaeological traces affirm existence of early humans in Tuyen Quang

Nearly 30 stone-age archaeological relics and thousands of precious artifacts have been unearthed in Tuyen Quang, helping affirm that the northern mountainous province is one of the residential areas of primitive humans.

Associate Professor, Doctor Trinh Nang Chung from the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS)'s Institute of Archaeology, the important historical findings have helped historians reconstruct the life and culture of prehistoric people in Tuyen Quang.

Archaeologists have discovered many labour tools of the ancients dating back about 20,000 years along the Co, Lo and Gam rivers, mainly in two relic sites - Thuong Temple hill in Chiem Hoa district, and Goc Heo in Ham Yen district.

Chung said there are certainly many archaeological traces of prehistoric people along the Lo and Gam rivers.

The discovery of traces of the primitive period dating back 20,000 years marks the earliest presence of humans in Tuyen Quang as well as in Vietnam, contributing to the study of the nation’s formation and development, he stressed./.

Hanoi welcomes 115,000 tourist arrivals in May

Domestic holiday-makers coming to the capital city in May numbered 115,000, a steep decrease of 55.3 percent year-on-year due to the impacts of COVID-19, according to the Hanoi Department of Tourism.

Total revenue from domestic tourism activities is estimated at 322 billion VND (14.4 million USD), a plunge of 60.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The department said most international arrivals during the month were foreign experts and workers who came to work in the capital city.

In the first five months of this year, Hanoi welcomed 2.89 million domestic visitors, down 6.7 percent over the same period in 2020, and earned 8.1 trillion VND in tourism revenue, down 50.7 percent.

The municipal Department of Tourism has issued documents directing units, businesses, organisations and individuals providing tourism services in the city to strengthen anti-pandemic measures in the new situation./.

Posters on President Ho Chi Minh’s departure to seek ways for nat’l salvation on display

A poster exhibition was opened to local people and visitors in the southern province of Binh Thuan on June 2 on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s departure to seek the path to liberate the nation (June 5, 1911-2021).

On display in the Ho Chi Minh Museum – Binh Thuan chapter, the Duc Thanh School relic site, and along Trung Nhi street are 65 large posters, which are the most outstanding works selected from a contest featuring the late leader’s departure 110 years ago.

The exhibits aim to introduce to officials, Party members and people about the life and career of President Ho Chi Minh from his childhood to the time he travelled to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and boarded the ship Admiral Latouche Treville to go abroad to find a way to save the nation.

They also highlight great historical achievements of Vietnam’s revolution under the leadership of the President and the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The exhibition, which ensures all COVID-19 prevention and control regulations, will remain open until June 30./.

Bac Giang striving to foster community-based tourism development

The northern province of Bac Giang will facilitate the development of 18 community-based tourism sites in the 2020-2025 period, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The move aims to conserve and bolster local cultural values and capitalise on the potential of tourism and local landscapes as well as improve people’s education, alleviate poverty and hunger, create jobs, and attract more tourists.

Co-operatives in the field will be established, which will specialise in homestay management, cooking, musical performances, tour guides, environmentally-hygienic and traditional crafts, and more.

The sites include three in Na O village and An Lac commune in Son Dong district, as well as in the Mau residential area in Tay Yen Tu township and Dong Cao village in Phuc Son commune.

Yen The district will receive assistance for three facilities in the villages of Ven, Xoan, and Thuong Dong in Xuan Luong commune, and Viet Yen district in one facility in Van Ha commune’s Tho Ha village.

Also receiving assistance is Khe Nghe village in Luc Son and Da Huc in Binh Son in Luc Nam district.

Nine tourism sites in Luc Ngan district will be developed alongside fruit orchards in the communes of Quy Son, Tru Huu, Thanh Hai, Tan Moc, My An, Son Hai, Tan Sơn, Cam Son, and Ho Dap.

Each community-based tourism site is expected to generate jobs for about 500 local residents, helping raise incomes via tourism activities.

Bac Giang has set a target of community-based tourism sites and orchards being capable of welcoming at least 1 million holidaymakers a year by 2025, including 10,000 foreigners. Tourism revenue is expected to hit 450 billion VND (19.57 million USD) at that time.

To foster the development of community-based tourism and meet tourists’ demand, the province will arrange training courses in communications, reception, cooking, and art performance skills, and fact-finding trips for local people engaged in such work to learn from effective and outstanding models.

Bac Giang has also called upon local agencies to bolster studies, create and connect tours, especially those to community-based tourism sites, with tourism companies in the province and other localities, and attract investment in villages that boast substantial potential.

Furthermore, local authorities have earmarked funding for the tourism sites to improve their infrastructure, build signposts, purchase life buoys, and repair communal houses and latrines, among other things.

The tourism sites will be subject to thorough planning to attract visitors and create typical tourism products.

In a bid to bolster the development of its tourism sector, Bac Giang has carried out a community-based tourism project since 2014. During the 2014 - 2020 period, it worked to set up tourism sites in Son Dong, Yen The, and Luc Ngan districts.

Seven households have taken part in the project in Na O village in An Lac commune, Son Dong district, while a communal house was also built, welcoming about 18,000 tourists annually.

Ven village in Yen The district is now home to the Than Truong co-operative, with 20 member households. A stilt-house favoured by many tourists greets around 50,000 holidaymakers each year.

Orchards in Luc Ngan district also welcome significant numbers of tourists, especially when lychees, oranges, and pomelos are in season, with an annual average of 300,000 people.

Famous for its large area of lychees, the district has set up a number of locations in the communes of Quy Son, Hong Giang, and Thanh Hai that are favourable for agritourism.

Challenges remain relating to a lack of infrastructure investment, most notably in electricity, accommodation, and latrines. Services management and operations are matters of concern for local authorities, while community-based tourism sites are yet to create many attractive tourist products./.

Information Sharing Platform on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific launched

An information sharing platform on intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of the Asia-Pacific region was launched online late May 2021, with participation of 120 audiences from 29 countries around the world including five partner organizations and speakers.

The ichLinks platform, at (https://www.ichlinks.com), is an initiative of the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP), with the participation of seven Asia-Pacific Member States partners in Asia - Pacific, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Fiji.

Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS) was appointed the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism as the Vietnamese member partner of “ichLinks”.

The ichLinks is set to be an online platform storing and sharing a large amount of data and information on intangible cultural heritage amongst member countries of the Asia-Pacific region with searching tools, advanced browsing and information management.

The platform also serves as a common ground in which various ICH stakeholders, policy-makers, researchers, institutes, NGOs, communities, and practitioners to easily find and locate information and data on intangible cultural heritage as well as to interact with each other.

 

In addition, the content of the website can be freely used by everyone to serve the purpose of promoting intangible cultural heritage globally and partnering with the tourism industry for socio-economic development.

Earlier, some experimental articles from member countries, including the “12 Lamp Initiation Ritual” of the Red Yao in Vietnam attracted a large number of viewers from all over the world.

Hanoi polluted by straw burning

The air quality in Hanoi has continued to worsen because of straw burning and hot temperatures.  

As the outdoor temperatures reach 40 degrees, Hanoi’s suburban districts enter harvest season. The main roads connecting the city centres to Hoai Duc, Thanh Oai, Quoc Oai, My Duc and Ung Hoa districts were covered in smoke as farmers burn straw. By the afternoon, even the city centre was affected by the smoke.

Nguyen Thi Luyen from My Duc District said, "We don't have any use for the straw because we don't have cattle or use straw burning stoves so we burn it. Nearly every household here burns the straw. Only a few families keep the straw for their cattle."

Luyen said they knew about environmental concerns but burning is the simplest way to deal with the straw and save money. However, the smoke is badly affecting the environment, travellers and people living nearby.

Residents in a nearby apartment building have complained about the smoke, suggesting that the farmers should spend more effort and use the straw to make compost or raise mushrooms. Others called for the local government to raise public awareness and issue administrative fines for those that cause pollution.

"My building is 1km away and the smoke still gets into my home," a resident said.

Hanoi authorities issued a directive to put an end to straw burning from 2018 to 2020. However, the plan has proved ineffective.

More funds raised for COVID-19 fight

Firms under the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) had raised 2.36 trillion VND (102.71 million USD) for the COVID-19 vaccine fund as of June 2.

Major donors included Vietnam Electricity, Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), with 400 million VND each.

Some other businesses under the CMSC previously offered assistance to the fight against the pandemic via relevant agencies and localities.

Also on June 2, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung handed over 2.5 billion VND to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee to support the fight.

Of the sum, 1 billion VND is for the vaccine fund, while the remainder for the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang – the country’s two major COVID-19 hotspots.

On the same day, the Fatherland Front Committee in the central province of Quang Ngai held a fundraising event for COVID-19 prevention and control, which received donations exceeding 31 billion VND from 50 agencies, firms and individuals.

Of note, Vietnam’s largest steelmaker Hoa Phat Group, which is operating its iron and steel production complex in the province’s Dung Quat Economic Zone, donated 20 billion VND./.

Bac Giang expats in Czech support homeland in COVID-19 fight

The Bac Giang fellow-countrymen association in the Czech Republic have donated 10 tonnes of rice to support Bac Giang province, hard hit by the fourth wave of COVID-19, to combat the pandemic.

A ceremony to hand over the token of the donations, which have been sent to the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF)’s chapters in Viet Yen, Tan Yen, Yen Dung and Hiep Hoa districts, and Bac Giang city, was held in Prague, the Czech Republic, on June 2.

According to President of the association Tran Quang Khai, a fund-raising programme was launched on May 25 among Vietnamese expats, businesses and donors in the Czech Republic, collecting a total of over 160 million VND (nearly 7,000 USD). The amount was used to buy the rice.

Khai said he hopes that the assistance will partly help Bac Giang people amid difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Chairman of the provincial VFF Committee Tran Cong Thang, in his thank-you letter, expressed his gratitude toward agencies,  businesses, organisations and individuals inside and outside the locality for their support for Bac Giang in the fight against COVID-19./.

Mekong Delta provinces help pandemic-affected workers in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang

Trade unions in 12 Mekong Delta provinces each contributed 50 million VND (2,160 USD) to a fund in support of trade union members and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces.

The donations were in response to a call from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) to help pandemic-stricken workers in the two northern provinces.

The VGCL decided to buy canned fish with the funds and sent them to Bac Ninh and Bac Giang.

The 12 Mekong Delta localities comprise Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Hau Giang, Bạc Lieu, and Soc Trang provinces.

Of 50 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Vietnam on the morning of June 2, 35 were in Bac Giang and 12 in Bac Ninh. The two localities have been hit hard by the pandemic since the fourth wave broke out in Vietnam in late April./.

Quang Ninh ensuring safety in industrial production

The northern province of Quang Ninh has adopted a range of measures to ensure safety during industrial production amid the unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and the more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

There are still localities, however, exhibiting shortcomings in controlling and preventing the virus from entering the province. In particular, some workers at industrial parks returning from disease-hit areas did not truthfully complete health declarations or undergo quarantine.

Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and head of the province’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control Nguyen Xuan Ky said reviewing all measures and policies implemented is an urgent matter to identify shortcomings and weaknesses and determine goals and strategies for the new period.

He stressed the need to maintain production and business and ensure absolute safety in industry, especially the coal sector.

The provincial leader asked the heads of management boards at industrial parks and clusters and heads of production and business establishments to take responsibility in managing health issues and providing safe conditions for workers, especially in localities such as Mong Cai, Ha Long, Quang Yen, Uong Bi, and Dong Trieu.

Industrial parks and clusters must hold comprehensive and periodical testing for workers, Ky said.

Quang Ninh has persistently implemented its pandemic prevention and control strategy based on the principles of preventing, detecting, tracing, quarantining, zoning off, stamping out the pandemic, and quickly stabilising the situation.

Ky requested that localities continue to strictly control and prevent all pathogens from entering the province and at the same time consolidate forces and promote the role of COVID-19 control checkpoints, actively carry out screening and testing to quickly detect any risks to the community, and focus on monitoring high-risk sites such as medical clinics, factories, enterprises, industrial parks, markets, supermarkets, and houses of worship.

It is also necessary to continue tightening the management of the population regarding residency, temporary residency, temporary absences, and changes in status, especially among workers at industrial parks, industrial clusters, and production and business establishments, while promoting the role of self-monitoring teams in the community and strictly following the Health Ministry’s “5K message”: Khau trang (facemasks) - Khu khuan (disinfectant) - Khoang cach (distancing) - Khong tu tap (no gatherings) - Khai bao y te (health declarations).

Quang Ninh province has not detected any cases of community transmission of COVID-19 since May 7. Preventive measures continue to be carried out at the highest level.

The province has assigned localities to complete quarantine plans, strictly control people entering through checkpoints from pandemic-hit areas, direct workers not to leave the province, periodically hold screening and testing at factories, and step up voluntary testing among local people.

It has also strengthened control over its land and sea borders.

Hit hard by a resurgence of COVID-19 in the first quarter, Quang Ninh nonetheless posted gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth of 9.02 percent, or double the national average.

This put the province in second place in terms of GRDP growth in the northern key economic region, following the neighbouring city of Hai Phong.

The main growth driver in the opening quarter was the processing and manufacturing sector, which increased 35.6 percent year-on-year compared to 20.8 percent in the same period last year.

This contributed to record industrial growth of 8.73 percent in January-March.

The province aims to maintain its GRDP growth rate at more than 10 percent this year.

It has set a goal of having modern industry and service sectors and becoming one of the region’s most comprehensive and dynamic development hubs by 2025, which is part of its growth targets for 2020-2025./.

Air passengers down in first five months due to COVID-19

There were 122,000 flights from and to Vietnamese airports in the first five months of this year, down 5.9 percent year-on-year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

The number of passengers stood at 25.5 million, down 4.9 percent. Of these, 116,000 were international passengers, down 98.3 percent, while the remainder were local travellers, up 27.7 percent.

Vietnamese carriers catered to 12.8 million passengers, up 1.8 percent year-on-year, including 66,000 international passengers, down 97.5 percent, and 12.7 million local travellers, up 28.3 percent.

Passenger numbers were 1.35 million in May, down 27.8 percent year-on-year, of whom 14,000 were international passengers, up 55.6 percent, and 1.32 million were domestic passengers, down 28.8 percent.Some 570,000 tonnes of cargo were transported during the period, up 15 percent year-on-year.

CAAV General Director Dinh Viet Thang said the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously damaged civil aviation activities around the country, with domestic airlines being the hardest hit./.

Sponsorship for Vietnamese Paralympians announced

The Vietnam Paralympics Association and relevant agencies signed two sponsorship deals in Hanoi on June 2 to support Vietnamese athletes competing at the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games.

VKFrontier and Tan Van Dai JSC have become two major sponsors of the Vietnamese Paralympic delegation.

The sponsorship will ease the difficulties facing the sportsmen and women in the face of COVID-19 and be a source of encouragement for all athletes with disabilities and those competing in Tokyo in particular.

Vietnam will send 11 athletes to this year’s Paralympics, from August 24 to September 5, including three in track and field and four each in swimming and weightlifting.

Vietnamese athletes secured one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016./.

VUFO raises donations for COVID-19 prevention, control fund

The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and its trade union called on its officials and employees to give at least one-month pay to Vietnam’s COVID-19 prevention and control fund during a launch ceremony in Hanoi on June 2.

The activity was in response to the appeal of the State President, Prime Minister and Presidium of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee.

On the occasion, VUFO also expressed wish to receive material and spiritual support from its chapters, international friends and partners in the fight against the pandemic in the country.

Speaking at the event, Chairwoman of the VUFO trade union Nguyen Thi Thu Giang said donations to the fund are being used to buy vaccines, ventilators and medical supplies in support of patients and those directly involved in the combat.

Proceeds at the event were initially estimated at over 100 million VND (4,300 USD).

The drive will last till June 6, with donations in cash and kind being presented to the VFF Central Committee./.

Bac Giang aims to develop 32 urban areas by 2030

The northern province of Bac Giang is striving to develop 32 urban areas by 2030, raising its urbanisation ratio to about 32.4 percent in 2025 and 45-59 percent in 2030, according to Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Duong Van Thai.

Thai said that to this end, the locality will focus on expanding the urban area system with modern and synchronous social and technical infrastructure.

Attention will be paid to ensuring a good living environment in green, clean, beautiful and smart urban areas, said the provincial leader.

He revealed that in the coming time, Bac Giang will focus on completing its policies and mechanisms regarding the development of urban areas and urban service, trade and economy, laying the foundation for attracting investment in the field.

The province will also improve planning work, thus ensuring a long-term vision for its development, he said.

Thai said that Bac Giang will mobilise resources for urban development and invest more in urban framework infrastructure system, while encouraging investors to invest in urban trade and services.

In the 2016-2020 period, the province implemented 47 urban and urban service development projects with total investment of over 13.59 trillion VND (589 million USD), along with 14 housing development projects with total investment of more than 8.45 trillion VND (366.2 million USD).

Bac Giang is among the first localities to make provincial development planning, which serves as the foundation for its future socio-economic development, including urban expansion.

On November 21, 2019, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee issued a resolution on the re-arrangement of administration units at communal level of Bac Giang./.

Vietnam not discriminate against religions in COVID-19 fight: official

Regarding the probe recently launched into “Hoi thanh truyen giao Phuc Hung” (Revival Ekklesia Mission) for “spreading dangerous infectious diseases in humans”, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vu Chien Thang said every citizen is equal before the law, and anyone who commits violation of the law will be dealt with.

As of June 1 evening, 219 cases of COVID-19 linked with the Revival Ekklesia Mission in Ho Chi Minh City had been recorded, according to the city’s centre for disease control.

Authorities have traced more than 2,500 people directly meeting the infected cases (F1) and about 61,000 others with close contact with these F1s in 20 of the 22 districts in HCM City, along with 11 other localities nationwide.

As this congregation is also connected with two divisions and six congregations of three other major Protestant organisations in HCM City and some other provinces, the number of infection cases is forecast to keep increasing in the time ahead.

Given the scale of the transmission, the HCM City police decided to launch an investigation into the charge of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases in humans”.

The launch of the probe is necessary and completely legal since several persons in the case were found to have not complied with disease prevention and control measures regulated by the State such as keeping physical distancing, making health declarations, or taking tests.

Commenting on this issue, Deputy Minister Thang affirmed that every citizen, be they cadres, Party members, religious dignitaries or secular persons, is equal before the law and anyone who commits violations of law will be dealt with.

He noted that recently, Vietnam has punished and dismissed many officials for violating anti-pandemic rules, showing the strictness of and all persons’ equality before the law.

All locations where COVID-19 infections are found, be they State agencies’ headquarters, civilian housing, and places of religious organisations, must be sealed off in accordance with regulations for the sake of public health.

Thang said the investigation into the infection cluster at the Revival Ekklesia Mission targets the act of violating the law on public health, but not the religious organisation itself.

He stressed that there is no such thing as the administration discriminates against or creates difficulties for religious activities.

The first and foremost goal is to protect the health of people and the community, including religious followers, he added.

According to the deputy minister, in May alone, four religious meetings with large numbers of participants were organised at the house of the leader of the Revival Ekklesia Mission in HCM City, within an area of just 50 square metres, which did not comply with anti-pandemic measures. As a result, 40 of the 55 followers participating in the meetings at this location have been infected with COVID-19, according to the official.

At a working session between Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and the HCM City People’s Committee on June 1, Deputy Minister Thang proposed local authorities suspend activities of the Revival Ekklesia Mission to serve the investigation and the containment of pandemic transmission.

He also asked authorities, especially those at the grassroots level, to intensify inspection of local places of worship and meet with religious dignitaries to strengthen the adherence to anti-pandemic measures./.

Kon Tum lays martyrs’ remains to rest

Authorities in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum held a ceremony at the martyrs’ cemetery in Ngoc Hoi district on June 2 to rebury the remains of nine Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts, who laid down their lives in Laos during wartime.

The sets of remains were found in Attapeu, Champasak, and Sekong provinces during a search campaign in the 2020-2021 dry season.

Of the sets, two have been identified.

At the memorial service, Vice Chairwoman of the Kon Tum People’s Committee Y Ngoc expressed her respect and gratitude to the fallen soldiers and experts, who devoted their youth for the cause of national liberation and international solidarity.

Their sacrifice contributed to freeing Lao people from invaders and boosted Vietnam – Laos traditional friendship and solidarity, she added./.

Kien Giang steps up activities to protect children’s rights amidst COVID-19

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has planned a host of practical activities to be launched during June – the month of actions for children under the theme of children’s right protection amid pandemic and disasters.

Accordingly, the province focuses on communications activities to raise awareness among parents, teachers, and people taking care of children on the theme.

The Kien Giang People’s Committee will hold events involving children's engagement like conferences where they can express their opinions and aspirations; children-run clubs at localities; and events that offer health and nutrition services for the group, particularly those at kindergartens and primary schools.

The provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, meanwhile, has been assigned to held a provincial-level ceremony to launch the month if the COVID-19 situation is kept under control and raise funds to support disadvantaged children. It will also organise free check-up and medical consultations for children in remote, ethnic-populated, and disadvantaged areas.

The provincial Department of Education and Training will issue guidance for the implementation of pandemic control measures at school and the training of survival skills against violations, accidents, and drowning for children./.

HCM City aims to disburse at least 95 per cent for public investment

HCM City targets achieving a 95 per cent or higher rate for disbursement of public spending this year.

It has budgeted for expenditure of more than VNĐ35.7 trillion (US$1.54 billion) on nearly 3,500 projects, and achieved 13.1 per cent of it as of the end of April.

Various traffic infrastructure works have begun but been delayed due to the low funds disbursement, according to the Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment.

To speed up public spending, the city plans to take drastic measures in the form of amending procedures to manage and disburse funds.

It will also address other problems, especially land acquisition, one of the biggest, that delay disbursement.

The People's Committee also assigned the State Treasury to release funds within four working days for all projects, closely co-ordinating with agencies overseeing the works to handle problems.

Lê Thị Huỳnh Mai, director of the city Department of Planning and Investment, said besides focusing on paying compensation and helping resettle people who have to relocate, the city would also step up oversight to ensure efficient use of resources. 

HCMC plans to release 2nd assistance package for Covid-19 impacted businesses

The service sector has been badly damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The municipal authorities are focusing on releasing the second support package to provide additional relief for people and businesses with financial difficulties, said Chairman of the People’s Committee of HCMC Nguyen Thanh Phong at the conference, held by the city’s Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control on June 1.

Besides, the city must implement the duo goals of containing the Covid-19 pandemic while maintaining economic growth, he added.

Chairman Phong stressed that the city’s most concerning issue is export processing zones, industrial parks and high-tech zones with the large number of workers that face a high risk of becoming Covid hotspots.

Another key task is the implementation of mass testings for coronavirus aims in industrial parks, towards conducting city-wide mass testing.

He ordered authorities of Thu Duc City and districts, the management boards of processing zones, industrial parks and high tech parks to ask companies, including enterprises outside industrial parks have to sign a commitment on complying with Covid-19 prevention and control rules; impose fines, suspend operation and withdraw business licenses for violations of Covid-19 prevention regulations.

Notably, the city has proposed the Government and the Ministry of Health to issue vaccine mechanisms such as acquired immunity, quality, providers, and payment methods soon to actively negotiate with other sources to buy more vaccines. With a population of over 7 million people aged 18 years or older, the allocation of Covid-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility in the 2021-2022 for HCMC approved by the Ministry of Health haven't been distributed widely enough.

From April 27 to the present, HCMC has found four sources of transmission. Three sources are under control and the remaining one of the religious mission in Go Vap District is the most anxious place. The city’s authorities have asked competent departments to strengthen contact tracing to quickly identify persons who may have come into contact with members of the religious mission.

Lam Dong revokes beauty spa’s business license for violating Covid-19 rules

The People’s Committee of Bao Loc City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on June 3 revoked business license and ordered a temporary suspension of operation of the Minh Chau Asian beauty spa located in the Ward 1 in the city for organizing the opening ceremony and gatherings amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The People’s Committee of Ward 1 on June 1 previously asked the beauty spa not to host the mass gathering event until further notice to comply with regulations on prohibition of group gatherings. The beauty spa’s owner signed a commitment document on not hosting the opening ceremony.

However, the beauty spa organized an inauguration party in the evening of the same day with the participation of more than 30 people coming from various provinces and cities of HCMC, Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Bac Giang, Binh Duong, Lao Cai, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Dong Nai and Nghe An.

The Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of Bao Loc City forced all participants to measure body temperature, submit health declaration and take a Covid-19 test.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 2

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