VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 9

Vietnam to need 80,000 tonnes of biodegradable plastics annually by 2025

The demand for biodegradable plastics in Vietnam is projected to reach 80,000 tonnes annually by 2025, according to Associate Prof. Dr. Le Hung Anh, Director of the Institute of Environmental Science, Engineering and Management.

At a recent workshop on biodegradable plastic production and consumption held by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Ho Chi Minh City, Anh said the growth orientation of Vietnam’s plastics sector now focuses on effectiveness and sustainability.

Companies like An Phat Bioplastics, Biostarch, and the Phu My Plastic Production JSC have successfully developed technologies for making biodegradable plastic bags, gloves, knives, forks, and straws, among others, for consumption domestically and internationally.

Shopping chains such as Co.opmart, Vinmart, Big C, Mega Market, and Lotte have cut their use of single-use plastic bags and replaced them with other environmentally-friendly packaging.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Cong Thanh said Vietnam has issued a set of 17 criteria to assess biodegradable products and services, with qualified products receiving an eco-label and their producers obtaining a tariff elimination incentive.

Also at the workshop, which gathered together more than 100 experts and businesses in the field, a representative from the An Phu Company Limited said that in addition to growing plants in its residential areas and luxury apartment complexes, it has also begun using cloth bags or cartons to pack items for customers at its supermarkets.

The average monthly volume of plastic bags at these supermarkets has fallen from 40 kg in 2018-2019 to just 2.5 kg in recent times.

Phan Thi Thuy Phuong, Director of the Phuong Lan Environmental Friendly Packing Import Export Trading Production Company Limited, suggested that further communications efforts are needed to raise people’s awareness about protecting the environment via using green products.

Authorities should build and ensure the implementation of roadmaps for plastic use reductions at local organisations and residential areas, while offering incentives for firms that produce and consume environmentally-friendly goods, she recommended./.

Early voting to be held in some polling stations of Truong Sa district

The National Election Committee has allowed the holding of early voting in 20 electoral units in the Truong Sa island district on May 16.

The information was revealed during a working session between a delegation of the National Assembly Standing Committee and the National Election Committee led by NA Vice Chairman Do Ba Ty with leaders and the election committee of the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on May 7.

The electoral units where early voting will be held are on islands of Truong Sa township and the communes of Sinh Ton and Song Tu Tay. Meanwhile, voting in remaining electoral units of Truong Sa district will be held on the official date of May 23.

Khanh Hoa province has 13 candidates for the upcoming NA election, including three nominated by central agencies, who will compete for seven seats in of the 15th NA./.

Yên Bái pulls out all the stops to fight COVID-19

Captain Nguyễn Văn Thắng, of Trấn Yên District’s Traffic Police Team stopped his daily work as a traffic police officer to go to the quarantine station at the intersection IC12 connecting Yên Bái Province with Nội Bài - Lào Cai Expressway on Sunday.

Thắng was assigned to be the head of the quarantine station. His duty is to tell drivers to make health and travel declarations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

He said he and his colleagues always strictly followed regulations requiring drivers to make health declaration and provide information including their departure, destination, license plate and phone number.

For long-distance coaches, assistant drivers were told to work with the quarantine station’s staff to provide the name, address, phone number and departure as well as the destination of every passenger, he said.

All people going through the quarantine station had to have their temperature checked and make a health declaration, he added.

Thắng and his colleagues at the station are among many police in the province working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Not only traffic police but also other forces at the quarantine station are busy day and night to ensure public safety.

Nguyễn Thị Yến, a medical worker of Minh Quân Commune, Trấn Yên District, said although she was worried she was optimistic because Việt Nam had already shown it can beat back the pandemic.

She also said she always tried her best to fulfil her tasks at the quarantine station.

Nine local quarantine stations have been set up since May 2 following the request of the provincial Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The quarantine stations are located at the gateways of the province, intersections connecting Nội Bài - Lào Cai Expressway, national highways to the province as well as on provincial roads. The quarantine stations have been operated 24 hours daily.

Inter-disciplinary forces working at the quarantine stations include the police, medical staff, soldiers and traffic inspectors.

This is the third time the province has activated the quarantine stations, so people are used to getting out of their vehicles and making a full health declaration.

Lê Văn Đức, of Yên Ninh Ward, Yên Bái City, said he travelled from Hạ Hòa Town in Phú Thọ Province to Yên Bái.

Đức said he thought the health declaration was very necessary.

He said he always followed the 5K message: Khẩu trang (face mask) – Khử khuẩn (disinfection) – Khoảng cách (distance) – Không tụ tập (no gathering) – Khai báo y tế (health declaration) as recommended by the Ministry of Health to prevent the pandemic, he added.

Vũ Hồng Linh, a driver of Thanh Lan Coach Firm, said he always got necessary information from passengers in accordance with regulations and told them to strictly follow regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control.

“I think it is very necessary to obey the regulations, it aims to ensure safety not only for myself but also passengers and the community,” he said.

Lê Thị Hồng Vân, Director of the provincial Health Department, said on Thursday morning after receiving the urgent notification from the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases about a suspected new case of COVID-19, the province quickly investigated and discovered close contacts in Gia Hội Commune, Văn Chấn District.

Nineteen people were identified to have had contact with the suspected new patient, she said.

Fortunately, all of the samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2, she said.

The provincial Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control had asked local people to not go to Gia Hội Commune if not necessary. The people were told to work with the authorities to control the pandemic, she said.

The health department also ordered all private medical facilities to suspend operation since midnight on Thursday to strengthen the implementation of measures to prevent and control the pandemic in the locality.

According to the department’s quick report related to a Chinese expert that was found positive for SARS-CoV-2 after re-entering China from Việt Nam on April 30, by 7pm on May 5, the province took samples for tests and quarantined 11 direct contacts (F1) and 270 contacts of F1 cases.

All the samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 in the first tests, the department said.

The province has recorded five cases of COVID-19 so far in the new outbreak, including four Indian experts, who were quarantined immediately after entry, and one person, who was an employee of Như Nguyệt 2 Hotel.

Currently, the five patients are being treated at National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and their health is stable.

MoH underlines the importance of protecting COVID-hit hospitals

The Minister of Health said it was vital to protect the two central hospitals – the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Cancer Hospital – which were locked down following the detection of local COVID-19 cases.

Speaking at a conference with the two hospitals on Friday, director of the Cancer Hospital Lê Văn Quảng said the hospital has recorded 11 cases of SARS-CoV-2. Quảng asked the Government for permission to transfer the COVID-19 patients to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for treatment. 

Regarding anti-pandemic measures, he said the hospital decided to temporarily lockdown all three branches from 5.30am on Thursday.

The hospital has inspected and conducted tests as well as prepared plans and isolated areas for critically-ill patients.

Director of the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases Phạm Ngọc Thạch said after detecting the first infection, the hospital has conducted testing for all staff and found more than 42 cases.

The Ministry of Health locked down the entire hospital from 8:00am on Wednesday and made a list of 685 people who were at the site from April 20 to May 5 for tests.

Currently, as many as 1,435 samples from medical staff, patients and family members have been tested at two facilities in Đông Anh and Giải Phóng. 

The hospital has also zoned the campus into different areas for COVID-19 treatment. Patients’ relatives have been moved to a private area.

On Saturday, the hospital conducted the second COVID-19 test on patients, family members and medical staff. The results will be announced on Saturday night. 

Thạch said that after inspections were conducted, doctors concluded the source of infection was from the community. 

At the meeting, he asked the ministry to approve the transfer of non-COVID-19 patients to surrounding hospitals for safety. Patients who had tested negative for the virus twice would be sent to Bạch Mai Hospital’s second facility in Hà Nam Province for further monitoring and treatment. 

Thạch said the hospital has recorded the circulation of virus strains detected in the UK and India, including B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.

Meanwhile, the hospital is at high risk of infection as patients come from all over for treatment and some COVID-19 cases showed no symptoms.

The hospital leader asked the Deputy Prime Minister and leaders of the Ministry of Health to consider only treating COVID-19 patients and halting other treatments.

At the meeting, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases was the stronghold of the northern region in terms of COVID-19 prevention and control. It was the main facility treating COVID-19 patients and supporting other health facilities nationwide.

He agreed to transfer COVID-19 patients who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 twice to Bạch Mai Hospital’s second facility in Hà Nam Province for further monitoring and treatment.

He also agreed that the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases would only give treatment to COVID-19 patients. 

Long suggested the leaders of the two hospitals organise a shift pattern to reduce pressure on medical staff.

He stressed the importance of protecting the two hospitals from the pandemic, saying testing must be done as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Health would continue to work with the Ministry of Finance to develop a special mechanism to support hospitals to ensure pandemic prevention and control, he said.

Households in Hai Duong get support to restore livelihoods after COVID-19 devastation

The New Zealand Embassy in Việt Nam and the East Meets West Foundation (EMWF) on Friday announced the launch of a project to help vulnerable women in the northern province of Hải Dương overcome the impacts of COVID-19.

The New Zealand Embassy is providing VNĐ800 million (NZ$50,000) to support 270 households in five communes in the province’s Kinh Môn District – a region hit hard by the pandemic earlier this year.

“This is the third COVID-19 relief project the New Zealand Embassy has supported and demonstrates the strong partnership between New Zealand and Việt Nam,” said New Zealand Ambassador Tredene Dobson.

“This practical initiative will help ease the economic impacts of COVID-19 on women and their families. Certain groups have become more economically vulnerable during the pandemic, and we believe that this project will help families in Hải Dương to get back on their feet,” he said.

The province experienced a serious COVID-19 outbreak ahead of Tết (Lunar New Year), which had a significant impact on its socio-economic development. Farming families were especially impacted, due to a decline in food demand and major disruptions to exports from the region.   

According to a UN analysis on the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Việt Nam, vulnerable populations continue to be strongly influenced by the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

As many as 87 per cent of the women reported a decline in incomes resulting from the crisis, with growing concerns of rising unemployment and declining demand for products even after the crisis. Approximately 43 per cent of the women are primary earners in their household, with an average income of $7 per day, according to UN Women. Therefore, one of the top priorities is to support workers in the informal sector through economic recovery and response programmes.

To empower vulnerable poor women to overcome difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, EMWF, in collaboration with the province’s Women's Union, will support 270 poor and vulnerable women's households, particularly those with people with disabilities.

Through the project, vulnerable female-headed households will receive support to restore their livelihoods to improve incomes, especially when the situation is unstable.

Agricultural economists will help complete a needs assessment to understand the demand for agricultural products or services, providing livelihood products such as seeds, breeds, fertiliser, or production tools suitable to each family.

Beneficiary households will also receive financial hardship relief to support their purchase of necessities such as food, medicine, children's books, and tuition fees or/and healthcare services.

"Restoring livelihoods and empowering women is one of our main goals in our COVID-19 pandemic recovery projects, also reduces the socio-economic impact of the epidemic on vulnerable groups. We believe that this project, with cooperation with the province’s Women's Union, vulnerable poor women families will have the opportunity to access resources for sustainable economic development and overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic," said Nguyễn Hồng Hạnh, Country Director of East Meets West Foundation. 

Employee impersonates minister of transport for shipping alcohol by flight

An employee at the Ministry of Transport has been suspended for impersonating the transport minister to benefit from priority service when sending gifts by air.

The case was brought to the public after a video clip that showed several boxes of signed luggage with a piece of paper with Minister of Transport as the sender was sent out first on the conveyor belt at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City.

According to the office of the Ministry of Transport, they had verified the case after receiving the news and concluded that the boxes were not related to the minister. The investigation result shows that the clip was recorded on April 26 and the boxes were from flight VN7211 from Hanoi. The sender was Pham Khac Dung, an employee at the Ministry of Transport's office.

Dung asked his connections at Noi Bai Airport to help send the boxes to Manh, a friend in HCM City. Dung said he pasted the label to avoid damage and get priority treatment during transportation.

Dung has been suspended for investigation. The office of the Ministry of Transport said they would continue the investigation and apply suitable punishments.

Campaign launched to compose songs on Vietnam’s beauty

The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) on May 6 officially launched a campaign to compose songs themed “Let’s sing Vietnam” for all professional and amateur musicians around the country, Overseas Vietnamese and foreigners who want to share their love for Vietnam.

The campaign aims to celebrate the success of the 13th National Party Congress as well as promote the beauty of the country and the image of a united, hospitable and steadfast people in the face of all challenges and difficulties.

In particular, the campaign’s organising board wishes to seek songs with a high artistic value, especially those praising the country’s renewal achievements under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The lyrics can be in Vietnamese and English or indeed bilingual. Each composer can send up to two songs that have not received any awards from previous contests.

The winning works will be recorded, staged and then played on radio, television and the digital platforms of the VOV.

The deadline for the entries is June 30. The awards ceremony is expected to take place on the occasion of the August Revolution and National Day (September 2).

Danang again issues market coupons to locals to prevent coronavirus outbreak

The People's Committee of Danang City started to apply the “market coupon” policy throughout the city from May 8, 2021 to limit gatherings amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Accordingly, the Department of Industry and Trade was assigned to activate the policy, instructing competent authorities how to issue coupons, reducing the frequency of going to market for the locals.

Each household will be presented five coupons to go to market every three days within 15 days. The market entry coupon is valid for every visit to any market in Danang City.

In addition, Danang has strengthened its enforcement force at market entrance, providing antiseptic hand sanitizer and asking shoppers to keep their distance and wear a mask during shopping. Those who do not follow such regulations will not be allowed to enter markets.

Previously, on August 12, 2020, Danang City for the first time applied the “market coupon” policy citywide to prevent Covid-19 outbreak in markets. This also created favorable conditions for epidemiological investigation of people.

In another development, the city’s Lien Chieu District has shut down Hoa Khanh Nam Market due to a suspected Covid-19 case from May 8 until further notice. Meanwhile, Thanh Khe District also temporarily stopped the operation of Thanh Khe Market.

These markets have been disinfected while traders are tested for SARS-CoV-2.

Thanh Hoa puts over 1,800 students and teachers under home quarantine

Over 1,730 students and 100 teachers and employees at Nguyen Van Troi Primary School in Thanh Hoa Province have been placed under quarantine at home after a Covid-19 case was detected.

Le Thanh Dong, deputy head of Thanh Hoa City’s Education and Training Division, on May 7 ordered the primary school to suspend classes after a man who was found infected with Covid-19 visited the school to pick up his children.

The man tested positive for Covid-19 on May 6 after having close contact with a Chinese expert.

Principal of Nguyen Van Troi Primary School Pham Thi Nhu said that her children, including a third grader and a fifth one, came into close contact with their teachers and classmates. The two students have been staying home since April 30.

Thanh Hoa City’s Education and Training Division asked the school to offer online classes during the isolation period, the local media reported.

Besides, the provincial Department of Education and Training proposed the Thanh Hoa government allow ending the academic year prior to May 15, 10 days sooner than the schedule, due to the complicated development of Covid-19.

In another development, 41 students and 15 teachers at Vuon Tuoi Tho Kindergarten and 100 people who live in the Tecco Linh Dong Building in HCMC's Thu Duc City, had their samples taken for Covid-19 testing today.

Director of the Thu Duc Center for Preventive Medicine Nguyen Van Chuc said that a child who resides in the apartment building and studies at the kindergarten traveled to HCMC from Danang City on the same flight as a Covid-19 case.

 

Local airlines raise management fees

Some local air carriers such as Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Vasco and Bamboo Airways will increase their management fees by up to VND100,000 per passenger.

Carriers of Vietnam Airlines Group, including Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines and Vasco, will raise their management fees by VND100,000 to VND350,000-450,000 per passenger for all domestic flights from May 9.

Bamboo Airways will raise management fees by VND90,000 to VND460,000 for groups of passengers and to VND410,000 for individual passengers from May 10.

The airline will not raise the fees for some special groups of passengers and combos valid before May 10, including Combo Chill, business card and trip card.

The latest fee adjustments of local airlines were made in the second quarter of 2020. Low-cost carrier Vietjet raised its management fee to VND310,000 per ticket. Bamboo Airways raised its fee from VND210,000 to VND320,000 per ticket, while that of Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines increased to VND350,000 from VND250,000 per ticket.

At present, the domestic airfares comprise ticket, value added tax, screening fee, passenger service fee, management fee and fuel surcharge.

Value added tax is fixed and will be sent to the State budget. Screening fee and passenger service fee will be submitted to the management units of airport facilities, while management fees vary from one airline to the other.

HBSO cancels all concerts once again

The HCMC Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) has again announced that all concerts are canceled for the immediate future.

This is the third time HBSO has been forced to cancel all events on account of the Covid-19 situation.

It follows a tightening up of regulations regarding assemblies of people in bars, theaters and so on in the city and elsewhere.

The closure begins with the eagerly anticipated concert previously scheduled for Saturday May 8 of German Romantic music. This was to have featured renowned young clarinetist Hoang Ngoc Anh Quan and the music director of Hanoi’s Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Honna Tetsuji.

Any patrons who have already bought tickets can apply for refunds at the box office of the Saigon Opera House.

Vietnamese refrain from travel as Covid-19 returns

Airlines are rushing to cope with the soaring demands for refunds, postponements and cancelations of flight tickets as the reemergence of Covid-19 is scaring off travelers.

Hoang Mai from Thu Duc City, HCMC told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that she had just been refunded the money for her Vietnam Airlines flight tickets on the HCMC – Hanoi route on May 5 because more Covid-19 positive cases have been confirmed in Hanoi.

“I bought the tickets so that I could attend my relative’s wedding back home but because of the current outbreak, the wedding has been postponed. I asked for a refund and switched to a voucher for booking tickets within a year. The cash refund will be available in the next three months,” Mai said.

Many others have also cancelled plans to go home, on business trips or on vacations with family and loved ones to locations such as Danang, Nha Trang and Hanoi.

Customers have also contacted tour operators to delay their departures in May. Various tour operators said that no one has been contacting them for information on new tours.

On May 6, Vietravel Airlines implemented solutions to support passengers amid the Covid-19 reemergence.

Those affected are mainly independent travelers who bought tickets for flights to affected or isolated areas scheduled from May 5 to 20, passengers awaiting their test results, those who tested positive for Covid-19, passengers under treatment for Covid-19 and those affected by lockdowns or traveling restrictions implemented by authorized local authorities. These passengers have been offered one free change of flight date/itinerary.

A refund is offered free of charge to passengers with tickets that meet the refund conditions. The money will then be refunded to the accounts of agencies or passengers within 30 days. As for passengers who need to change flight dates/itineraries, this change must be made at least four hours prior to the new leg’s departure.

In the case of group inclusive tours, cancellations/changes must be notified 72 hours prior to the first leg’s departure. Particularly for flights from Hanoi, Danang or areas declared to be affected by Covid-19, passengers will receive free refunds according to current regulations and the money will then be refunded to the accounts of agencies or tour operators within 30 days.

Similarly, Bamboo Airways will also be applying refund regulations to all cases that qualify for refunds or reservations. Prior to that, Vietnam Airlines’ Southern branch also announced its policies to assist domestic passengers affected by Covid-19.

Schools in HCMC allowed to collect fees for online teaching

Schools in Ho Chi Minh City are allowed to collect tuition fees if they offer online teaching – learning.

In its guidance of tuition fees and others for the 2020-2021 school year following the suspension of teaching - learning activities to heads of the bureaus of education and training in Thu Duc City and districts, principals of public and non-public high schools citywide, the city Department of Education and Training noted that during suspension of in-person classes with the onset of Covid-19, schools only collect tuition fees when they offer online teaching and learning.

Accordingly, collection of tuition and other fees must comply with real months of virtual classes but must not exceed the prescribed time frame or 9 months according to the plan for the 2020-2021 school year for preschool, general education and continuing education issued by the city People’s Committee.

Collections must be based on agreements between schools and parents. In addition, in order to strengthen measures to prevent and control the Covid-19 epidemic and to well implement the cashless policy of the People's Committee, schools were required to seriously implement the non-cash collection of tuition fees and other charges.

Parents and students should be facilitated in paying fees online.

Also on the afternoon of May 7, the Department of Education and Training issued an official notice on the cancellation of the general vocational exam in May 2021. The official exam will be announced later.

Accordingly, educational institutions need to adjust their teaching plans, review for general vocational exams, prepare for teaching plan on the internet to achieve good results in the general vocational exam.

Buyers of contraband tobacco receive fine of US$130

According to the government’s decree 98/2020 , buyers and users of contraband tobacco even one pack can be fined up to VND3 million (US$130).

The decree taking effect on October 15, 2020 stipulates that people who trade, transport, store and deliver smuggled cigarettes with quantities of less than 50 packs, will be fine up to VND3 million.

Accordingly, the decree does not only apply to those who sell and transport smuggled tobacco but consumers who buy even one tobacco packet will also be fined up to VND3 million.

The tougher sanction is expected to handle the rampant sale of smuggled tobacco, and deter consumers from buying illegally- transported tobacco. Consumers need to be aware of this decree so that they will not become violators as well as help consume smuggled cigarettes.

‘Student Chie-Tech 2021’ formally kicked off

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union cooperates with the Vietnamese Students Development and Support Center, Canon Vietnam Co. Ltd. to hold the online contest ‘Student Chie-Tech 2021’.

The contest welcomes students from universities, colleges, and academies in the Northern region of Vietnam. Taking part in this event, participants have a chance to work with senior engineers and experts in the field of industrial engineering to improve their practical skills for future career.

The organization board begins to accept contestants’ papers from May 7. The final round is planned to take place on December 10.

The winner will receive a cash prize of VND30 million (approx. US$1,300), followed by two second prizes, each of which gets VND20 million ($874), and three third prizes with VND10 million ($437) each.

The most outstanding contestants will also have a chance of internship in Canon Vietnam Co. Ltd.

Detailed information can be found at facebook.com/canonchietechcontest

Vietnam’s sixth scientific journal included in SCOPUS

The Vietnam Journal of Computer Science (VJCS) has been included in the SCOPUS database system, one of the largest, most reputable abstract and citation databases for academic literature.

This is Vietnam’s sixth scientific journal to be indexed in the SCOPUS bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations of scientific journals. To be accepted in SCOPUS, journals are strictly selected in terms of quality, reputation and prestigious editors’ recognition.

VJCS is a scientific journal published by Nguyen Tat Thanh University in cooperation with Springer Publishing House since 2013 and World Scientific Publishing House since 2019.

It is an archival journal serving the academic research community by publishing high-quality scientific articles that deliver methods, techniques, tools, implementations, and applications of research.

In particular, the journal’s articles highlight the application of computer science methods and technologies for solving tasks in management, industry, engineering, administration, and education, and evaluations of existing intelligent systems and tools, emphasizing comparative studies and user’s experiences.

Being built in November 2004 and owned by Elsevier Publishing House (Netherlands), SCOPUS is a bibliographic database that contains 57 million abstracts and approximately 22,000 categories of over 5,000 publishers.

Many world ranking organizations such as SCIMAGO (http://scimagojr.com) and QS World University Rankings (http://www.topuniversities.com) uses the database from SCOPUS in university reviews and rankings.

Vietnam reactivates task forces as Covid-19 sweeps dozens of cities 

Members of the response teams are health professionals from leading hospitals.

Vietnam has reactivated Rapid Response Team (RRT) against Covid-19 as the pandemic is sweeping 19 cities and provinces after 10 days.

The 45 teams, which was set up in January 2020, is aimed to quickly respond to acute respiratory infections.

The RRT’s missions included providing quick response and technical support for hospitals on the treatment of patients and control of infection at health facilities.

At the local level, each Department of Health established two RRTs. Each RRT comprised a hospital leader, emergency resuscitation specialized doctor, infectious disease specialist, infectious disease control officer, emergency resuscitation or an infectious disease specialized nurse and a driver.

In the wake of the outbreak, the Ministry of Health also provided some emergency numbers 19009095 and 19003228 to address inquiries and concerns, in addition to the local hotlines for counseling.

Vietnam could be one of the role models in Covid-19 control for low-resource settings largely thanks to its quick response to the pandemic.

In another move, some cities and provinces have also reactivated the Community Covid-19 Prevention Teams to support other forces in the fight against the pandemic.

Each group usually has 2-5 people who are civilian volunteers, villagers, heads of residential areas, members of unions, among others. Depending on actual conditions, each group is in charge of some 40 to 60 households.

They will report to authorized officials developments relating to Covid-19 like travel history to affected areas and people of symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness in breath. They also disseminate the 5K-measure protocol like masking – disinfection – distance – no gathering – and medical declaration.

Prof. Tran Nhu Duong, deputy director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), stressed the importance of the teams for their updated and close supervision on the pandemic movement in the locality, saying that the Covid-19 fight needs the contribution of the people, of each individual and household.

As Covid-19 has attacked nine hospitals across Vietnam, top leaders have demanded tough measures to protect health workers.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam who is head of the National Standing Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control on May 7 asked hospitals nationwide to take tough measures to prevent the transmission of coronavirus while the affected clinics need to be isolated to stop the spread of pandemic.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long urged hospitals to screen all high-risk groups coming to the hospitals and regularly testing medical staff, patients and their relatives.

Meanwhile, hospitals are advised to limit the visit by patient relatives. 

Group exhibition of Vietnamese and expats photographers  

The group photo exhibition by Vietnamese photographers and expats in Hanoi to showcase the rooted relationship of people with nature and their surroundings.

Within the framework of the biggest French – Vietnamese photography project in Hanoi, a photo exhibition titled ‘Format’ will be held from May 8 to June 2 at Vincom Center for Contemporary Art, Hanoi. 

The group photo exhibition draws the participation of dozen Vietnamese and international photographers, including Nguyen Phuong, Joseph Gobin, Duy Phuong, Yen Duong, Tram Le Quynh Anh, Prune Phi, Duy Tuan, Alexandre Dupeyron, and Mai Nguyen Anh.

The exhibition opens from 10am till 9pm daily with free admission.

“At a time of pandemic and technology explosion, we are drifting further apart from each other, both mentally and physically,” the organizers stated.

The artists in the show have chosen to react to this "torrent", and in their own way have turned the process of photography into a methodology for finding connection and community.

Some experiment with alternative photographic processes to accentuate their relationship with nature and surroundings. Others make use of photography’s expanded palette to seek their bond within families and nationalities. While some others, through careful observation and self-examination, are subtly highlighting social paradoxes.

Ring road No.4 to drive growth for Hanoi metropolitan area 

Once completed, the ring road No.4 would help connect 14 districts from three northern cities/provinces of Hanoi, Hung Yen and Bac Ninh with a total length of 98 kilometers.

The ring road No.4 project once competed would serve as the growth driving force for both Hanoi and the capital metropolitan area.

Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung made the statement in a conference on May 6, discussing the plan to build the ring road No.4 that connects 14 districts from three northern cities/provinces of Hanoi, Hung Yen and Bac Ninh with a total length of 98 kilometers.

Covering an area of more than 24,000 square kilometers and an estimated population of 22 million, Hanoi metropolitan area, with Hanoi as the core city, includes provinces of Vinh Phuc, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Phu Tho and Thai Nguyen.

“During the course of economic development, strengthening inter-provincial linkage to boost growth for a large region is an irreversible trend,” Dung stated, adding the target of upgrading inter-provincial infrastructure for the Red river delta and Hanoi metropolitan area has been included in the resolution of the 13th National Party Congress for economic development in the 2021-25 period.

In this context, the construction of the the bypass would not only address traffic congestion, but also open up room for further economic linkage and trade cooperation among Hanoi and other cities/provinces of Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc or Bac Giang.

“Hanoi and its neighboring cities as a result could further boost socio-economic development in both urban and rural areas by attracting more investment capital,” said Dung.

At the conference, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Duong Duc Tuan informed two options for the construction of the project, with the first without overpass costing VND105 trillion (US$4.56 billion) and the second including two bridges crossing the Red river with VND135 trillion (US$5.86 billion).

“Give such high estimated costs, public financing would be unfeasible,” said Tuan, adding the authorities would take into consideration of mixed investment mechanism of public investment, public-private partnership (PPP), and build-operate-transfer (BOT) for the project.

Regarding this issue, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The supported the proposal of giving Hanoi the role as the focal point in conducting the project’s feasibility study.

Ten medical facilities placed under lockdown, medical quarantine due to new COVID-19 wave

As many as 10 medical facilities in the capital city of Ha Noi and other localities have been temporarily placed under lockdown or social distancing amid the fourth wave of COVID-19. 

The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Dong Anh District, a frontline hospital for COVID-19 treatment, has been locked down since May 5 after recording the first 14 COVID-19 cases.

Now, more than 70 cases who are mainly patients treated at the hospital and their family members have been confirmed so far.

The Military Hospital 105 in Son Tay District has been officially locked down since May 6 after a doctor tested positive for coronavirus.

The 43-year-old doctor had participated in a training course at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ha Noi’s Dong Anh District.

The National Cancer Hospital in Ha Noi, commonly known as K Hospital, has been put under lockdown since May 7 as 11 COVID-19 cases, including seven patients and their four relatives, were reported.

The Ha Noi-based Medlatec General Hospital has stopped receiving patients because two persons came there for COVID-19 tests and were confirmed positive.

The Quynh Lap Central Leprosy–Dermatology Hospital in the central province of Nghe An has been locked down since May 5 due to a number of its health staff workers who had been in close contact with a COVID-19 case.

Lang Son Lung Hospital in the Northern province of Lang Son has been put under lockdown when one patient who was treated at Ha Noi-based National Hospital for Tropical Diseases was confirmed positive for COVID-19.

Phuc Yen General Hospital in Vinh Phuc Province will be locked down till May 16 as one doctor had travel record to Sunny Club in the province where a cluster of new cases were detected.

Hoan My Hospital in the central city of Da Nang has been locked down as a COVID-19 patient went to the hospital for treatment.

Thai Binh General Hospital in the northern province of Thai Binh and Vinh Phuc Province-based Hospital of Traditional Medicine have been placed under medical quarantine.  

As of 6.00 am on May 8, Viet Nam's COVID-19 patient tally reached 3,152, including 1,746 local infection cases, of whom 176 have been documented since the latest wave of local transmissions began on April 27.

According to the Ministry of Health, 2,560 patients have recovered and exited hospitals, while the death toll stood at 35./.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 8

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