VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 22

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc pays tribute to Vietnam Buddhist Sangha leader Thich Pho Tue

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 22

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 22 paid homage to Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, Supreme Patriarch of the Patronage Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), who died a day prior at the age of 105, at Vien Minh (Rang) Pagoda in Hanoi’s Phu Xuyen district.

Writing in the funeral guest book, President Phuc described Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue as a symbol of national unity and religious solidarity.

As the head of the VBS, Tue has set an example and led the Sangha along the guideline on “Dharma – Nation – Socialism,” he said, adding that the Most Venerable’s life has vividly reflected the Buddhism’s cultural and ethical values in society.

Phuc also conveyed his sincere sympathy to the VBS Central Committee and Buddhist monks, nuns and followers for their loss and urged them to learn from Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue to together build an united and strong VBS, contributing more and more to national construction and defence.

The Most Venerable, who led an 85-year religious life, is also member of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee and head of the Vien Minh Pagoda.

He used to serve as the Vice President of the VBS’s Executive Council and head of the executive board of the VBS chapter in former Ha Tay province (now part of Hanoi).

The monk was honoured with the Ho Chi Minh Order, the second-class Independence Order, the Great National Unity Order, the certificate of merit by the Prime Minister, and many other noble rewards in recognition of his dedications to Buddhism and the secular life.

The respect-paying ceremony is being held at Vien Minh Pagoda from 7am on October 22 through October 23, while the memorial service will take place at 9am on October 24./.

Ambassador presents credentials to Portuguese President

Vietnamese Ambassador to Portugal Dinh Toan Thang presented his letter of credentials to Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon on October 20.

Thang pledged that during his tenure, he would make positive contributions to strengthening the bilateral friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The ambassador conveyed an invitation to visit Vietnam from President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the Portuguese President.

President Rebelo de Sousa, for his part, hailed the positive developments in bilateral ties over the past years.

He wished that both countries would strive to tap the potential of cooperation to deepen their bilateral relationship and uphold the tradition of 45 years of bilateral diplomatic ties.

The host hoped that the ambassador will fulfill his assigned tasks and make important contributions to Vietnam – Portugal ties together with both countries' agencies and partners./. 

Vietnamese Government always creates best possible conditions for foreign firms, investors: FM spokesperson

The Vietnamese Government always listens to and creates the best possible conditions for foreign enterprises and investors to clear hurdles, set up a new normal environment, and recover their production and businesses at the earliest possible, under the motto of preventing disruption to production and supply chains and ensuring a smooth circulation of goods across the country, stated Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.

At the ministry's regular conference held virtually on October 21, Hang said with COVID-19 prevention and control measures implemented in the past time, the pandemic situation in Vietnam is gradually being controlled and the country is step by step transitioning to a new normal.

She noted that the Government has issued Resolution No. 128/NQ-CP on temporary regulations for safe, flexible adaptation to and effective control of COVID-19 to bring the entire country into the new normal as soon as possible within 2021, unite anti-epidemic policies nationwide, and to break the freeze in socio-economic activities.

The Government is also taking drastic measures to contain and repel the pandemic, with a special working group set up to deal with problems and difficulties facing businesses, and many resolutions and policies promulgated in support of firms, cooperatives and business societies.

The Government has requests that localities issue no more additional regulations and remove inappropriate ones, Hang underscored.

The spokesperson informed that this year to September 20, Vietnam had attracted 22.15 billion USD in foreign investment, up 4.1 percent over the same period last year. Of the sum, 12.5 billion USD were registered for 1,200 new FDI projects, down 3.78 percent in the number of projects but up 20.6 percent in capital on-year.

The result has confirmed the confidence of foreign investors in Vietnam’s business climate, she concluded./.

Teams established to inspect delivery of assistance to employers, workers

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung on October 21 decided to establish 12 teams to inspect the provision of assistance for employers and employees hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the decision, they will inspect the implementation of the Government’s resolutions and Prime Minister’s decisions on social welfare policies and assistance for affected employers and workers. 

They were also assigned to check the shortages of workers in economic sectors, domestic and foreign-invested firms, industrial and processing zones, and suggest measures to recover the labour market.

The teams will report results to the steering committee in charge of assistance to affected employers and employees.

The inspection duration will last from October 21 to November 3./. 

Lawmakers to discuss specific development policies, mechanisms for four localities

Lawmakers are discussing special policies and mechanisms for the development of the northern city of Hai Phong, and the central provinces of Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Thua Thien-Hue during the 15th National Assembly (NA)’s second plenary session on October 22.

In the morning, they will listen to a report and a verification report on the draft Law on Insurance Business (amended), delivered by Finance Minister Ho Duc Phoc and Chairman of the NA Economic Committee Vu Hong Thanh, respectively.

The draft law consists of eight chapters and 156 articles, amending 81 articles, supplementing 58 articles, removing 33 articles and keeping 17 articles unchanged compared to the current Law on Insurance Business.

After that, the NA will listen to a proposal and a verification report on draft resolutions on a number of specific mechanisms and policies for the development of Hai Phong city, and Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, which are presented by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and Chairman of the NA’s Finance-Budget Committee Nguyen Phu Cuong. The NA deputies will then discuss in groups these resolutions.

In the afternoon, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung will present a report on the implementation of social insurance policies and regimes, and the management and use of the Social Insurance Fund in 2020. Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Anh will deliver a verification report on this issue.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long then will present a report on the management and use of the Health Insurance Fund in 2020 and the implementation of Resolution No. 68/2013/QH13 on promoting the implementation of policies and laws related to health insurance towards universal health insurance in 2019-2020. Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Anh will present a verification report on this issue. The deputies will then discuss in groups this issue./.

Vietnam, Russia eye stronger ties in education, training

Vietnam and Russia discussed ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in education and make it more practical and effective during a meeting between Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Minh Khoi and Russian Minister of Science and Higher Education Falkov Valery Nhikolaievich in Moscow on October 20.

Khoi spoke highly of the Vietnam-Russia cooperation in education and training, a key area in the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

He appreciated the Government of Russia for raising the number of scholarships for Vietnamese students to 1,000 – the highest for foreign students and thanked the Russia Ministry of Science and Higher Education for providing all possible conditions for Vietnamese students to study in Russia, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ambassador informed his host on a plan to hold an annual meeting for representatives from universities that provide Vietnamese language and Vietnamese study training to step up the teaching of Vietnamese language and Vietnam study, asking the Russia ministry to help organise the event.

Valery Falkov, for his part, congratulated Khoi on assuming his new mission and wished him a successful term of office.

The minister affirmed that Russia wants to develop education and training partnership with Vietnam, saying Vietnam remains Russia’s top priority partner.

Given the Russian Government’s policy to increase scholarships for foreign students, the Vietnam-Russia cooperation in the field will be flourishing further in the coming time, he said.

He expressed his delight at the dynamic growth of relations between both sides’ universities, citing the fact that over 350 agreements have been signed between their universities so far.

In the time to come, Vietnam and Russia plan to focus on several priorities in terms of education and training as follows: signing a new education and training cooperation agreement between the two governments to replace the 2005 document, holding the third meeting between Vietnam and Russia in education-training and science-technology in Russia; holding the second forum for heads of universities from the two sides in Russia; stepping up the teaching of Russian language in Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries; and studying the possibility of expanding bilateral ties in the field./.

National fund supports COVID-19-hit children

National fund supports COVID-19-hit children hinh anh 1

The National Fund for Vietnamese Children has provided 7.78 billion VND (342,572 USD) to children orphaned by COVID-19 and offered aid of over 7 billion VND 308,263 USD) in cash and kind to 12,800 others affected by the pandemic.

Statistics showed that COVID-19 has turned 2,352 children into orphans, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City (1,584) and southern localities such as Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, Dong Thap, Tien Giang, and An Giang.

In the time to come, the fund will continue to coordinate with the Departments of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in cities and provinces nationwide to assist orphans, with 5 million VND to be given to each child who has lost mother or father, and 20 million VND to each orphan losing both parents.

As scheduled, by the end of this December, 2,500 children orphaned by the pandemic will receive support from the fund with a total amount of over 14 billion VND to help them overcome current difficulties.

Meanwhile, the fund will also call for the engagement of organisations and individuals in supporting children hit by COVID-19.
Donors can make donations at the National Fund for Vietnamese Children’s headquarters at 35 Tran Phu street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, or via the fund's bank account No. 001.0.00.0000355 at Vietcombank./.

Vietnam highlights women’s role in peacekeeping, peacebuilding

A Vietnamese diplomat highlighted the role of women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding and underscored the need to enhance the participation of women in all political, social and economic aspects during a meeting of the UN Security Council on October 21.

It is crucial to value the women’s experience, knowledge, understanding and expertise in all fields, including peace and security, by removing barriers and facilitating transition to promote women as equal partners since the start of any peace and political process, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy told the UNSC’s open debate on “Investing in women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.”

The event was attended by Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women); and Bineta Diop, Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security (WPS).

Women’s rights, interests and needs must be guaranteed and promoted at provincial, national and international levels, and women should be given necessary skills and knowledge to meaningfully participate in all aspects of life, he said.

Quy emphasised that it is the responsibility of all member states to implement the WPS Agenda. All the states must take more specific and drastic actions to ensure women’s role incorporated in legal frameworks, policies, strategies and initiatives on peace and security at the national, regional and global levels, he stated.

The diplomat went on to call on the community of donors to contribute a minimum of 15 percent of its official development assistance (ODA) to advancing gender equality in conflict-affected countries.

One of Vietnam’s priorities is to foster the participation of women in all aspects of life, he said, noting that with their knowledge, wisdom, tolerance and understanding, women play a vital part in promoting a culture of peace and educating young people to appreciate peace.

Quy also took the occasion to highlight the contributions made by Vietnamese female military officers to peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic and South Sudan./.

VNMAC, HALO Trust helps Lang Son clear war-left bombs, landmines

A delegation from the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) and HALO Trust of the United Kingdom held a working session with the People's Committee of northern border Lang Son province on coordination in overcoming the consequences of bombs, landmines and unexploded ordnances in the locality.

Addressing the event, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee  Luong Trong Quynh spoke highly of VNMAC and HALO Trust for their assistance and affirmed the local administration would actively coordinate and create the most favourable conditions for them to carry out surveys and identified locations where there were bombs, landmines and explosives in the province. 

The returning of land which was cleared of bomb, landmines and other unexploded ordnances would facilitate local residents in organising production and improving their lives while helping the province have resources for socio-economic development as well as ensuring national defence and security, he said.

Participants at the meeting discussed the contamination of bombs, landmines and other unexploded ordinances in the province and the need to overcome the consequences of these ordinances.

VNMAC and HALO Trust are expected to complete the surveys and preparation work in 2022 and start the clearance in Lang Son province from the beginning of 2023.

It is estimated that the province has more than 45,650 hectares of land contaminated with bombs, landmines and unexploded ordnances, accounting for 10 percent of the total land area. As many as 8,593 hectares have been cleared from these explosives since 1991./.

HCMC mulls removing Covid checkpoints at its gateways

The HCMC government is considering removing 51 Covid-19 checkpoints at the city’s gateways to facilitate the circulation of goods and the movement of workers between the city and neighboring provinces, as the situation in the city is improving, an HCMC official said.

After 18 days of enforcing the city’s Directive 18, the number of new cases has dropped five times compared to that at the height of pandemic transmission, while daily deaths have fallen to a two-digit figure from a three-to-four-digit number, said Le Hoa Binh, vice chairman of the city’s government.

Binh was speaking at a virtual meeting held yesterday, October 19, with the authorities of Thu Duc City and districts in HCMC to review the socioeconomic performance from January to September and put forward tasks for the final months of the year.

All of the inner-city Covid checkpoints were removed early this month when Directive 18 came into force. However, the city maintained 12 checkpoints at the city’s gateways to other provinces and 39 others in the districts bordering other provinces to check travelers entering and exiting the city.

Regarding the assessment of the pandemic transmission risk in line with the Government’s Resolution 128, HCMC was categorized at Level 3 or at high risk a week ago, but it is now estimated at Level 2, or moderate risk, said Tang Chi Thuong, director of the HCMC Health Department.

The pandemic transmission risk level could move up or down depending on the development of Covid, he added.

The city has discovered weaknesses in the local health system, especially at the grassroots level during the latest coronavirus wave. Accordingly, the city needs to map out a strategy to reinforce the health system and restructure the medical treatment system to adapt to the new normal.

Hospitals and medical centers citywide have to make changes to be able to admit and treat Covid and non-Covid patients.

In the upcoming period, each general hospital must have a Covid-19 treatment ward, Thuong said.

Policewomen on the frontlines against COVID-19

Along with their male colleagues, female police officers in Quang Ngai province actively took part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They made great efforts to successfully complete the dual tasks of pandemic prevention and ensuring security and order in the locality.

It’s been easy to see policewomen on duty at checkpoints in recent months, joining the fight against COVID-19. They put aside their family lives to be on the frontlines, preventing the spread of the pandemic and ensuring security, order, and social safety.

In communes and wards, female police officers have stood side-by-side with local authorities, supporting security teams at health checkpoints and directly joining community COVID-19 groups with the motto “going to every alley, knocking on every door, and reviewing every case”, while ensuring social order and safety.

When unable to be on the frontlines, many policewomen volunteered to be on extra duty. They also actively took part in blood donation drives and activities to provide necessities to the anti-pandemic forces in the province. The Women’s Union of the Quang Ngai Provincial Police donated nearly 10 tons of agricultural products and necessities to people in Ho Chi Minh City and also cooked thousands of meals to support frontline forces at medical checkpoints and isolation areas.

Given the complexity of COVID-19, policewomen with Quang Ngai Public Security have always stood ready to join their colleagues in fighting the pandemic, becoming “beautiful roses” in the eye of local people./.

Steel exports surge 78.1 percent in nine months

Vietnam exported more than 5.7 million tonnes of steel products in the first nine months of 2021, a whopping 78.1 percent increase the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA).

The country produced over 24.8 million tonnes of steel during the period, nearly 22 million tonnes of which were sold, up 34.1 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively, year on year.

In the third quarter alone, steel output reached nearly 7.16 million tonnes, up 4 percent year on year, while steel sales slid 7 percent to over 6.2 million tonnes, as a result of social distancing measures imposed to stamp out the spread of COVID-19 in many major industrial cities and provinces.

The VSA reported that though Vietnam’s nine-month steel imports edged up just 1 percent in volume, to 14.9 million tonnes, the value surged 44 percent to 11 billion USD.

The association forecast the steel exports will regain growth momentum during the remaining months of the year following the removal of COVID-19 restrictions.

The steel industry also expects the new-generation Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), in which Vietnam is signatory to, and the recovery of production and construction will further fuel the growth./.

Vietnam-Laos trade continues flourishing

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Laos surpassed 947 million USD in the first nine months of 2021, up 28.2 percent year-on-year, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Laos.

Of the total, Vietnam’s exports were valued at over 447 million USD, up 6 percent year-on-year, and imports 499 million USD, up 57.9 percent.

Compared to the same period of 2019 when the COVID-19 did not break out yet, the bilateral trade turnover rose by 14.4 percent.

In September alone, the two countries’ import-export value exceeded 99 million USD, up 10.8 percent year-on-year.

In the month, Vietnam continued to record a trade deficit of 21.57 million USD. During January-September, the country posted a trade deficit of 52.4 million USD with Laos.

In the nine-month period, Vietnam sold to Laos mainly steel products (57.6 million USD), machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts (39.6 million USD), and fertilisers (17.25 million USD). It imported from Laos over 106.9 million USD worth of rubber, 71 million USD worth of timber and timber products, and 58 million USD worth of minerals./.

Thai Binh thermal power company manages to implement “dual targets”

The Thai Binh Thermal Power Company has implemented various measures to respond to COVID-19 pandemic and ensure production at the same time, thus reaching all set targets despite impacts of the pandemic.

Director of the company Ta Trung Kien said that since July, all managers and workers of the company have worked and stayed at the company to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading and maintain production.

He stressed that the firm defines the implementation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures as a top priority, because if the pandemic breaks out in the company and forces the lockdown of the entire plant, losses will be extremely heavy.

The company has 335 workers who have received COVID-19 vaccination and regular tests. The firm has built plans for responding to the pandemic and organised a number of rehearsals to ensure all officials, engineers and workers are ready for all possible circumstances.

A representative from the company’s employees said that although they have to live far away from their family, they feel secure to work, as along with ensuring the payment of salary, allowances and bonus, the management and the Trade Union of the company have regularly met and encouraged them. The firm has set up a gym for all workers to do exercise to improve their health conditions and relax for better working performance.

Thanks to its accurate forecast of possible difficulties from the pandemic, right since the end of 2020, the Thai Binh Thermal Power Company has reviewed and made preparations in materials serving production, while purchasing machines and equipment for maintenance, repair and replacement activities.

Along with tightening disciplines in the management and operations of the plant, the firm has strictly controlled all economic and technical indications. Managerial officials of the firm have given regular directions to officials, engineers and workers to keep a close watch on all working shifts and turbines, maintaining hygiene and conduct regular maintenance on equipment, thus discovering failures and incident for timely fixing.

This year, the Thai Binh Thermal Power Company is assigned by the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) to generate 3.58 billion kWh of electricity for the national grid. Thanks to its effective measures to prevent COVID-19 and maintain safe production, in the first seven months of 2021, the firm recorded a power output of 2.435 billion kWh, and a revenue of over 3 trillion VND (131.7 million USD), fulfilling 68 percent of the goal set for the whole year.

The company’s director said that in the rest of the year, the company will strive to produce 1.272 billion kWh of electricity to push total production in the whole year to 3.7 billion kWh, exceeding the targets assigned by the EVN. It aims to pay nearly 300 billion VND (13.16 million USD) to the State budget in the year, added Kien.

In order to complete the targets, the Board of Directors of the company is focusing on directing officials, technicians and workers to strictly abide by COVID-19 prevention and control measures, while maintaining effective production, and coordinating with the EVN Maintenance Service Centre to fix all problems and breakdowns, shortening time spent on maintenance and repairing activities, thus maintaining continuous operation of all turbines in a stable, reliable and effective manner.

Kien said that the company’s Board of Directors and Trade Union have also encouraged officials, technicians and workers to improve their sense of responsibility, thus actively contributing to the firm’s success in implementing the “dual targets”.

Run by the Vietnam Electricity, the Thai Binh Thermal Power Company was put into commercial operation in April 2018, with two turbines having combined installation capacity of 600MW. The plant provides electricity to localities in the Red River delta and enhance the safety and stability for the whole electricity system in the region./.

Samsung Vietnam looks for investment opportunities in Thai Binh

A delegation of Samsung Vietnam met authorities of the northern province of Thai Binh on October 19 as part of its trip to study the local business climate.

At the function, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Ngo Dong Hai hoped that the province will soon be named in the company’s potential investment destination and be part of the Samsung global goals programme for 2021.

Hai affirmed that Thai Binh creates bests conditions possible for all investors to operate stably and sustainably.

Choi Joo Ho, General Director of Samsung Vietnam, said the province is a safe-COVID-19 area and has abundant labour sources and favorable investment attraction policies. For these advantages, many investors will come to Thai Binh, he noted, promising to introduce investors with demand to the province.

On the same day, the delegation toured the Cau Nghin and Lien Ha Thai industrial parks in the Thai Binh Economic Zone, which are ready for welcoming investors. The zone is about 35km away from Hai Phong city and covers a coastal area of more than 30,583 hectares./.

More train services proposed as demand rises

The Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) has proposed to increase the number of trains due to rising demand on some routes following the pilot resumption of services.

A report from VNR said that during the pilot period between October 13-20, all trains on the Hanoi-HCM City and Hanoi-Hai Phong routes were fully booked.

Vice director of VNR's Northern Region branch, Nguyen To Hoa said that all the trains were safely operated during the pilot reopening period and demand was very high.

"Most passengers were aware of all the tight regulations for Covid-19 prevention and there were no complaints," Hoa said. "We were just facing ticket shortages."

Hoa proposed that the Ministry of Transport consider increasing the number of trains on both routes and arrange more stations to receive more passengers.

The official also proposed to only apply distancing rules for passengers from areas at high risk of virus infection.

"Travel demand is increasing, but most means of transportation are applying distancing rules, we need to increase the number of trains to serve more passengers," he said. "The distancing rules should also be adjusted to suit the current situation."

According to the pilot plan, passengers are classified based on whether they come from areas with a high or very high risk of virus infections to areas with similar or lower risk levels.

Passengers from a high or very high risk of virus infections to areas with similar or lower risk levels are required to have received two Covid-19 vaccine jabs, with the second taken at least 14 days before travelling; or have recovered from Covid-19 within six months. They must also test negative for Covid-19 via the PCR method within 72 hours before departure.

Those who go from areas with lower risk of virus infections to areas with higher risk levels are only required to test negative for Covid-19 via the PCR method within 72 hours before departure.

Passengers are not allowed to use train services if they have Covid-19-related symptoms including coughing, fever, sore throat, or breathing difficulties.

Coach firms hesitant to resume operations after months of inactivity

Despite the introduction of a pilot programme to resume road transport, many service providers in Thanh Hóa Province are hesitant to start business again.

The Ministry of Transport has been implementing a pilot programme on road transport in line with the Government’s Resolution 128, which provides temporary guidelines on "Safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic".

Thanh Hóa’s Northern coach station, one of the major transportation hubs in the province, has yet to resume operations two days after the provincial Department of Transport issued an official document regarding the pilot programme.

After piloting a few inter-provincial routes, most coach terminals remain empty. A majority of the vehicles are in the parking lot while the ticket office and waiting area see few passengers. There are only a few business owners going in to check and perform maintenance on their coaches.

According to Nguyễn Trung Kiên, Deputy Director of Thanh Hóa’s Northern coach station, following the pilot programme, the terminal saw only one business registering for operation. After two days, however, this coach service provider has received few customers and operates far below capacity.

“Initially most business owners were excited at the news of the pilot programme, however they were faced with multiple challenges with the regulations requiring vaccination of drivers and employees, and negative quick-test results for COVID-19 from passengers,” said Kiên.

Kiên also said that many coach service businesses have yet to meet the requirement to resume operation as per regulations, largely due to a majority of staff who have not been vaccinated. On the other hand, the quick test requirment has resulted in passengers no longer wanting to travel, despite needing to. Several businesses now resort to goods transport as a mean to persevere.

Nguyễn Thị Duyên, owner of a coach service business operating in the Northern terminal, said: “Two days into the pilot programme, there were hardly any passengers, each day we saw only a few who came to send over goods, and most trips resulted in losses due to fuel expenses."

"A majority of people are hesitant to take the quick test when they travel through another province, because each locality has different regulations. For example, Hải Phòng and Nam Định do not require the test, but Thanh Hóa does. So these are some shortcomings that mean even though we resume operations, there are still no customers,” she said.

Earlier on October 15, Thanh Hóa Department of Transport issued an official document to coach terminal management boards and transport service providers regarding the pilot programme for several inter-provincial routes, while ensuring "safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic".

According to the plan, from October 15 to 20, several inter-provincial routes to Hải Phòng, Nghệ An, Hòa Bình, Thái Nguyên, Bắc Ninh, Sơn La and Lạng Sơn are back in operation.

Service resumption must ensure safety measures against COVID-19. Specifically coach drivers, employees and passengers must have a negative PCR or rapid antigen tests within 72 hours before departure. At least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is also required for coach drivers and staff.

National film contest on traffic safety kicks off

Amateur and professional filmmakers living and working in Việt Nam are encouraged to join the 2021 Việt Nam Traffic Safety Festival, a national film contest about traffic safety.

The event, whose theme is "Dissemination and Promotion of Laws on Ensuring Traffic Order and Safety”, is being held by the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Security and Toyota Vietnam Company.

It consists of two categories of reportage and short videos that reflect governmental management in implementing laws on traffic order and safety and COVID-19 prevention and control.

The entries will also feature changes in drivers’ behaviour caused by the pandemic, and transport companies’ responsibility in ensuring employees’ safety and pandemic prevention.

Contestants, including individuals and groups of five, can send their entries by November 29 to NTSC’s office, 808 Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội.

Works that have aired on national and local TV stations will be given priority.

The organisers will award a cash prize of VNĐ15 million (US$660) to the winner of the reportage category and VNĐ10 million ($440) in the short video category.

They will also give two second prizes, three third prizes and five consolation prizes for each category.

All winning films will be uploaded to the contest’s Facebook page at facebook.com/lienhoanphimtoanquocveATGT/ for audiences to vote for their five favourite works.

The winning prizes will be announced at a awards ceremony slated to be held in January in Hà Nội.

The Việt Nam Traffic Safety Festival was launched in 1996 biennially, attracting many individuals and organisations nationwide.

It aims to promote government policies on traffic order and safety; improve people’s knowledge of road traffic laws; and raise public awareness of laws on traffic and congestion.

The 2019 Việt Nam Traffic Safety Festival theme was “Drinking Alcohol – Not Driving”. The first prize went to Chuyện ở Thôn Cupua (Tale of Cupua Village) and Họa Đường (Road Accident).

Teen steps up to provide support for young people during pandemic-fueled mental health crisis
Update: October, 21/2021 - 08:55 |
Bảo Ngọc

A group of students from the United Nations International School of Hà Nội (UNIS Hanoi) came up with the idea of a psychology counselling hotline to help young people struggling with their mental health during the long lockdown.

The non-profit project has since provided help to hundreds of young people in Việt Nam in overcoming their mental health struggles.

Three years ago, Ayami Matsumura, 18, a member of BlueBlue Hotline, moved to Việt Nam with her parents from Japan. Due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the family could not return to their home.

During her time in Việt Nam, Ayami realised there are a lot of people stressed from having to isolate themselves from others and the unpredictable situation of the pandemic. 

"We wanted to create a bigger impact and place our focus on mental health. It is a prevalent issue in society that isn’t taken good care of", she said. 

Ayami told Việt Nam News she hopes to expand the project and make it available for English speakers in Việt Nam. A lot of her classmates are stressed from school work and she believes having an anonymous listener would really help disclose their feelings.

"In the future, I also hope to expand the project to Japan as I believe Japan also lacks support towards mental health and I expected the situation to be improved by spreading awareness through projects like these," Ayami added.

Ayami (right) and with students from UNIS Hanoi established the non-profit project BlueBlue Hotline, to provide free psychological counselling and support for teenagers in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of Ayami Matsumura
In addition to the hotline, which can be reached on 19009204 (ext. 3), the project also includes a Facebook page and email for those who cannot call or want to consult via text message.

BlueBlue Hotline team regularly hold online group meetings to discuss how to improve the quality of consultation calls. — Photo courtesy of Ayami Matsumura
The project team consists of about 30 members, 20 Vietnamese and 10 foreigners, divided into two groups.

The first group specialises in flyer design, fan page activities and communicating with sponsor partners and media. The other group includes students who have graduated from university or are studying psychology, who provide psychological counselling under the supervision of experts and psychologists.

The BlueBlue Hotline operates 24/7, for teenagers living in Việt Nam to ask and share about their mental health issues. 

Callers do not have to say their name or where they come from. Their identities are completely confidential.

In addition, if someone calls for further consultation, the team will work with hospitals to provide in-depth support for these cases.

Spreading a positive message

The latest COVID-19 outbreak has caused Vietnamese students to spend the most time learning online in the country's history. Students in nearly 40 provinces and cities have not been to school for nearly half a year.

According to experts, long-term online learning brings with it a lot of challenges, especially psychological problems. Teens are facing fatigue, loneliness and stress from being at home for too long with a lack of face-to-face communication.

Understanding these difficulties, Bình Vũ, 17, Founder of BlueBlue Hotline hopes that young people in Việt Nam will not be alone in the process of fighting psychological problems.

"Blue is the colour that symbolises trust. Therefore, I decided to name the project BlueBlue Hotline to create a reliable network for young people to come to when they have “hard-to-say” problems with friends, teachers and family,” Bình said. 

The BlueBlue Hotline team during one of their activities at a hospital. — Photo courtesy of Ayami Matsumura
Bình also shared that she herself has been through treatment for depression, so she feels it is essential to provide mental health support for teenagers.

“Maybe I understand what it feels like to be lonely so I can spend hours talking to young people who are having the same problem. Finding a friend who is willing to listen may sound simple, but it means a lot to people who have psychological difficulties.”

Since being established in May, the project has successfully consulted hundreds of young people.

Bringing the positive message of ‘You are not alone’, the BlueBlue Hotline is anticipated to reach more young people facing psychological difficulties, problems in life and difficult relationships.

The BlueBlue Hotline operates 24/7 for teenagers living in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of vtv.vn
According to the World Health Organisation, a positive state of mental health and well-being is defined as an individual being able to realise his or her own abilities, coping with the normal stresses of life and making a contribution to his or her community.

Mental health is fundamental to people's collective and individual ability as humans to think and interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health are vital to individuals, communities and societies throughout the world.

BlueBlue Hotline is an upgraded model of the Vietnamese Child Counseling and Support line 18001567, which was established by the Government in 2004.

To make it easier to remember and get in touch in the case of an emergency, the around the clock child support line number has been changed to 111, alongside other emergency numbers, such as 113, 114 and 115.

With a continuous increase in organisations and projects aimed at mental well-being, the psychological problems of Vietnamese adolescents are expected to improve in the future. 

FPT donates online learning equipment to Can Tho’s students

FPT Group in coordination with the Hope Fund on October 20 presented 467 tablets and 50 computers to students with difficult circumstances in the Mekong delta city of Can Tho to support them in online learning activities.

The equipment has been handed over to 17 junior and senior high schools in Co Do, Vinh Thanh and Phong Dien districts.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People's Committee Duong Tan Hien highly appreciated the support of FPT Group and the Hope Fund for their donations in the context of the difficult situation, saying that the support has contributed to basically easing obstacles facing the city’s education sector in organising online teaching.

He expressed his hope that the city will continue to receive more support from organisations and businesses in the coming time.

Director of FPT Telecom in Can Tho Tran Minh Huan said with the desire to join hands in supporting online learning and teaching during the social distancing period, in October 2021, FPT and the Hope Fund, will provide computers and online learning packages for 3,300 disadvantaged students in COVID-19 pandemic-hit areas in seven southern localities, which are applying online learning and teaching.

In response to the “Telecommunications services and computers for children” programme launched by the Ministry of Information and Communications, Can Tho city has campaigned to mobilise support of equipment for 1,908 pupils who cannot participate in online learning.

On the same day, the People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Long An organised a ceremony to present tablets to local disadvantaged students.

More than one month since the “Telecommunications services and computers for children” programme was launched, telecommunications businesses operating in Long An have provided 4G sim cards and internet access charges for students with difficult circumstances, while many organisations and businesses also contributed to the programme.

Director of the provincial Department of Education and Training Nguyen Thanh Tiep said that the programme will continue to be implemented in the coming time./.

Commemoration week marks 100th anniversary of Vietnamese drama art

Famous plays will be performed at the Hanoi Opera House from October 21-27 during the commemoration week on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Vietnamese drama (1921-2021).

Among the iconic plays to be performed this week will be “Mot chen thuoc doc” (A Cup of Poison) composed by author Vu Dinh Long and directed by Bui Nhu Lai.

On October 21, 1921, the famous three-act play was first performed at the Hanoi Opera House. This event is considered the starting point for dramatic art in Vietnam.

Other plays include “Nguoi tot o nha so 5” (Good man at house No.5), “Ai la thu pham” (Who is the perpetrator).

Alongsise, many activities will be held during the week, including a conference on 100 years of formation and development of Vietnamese drama art and future orientations, and a gala night gathering drama artists across the country.

People’s artist Trinh Thuy Mui, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese Theatre Artists’ Association said that the commemoration week aims to give a chance for Vietnamese stage artists and drama artists in particular to review the past 100-year path and affirm their efforts to overcome difficulties to promote the development of Vietnamese drama art.

Due to COVID-19 impacts, the Hanoi Opera House will receive the number of audience equivalent to 50 percent of its capacity. Audience must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks throughout the plays, while implementing the 5K message.

What does the future hold for industrial spaces in Hanoi

Old, industrial buildings in Hà Nội may well have run their course with many looking like a blot on the capital’s landscape.

But architectural experts believe some of these empty units could provide the ideal location to create cultural spaces, giving dilapidated properties a new lease of life.

These were the issues discussed by experts during a webinar held by architects from Việt Nam and Europe alongside building owners and property managers.

They hope to collaborate and share knowledge on the best solutions to turn run-down buildings into cultural spaces the city can be proud of.  

The webinar "Current status of industrial facilities spaces in Hà Nội and international experiences of industrial heritage", was held in Hà Nội recently, supported by EUNIC (the association of European Cultural Institutes and Embassies).

Experts cited examples of similar projects in Europe that have not only restored old buildings but also breathed new life into the communities where they are located.

EUNIC representative Thierry Vergon, Director of L'Espace (Institut français du Vietnam in Hanoi), said: “Many extraordinary examples that can be found everywhere in Europe, and all around the world, show that the transformation of these sites into places dedicated to culture, into spaces fostering creativity, is most often a virtuous model.

“These reconversion projects always have an extremely positive impact on the neighbourhoods where they are installed and are considered by the populations as a factor for improving their environment.

“I believe this webinar comes at the right time to raise awareness among the players involved in the decision process, as a massive relocation of production sites is envisaged in the coming years to Hà Nội.”

According to Lê Quân, Rector of Hà Nội Architectural University, urban renewal is not just a case of replacing old buildings with new ones.

He feels the process can affect the entire city, and bring about positive changes and a feel-good factor.

“With a long tradition of training and experience in international cooperation in heritage and urban renewal research, Hà Nội Architectural University is particularly interested in the topic of this webinar,” he said.

“In the context of the effectiveness of the Architecture Law and its application into our lives, a new approach to recognise the heritage, architectural and cultural values of industrial facilities in the city will provide theoretical and practical bases for urban reconstruction from relocating industrial facilities.”

The conference also discussed the negative impact of urbanisation, and how the growth of a city could see industrial areas become residential zones.

 

This, the webinar heard, could cause pollution risks that not only hinder urban development but also have a detrimental effect on people’s health.

It suggested the urgent need to relocate industrial facilities which are not in accordance with current regulations and standards and cause an imbalance in social and technical infrastructure, traffic, environmental pollution and not consistent with the general planning.

Discussions also raised issues about how many of the old buildings have immense historical and cultural value, and restoration should see a focus on giving back to the communities they once served.

Deputy Director of Hà Nội Urban Planning Institute (HUPI) Nguyễn Đức Hùng said: “The land fund after the relocation of industrial production facilities should be given priority for the construction and development of public works, trees, parking lots, social and technical infrastructure works in urban areas.

“These uses don’t increase waste for the inner city, ensuring a balance between the needs of social infrastructure, technology and urban environment.

“The industrial sites having historical, cultural and architectural values must be preserved, restored, embellished in accordance with the provisions of the law of cultural heritage, prioritising the use of these works for public purposes.”

Following the success of the Hà Nội creative space design contest which was jointly organised by the Hà Nội Department of Culture and Sports and the Kiến Trúc (Architecture) magazine in collaboration with the Hà Nội’s People Committee and the Việt Nam Association of Architects, the webinar is an activity of high practical significance, adding empirical experiences to support Hà Nội on the process of becoming a centre of design and innovation convergence in the region – the creative capital of Southeast Asia.

Soldier adopts three children orphaned by COVID-19

Major Nguyễn Trung Kiên, a military officer of Thủ Đức City’s Military Command, has adopted three children orphaned by COVID-19 in HCM City.

Kiên said he felt extreme sorrow when the four-year-old girl welcomed him as he brought the ashes of her mother, who died of COVID-19, to the woman’s rented room in the city’s Tân Phú Ward on August 8.

The four-year-old girl, named Phạm Thị Bảo Châu, was the only known relative of the woman, Kiên said.

“I was very surprised and sadden that she was the only relative of the woman at that time,” Kiên said.

“When I saw her naively touch her mother’s ash box, as a father of two children, it was a heartbreaking moment," he added.

Kiên said he found Châu living alone in the rented room. Neighbours, who were also infected with COVID-19 and were self-monitoring at home, took care of Châu when her mother was being treated at the local hospital.

After Kiên heard that Châu’s deceased mother earned a living as a scrap collector to raise Châu, Kiên proposed to his superiors to bring the ashes of Châu’s mother back to the command and contacted the ward’s quarantined area to bring Châu in too.

While Châu stayed in the quarantined area, Kiên called the quarantined area to talk with Châu every day, the Vietnamnet online newspaper reported.

“Talking with Châu every day, I feel such pity for her situation as an orphan,” he said.

Kiên said he discussed with his wife and decided to become Châu’s adoptive father.

Looking for Châu’s relatives

He said, “When Châu stayed at the quarantine area, I searched for Châu’s relatives.”

Kiên said it took time to find Châu’s relatives because he had very little information about Châu.

He found a biological aunt of Châu named Phạm Thị Diệu, who lives in Thắng Tam Ward, Vũng Tàu City in the southern province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu after dozens of days of seeking.

After talking to Kiên, Diệu said she wanted to receive the ashes of Châu’s mother and bring Châu to live with her in Vũng Tàu City.

Diệu also said Châu had an older brother and an older sister. The brother and sister were living with an 87-year-old grandmother in Ward 4, District 8, HCM City.

Kiên said he took Châu to Diệu to raise on September 4.

Kiên continued to seek the address of Châu’s grandmother. After a week, Kiên took Châu to see her grandmother, sister and brother.

Châu’s older sister and brother live with the grandmother and a disabled aunt in a 12.5-sq.m house with a broken roof. 

Châu’s older brother is 10-year-old and her sister is 8-year-old.

“Life is very hard,” he said.

Kiên talked with his wife again and the couple agreed to become the adoptive parents of Châu’s older sister and brother too.

Kiên bought old computers, notebooks and textbooks for them to learn online. He also contacted teachers to discuss the children’s learning activities, he said.

Kiên said he is calling on kind-hearted people to donate to the repair of the house of Châu’s grandmother and to bring Châu to live with her older sister and brother.

He and his wife would support the grandmother to raise the children.

Kiên is not only a man with a warm heart but also a good example of the spirit of initiative and passion for scientific research.

Since 2016, he has produced about 20 innovations to improve the quality of his work, including a robot to spray chemicals to disinfect vehicles, preventing the spread of COVID-19 in 2020.

Kiên was recently honoured as an example in the COVID-19 prevention and control on October 14 by the High Command of Military Region 7.

Kiên said, “I wish all orphan children, especially, children orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic, to receive love and care from relatives, school and the whole society so that they could live with love and become good citizens in the future.”

“I wish I could help all of them,” he said. 

Danang seeking to welcome international visitors from December

Danang authorities are seeking Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s approval for a pilot welcome of foreign travellers from December.

Under the city’s proposal, the trial plan would be divided into two phases. In the first phase from November to when the government resumes commercial international flights, people flying to Danang from abroad, including overseas Vietnamese, will have to quarantine for seven days at paid quarantine hotels. Those to the city in tours arranged by travel firms and in business trips by companies have to be subject to the guarantee and management of the companies.   

There will be full-package tours for people to explore Danang and Hoi An. The tours can last from at least three days. Facilities that offer tourism services are requested to ensure Covid-19 prevention regulations.

In the second phase after international flights are reopened, Danang will serve visitors from many markets such as South Korea, Russia, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, the US, China and Europe.

In case of applying tighter Covid-19 prevention measures, the city will inform travel companies and tourists before 72 hours so that they have enough time for procedures to delay or cancel their services.

Many travel firms in South Korea and Russia are working with the Danang Department of Tourism on resuming tourists to Danang in the fourth quarter of this year and next year.

The city has restarted local tourism from October 20. From November, the city will adopt a travel bubble model with localities in which the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control.

Nearly two million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered on Wednesday

An additional 3,646 Covid-19 infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours in Vietnam, and nearly two million Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in the country on Wednesday, according to a report from the Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry's report, 3,635 of the new patients are locally-transmitted cases confirmed in 50 localities including HCM City (1,347), Binh Duong (492), Dong Nai (305), An Giang (194), Soc Trang (100), Bac Lieu (99), Gia Lai (93), and Kien Giang (87). There were 11 imported patients confirmed today.

The new infections showed an increase of 608 cases compared to yesterday's figure. There were 1,810 infections found in the community.

As of Wednesday evening, 869,193 infections have been reported since the new outbreak occurred in the country in late April. Some localities that have recorded the highest number of patients include HCM City (420,946), Binh Duong (226,845), Dong Nai (59,691), Long An (33,929), and Tien Giang (15,249). The outbreak has so far spread to 62 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide.

With these new infection cases, the number of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam has increased to 873,901. The country now stands 40th among 223 countries and territories worldwide in the number of infections.

On October 20, an additional 1,737 more patients recovered from the disease, raising the number of recoveries in the country to 796,583.

On Wednesday evening, a further 72 deaths related to Covid-19 were announced, bringing the total number of fatalities in Vietnam to 21,416. The deaths were reported in some localities including HCM City (43), Binh Duong (8 ), An Giang (7), Tien Giang (4), Long An (3), Kien Giang (2), Dak Lak (2), Dong Thap (1), Bac Lieu (1), and Dong Nai (1).

Vietnam today administered more than 1.99 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The country has so far conducted over 67.08 million Covid-19 vaccine shots, with over 19.08 million people having received two doses.

Former coronavirus hotspot moves to control new outbreak as virus recurs

Relevant agencies in Bac Ninh province, a former coronavirus hotspot in the north, have scrambled to cordon off residential areas in Que Vo district for contact tracing and testing after a cluster of COVID-19 infections were detected.

Eleven cases have been recorded in Que Vo over the past two days linked to an outbreak at a preschool in Bac Ninh city of Bac Ninh province.

This is a complicated outbreak that covers a number of households and schools in the district, said Le Hong Phuc, head of the Que Vo Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

More than 2,000 people from residential areas and schools in Pho Moi township have been tested for COVId-19.

The local administration is speeding up contact tracing and testing in order to early detect and isolate all F0 cases from the community, said Phuc.

All schools in Pho Moi township and neighbour communes have been ordered to close their door. Students are required to study online until further notice.

In addition, the district is accelerating vaccinations for people aged 18 and above. Currently, it has reached a vaccination coverage of 60%.

Bac Ninh was one of the two coronavirus hotspots in northern Vietnam when the outbreak occurred in late April. It has so far recorded nearly 2,000 cases.

JICA supports strengthening urban railway training capacity

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Transport on October 20 signed a record of discussion for a project on strengthening the urban railway training capacity for the Railway College.

The project is expected to be carried out in four years from January 2022 to January 2026.

Under the project, curricula and training programmes on urban railway will be built along with guidelines for personnel training as well as enhancing knowledge on how to operate urban railways safely.

By acquiring Japan's experience in urban railway development, the Railway College will be upgraded, providing human resources that meet the safety requirements in railway operation, thus making Vietnamese people feel secure when using urban railways.

The project is expected to strengthen the capacity of developing a safe and convenient transportation network for people in urban areas, contributing to the sustainable economic development of Vietnam. It will also help promote the exchange between the people of the two countries, further tightening the friendship between Vietnam and Japan.

President Ho Chi Minh’s letters with wish for peace published in Italian

Anteo Edizioni Publishing House in Italy’s Reggio Emilia city has recently published the work “Ho Chi Minh voi nhung buc thu mong muon hoa binh cho Viet Nam” (Ho Chi Minh with letters wishing for peace for Vietnam).

This is the result of a translation project into Italian language from the original Vietnamese version of the same name by Sandra Scagliotti, a researcher on Vietnam, and Tran Doan Trang, an overseas Vietnamese in Italy.

Previously, in May 2020, the Su That (Truth) National Political Publishing House published the original Vietnamese version by Dr. Nguyen Anh Minh, who collected and selected President Ho Chi Minh's letters written from 1945 to 1969 during the resistance wars against French colonialists and American imperialists.

The letters were sent by the Vietnamese revolutionary leader to the Presidents of France and the US as well as many politicians, soldiers, prisoners, immigrants, young people, and relatives of soldiers. In those letters, Ho Chi Minh expressed his wish for peace and happiness for all nations, laid bare and condemned war crimes caused by French colonialists and American imperialists, and called on people around the world to support the just struggle of the Vietnamese people.

Sandra Scagliotti said the messages in President Ho Chi Minh's letters left a deep impression on many generations of young people in Europe in the 60s and 70s of the last century.

According to her, for Italians who support peace and progress, Vietnam has been truly an example of the nations in the struggle against domination and oppression in the world.

Good prospects for wood sector’s recovery: experts

Despite a sharp fall in exports in August and September due to impacts of COVID-19, the wood sector still has chances to complete its export target for the whole year provided that it can quickly resume production, according to experts.

Speaking at a conference on the strategy for recovering the supply chain for Vietnam's furniture sector, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan noted that in the first eight months of 2021, export revenue of timber and wood products surged 41.4 percent year on year to US$ 10.4 billion. Exports of furniture alone hit US$7.98 billion, he added.

The official said that despite the modest figure in exports of the sector in September due to COVID-19, the efforts and results that the sector has shown are encouraging.

Bui Thi Thanh An, Vice Director of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, cited statistics from the ministry which showed that in the first half of this year, the sector earned US$ 10 billion from the export of both interior and exterior furniture and handicraft products, representing a 70 percent rise year on year.

In the recent two years, since COVID-19 broke out, Vietnamese furniture enterprises have shown strong resilience, while trade associations have provided them effective support and orientations.

Mary Tarnowka, Executive Director of the America Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham) said that about 60 percent of wood processing facilities in Vietnam are partners of US firms.

Many US retailers have been affected when many Vietnamese exporters have to stop production during the social distancing period in Vietnam, but the US’s demands for Vietnamese furniture is rising, she noted, adding that US retailers are still confident in Vietnamese wood sector’s supply capacity.

Alain Cany, EuroCham Chairman said that European firms are not likely to switch their orders from Vietnam to China or other countries.

Many experts held that furniture retailers, especially those in the US will maintain partnership with Vietnam, especially in the context that major furniture supply sources are still struggling.

Do Xuan Lap, President of the Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFOREST) said that businesses in the sector are working hard for fast recovery.

Many firms pointed out that two major problems that Vietnamese furniture enterprises are facing are materials and labour shortages. They stressed the need for the reopening of the market to deal with the issues.

Lap affirmed that despite difficulties due to COVID-19 pandemic, great opportunities are opening up for Vietnamese furniture enterprises.

Vietnamese women’s union in Malaysia provides free foreign languages to members

The Vietnamese women’s union in Malaysia on October 20 held the opening ceremony of free foreign language courses for members on the occasion of the 91st anniversary of the Vietnamese Women’s Union (October 20, 1930-2021) and the 11th anniversary of Vietnamese Women's Day.

Speaking at the event, Tran Thi Chang, head of the Vietnamese women’s union in Malaysia, said it has decided to organise free Chinese and Malay classes which aimed at helping Vietnamese women who are living, working and studying in Malaysia to integrate with the daily life in the locality. They followed the success of the Vietnamese language classes that have been maintained over the past five years.

In the context that Malaysia is implementing quarantine measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and trainees coming from different states, the teaching and learning will take place in the online form with a duration of 1.5 hours per one lesson in the immediate future, she said, adding that based on pandemic situation, the association would consider holding face-to-face sessions to improve learning efficiency and enhance communication between teachers and students.

The Malaysian class will be taught by Tony Nguyen, the founder and manager of Tony Academy who has a lot of experience in teaching Malaysian to Vietnamese in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Kieu My, a Vietnamese bride in Malaysia, will be in charge of the Chinese class.

The idea of holding the foreign language classes came from Kieu My after she learned about the meaningful activities of the Vietnamese Women's Union in Malaysia. She wishes to make her small contribution to the association's volunteer activities, helping the Vietnamese community in Malaysia in general, Chang said.

She said that with the experience of organising and operating the Vietnamese language classes, the association will successfully organise Malaysian and Vietnamese language classes.

Young Photography Festival 2021 showcases 128 works

The Young Photography Festival 2021 takes place from October 20 to 29 at the Centre of Art-Photography Exhibition, No. 29 Hang Bai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, featuring 128 works.

The biennial festival is hosted by the Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibitions under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Throughout its three previous iterations (2015, 2017 and 2019), the Young Photography Festival has received the support and participation of a large number of young photographers. In 2021, after more than three months, the organising board had received 1,895 works from 270 authors from 57 provinces and cities nationwide.

The arts council of the festival, established by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, consists of reputable photographers who work objectively, fairly and responsibly, selecting 128 works and 85 authors for display. Of which, the 19 best works have been selected for awards, including 16 awards in the category of Realistic Photos, and 3 in the category of Conceptual Photos. Specifically, the arts council awarded one gold medal, four silver medals, five bronze medals and nine consolation prizes.

A representative from the organising board said that with new discoveries, creations, and experiments, the works selected for display and awards at the Youth Photography Festival 2021 showcase an impressive and vivid expression on the issues of contemporary life; beauty of people, culture and the landscape of the country; as well as the thoughts, opinions, ideas of young cameramen.

Thereby, the works express a Vietnam that is both traditional, modern, dynamic, integrated, and the desire to rise up and prove the bravery of young people.

According to the organising board, the Youth Photography Festival 2021 is an artistic event for young photographers in particular and for the photography industry in general, an attractive "playground" suitable to the interests and needs of young people to create and publish works.

This is also considered an opportunity for young people who love photography throughout the country to exchange, study and introduce their achievements; while at the same time act as a bridge to add passion and creativity; gather, develop and supplement the next generation of the Vietnamese photographic force.

Hanoi receives relics of President Ho Chi Minh’s house in Ha Dong district

The Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports has received relics from the house where President Ho Chi Minh lived and worked in December 1946 in Van Phuc ward, Ha Dong district.

The relics were presented by the People’s Committee of Van Phuc ward and the Van Phuc Silk Weaving Village Association.

The artifact, donated by the People’s Committee of Van Phuc ward, include the traditional loom of Van Phuc silk village and the silk display cabinet of the family of Mr. Nguyen Van Duong, the previous owner of the house. These are typical artifacts preserved by officials and people of Van Phuc ward over the years.

These artifacts will be added to an exhibition entitled “Weaving silk space” held as part of the activities to mark the 75th anniversary of National Resistance Day (December 19, 1946-2021).

The house where President Ho Chi Minh lived and worked in December 1946 in Van Phuc is one of 14 relic sites in the system of museums and monuments commemorating President Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi.

Here, President Ho Chi Minh wrote an appeal urging the entire people of Vietnam to resist French colonial rule in 1946.

The relic was recognised as a national relic site in 1975 and is currently managed by the Management Board of Hanoi Monuments and Landscapes under the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports.

Dong Nai approves shorter interval between two AstraZeneca doses

The southern province of Dong Nai today, October 20, gave the green light to a plan to reduce the interval between two doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to four weeks from the recommended 8-12 weeks.

People who got their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine four weeks ago can now take the second shot, according to the provincial chairman.

The provincial government tasked the local health authority with coordinating with the relevant agencies and local authorities to continue the vaccination rollout to ensure 100% of residents 18 and older in the province would be fully vaccinated.

According to the provincial Health Department, the province administered the first shot to over 2.5 million people at age 18 and above, meeting 101% of its target. Among them, over 980,000 are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, it has yet to inoculate youths 12 to 17 years of age.

Phan Huy Anh Vu, head of the provincial health authority, said the Ministry of Health had allocated an additional 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca to the province the same day to administer the second shot to local residents.

As an industrial province, Dong Nai has a high demand for Covid vaccines to stabilize the daily lives of local residents and help production recover at the earliest. However, one of its obstacles in the vaccination drive is the shortage of syringes as the Covid vaccines were shipped to the province first and the syringes arrived later.

Accordingly, Vu asked the local authorities to proactively tap the local budget and raise funds from the private sector to purchase syringes for Covid vaccination, instead of waiting for the supply from the Health Ministry.

Binh Duong set to close its largest Covid field hospital this month

The Thoi Hoa Covid-19 field hospital, the largest of its kind in Binh Duong Province with 37,000 beds, is treating just over 300 patients at the moment and is expected to be shut down in late October, according to the provincial anti-Covid authoriy.

Data from the Binh Duong Center for Disease Control showed that this southern province has reported over 226,000 cases in the latest Covid outbreak, which began in late April. Among them, over 224,600 patients have recovered from the disease.

Over the past 10 days, the daily new recoveries in the province have reached a four-digit figure. The province’s Covid field hospitals and medical facilities are now treating over 8,000 active cases, including 379 at the Thoi Hoa field hospital, as of October 19.

When the latest outbreak was at its peak in Binh Duong, the hospital had admitted and provided medical treatment to over 20,000 patients. If daily new infections and recoveries continue spiraling down, there would no active cases by the end of the month, according to the hospital’s management.

Besides, as the province has gradually brought the outbreak under control, it is rearranging Covid treatment facilities and resuming the original operations of some facilities such as workshops and schools. Meanwhile, pop-up healthcare stations would take over the role of quarantine centers and treatment facilities at the grassroots level.

The province recently put into operation 184 mobile medical stations, with 26 set up at industrial parks and clusters.

Over 11,000 Covid patients remain in hospitals in HCMC

The number of Covid-19 patients under treatment at hospitals in HCMC has declined to a mere 11,480 as the city has basically brought the pandemic under control, resulting in hospitalizations dropping significantly.

These patients, including 837 children and 113 pregnant women, are receiving treatment at the hospitals at the second and third tiers, according to the HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC).

Besides, 12,530 cases with no or mild symptoms are self-isolating at home while over 5,000 others are staying at state-run quarantine centers.

As of this morning, October 20, the city’s Covid cases have reached 420,144, with 419,645 of locally infected and 499 imported.

On October 19, 924 Covid patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the city’s total recoveries to 243,401.

Given the stable Covid situation in HCMC, many hospitals which had been converted into Covid treatment facilities will shift back to their original state in the coming days, Motthegioi news site reported.

Dr Le Thanh Chien, director of the Trung Vuong Covid treatment hospital, said that next week, the outpatient department of the hospital and some other departments and rooms will restart admitting non-Covid patients.

Meanwhile, Dr Ho Van Han, director of the Covid treatment hospital in Go Vap District, said the hospital will return to its normal operation and admit non-Covid patients from next week.

Covid patients receiving treatment at the hospital will be transferred to other field hospitals in the city, Han said.

Mekong Delta localities resume business and service facilities

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has just released a temporary health and safety requirements, and Covid-19 Prevention and Control standards to reopen some activities, said Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee Duong Tan Hien.

Accordingly, shopping malls, supermarkets, convenient stores, food and drink services have been allowed to reopen under control measures of capacity limits and physical distancing.

Types of public transport for passenger and goods of road, inland waterway, marine and air in the inner city or among provinces have been permitted to re-operate in accordance with pandemic prevention and control measures.

Can Tho has not required travelers from and to affected areas between Alert Level 1 and Alert Level 2 to test for Covid-19 while people coming from the alert level 3 and 4 localities have been asked to get testing and take mandatory quarantine period.

People aged 65 and over with underlying medical conditions, those under 18, pregnant person, mother breastfeeding her baby less than 36 months of age will be asked to isolate at home for seven days and add the next seven days of self-monitoring.

In Ben Tre Province, suspected cases coming from the alert level 3 areas must display negative test result for covid-19 conducted within 72 hours or proof of vaccination.

Business and service facilities, such as restaurant, hotel, have been allowed to reopen to the public. Types of public transport for passenger of road, inland waterway, marine and air in the inner city or among provinces have been permitted to re-operate in accordance with pandemic prevention and control measures. Ben Tre has maintained the operation of three Covid-19 control stations in the province’s gateways.

Soc Trang Province has also maintained the operation of Covid-19 checkpoints but not check travel documents, and given permission on outdoor and indoor activities to residents living in the “green zones”.

The People’s Committee of Ca Mau Province has proposed the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health to strengthen the allocation of Covid-19 vaccine to the Mekong Delta provinces, and send healthcare workers and medical supplies to help the provinces in the region treat Covid-19 patients that may increase in coming days.

Prime Minister hosts UN representatives in Vietnam

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 21 hosted a reception for Kidong Park, UN Resident Coordinator and interim, and chief representatives of UN organisations in Vietnam on the occasion of the UN’s upcoming founding anniversary (October 24, 1945 – 2021).

At the event, Chinh stated Vietnam highly values the UN's achievements since its establishment. The UN continues to play a very important role in preventing conflicts, upholding international law, promoting sustainable development and climate change response, and protecting human rights, he added.

The PM emphasised that Vietnam always treasures the UN’s valuable assistance for the country over the past four decades. At this difficult time of the country's current fight against COVID-19, the UN’s aid has came in forms of medical equipment and supplies, professional and policy advice on pandemic prevention and control, socio-economic recovery and development, with a commitment to supplying Vietnam with 38.9 million doses of vaccines this year through the COVAX Facility.

He suggested that the UN organisations boost the COVAX Facility’s vaccine support for Vietnam, promote vaccine production research and cooperation in the country, and provide medical supplies and assist Vietnam in accessing treatment drugs.

Chinh also asked the UN to offer resources and policy consultancy to help Vietnam safely and flexibly adapt to and effectively control the epidemic; promote socio-economic recovery and development post pandemic, transform its economic model, and ensuring social security.

The Government leader affirmed that strengthening cooperation with and participation in the UN is a priority in the nation’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralisation of relations, and proactive, comprehensive, extensive and effective international integration.

Vietnam has been always an active member of the UN, contributing to the the organisation’s joint efforts in response to global challenges, peace promotion, and sustainable development, Chinh said.

The Prime Minister asked the UN to support Vietnam in carrying out key tasks and strategic breakthroughs set out by the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Congratulating Vietnam on controlling the fourth wave of COVID-19, the participating UN representatives expressed their impressions at the nation's all-people approach to the pandemic fight and its treatment of COVID-19 patients.

They said they welcome the Vietnamese Government's resolution on recovery and safe adaptation to the pandemic, adding that the UN will continue to accompany and support the country in economic recovery and development.

They also appreciated the nation’s role, position and active participation in the UN Security Council and other UN mechanisms and forums, thereby contributing to consolidating and promoting peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world./.

Vietnam, Cambodia hold seventh political consultation

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung and Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Soeung Rathchavy co-chaired the seventh Vietnam-Cambodia political consultation via videoconference on October 21 to discuss bilateral ties as well as regional and global issues of shared concern.

Both sides shared the view that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have made efforts to maintain all-level exchanges and meetings in various forms, and effectively made use of bilateral cooperation mechanisms.

Two-way trade in the first eight months of this year saw good growth to reach 6.65 billion USD, doubling the figure of the same period last year. Vietnam remained among five biggest investors in Cambodia with 188 projects worth over 2.85 billion USD.

The two sides agreed to step up trade and economic recovery post-pandemic, enhance national defence-security cooperation, improve the efficiency of border management and collaboration in education, information and communications, culture-sports and people-to-people exchange.

They pledged to work closely together to seek solutions to the issue of legal papers for Cambodians of Vietnamese origin and ensure the smooth relocation and  resettlement of Cambodians of Vietnamese origin in the Tonle Sap region.

Both sides agreed to coordinate for the organisation of celebrations for the 55th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties during the Vietnam – Cambodia, Cambodia – Vietnam Friendship Year 2022, and the 11th Conference on Cooperation and Development of Border Provinces, the 19th meeting of the Vietnam – Cambodia Joint Committee on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technological Cooperation and other important external events in the time ahead.

They also exchanged views on regional and global issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue and several new developments related to regional security and stability.

The two sides pledged to coordinate closely and support each other at multilateral forums such as the United Nations, ASEAN and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), as well as strengthen collaboration in sub-regional mechanisms, and combine the development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region with ASEAN Community building.

On the occasion, Rathchavy informed on key contents and priorities during Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2022. She expressed a wish to maintain solidarity and promote central role of ASEAN together with Vietnam and member states.

Dung affirmed that Vietnam backs Cambodia's successful organisation of the 13th ASEM Summit and role of ASEAN Chairmanship 2022.

The eighth political consultation will be held in Cambodia at an appropriate time in 2023./. 

National Assembly examine revised bill on intellectual property

The National Assembly discussed the draft law on amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law on Intellectual Property (IP) on October 21, as part of the 15th legislature’s second session.

Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat underlined the urgent need to revise the IP Law as Vietnam is shifting from being a user to a creator of IP.

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said building the law is a difficult task that requires great intellectual power.

Deputy Tran Cong Phan of Binh Duong said reports showed IP disputes and violations settled through civilian suits at courts account for only a very small ratio compared to tens of thousands of violation of IP rights settled by administrative measures. Most violations are related to copyrights.

Deputy Le Minh Chuan of Quang Ninh province expressed approval of the draft law’s stipulation that the registration of inventions or industrial designs which are results of scientific-technological assignments funded by the State budget is automatically awarded to the organization in charge of the assignment./.

Deputy PM requires resuming tourism in scientific, safe manner

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has said tourism activities should be resumed quickly in a scientific and safe manner.

Chairing an online meeting with a number of ministries and localities on October 21 to discuss plans for receiving foreign tourists in the new situation, the Deputy PM said the full re-opening of tourism activities should depend on pandemic situation and lessons learnt from the first and second stages of re-opening.

He assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) to work with relevant ministries and agencies to issue guidelines on welcoming visitors in the first stage, and announce measures and supplementary conditions for tourists to have sufficient information before they decide to travel.

About visa procedures, Dam requested following the existing regulations and suggested authorities waive and reduce visa fees for foreigners.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet said the ministry has proposed a roadmap to resume international tourism activities in three stages, with the first stage starting from November 2021, during which Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang; Cam Ranh in the central province of Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam province and Da Nang city are open to foreign visitors going on package tours and travelling on charter or commercial flights.  

In the second stage from January 2022, the sector will serve more foreign travellers and connect with destinations via charter and regular flights.

In the third stage from the second quarter of next year, international tourism activities will be fully re-opened on the condition of ensuring adherence to pandemic prevention and control regulations.

The MoCST suggested the Government consider issues regarding welcoming foreign guests with “vaccine passports”. It also asked localities to boost vaccination for residents and employees in tourism sector./.

COVID-19: New cases on October 21 top 3,618

Vietnam recorded 3,618 cases of COVID-19 on October 21, including 18 imported cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

HCM City still recorded the highest number of infections with 1,255, followed by neighbouring Binh Duong province with 483 and Dong Nai province with 390.

The national tally now stands at 877,537.

According to the Ministry of Health’s report, 3,041 patients nationwide are in serious conditions, with 381 requiring invasive ventilation and 20 on life support (ECMO).

On the day, the country saw 71 deaths from the disease. The death toll now hits 21,487.

A further 1,541 patients were given the all-clear, taking the total number of recoveries to 798,124.

By October 20, the country had injected over 68.8 million doses of vaccines to date, with more than 19.45 million people now fully inoculated./. 

All-round assessment of pandemic’s impacts needed: NA Chairman

Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue has asked the Government, ministries, sectors, and localities to make all-round assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic’s socio-economic impacts.

He made the request at a group discussion of parliamentarians on October 21 morning, part of the ongoing second session of the 15th NA.

Legislators looked into the implementation outcomes of the 2021 socio-economic development plan, the draft development plan for next year, the report on the COVID-19 prevention and control, and the implementation of Resolution No. 30/2021/QH15 released at the 15th NA’s first session in July.

Other issues under consideration included the implementation of this year’s State budget plan, the State budget estimates and the allocation plan for the central budget in 2022, along with the finance - State budget plan for 2022 - 2024.

Participants asked the Government and all-level administrations to evaluate the pandemic’s impacts, address shortcomings, steer clear of subjectivity and hastiness in the COVID-19 prevention and control, and soon issue a general programme on socio-economic recovery and development.

Echoing the views of some deputies, Chairman Hue demanded the Government, ministries, sectors, and localities make all-round assessment of the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts, which will serve as the basis for building general strategies and plans for combating and safely and flexibly adapting to COVID-19, as well as for issuing socio-economic policies that suit the reality.

He noted that all parliamentarians have reached high consensus on the need for changing mindset and focusing on the safe, flexible, and effective adaptation to the pandemic.

The NA leader held that the general programme on socio-economic recovery must take into account fiscal and monetary policies so as to boost both economic recovery and development.

However, the legislature is unable to consider a financial package for the general programme on socio-economic recovery right at this second session as preparations for this issue haven’t been completed yet, he said, adding that the NA Standing Committee is planning to seek permission for organising an irregular meeting in December to decide on this matter./.

PM asks Phu Tho, Soc Trang, Ca Mau to contain new COVID-19 outbreaks

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 20 requested Phu Tho, Soc Trang and Ca Mau provinces to quickly contain their newly-detected COVID-19 outbreaks.

PM Chinh, who is also Head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, asked the Ministry of Health to provide the maximum support for the provinces.

Meanwhile, these provinces were requested to assess the pandemic risk level on the smallest possible scale in order to take appropriate medical and administrative measures for each level and each locality.

The Government leader urged these localities to focus on strengthening medical capacity at all levels, especially the treatment capacity at the grassroots level for early classification and treatment, and speed up vaccinations against COVID-19, with priority given to high-risk groups and areas.

He also asked Phu Tho, Soc Trang and Ca Mau provinces to continue coordinating more closely and effectively in transporting people from one locality to another to ensure safety.

According to reports from Phu Tho, Soc Trang and Ca Mau provinces, although there have been some outbreaks in the community in the past few days, the situation has been still under control./.

President assigns tasks to newly-appointed ambassadors

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 21 handed over appointment decisions to eight ambassadors of Vietnam to European and Asian countries in the 2021-2024 term.

President Phuc asked the new ambassadors to well implement the country's foreign affairs, especially its vaccine diplomacy strategy, to help boost the country’s pandemic prevention and control as well as economic development and recovery.

In the context of fierce competition between major countries, the diplomats were requested to actively participate in building a peaceful, friendly and stable environment, laying a foundation to promote bilateral and multilateral relations with Vietnam.

He re-emphasised Vietnam's foreign policy after the 13th National Party Congress as well as the country's goal of becoming a high-income country by 2045.

Therefore, the top priority task is to develop the economy, mobilise all domestic and foreign resources to develop the country, improve its prestige in the international arena, and realize the aspiration for peace, he said, adding that these are important missions of the ambassadors.

The President also asked the diplomats to continue implementing overseas Vietnamese-related affairs in the new situation, consider this work and citizen protection a key task, and mobilise resources of overseas Vietnamese to contribute to the cause of national construction and development.

The ambassadors committed to trying their best, coordinating with domestic and foreign agencies, well implementing the foreign policy of the 13th National Party Congress, bettering citizen protection and defending the nation's sovereignty./.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 21

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 21

Lockdown removed from Hanoi’s largest wholesale market

 
 

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