Hanoi suspends passenger transport activities from/to Quang Ninh


Hanoi’s Department of Transport on January 28 ordered the suspension of passenger transport by road between the capital city and the northern province of Quang Ninh where a new outbreak of COVID-19 has been detected.

The order took effective right on the issuance date.

At the same time, the department asked all transport service suppliers to strictly apply measures to prevent the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic, by requesting drivers and passengers to wear face masks throughout their trips and providing hand sanitizers.

Earlier the same day, the Quang Ninh Department of Transport announced the suspension of all passenger transport activities from/to the province until further note.

On January 27 and 28, the northeastern province of Quang Ninh detected 11 new COVID-19 cases in the community./.

PM: Localities must enhance COVID-19 fight

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a directive on several urgent measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, after 83 community transmissions of the SARS-CoV-2 variant were found in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh on January 27 and 28.

In the directive, issued after the detection of the largest number of community transmissions so far, the PM requested a lockdown of the entire Chi Linh city in Hai Duong and a serious application of social distancing measures for 21 days, starting from midday on January 28.

Activities at schools, public spaces, and entertainment areas, and non-essential business operations must be suspended, and so is public passenger transport from Chi Linh to elsewhere, except for public missions or essential cases.

In Quang Ninh, the operation of the Van Don International Airport must be suspended from midday on January 28.

The Chairman of the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee was required to shut down the establishments that fail to ensure prevention and control measures are followed, rapidly trace F1 and F2 cases, zone off affected areas, conduct testing on a large scale, quarantine for 21 days those who had close contact with patients, and consider imposing social distancing based on the infection risk in each area.

Chairpersons of centrally-run cities and provinces must direct monitoring, prevention and control efforts at medical establishments, schools, industrial parks, factories, and crowded areas; and urge residents to wear masks, avoid public gatherings, and keep a safe distance apart in public spaces. Localities must also enhance inspections and seriously punish violators.

The Ministry of Health was assigned to promptly assist Quang Ninh and Hai Duong in effectively dealing with all contingencies.

The Ministries of National Defence, Public Security, and Health, and the People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces must boost measures to closely control immigration and seriously punish any illegal entry.

Entire apartment block locked down at Times City, Hanoi

All residents at an apartment block in Hà Nội’s Times City have been told they must stay at home after one person living in the complex tested positive for COVID-19.

The 54-year-old woman lives in T6 block, and had close contact with the mother of the security worker at Vân Đồn International Airport in Quảng Ninh Province who was confirmed positive on Thursday.

She and her husband have gone shopping at Times City's Megamall previously, Hà Nội CDC reported.

In the early hours of Friday morning, authorities in the capital announced lockdown procedures for the entire T6 block, asking all residents to remain in their apartments until further notice.

Later that morning, health workers wearing protective clothing could be seen in the lobby of the building spraying disinfectant.

No details have been released yet announcing how long the T6 building will be in lockdown.

Times City, and the neighbouring Park Hill developments, have a total of 23 residential buildings and are home to thousands of people. 

Hanoi chairman urges quick response as community cases confirmed in the city

Following an outbreak of new community COVID-19 cases in the north of the country, Hà Nội will test all people who have returned from Quảng Ninh Province and Chí Linh City, Hải Dương Province since January 14. The city expects to complete the testing by Monday, February 1.

Hà Nội People’s Committee Chairman Chu Ngọc Anh on Thursday night directed the city’s departments, agencies and People’s Committees at all levels to prepare for any COVID-19 response scenario.

The move was made after the city confirmed a community COVID-19 case in Cầu Giấy District and suspects a link to the COVID-19 resurgence in Quảng Ninh Province and Chí Linh City, while the 13th National Party Congress is taking place in the city.

The chairman asked for tightening of COVID-19 prevention and control to ensure the safety of congress participants.

The Department of Health was asked to co-operate with local authorities to trace, identify, offer testing and monitor the health of people who have returned from the outbreak-affected areas and those who have been in contact with returnees.

The department would also closely work with the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department and health departments of other localities, particularly Hải Dương and Quảng Ninh, to trace suspected cases.

Local hospitals and healthcare units were asked to tighten disease prevention and control measures.

The city chairman asked for tightened controls on entry, health monitoring and quarantine, especially measures to prevent infections in quarantine areas or spread to the community.

Agencies were also asked to instruct people to strictly follow the health ministry’s 5K (in Vietnamese) message: Khẩu trang (face mask) – Khử khuẩn (disinfection) – Khoảng cách (distance) – Không tụ tập (no gathering) – Khai báo y tế (health declaration).

Authorities also called on people report suspected cases of illegal entries or violations in disease prevention and control.

Police would co-operate with relevant units to tighten inspections, detection and prevention of illegal entries. The army would continue to help the health department, districts and townships to arrange sufficient quarantine areas in case the pandemic resurges in the city.

Media outlets were asked to help people understand and implement requirements and recommendations by the health ministry, National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and city authorities.

The transport department will increase oversight at coach and railway stations, as well as over public transportation.

Coach operators have to record information of passengers who travel on inter-provincial routes, particularly those going to or from localities with reported community infections.

The department on Thursday ordered the suspension of road transport between the capital city and the northern province of Quảng Ninh.

At the same time, the department asked all transport services to strictly apply measures to prevent the spread of the virus, by requesting drivers and passengers to wear face masks throughout their trips and providing hand sanitisers.

The Department of Culture and Sports would review and consult the city People’s Committee about the organisations of festivals and events.

The Department of Industry and Trade will introduce inspections at shopping centres, supermarkets, markets and convenience stores. Shoppers must wear face masks and keep a safe distance.

 Việt Nam recorded nine new community infections of COVID-19 over the past 12 hours as of 6am on January 29.

Among those, there is one living in Hà Nội’s Hai Bà Trưng district. The patient had been in close contact with a security worker at the Vân Đồn International Airport, who tested positive on January 27. 

Faster, stronger response to stamp out new COVID-19 outbreaks: Deputy PM

By strictly following guidelines on COVID-19 combat procedures, Vietnam will control the pandemic and ensure safety during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

Speaking at an online meeting on January 28 with the steering committees for COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control of northern Hai Duong and Quang Ninh provinces where new outbreaks have been discovered, Dam, who is head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said that as the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread faster and become more dangerous, pandemic control activities must be conducted more quickly and drastically.

The Deputy PM noted that Vietnam has for the first time found two outbreaks at the same time with 82 infections, showing the higher speed of spreading of the new variant of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

He lauded the Health Ministry and the two provinces’ quick response to the outbreaks in the spirit of “fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy.”

“We have not wasted any minute, any hour and this spirit should be continued,” he stressed.

Along with the tracing of people who had close contact with the newly-discovered cases, he asked the Health Ministry and the two provinces to expand investigation on cases related to Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh, thus defining all passengers going through the airport in the past 15 days to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

A lockdown order has been issued for Cong Hoa commune in Hai Duong’s Chi Linh city and Dong Trieu township and the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh.

He requested all ministries, sectors and localities to strictly follow all medical guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control./.

Ca Mau to set up protected forest area on Hon Khoai-Hon Chuoi islands

Ca Mau People's Committee has announced the establishment of a conservation forest to protect the ecosystem on Hon Khoai and Hon Chuoi island cluster.

Hon Khoai Islands include Hon Khoai, Hon Sao, Hon Doi Moi, Hon Tuong and Hon Da Le islands. The islands are over 5 million square metres and belong to Tan An Commune, Ngoc Hien District. Hon Chuoi Islands are nearly 760,000 square metres in Song Doc Town, Tran Van Thoi District.

Nearly 5.4 million square metres of the islands are forest. Ca Mau People's Committee will set up a historical, cultural, tourist site and conserved forest.

The site will be set up in order to protect and sustainably develop the forest and the genetic resources on the islands as well as in the sea. Another aim is to control the invasion of harmful non-native species and ensure green coverage in Hon Khoai and Hon Chuoi islands as well as the historic constructions for further tourism development.

The local authorities were asked to implement measures to deal with climate change and natural disasters, improving the living conditions for everyone living on the islands including better transportation, healthcare and housing.

Exhibition in Quang Nam introduces Colombian flowers


The Floribus - Colombia” exhibition aims to give visitors an insight into the nation, people and culture of Colombia (Photo: VNA)

The Colombian Embassy in Vietnam on January 28 kicked off a photo exhibition in Hoi An city of the central province of Quang Nam, introducing 22 photos of flowers of Colombia taken by photographer Monika Herran Restrepo.

Taking place until January 31, the “Floribus - Colombia” exhibition aims to give visitors an insight into the nation, people and culture of Colombia.

This is a chance for Hoi An and Quang Nam in general to enhance cultural exchange and mutual understanding with Colombian localities, thus further promoting the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Colombia.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Colombian Ambassador to Vietnam Miguel Rodriguez said that Colombia is one of the countries with the highest biodiversity in the world thanks to its rich flora and fauna species.

The country has developed its flower industry with more than 7,000 hectares of flower farms with about 1,500 varieties. Colombia has supplied flowers to 89 countries in the world, becoming the second largest exporter of flowers in the world and the leading provider of carnation.

Since 2015, Colombia has started to export fresh flowers to Vietnam./.

Rạch Miễu temporary ferry station opens

The Rạch Miễu temporary ferry station started operation on Wednesday, offering a ferry service to cross the Tiền River that links the Mekong Delta provinces of Tiền Giang and Bến Tre.

The ferry station is 10km from the Rạch Miễu Bridge. In the early stage, three ferries will be operated to carry passengers across the river, helping reduce traffic on the Rạch Miễu Bridge.

The ferries accept vehicles with loads of less than 30 tonnes and a height of less than 3.9m.

Pedestrians and two-wheel vehicles can travel free of charge using the ferries while fees for other vehicles will be the same as those for the Rạch Miễu Bridge, said Trần Ngọc Tam, chairman of Bến Tre Province People’s Committee.

Director of the province’s Transport Department Cao Minh Đức said once traffic congestion was reported at toll stations on the Rạch Miễu Bridge, authorities will direct traffic and prioritise coaches and trucks with loads of less than 30 tonnes to use the ferries.

The ferries are expected to operate from now to 2025 until the construction of Rạch Miễu 2 bridge is completed.

The Rạch Miễu Bridge was opened to traffic in 2009, replacing the operation of the old Rạch Miễu ferry terminal. The bridge was designed to serve a daily volume of 3,000-6,000 vehicles, but the number of vehicles using the bridge has soared to 18,000 each day.

Given this situation, Bến Tre and Tiền Giang provinces planned to build a second bridge crossing the Tiền River to ease the traffic congestion.

While waiting for the second bridge project to be implemented, the two provinces decided to build the ferry station to cope with the traffic congestion which is usually worse during holidays, especially the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. 

HCM City tightens COVID-19 prevention measures

Ho Chi Minh City has called for tighter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday after Vietnam identified 82 new COVID-19 cases related to the two that were conformed late on January 27, the highest number recorded in a single day in the country.

Speaking at an online meeting on January 28, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan said the city’s authorities have ordered all of its districts and Thu Duc city to limit organisation of festivals or events and mass gatherings of people in high-risk areas such as supermarkets, train and bus stations, airports, schools, businesses and factories.

Gatherings of people must comply with the requirements and guidance of the health ministry.

The city’s measures aim to ensure health and safety for its citizens during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, only two weeks away.

The city, which is focusing on strict management of foreign entries, said it has told its local health department to intensify supervision of medical quarantine regulations to detect and treat any infections to prevent the virus from spreading.

The department must also take steps to ensure that all medical workers in disease prevention and control are fully aware of the situation and that they fulfill their responsibilities to carry out disease prevention plans and scenarios.

The department will assign tasks to individuals and units if any cases are detected.

The city strongly recommends that people continue to strictly follow the ministry’s measures to prevent winter-spring diseases, including COVID-19.

The city continues to promote its 5K (in Vietnamese) message: Khau trang (face mask) – Khu khuan (disinfection) – Khoang cach (distance) – Khong tu tap (no gathering) – Khai bao y te (health declaration).

As of January 28 afternoon, the city had identified seven people as F1 contacts (direct contact with the patient in Quang Ninh province). Six of them have tested negative for the virus for the first test. The other is waiting for his test results, according to Nguyen Tan Binh, Director of the municipal Department of Health.

Tết gifts help impoverished people in Quảng Bình enjoy holiday

Receiving a gift from a charity group of the 'Border Spring' programme made student Cao Ngọc Huyền feel so happy.

"Our life here is still difficult, but we always receive the attention and care of the local authorities, border guards and other donors," she said.

"We will try our best to learn to be useful people in the future and help villagers have better lives," Huyền said.

Huyền is one of many local students and ethnic people in Thượng Hóa Commune, Minh Hóa District, Quảng Bình Province to be cheered by the gifts.

Hundreds of gifts have been carefully packed to send to people and soldiers in the remote border area in Quảng Bình to help them have a warm Tết (Lunar New Year) festival.

The gifts come from volunteers, youth union, veterans' association and agencies in Quảng Bình.

Although they are still quite tired after a long trip to Thượng Hóa Commune, everyone in charity group of the 'Border Spring' programme feels cheered up by the warm welcome of the locals.

Nearly 250 Tết gifts have been presented to local students and 210 gifts to ethnic minority households and policy beneficiaries.

The group also inaugurated a primary and secondary schools in Ón and Mò O Ồ Ồ villages and offered gifts to soldiers at the Cà Xèng border point.

"The 'Border Spring' programme is a meaningful activity towards people in border and mountainous areas. These are just small gifts but they are our love and sharing with the local people to help them enjoy Tết," said Mạnh Thị Minh, deputy secretary of the Youth Union of Vietnam News Agency.

During the two-day charity journey, the group also organised a special event dubbed the “0 đồng market” which took place at Mò O Ồ Ồ Village.

Aiming to bring joy to welcome the Lunar New Year, the volunteer group worked with local authorities to organise the charitable market with different goods for Tết holiday.

"It's a market of love, helping poor people have a warm holiday. All people here feel so happy," said Cao Xuân Long, a local resident.

The enthusiasm created a special atmosphere at the year-end with hope for a year full of happiness, according to the secretary of provincial Youth Union, Nguyễn Tuấn Hùng.

"The '0 đồng' market shows the love and sharing of the community to the poor in remote areas, arousing young people to love their homeland and nation and be willing to go everywhere to help people in need," he said.

The programme also provided free medical checkups and health consultations to local people and soldiers.

Major Nguyễn Trung Chính from Cà Xèng border point said most people here are ethnic minorities including the Chứt, Rục and Sách communities.

"People here are still facing many difficulties so we have launched many programmes to help locals. We have supported ethnic groups to grow rice, adopt poor children to help them access education and bring electricity to the villages,” the major said.

Poverty, lack of education facilities, poor infrastructure and low awareness of local people have deprived many children of education opportunities.

Chính said local border soldiers have worked to get more children access to education and helped ethnic communities improve their lives. 

Comedy show celebrates Lunar New Year

A comedy show “Goodbye Rat, Hello Buffalo” will be held at Hard Rock Cafe HCM City on February 7 to celebrate Lunar New Year.

The performance will feature stand-up comedians JK Hobson, Kelso Dowling and Erick Garcia from the US, who have been popular with Vietnamese audiences for years.

The show will be hosted by Niall Mackay.

The event will start at 7:30 pm. The venue is at 39 Lê Duẩn Street in District 1. Tickets from VNĐ250,000 - 400,000 can be purchased at 

Quang Ninh receives 10,000 COVID-19 testing kits from SunGroup

The northern province of Quang Ninh, where a new COVID-19 outbreak has been discovered, has received 10,000 SARS-CoV-2 testing kits worth more than 28,000 USD presented by SunGroup.

Speaking at the handover ceremony on January 28 afternoon, Chairman of the Quang Ninh People’s Committee Nguyen Tuong Van said that the testing kits will be useful to help local medical units to promptly detect infection cases in the community, thereby swiftly localizing and stamping out the pandemic.

According to the provincial Department of Health, as of 14:00 on January 28, the province had found 714 people related to the outbreak at Van Don International Airport, of whom 10 positive cases were confirmed.

For the other outbreak in Chi Linh city of Hai Duong province, as of 15:00 on January 28, medical staff took samples of 42 out of 43 high-risk people and no positive cases were found.

On January 27 and 28, 84 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the provinces./. 

Vietnamese in Laos expect positive outcomes from National Party Congress

Though far from their homeland, the Vietnamese community in Laos care very much about the ongoing 13th National Party Congress. They have remained updated on information regarding the congress via TV and have exchanged ideas about their expectations.  

Watching news reports on the opening ceremony of the 13th National Party Congress, these Vietnamese people in Laos say they are proud to hear of the significant achievements their home country posted during the 12th tenure.

They have high hopes for the 13th National Party Congress, believing it will elect people with morality and capacity to the new Party Central Committee so they can rectify the Party organisation and continue the fight against corruption.

The Vietnamese community in Laos have also placed their hopes in the country leaders to be elected at the congress. They expect these leaders will possess the capacity and morality to spur the country’s rapid and sustainable growth./.


Singapore pilots self-driving buses

Singapore has moved a step closer to a driverless public transport network with the launch of a new trial of self-driving buses.

Orderly and high-tech, the Asian city-state has become a test-bed for self-driving vehicles and has developed home-grown technology while inviting foreign companies to trial their own.

As planned, the trial will last three months. From this week, passengers can book a bus ride through an app that takes them around Singapore's Science Park, a high-tech business hub, during off-peak hours.

It is not the first self-driving bus trial in the city but is the first to charge a fee.

Singapore's first trial of self-driving buses came in 2015, while a trial of driverless road sweepers was launched earlier this year./.

Support of agricultural insurance fees extended until year-end

All poor and near-poor households that are involved in agricultural production will continue to be supported with 90 percent of agricultural insurance fees until the end of 2021, instead of December 31, 2020.

The information was said in a decision recently issued by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to revise and supplement several articles to Decision No.22 dated June 26, 2019 on implementing agricultural insurance support policies.

The PM assigned the Ministers of Finance, and Agriculture and Rural Development, and heads of ministry-level agencies and Government agencies, and chairpersons of local People’s Committees to take the responsibility for enforcing the decision.

The new decision became effective on January 25./.

CAAV orders airports to follow anti-pandemic measures

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) asks for stronger COVID-19 prevention and control measures

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has sent an urgent dispatch to airports, directing them to strictly follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures after community transmissions of the coronavirus were reported in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh.

The CAAV asked airports to continue calling on staff and passengers to wear masks at terminals and on all means of transport, have their temperatures checked, and wash their hands with soap or sanitiser with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Airports must quickly identify any passengers exhibiting abnormal symptoms and report these to health authorities, and regularly spray disinfectant on equipment and in high-risk areas to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The CAAV also ordered airports to ask passengers to strictly follow prevention and control measures before and during flights, in particular wearing masks onboard, and for flight crews to follow regulations on quarantine in accordance with guidelines from the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Health.

Earlier, the Northern Airports Authority decided to temporarily shut down Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh from midday on January 28 to midday on January 29./.

Women union leader: Women contributing to national development

Chairwoman of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) Ha Thi Nga has said Vietnamese women have contributed significantly to national renewal and development under the Party’s leadership and with support from the Government.

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the ongoing 13th National Party Congress, Nga said Vietnam has seen considerable improvement in gender equality goals over the last five years, standing in the sixth place globally in the proportion of women in business. It was also the only Asian country to be among the top 10 with the highest rate of women-led enterprises.

She said the theme “Safety for women and children”, selected and launched by the VWU Central Committee in 2019, will continue into the future to uphold the role of women and VWU chapters at all levels. The VWU also pooled the involvement of departments, sectors, and society as a whole in ensuring the safety of women and girls.

The VWU has received support from the Government, sectors, and mass organisations at the central and local levels, she said, which helped improve the lives of people and women in particular.

Nga added that the social issues surrounding the safety of women and children remain complicated. Employment challenges amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, climate change, environment pollution, livelihoods, labour migration, and crime related to women and children are increasingly complex.

Women nationwide expect that the Congress will issue sound policies of strategic significance to improve the country’s stature in the international arena, and deal with issues being faced by women and children, and social welfare policies to create favourable conditions for them to contribute to the country, she said./.

Thailand sets to start COVID-19 vaccinations on February 14

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said on January 17 that Thailand is targeting the immunisation of 19 million people against the coronavirus in the first phase of inoculations starting on February 14.

Inoculations will begin with 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, he said, giving no timeline for the first phase.

Of the 19 million to be vaccinated, 11 million will be people aged over 60, and 6.1 million are those with underlying diseases, he said.

Another 1.7 million doses will be for medical professionals, and 15,000 for government workers involved in managing the virus. Meanwhile, those under 18 and pregnant women will not be vaccinated this time.

The Thai Prime Minister apologised for not solving COVID-19 related problems as fast as the public had demanded.

The timeframe of vaccination will depend on the capacity of hospitals administering the vaccines and number of doses they receive, according to head of the government’s vaccine management committee Sophon Mekthon.

Thailand has altogether secured 26 million doses from AstraZeneca to be produced by local firm Siam Biosience and 2 million doses from China’s Sinovac. It has also reserved 35 million doses from AstraZeneca.
Thailand will initially import the vaccines but is expected by June to be producing it locally, Sophon added.

On January 27, Thailand documented 819 new COVID-19 infections. The country had reported 15,465 COVID-19 cases and 76 deaths.

Authorities say they will vaccinate 31.5 million people./.

Malaysian experts praise Vietnam’s approach in tackling COVID-19

Vietnam controlled its borders from the very beginning and went above and beyond World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, a Malaysian expert has said.

University Malaya epidemiologist Prof Dr Awang Bulgiba said the approach taken by a country and its resources determine the success rate in fighting COVID-19, adding countries have different resources and the approach is different depending on the resources.

Vietnam went for virus suppression through lockdowns and traditional public health approach of contact tracing, testing and quarantine, while China’s Taiwan and Hong Kong made rigorous use of technology in contact tracing.

President of Malaysian Medical Association Dr Subramaniam Muniandy added that countries that were quicker to respond to the pandemic are the ones successful in containing the spread of the pandemic.

Vietnam is among the top countries and territories that proved the most successful at containing the pandemic, announced a report unveiled on January 27 of the Lowy Institute, an independent think-tank in Australia.

New Zealand topped the rankings, followed by Vietnam, Taiwan (China) and Thailand.

13th Congress marks CPV’s strong development: Lao newspaper

The 13th National Congress marks the strong development of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), affirmed Pathet Lao newspaper of the Lao News Agency (KPL) in a front-page article on January 28.

The article said the Congress is an important transition step, creating the prerequisite for following tenures to successfully implement the national development strategy to 2030, with a view to 2045.

After 35 years of implementing the “Doi Moi” (Renewal) process and 30 years of implementing the Platform on National Construction in the period of transition to socialism, the theory on Doi Moi, socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam has gradually been perfected translated into reality, the article continued.

It spoke highly of economic accomplishments of Vietnam from 2016 to 2019, noting that the country’s economy still expanded 2.91 percent in 2020 while COVID-19 was put under control.

At the same time, Vietnam’s foreign relations and international integration continue to achieve significant results. In particular, Vietnam has excellently fulfilled its role as Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2020 and is working actively as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-21 term.

The newspaper voiced its belief that under the wise, correct and innovative leadership of the CPV, the 13th National Party Congress will be a success, and the CPV will continue to lead the entire Vietnamese army and people to achieve all goals set to build a prosperous, strong Vietnam with fair and civilised society for the well-being of the people.

The article concluded by stressing that after many decades full of challenges, the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the CPV have been well preserved and are continuing to develop in a practical and effective manner in all areas, bringing real benefits to the people of the two countries, for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world./.

Photobook from UNICEF campaign “Kindness is Contagious” launched


A photobook “Kindness is Contagious” is launched on January 28, marking a successful end to a campaign of the same name to promote acts of kindness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo:
Hanoi (VNA) - UNICEF and the Ministry of Health (MoH) on January 28 launched the photobook “Kindness is Contagious”, marking a successful end to a campaign of the same name to promote acts of kindness amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kicked off last May, the mass media and social media campaign called on children and young people to show their support for their community by promoting mutual understanding, tolerance, and inclusion, and by sharing innovative and creative solutions to fight COVID-19.

Its goal was to amplify their voice by inviting them to share drawings, videos, and innovative and creative solutions via UNICEF and MoH’s digital platforms.

UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers said the campaign had reached more than 65 million social network users nationwide three months after its launch. It was supported by young Vietnamese artists, including singer Min, music band Ngot, fashionista Chau Bui, and painter Tamypu.

The participation of influencers and popular artists helped to widely spread the campaign’s positive messages among the community and inspire people, she said.

Jointly produced by UNICEF and the Nha Nam Publishing and Communication Company, the photobook features the best artwork from children and young people participating in an online drawing challenge. It includes 106 of the best drawings selected from the more than 500 submitted from all over Vietnam during the open call on social media.

Every single drawing in the book is an act of kindness, an optimistic thought, or a creative solution to mitigating the impact of the pandemic on people.

The paintings make people feel warm inside, Flowers said, adding that she hopes the “Kindness is Contagious” campaign will not come to a complete end but continue to spread kindness throughout the community./.

People-to-people diplomacy a pillar in Vietnam’s diplomatic efforts: Official

Draft documents submitted to the 13th National Party Congress have identified people-to-people diplomacy as one of the three pillars in Vietnam’s diplomatic efforts, thus ensuring its diplomacy is comprehensive and reflects the role of forces engaged in the task, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga has said.

Nga, who is President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), told the Vietnam News Agency that over the last five years, people-to-people diplomatic activities, together with the Party and State’s diplomacy, have consistently complied with the diplomatic guidelines issued at the 12th National Party Congress, which are independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation, and development; diversification and multilateralisation of foreign relations; proactive and active integration into the world; being a friend and trustworthy partner and a responsible member of the international community; and ensuring the nation and people’s supreme interests on the basis of the fundamental principles of international law, equality, and mutual benefit.

As the leading organisation in people-to-people diplomacy, VUFO and its members have exerted efforts to fulfil its assigned political tasks, greatly helping to carry out the resolution from the 12th National Party Congress and contribute to common diplomatic achievements, she noted.

The draft documents submitted to the congress, aside from important content inherited from the documents of the 12th congress, have also been supplemented by significant new content that demonstrates the development of a new and creative diplomatic mindset that adapts to new and complex changes in the global and regional situation and the reality of domestic development.

“Ensuring the country and people’s interests on the basis of the fundamental principles of international law, equality, and mutually beneficial cooperation”, as stated in the draft documents, is highly important and principled. Meanwhile, the drafts’ determination of a “vanguard” role for diplomacy in creating and firmly maintaining a peaceful and stable environment is new and precisely exhibits the crucial role and position of external activities, she went on.

VUFO and agencies actively and responsibly contributed ideas to the draft documents, the official said, stressing that important content on the Party’s diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy has been added to the drafts, which emphasises the task of “building modern diplomacy with the three pillars of the Party’s diplomacy, the State’s diplomacy, and people-to-people diplomacy”, thus ensuring the comprehensiveness of Vietnam’s diplomacy and reflecting the role and tasks of the forces involved in this work.

Discussing the difficulties and challenges in people-to-people diplomacy, Nga pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic is still developing, the scope of relations and the network of partners in some regions remain limited, the approaches to some new issues haven’t been reformed strongly, and the role of experienced specialists in diplomacy has yet to be fully capitalised on.

With regard to advantages, people-to-people diplomatic activities now have many conditions to be promoted in a comprehensive manner, she said, elaborating that the Party and State have paid great attention to people-to-people diplomacy and consider it a task of the entire political system and the people as a whole. The Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee have issued practical directions to help VUFO bring into play the role of people-to-people diplomacy.

Vietnam’s achievements in the COVID-19 fight, the country’s socio-economic development successes, and its improved prestige and stature also form a solid foundation for people-to-people diplomacy.

Another advantage is that in recent years, the forces engaged in people-to-people diplomacy have been increasingly promoted in terms of both quantity and quality, including leaders of the Party, State, Government, National Assembly, ministries, and central agencies, as well as entrepreneurs, artists, and ordinary citizens.

As a result, she said, people’s awareness about diplomacy, with the motto “each person is an ambassador of the country”, has been increased considerably./.

Vietnam seeks to expand exports to EU via Poland

Effectively exploiting the Polish market is one of the ways to help Vietnamese goods make inroads into the EU market, experts told a workshop held by the Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) on January 28 on the prospects for Vietnam’s exports to the EU through the Polish gateway.

According to ITPC Vice Director Tran Phu Lu, Poland is an important and dynamic market in the heart of central Europe, allowing easy access to the 500-million-strong EU market.

Poland is the largest market among the new member states of the EU and the sixth largest in the EU. It is currently the 23rd-largest exporter in the world and the 20th-largest importer. This means that goods exported to Poland have the opportunity to access other markets through transitional exports.

Lu said the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which officially took effect on August 1, 2020, has brought many advantages and opportunities to further boost trade between Vietnam and Poland.

Despite COVID-19, Vietnam - Poland trade in 2020 reached over 2.1 billion USD, up 17.6 percent against 2019.

Vietnam’s exports to the country were close to 1.77 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 18.4 percent, while it spent 341 million USD on importing goods from the country.

Piotr Harasimowicz, head of the representative office of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in HCM City, said Vietnam is the 19th-largest exporter of goods to Poland, with major items being computers, electronics and spare parts, garment-textiles, coffee, and footwear.

The elimination of tariffs on Vietnam’s exports to the EU under the EVFTA will help its goods conquer the Polish market in particular and the EU market in general in the time ahead, he said.

Dang Thai Thien, from the municipal Department of Customs, noted the need for Vietnamese businesses to meet standards in quarantine and food safety, technical barriers, and origin of goods, as well as regulations in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and those related to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing if they want to promote exports to the EU.

In order to fully tap the advantages brought about by the EVFTA and further promote exports to the EU, businesses need to synchronously carry out solutions relating to market surveys and the renovation of production to bolster trust among importers, Thien said./.

OVs in US believe in success of 13th National Party Congress

Oversea Vietnamese (OVs) living in New York, the US, has expressed belief that the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam will set out judicious decisions to continue boost Vietnam’s development in the future.

Prof. Luong Dinh Dung, a lecturer at the New York University held that in the past period, Vietnam has secured sustainable development and achievements in all fields, while political stability and economic growth have been maintained.

Despite adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic both inside and outside the country, the Vietnamese economy still expanded last year, which was an impressive success, he noted.

Dung said he hoped that the congress will set out more specific policies to optimise the brainpower of Vietnamese intellectuals at home and abroad for national construction.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Trung, the owner of the famous “Just Pho” restaurant in New York, said that while many countries in the world, including the US, are struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has still maintained normal activities and become one of the few countries posting positive economic growth in 2020.

Trung held that the biggest challenge for Vietnam currently is to successfully contain the new outbreak. He expressed his belief that with the solidarity of the community, Vietnam will manage to control the pandemic once again.

Vietnam is well positioned as compared to other nations to further develop in the coming years, he added.

At the same time, Trang Pham Kelly, a doctoral candidate at the New York University, asserted that Vietnam’s successful decentralization of power will open up new opportunities for socio-economic development, while legal documents have been made clearer and State officials have become younger.

The transition of production hubs to Vietnam by many multinational groups will bring about new investment flows to Vietnam, requiring the country to upgrade its infrastructure and improve its activeness, she said.

Trang also showed hope that more favourable conditions should be designed to allow people to give more opinions to improve mechanisms and policies, thus bringing benefits to the people./.

Viet Nam responds to World Wetlands Day

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment  (MONRE) has asked other ministries, agencies and localities to take action in response to World Wetlands Day (February 2).

In a document issued recently, the MONRE called for stepping up communications work to raise public awareness of the significance of wetlands and urged efforts to preserve and use wetlands sustainably.

It also suggested integrating wetland preservation into programmes, planning schemes and development projects.

World Wetlands Day 2021 highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on the planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, human wellbeing and the health of the planet.

The campaign is also an occasion to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It aims to stem encroachment on and loss of wetlands.

As the first Southeast Asian nation to become a member of the Ramsar Convention in 1989, Việt Nam has rolled out various activities to protect and use wetlands wisely and built a legal corridor on wetland management.

So far, nine wetlands in the country have been recognised as Ramsar sites – wetlands of international importance – namely Xuân Thủy National Park, Bàu Sấu Wetlands and Seasonal Floodplains, Ba Bể National Park, Tràm Chim National Park, Mũi Cà Mau National Park, Côn Đảo National Park, Láng Sen Wetlands Reserve, U Minh Thượng National Park, and Vân Long Wetland Nature Reserve. 

National Academy of Music lecturer to celebrate 20-year career with show

Singer Le Anh Dung seen at a press conference about his coming show and fourth CD album in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Winner of Việt Nam’s most prestigious singing contest Sao Mai Điểm Hẹn (Morning Star - Rendezvous) in 2007 Lê Anh Dũng has scheduled a show for March to celebrate his 20-year career.

Entitled Một Tình Yêu (The Only Love), the show is more than a celebration. It is to reconfirm his choice to ‘devote’ his voice to love ballads.

“Although I won the contest’s Chamber Music category and have built up my reputation mostly with this music genre, singing pop ballads, especially love ballads, is always my desire.

“People say that I was quite reckless to organise my show in the current situation when everything has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Anyway, like its name, it also proves my love for this kind of music,” the singer, who is a lecturer in the Vocal Department at the Việt Nam National Academy of Music, said at a press conference on Wednesday in Hà Nội about the event.

Siner Dũng said he has built his reputation mostly with chamber music but singing pop ballads, especially love ballads, is always his desire.
Together with the show, Dũng will also has plans to release his fourth album on the same day, March 20. The album, named Chờ Em Trên Lối Xưa (Waiting for You on Our Old Street), features songs by singer-songwriter Đức Huy.

Talking about his decision to perform songs by Đức Huy on this album, Dũng said he shares views on both music and life with the composer.

“With simple and fresh lyrics, songs by Đức Huy always present a positive attitude, bringing hope to listeners. Even in his songs about sadness, there are still sparks of hope. I always appreciate the optimism and never lose hope in everything,” he said.  

Alongside hits by Đức Huy such as Cơn Mưa Phùn (The drizzle), Đường Xa Ướt Mưa (Rainy Long Road), Màu Mắt Nhung (Velvet Eyes), Một Tình Yêu (The Only Love), and Thêm Một Lần Nữa (One More Time), the album also features lesser-known pieces, including Xin Một Ngày Mai Có Nhau (Wishing to Have Each Other Someday), and Tình Yêu Vội Đi (Love Gone Quickly).

Diva Hà Trần duets with Dũng on the songs Nếu Xa Nhau (If We Are Apart) and Mùa Hè Đẹp Nhất (The Most Beautiful Summer).

Singer Dũng (left) together with jazz musician Tuấn Nam, who is Director of his album and show, at a press conference in Hà Nội on Wednesday. Photos courtesy of organiser
Director of the album and show, jazz musician Tuấn Nam, said: “The combination between the jazzy style of diva Hà Trần and the ‘formal’ style of Dũng, who is used to semi-classic and chamber music, has created ‘chemistry’ that will surprise anyone who has listened to Đức Huy’s music before.”  

Diva Hà Trần, who lives in the US, will also be the special guest at Dũng’s show.

“I am so lucky to have the chance to cooperate with Hà Trần when she came back to Việt Nam last month to join the show of her best friend, divo Tùng Dương,” Dũng said.

Alongside the physical version, the album will also be available on digital music platforms iTunes and Spotify.

At the press conference, Dũng revealed plans to release an LP version of the album.

“However, due to tough requirements on quality of the vinyl record, the LP version will be available for fans in October,” he said.

During the show, Dũng will perform a repertoire featuring songs from his newest album alongside favourites by other songwriters.

Nam Jazz Night led by musician Tuấn Nam, who studied at the Malmo Academy of Music for three years, is expected to offer a jazzy addition to Dũng’s performance.   

The show Một Tình Yêu will take place at the Hà Nội Opera House for one night only on March 20.



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