Two consumers fill in the health declaration forms before entering a convenience store in HCMC. Supermarkets, convenience stores and grocery stores in the city will remain operational during the 15-day citywide social distancing period - PHOTO: VNA

HCMC is allowing grocery stores selling necessities to remain open, while dine-in and takeaway food and drink services, public transport and non-essential services have to suspend operations during the 15-day citywide social distancing period in line with the prime minister’s Directive No. 16.

Addressing a meeting on July 8, HCMC vice chairman Duong Anh Duc said Directive No. 16 centers around social distancing and only allows essential services and manufacturing activities.

Duc said grocery stores offering necessities such as food and drinks are allowed to remain open, while those selling other products such as pans and pots have to close.

Supermarkets and convenience stores must remain operational to ensure a sufficient supply of necessities for citizens.

Wholesale markets and traditional markets will have to shut down if they fail to meet Covid-19 safety regulations.

Directive No. 16 also requires the suspension of public passenger transport services using autos and motorbikes and restrictions on the travel of residents, except for urgent or essential reasons.

Ride hailing and food delivery services have been suspended, while goods transport services are still available.

State-owned units or agencies must allow their employees to work from home, cancel non-essential meetings and conduct administrative procedures online.

Venues that offer free food for the poor can remain open but the givers and receivers have to strictly comply with Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures.

Regarding the national high school exam, Nguyen Van Hieu, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Education and Training, said the city took various measures to ensure safety for the students during the exam, which took place on July 7 and 8.

Prior to the exam, the Department of Education and Training collaborated with the Department of Health to conduct Covid-19 tests for the students and proctors. Those who tested positive for Covid-19 were not allowed to sit the exam.

HCMC vice chairman Duong Anh Duc stressed that during the 15-day social distancing period, people should only go out when it’s really necessary such as to buy food, medicines and other necessities. Those going out for non-essential reasons will be subject to administrative sanctions.

Director of the HCMC Department of Transport Tran Quang Lam said the city has suspended public transport and inter-provincial coaches. Vehicles transporting workers and experts, goods and people to medical facilities are still operational.

Nguyen Nguyen Phuong, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, said the city has closed down 148 traditional markets and three wholesale markets to curb the spread of the pandemic.

However, the city has increased the stock of goods by two or three times to ensure a sufficient supply of goods for citizens.

Besides, supermarkets and convenience stores have raised their capacity and extended the opening time to meet the high demand for necessities. Representatives of the Co.op Mart supermarket chain and the Bach Hoa Xanh convenience store chain said their revenues in recent days have surged by five times compared with ordinary days.

Therefore, residents should not rush to supermarkets to avoid panic buying and large gatherings, which may cause new Covid-19 infection clusters.

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NA Standing Committee’s 58th meeting to open on July 12

The 58th meeting of the 15th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee will open on July 12, the NA Office said in a statement on July 9.

According to the statement, the meeting will run until July 14 under the chair of NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and NA Vice Chairpersons. The NA leader will deliver an opening remark.

During the meeting, members of the committee will give their opinions on the drafts of the socio-economic plan for the 2021-2025 period; the financial plan for the period; the plan for public debt borrowing and payment; the middle-term public investment plan; investment policies for the national target programme on building new-style rural areas for 2021-2025 and for the national target programme on sustainable poverty reduction and social welfare in the next five years, among others.

They will also discuss a report on the summary of opinions that voters across the country sent to the first plenary session of the 15th NA; the organisation and the number of members of the Government in the 2021-2026 tenure; personnel work to be submitted to the NA; and the preparations for the first plenary session of the 15th NA.

Besides, members of the committee will also listen to a National Election Council’s report on the results of verifying the eligibility of elected deputies to the 15th NA./.

President Phuc to attend APEC leaders' informal meeting

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is scheduled to attend a virtual informal meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on July 16.

Running the theme " Join, Work, Grow together", APEC 2021 focuses on 3 priorities regarding economic and trade policies aimed at promoting economic recovery,  sustainable and inclusive recovery and creativity and digitization.

During the meeting, APEC leaders will discuss a host of issues on response to the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region, cooperation to overcome the health crisis, and acceleration of economic recovery to lay the foundation for a better future.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will deliver an important speech on solutions to step up regional cooperation to overcome the health crisis and speed up economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region.

Vietnam’s total daily infections surpass 1,600

Vietnam recorded 591 more COVID-19 cases, including 590 domestic infections, in the past six hours to 6pm on July 9, according to the Ministry of Health.

Among the new local cases, 400 were in Ho Chi Minh City - the country’s current largest COVID-19 hotspot, 40 in Long An, 34 in Tien Giang, 32 in Dong Thap, 25 in Khanh Hoa, 22 in Phu Yen, eight in Hung Yen, seven in Binh Duong, six in Can Tho, five in Bac Ninh, four in Hau Giang, two in Soc Trang, one each in Dak Nong, Binh Phuoc, Da Nang, Nghe An and Bac Giang.

Of them, 500 cases were detected in quarantine or sealed off areas.

On July 9, Vietnam documented a total of 1,625 new infections, raising the total count in the country to 26,010, including 24,103 domestic and 1,907 imported cases. The number of COVID-19 cases since the fourth wave of outbreaks hit the country on April 27 amounted to 22,533, with 6,210 recoveries.
Of those who are still under treatment, 333 have tested negative for the coronavirus once, 203 twice and 80 thrice.

The country’s death toll reached 110 while 8,984 patients were given the all-clear./.

HCMC to start work on first BRT project early next year

Work on the first bus rapid transit (BRT) project in HCMC is expected to kick off in early 2022 and put into operation in 2023, according to the HCMC Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Authority.

On July 7, the authority said it was completing the technical design for the project and would submit it to the municipal Department of Transport this month, Lao Dong newspaper reported.

This quarter, tenders will be held to choose investors for the project and the suppliers of buses.

At the end of November last year, the HCMC government approved adjustments to its first BRT project. Accordingly, the estimated investment for the project was revised down to nearly VND3.3 trillion, including more than VND2.8 trillion sourced from official development assistance loans and nearly VND423 billion from the city’s reciprocal capital.

The 26-kilometer BRT line, which will run along Vo Van Kiet and Mai Chi Tho boulevards, will start at the An Lac Roundabout in Binh Tan District and end at the Rach Chiec Station in Thu Duc City. It will be connected to the city’s first metro line and the new Mien Tay Coach Station in Binh Chanh once it is in place.

In the initial stage, 42 buses using compressed natural gas with a capacity of 60-72 passengers each will run on the BRT line.

The route will have a designed speed of 60 kilometers per hour. There will be 28 stops, two transit stations and the Rach Chiec station along the route and a 13,000-square-meter depot in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in Thu Duc City.

Southern lottery firms to stop issuing lottery tickets for 15 days

21 traditional lottery firms and the Vietnam Computerized Lottery One Member Limited Liability Company in the Southern region will temporarily stop issuing lottery tickets for 15 days, starting from July 9.

According to the Southern Lottery Council, the strict rule follows the social distancing regulations in Ho Chi Minh City under Government Directive 16, contributing to reducing the risk of pandemic spread in Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern provinces and cities amid the current Covid-19 surges.

However, it is likely to hugely affect the business activities of the lottery firms as well as income of lottery sellers and street vendors.

HCMC supermarket chains extend operation time by three to four hours a day

All the supermarket chains in HCMC have extended their operation time by three to four hours a day, from 6a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11p.m. to meet the increasing shopping demand of customers since July 9.

Of them, Bach Hoa Xanh convenient stores have guaranteed to serve its last customers.

Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade Mr. Nguyen Nguyen Phuong yesterday said that the demand of getting goods from traders to distribute to their partners has recently been enormous amid temporary suspension of three large agricultural products wholesale markets in the city.

Although Hoc Mon wholesale market has ceased its operation, traders still provide vegetables for their business partners along Nguyen Thi Soc Street, National Highway No.22 from a three-way junction of the wholesale market to An Suong Bus Station and via versa.

Similarly, traders have maintained direct delivery of vegetables and aquaculture products near the Thu Duc and Binh Dien wholesale markets.

Amid the current situation, the department has worked with Thu Duc City and districts to allow business owners to maintain the trading but strictly follow the pandemic prevention and control measures.

On the other hand, relevant agencies are considering appropriate places for trading goods with a large scale to ensure consecutive commodity supply chains. It is expected that the city will decide goods transit places, instead of goods delivery points on July 9.

A day before applying the social distancing order under the Prime Minister's Directive 16, around 900 tons of goods were transported to the warehouses near three wholesale markets.

It is estimated that around 1,200 tons of goods and commodities were consumed via phone, Zalo and direct delivery without placing at gathering points.

According to statistics by HCMC Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Division, there are around 4,000 pigs per night to be consumed, equaling to 300 tons of pork, of which Xuan Thoi Thuong slaughterhouse in Hoc Mon District provides to the market around 1,916 pigs per night, equaling to 143.7 tons of pork.

According to the Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper’s reporters, a huge number of shoppers yesterday flocked to supermarkets, causing interruption on vegetables, pork, poultry supply at some certain times.

In the current high demand for goods, the supermarkets remain their operation during the 15-day social distancing in the city following the Prime Minister's Directive 16 and guarantee to fully supply essential goods so residents do not need to store goods and stuffs affecting goods supply on supermarkets’ shelves.

Up to 3p.m. on July 8, the shopping demand at supermarkets and convenient stores increased from 30 percent to 50 percent and doubled compared with ordinary days, consumers concentrated on buying vegetables, pork, fishes and fruits.

The Official Letter No.5389 of the Ministry of Health, requiring provinces and cities to apply seven-day home quantine and self-monitor of health in the next seven days to all returnees from Ho Chi Minh City, has causes difficulties to some businesses whose warehouses are located in neighboring provinces.

Hence, the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade suggested the ministry guide provinces and cities to arrange Covid-19 testing places for drivers in their localities to clear congestion at Covid-19 checkpoints in HCMC. The Covid-19 test result will be valid within three days.

Useful IT applications for Covid-19 fight in HCMC
Due to the complexity of the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City, residents here are encouraged to download and install the apps named ‘Y Te HCM’ and ‘Tong dai 1022’ on their iOS or Android devices for ease of health declaration and information updating, respectively.

Accordingly, the app ‘Y Te HCM’ has been used widely in over 9,600 companies and state units for convenient electronic health declaration.

It has the function of QR code scanning (yellow button) so that users can scan the corresponding QR code located at the entrance of a company or state office to carry out their health declaration process. There is a button to capture the screen when this process finishes, making even technology novices feel at ease.

Another of its useful functions is check-in record, which helps users to save the history of the locations they have visited and done health declaration, also via QR code scanning.

Therefore, the app users only need to report their health status once a day and use this form, under the form of a personal QR code, in various places for the next 24 hours.

Deputy Director of the HCMC Information & Communications Department Vo Thi Trung Trinh informed that the city is cooperating with related units of the Information & Communications Ministry to upload the collected health declarations of city dwellers onto the shared database of the National Database Center and the HCMC Database Center, which is linked to the database of the Health Ministry.

This is supposed to boost the speed and precision of the Covid-19 infection tracking task in the city so that the outbreak can be put under control.

The information portal ‘Tong Dai 1022’ is developed by the HCMC Department of Information and Communications to receive information updates from residents 24/7. The app helps users obtain the latest reliable news and problem handling from the authorities in 12 aspects, including traffic infrastructure, public greenery care, telecoms facilities, lighting systems around the city.

Lately, the portal has been used mostly to receive report on violations of Covid-19 prevention measures, illegal trading of items during the social distance time, stranger detection in the neighborhoods, and suspicious cases of Covid-19 infection.

The app is also used to collect practical suggestions, feasible solutions from the community regarding Covid-19 prevention tasks.

One of the valuable features of this app is a digital map with updated information about lockdown areas throughout HCMC, locations of Covid-19 infections, locations to sell facemasks, healthcare institutes, and essential commodities stores.

Thanks to the app, many cases of people coming from Covid-19 infected areas but refusing to report to the localities have been detected and dealt with successfully. The portal has received over 7,800 useful information updates from residents throughout the city so far, all of which have been transferred to the corresponding localities to handle.

Anyone who has not installed these two practical apps is encouraged to do so in order to help the fight against Covid-19 in HCMC.

New tourist magnet in Gia Lai province

An ancient stone stream has been discovered in Chu Pah district, in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. Since news of the discovery became public, many tourists have flocked to the site to take Instagrammable photos featuring the unique local geography.

Ia Ruai Stream flows through many villages in Ia Ly township before spilling out into the reservoir of the Ia Ly Hydropower Plant.

Believed to date back over 100 million years, the two sides of the stream have hexagonal stone blocks arranged closely together. They are similar to rock formations at Ganh Da Dia (or Reef of Plates), a special national relic site in the nearby coastal province of Phu Yen.

According to Chu Pah district’s Culture and Information Division, Ia Ruai Stream has potential in tourism so needs to be protected.

It suggested the district People’s Committee upgrade the road leading to the stone stream and plant trees along the roadside to provide shade for tourists.

The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it will conduct a survey to develop a plan for tourism development and compile a dossier in the near future requesting recognition for the stream as a national relic site./.

ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee holds 9th meeting

The ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee virtually convened its 9th meeting on July 9, during which the sides reiterated their commitment to deepening their strategic partnership.

At the annual event, ASEAN member states and New Zealand praised results of their cooperation activities in the past time, particularly in realising outcomes of the ASEAN-New Zealand summit held last October.

The sides commended the progress of conducting the ASEAN-New Zealand action plan for 2021 – 2025, which has seen 61 out of 69 action lines implemented in the first year.

In the time to come, the bloc and New Zealand will further focus on the plan and their bilateral engagements in such fields as trade and investment, science-technology, digital economy, agriculture, education, health care, disaster management-climate change response, and disease prevention.

The implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) on narrowing the development gap, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025, the smart cities networks initiative, among others will also be prioritised.

ASEAN and New Zealand agreed to continue to fully implement the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

The New Zealand side said it will continue to support ASEAN countries in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and enhancing the alignment between the goals of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the UN’s 2030 Agenda on SGDs.

New Zealand said it values ties with the bloc and supports its centrality. It also affirmed to actively join ASEAN-led mechanisms and collaborate with the grouping in COVID-19 prevention and control, vaccine research and development, and sustainable recovery./.

HCM City suspends public transport as lockdown begins

Ho Chi Minh City has suspended public transport for 15 days from July 9 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

All public buses, taxis, inter-provincial buses, contract taxis, and ride-hailing cars and motorbikes will go off the roads.

But vehicles used to transport goods and materials for production and food and other basic necessities, and shuttle buses that carry workers and experts are allowed to ply.

But they can only carry half their designed capacity and no more than 20 passengers at a time, and must be disinfected each time before picking up and after dropping off people.

All passengers must wear a face mask at all times and keep a minimum distance of two metres from others.

They must fill out a health declaration form and have their body temperature measures before boarding.

City authorities will work with neighbouring provinces to secure permission for vehicles carrying goods and workers to pass.

A fixed number of taxis have been arranged to carry people to hospitals and health centres.

They have been instructed to keep their windows down and not use air conditioners.

Shipping goods by motorbike is allowed but the delivery people are required to wear masks, frequently wash their hands with sanitiser and keep a safe distance from customers.

The city has also decided to shut all inland ports and ferry services along rivers for the 15 days, except the ferries between Nha Be and Can Gio districts, HCM City and Dong Nai province, Can Gio and Can Giuo in Long An province, and Can Thanh and Thanh An and Thanh An and Thieng Lieng in Can Gio.

But those in operation can only carry 50 percent of their capacity and have to be equipped with disinfectants.

Passengers must wear masks and maintain social distance.

Traffic police and other inspectors will closely monitor the ferry services.

The city made its earlier lockdown more stringent from July 9 under Directive 16 as COVID-19 showed no signs of slowing down.

Since May 31 it had social distancing under Directive No 15, which included the closure of non-essential services and businesses, but there continued to be hundreds of new infections daily./.

Hungarian leader hails Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements

Hungarian President János Áder congratulated Vietnam on impressive achievements in socio-economic development and international integration that the country has gained in recent years during a reception for Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Thi Bich Thao, who presented her credentials to the host leader on July 9.

The President affirmed that the State and Government of Hungary is willing to support Ambassador Thao to complete her missions during her working tenure, thus contributing to strengthening the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

He briefed the Vietnamese diplomat on the agenda of the Planet Budapest 2021 Sustainability Expo and Summit that Hungary will host later this year, while sharing his country’s experience in combating COVID-19 pandemic, especially in conducting vaccination programme.

For her part, Thao highlighted the strong and dynamic growth of the Vietnam-Hungary ties thanks to mutual understanding and trust as well as effective cooperation in all fields as well as in both bilateral matters and regional and international issues of shared concern.

She pledged that she will work hard to complete her tasks and make contributions to the promotion of partnership between the two countries.

The same day, the Vietnamese diplomat laid flowers at Hero Square in Budapest, an iconic statue complex featuring the Seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders, as well as the Memorial Stone of Heroes, often erroneously referred as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers./.

Mekong Delta localities tighten COVID-19 preventive measures

Many provinces and Can Tho city in the Mekong Delta have tightened COVID-19 preventive measures as the pandemic continues to rage.

Dong Thap and Long An provinces lead in the number of cases.

In Dong Thap, the worst hit with 478 cases as of July 9, Chau Thanh district alone accounts for 240. Authorities are carrying out widespread testing in the district.

The province has set up two teams for COVID-19 prevention and control and has a hierarchy of health establishments for treatment: Patients without symptoms are treated in the field hospital at its Military School, those with symptoms are treated at district-level health centres and severe cases to the Lung Hospital and General Hospital.

The province plans to set up three more field hospitals following the increase in incidence and fears of a worsening situation.

Long An province has had 253 COVID-19 cases.

The outbreak in the province is related to clusters at PouYuen Company and Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Dien and Hoc Mon wholesale markets.

The Long An Province Department of Health has made preparations to treat as many as 2,000 patients at a time, and 5-10 percent more severe cases.

The Dong Thap Muoi Regional General Hospital treats patients with mild symptoms, more severe patients are treated at district health centres and field hospitals, and the worst affected at the Long An Lung Hospital and Long An General Hospital.

The province has six field hospitals and 42 mandatory quarantine facilities.

The Department of Health has called for preventing people from COVID-19-hit areas in HCM City and other provinces in the Mekong Delta from travelling on roads and waterways.

The province is testing employees at companies, especially those with suspected incidence, until July 23, and mass testing in residential areas will be carried out subsequently.

Every day it carries out 15,600 quick tests.

The province mandated social distancing under the Government’s Directive 16 in Duc Hoa, Ben Luc, Can Duoc, and Can Giuoc districts, and Tan An city from July 8.

Public transport there has been halted since July 9.

Social distancing under the less stringent Directive No 15 is in place in the province’s remaining districts.

Other Mekong Delta provinces and Can Tho city have also seen an increase in coronavirus incidence.

An Giang increased its tally to 99 on July 9.

It has social distancing under Directive No 16 in An Phu district’s Long Binh town because of the high incidence there.

Vinh Long province’s tally had increased to 57 as of July 8.

Preventive measures are in place in Vinh Long city and the districts of Binh Tan, Long Ho and Tam Binh.

Cà Mau Province had 12 cases as of July 8. It started halting non-essential services on the same day, eateries are prohibited from selling takeaway, and people have been told to go outside only if necessary.

Ca Mau and other delta provinces such as Tien Giang require people from other provinces and cities to furnish coronavirus negative tests within the last three days to enter.

Bac Lieu requires people coming from HCM City and the provinces of Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, An Giang, and Tien Giang to go into mandatory quarantine for 21 days.

Can Tho city has strengthened control at checkpoints and temporarily banned public transport vehicles coming on ferries from Vinh Long, Dong Thap and other places./.

“Rights and Choices: Prioritising Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women and Girls”

This year, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) marks World Population Day (July 11) with the theme “Rights and Choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution lies in prioritising the reproductive health and rights of all people.”

On the occasion, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara emphasised the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the quality of the population in general and that of Vietnam in particular in the following op-ed:

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed health care systems globally, highlighting serious gaps and challenges in the provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services. The allocation of resources away from these services is taking a toll on the health of women and girls. At this critical juncture, UNFPA marks World Population Day on July 11 with the theme “Rights and Choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution lies in prioritising the reproductive health and rights of all people.”

While the impact of COVID-19 on mortality and morbidity have been relatively well documented, the impact of the pandemic on human fertility trends, patterns and choices remains less studied.

As of July 9, 2021, there were 26,010 cumulative cases and 110 deaths recorded in Vietnam. While Vietnam has been generally successful in curbing the spread of the virus, even this exemplary country has not been an exception in facing the negative socio-economic consequences of the pandemic just like any other country in the world. And when it comes to the issue of fertility, we will only begin to see the pandemic’s impact in the coming months. As the lead UN agency for the analysis of population dynamics, UNFPA highlights five key dimensions of the pandemic which can impact fertility: high mortality, restricted access to family planning services, increased household burden on women, economic recession and uncertainty, and fewer births attended by skilled medical professionals.

First, with regard to high mortality, we need to recall that in the period 1918-1919, when the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic hit the hardest, we saw a birth deficit after the mortality peaked in many countries. Part of the reason is the compromised sexual and reproductive health status of women including the availability of healthy women giving birth.

Second, family planning supplies and services are often interrupted during the pandemic, particularly in low and middle income countries. In settings where supply and demand-side restrictions impede access to family planning services, there is a real potential for a rise in unintended pregnancies. At global level, UNFPA projected that 47 million women in 114 low and middle income countries may be unable to use modern contraceptives if the average lockdown persists for six months with high levels of COVID-19 related disruptions to health services, causing an additional seven million unintended pregnancies. In Vietnam, it is estimated that in the first quarter of 2020, COVID-19 reduced the utilisation of clinical family planning methods by 20 percent and non-clinical methods by 10 percent in the most disadvantaged areas.

Third, with lockdowns and school closures, students are at home, and parents have to face increasing workloads in housework and childcare. This domestic burden is exacerbated by the decline in the availability of formal and informal childcare services. When COVID-19 further increases the domestic burden on women, in contexts where access to family planning has not been disrupted, individuals and couples may postpone having children at least in the short term.

Fourth, the relationship between the country’s economy and fertility is a well-studied area. Economic recession and uncertainty may encourage couples and individuals to postpone childbearing at least in the short term, and can also work as an obstacle to fertility choices, making it more difficult for couples to realize their ideal family size.

And lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic can prevent pregnant women from delivering babies assisted by qualified medical personnel. Also fear of the pandemic can drive pregnant women not to avail of optimally scheduled antenatal care services, thus making it difficult to identify pregnancy-related risks and morbidity early enough. Child delivery without skilled birth attendance exposes women to heightened risks, thus affecting the outcome of the pregnancy.

In 1994, 179 countries in the world including Vietnam committed to sexual and reproductive health as a key pillar of sustainable development at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. The ICPD principles stipulate that “all couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so (ICPD Programme of Action, para 7.3)”. As a guardian of the ICPD, UNFPA stands firm in reiterating the ICPD principles, and advises all countries, including Vietnam, to safeguard against rolling back on the progress made in expanding and strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.

The answer in mitigating the negative impacts of COVID-19 is to prioritise sexual and reproductive health and rights by ensuring the continuous provision of crucial information and services for all people even in a crisis or under lockdown, uninterrupted care to pregnant mothers, and the investment of financial and human resources to achieve all of this.

As Vietnam seeks to build back better from the impacts of what the UN Secretary-General has called the biggest global crisis since World War Two, we cannot leave the country’s greatest assets - its women and girls - behind. Getting back on track and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in this Decade of Action towards the 2030 finish line includes achieving ICPD and its vision of rights and choices for all, with women and girls at the centre./.

Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa asked to strictly follow social distancing measures

Strict implementation of social distancing measures is crucial in COVID-19 prevention and control, stressed Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at an online meeting with leaders of the south central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa on July 9.

Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa are among localities experiencing complicated developments of the pandemic.

So far, Phu Yen has reported 425 infections with about 3,500 F1s (people having close contact with infection cases). It has set up four COVID-19 treatment hospitals with a total of 400 beds, along with three quarantine sites at provincial level accommodating about 800 people and 43 others in districts with capacity of hosting nearly 3,000 people. It has designed plans to ensure quarantine facilities for up to 7,000 people.

Phu Yen has raised its testing capacity to 3,000 samples per day.

Meanwhile, Khanh Hoa has seen 146 COVID-19 cases in the community since June 23, with 1,365 F1s.

The locality’s Realtime RT-PCR testing capacity has reached about 10,000 samples per day. The locality plans to allow F1s to take home quarantine.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy PM Dam asked the localities to tighten supervision on the implementation of social distancing measures regardless the scale of coverage.

Along with speeding up the tracing of people having contact with COVID-19 patients, the provinces should focus on giving COVID-19 tests for workers in large-scale factories, he stressed.

He asked the Ministry of Health to dispatch more forces to support Phu Yen as the province’s treatment capacity remains modest.

Regarding the plan of allowing F1s to take home quarantine, the Deputy PM reminded the localities to classify F1 cases basing on various data, while ensuring close watch on the implementation of pandemic prevention and control measures in their family to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.

He also asked the Health Ministry to give assistance to Khanh Hoa in COVID-19 rapid test.

Along with the central-level support, the two localities should assist each other in pandemic fight, he added./.

Exhibition in France highlights Vietnamese quintessence


The Ursulines Museum in France is currently exhibiting masterpieces by Vietnamese-French painter Mai Trung Thu, the first retrospective ever in Macon City.
The exhibition is running with the theme Écho d’un Vietnam Rêvé (Echo of a Dreamed Vietnam) with support from the late artist’s daughter Mai Lan Phương.

The museum has brought together more than 140 original works by the artist including oils on canvas, silk paintings, sketches, photographs and lithographs.

This is the first time a French museum has collected such a large amount of works of one of the leading painters of modern Vietnamese fine arts, allowing local viewers to discover a style imbued with poetry, where line and colour are used in scenes inspired by traditional Vietnamese life.

Artist Thứ, born in 1906 in the northern port city of Hai Phong, was among the first graduates of the Indochina Fine Arts College in 1925-1930. He was a painter whose works celebrated the innocence of Vietnamese rural areas.

Despite staying in France for most of his life, the artist retained a deep sense of love for his homeland, painting tender images of Vietnamese women, children and landscapes. His paintings were sold at record high prices at many international auctions.

This exhibition was prepared in nearly one year with the support of the Cercles des Ursulines and Ursulines Museum.

This exceptional exhibition runs until October 24.

An array of events are being held by Macon city to nudge Vietnamese culture closer to Macon locals./.

Flyers from/to HCM City must provide negative COVID-19 test result

The CAAV requests all airport employees, especially those working at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, to get at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours. Both rapid antigen and PCR test evidences are accepted.

The same policy is applicable to aircrew serving on flights from/to HCM City, who are also advised to refrain from leaving the airport to travel to the city./.

Tourism promotional videos garner millions of views


The “Travel to love” series of videos released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism have gone viral worldwide and attracted millions of views on YouTube.

“Travel to love - Seas Beckon”, “Travel to love - Country, People”, and “Travel to love - Culture and Cuisine Destination” have each been watched some 1.5 million times in the several months they have been on the platform.

Most recently, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism released “Travel to love - Visit Ninh Binh”, introducing viewers to the stunning landscapes of northern Ninh Binh province, such as the tranquil Hoa Lu ancient capital, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Phat Diem Church, the Trang An landscape complex, Thung Nham, the Van Long wetland natural reserve, and Cuc Phuong National Park.

The release of the videos is part of the “Discover Vietnam” programme being carried out by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism with support from Google and Vinpearl./.

Vietnam confirms five more deaths related to COVID-19

Five more COVID-19 related deaths in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap were confirmed on July 9 afternoon, pushing the nation’s death toll to 110.

According to the Sub-committee for Treatment under the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the 106th death, a 50-year-old woman who resided in HCM City's Hoc Mon district, is the only one among the five without underlying health conditions.

She tested positive for the virus on June 22. Three days before being admitted to the local Trung Vuong Hospital on July 3, she reported coughing with phlegm. The hospital's diagnosis was respiratory failure and hypoxemia and indicated that the patient had to be watched for severe pneumonia progression due to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

She died just one day later, with the cause of death respiratory failure, septic shock, severe pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, and multi-organ damage.

An 85-year-old in District 1, HCM City, with a history of strokes who had been bedridden for a long time is the country’s 107th COVID-19 death. She was confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 on June 22 and was hospitalised at Trung Vuong Hospital, with a diagnosis on admission as severe pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2.
The patient passed away on July 3 morning, with the cause of death registered as severe pneumonia with SARS-CoV-2 infection, acute respiratory failure, multi-organ damage, heart failure and suspected acute myocardial infarction in a patient with a history of suffering strokes.

The 108th death is a 54-year-old woman in Dong Thap's Chau Thanh district, with a history of hypertension and heart disease. About a week before being admitted to the hospital, the patient suffered from a persistent fever, coughing, and breathing issues after coming into contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

She tested positive for the virus on July 2 and was admitted to the Sa Dec General Hospital on July 3, with a diagnosis on admission as respiratory failure and severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 in a patient with hypertension and ischemic heart disease.

She died a day later, with the cause of death noted as severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 complications, acute respiratory failure, and septic shock in a patient with hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The other death in Dong Thap is a 43-year-old woman with diabetes and thalassemia. She was admitted to the Sa Dec hospital on June 14, with a diagnosis of viral fever, elevated liver enzymes in a patient with type 2 diabetes and thalassemia, and exhaustion.

She tested positive for COVID-19 on July 1, and died two days later, with the cause of death logged as acute coronary syndrome in a patient infected with SARS-CoV-2, acute high level of liver enzymes, type 2 diabetes, thalassemia, and physical exhaustion.

The fifth death reported is a 59-year-old woman with diabetes from Dong Thap's Chau Thanh district. She was moved to a concentrated quarantine facility of An Hiep commune on July 4 and tested positive for the coronavirus on July 6. She was found to have stopped breathing before she could be transferred to the hospital by the specialised transport team. The autopsy results pointed to the cause of death as COVID-19 infection in a patient with respiratory failure, chronic heart failure, diabetes, and multi-membrane tuberculosis.

With the latest addition, the country has recorded 75 deaths since the fourth wave of infections hit country in late April.

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



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