A man gets his first Nano Covax vaccine shot in the clinical trial

More than 900 out of 12,000 volunteers participating in the second stage of the third phase of the homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Nano Covax’s clinical trial received their first shots on July 2.

The second stage is being carried out by the Military Medical University and the Health Department of Hung Yen province in the northern region, and the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City and the Preventive Medicine Centres of Long An and Tien Giang provinces in the southern region.

All the volunteers are expected to have received their first jabs by July 15 and the second shots by August 15.

The health of 1,000 volunteers who were inoculated in the first stage of the third phase is stable. They are expected to get their second jabs on July 10.

The volunteers will have blood samples taken to test the generation of immunity by July 30, and data about the vaccine safety and immunity generation are set to be available by mid-September.

The third-phase trials, using only the 25mcg doses, cover 13,000 volunteers aged between 18 and 75 nationwide.

Results of the first two stages show good immunity generation in all the volunteers.

Nano Covax has been developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC since May 2020. The first-phase trials began on December 18, 2020 while the second phase on February 26 this year, and the third on June 11.

Vietnam also has several other candidate vaccines under development./.

Vietnam confirms 330 more COVID-19 cases, mostly in HCM City

Vietnam recorded 330 new COVID-19 infections between 6am and 12:30pm on July 3, raising the national count to 18,690, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).

There was one imported case, which was immediately placed under quarantine upon arrival in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang.

Of the 329 new domestic infections, 249 were detected in Ho Chi Minh City, 32 in Binh Duong, 12 each in Phu Yen and Dong Thap, seven in Nghe An, four in Lam Dong, three in Vinh Long, two each in Long An and Tra Vinh, and one each in Khanh Hoa, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Binh Phuoc, An Giang, and Dak Lak. A total of 280 cases were found in quarantine or sealed off areas.

As of 12:30pm on July 3, Vietnam confirmed 16,853 local and 1,837 imported cases. The numbers of recoveries and deaths amounted to 7,395 and 84, respectively.

Among active patients undergoing treatment, 260 tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 138 twice and 89 thrice.

The number of cases since the fourth COVID-19 wave hit the country in late April reached 15,283, of whom 4,621 had been given the all-clear.

Thirteen provinces and cities have gone through 14 days without any new infections.

PM urges localities to persistently pursue dual goals

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on July 2 asked localities to persistently and resolutely implement the dual goals of preventing the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting socio-economic development.

The Government leader made the request while chairing the Cabinet’s teleconference with localities nationwide to assess the country’s socio-economic situation in the first half of the year as well as set directions, tasks and solutions for the second half.

“Localities must not exchange justice, social progress, culture and the environment for mere economic growth; and take the protection of people's health and lives first and foremost,” he stressed.

Those being hit by the pandemic must give priority to pandemic prevention and control to early stabilise the situation, while continuing to effectively implement the vaccine strategy, he said.

Regarding the socio-economic development results in the first six months, Prime Minister Chinh affirmed that Vietnam has been well implementing the dual goals, with gross domestic product (GDP) increasing by 5.64 percent, much higher than the same period in 2020 (1.82 percent), and budget revenue reaching nearly 58 percent of the estimate.

Meanwhile, social security, security and order were ensured, and external relations were enhanced, he added.

However, according to the PM, there were still some limitations such as economic growth yet to reach the set target, unsustainable macro economy, and slow disbursement of public investment and ODA capital.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still complicated in several localities, while production and business activities and people's lives in some places are facing difficulties, he noted.

Therefore, in the time to come, localities should make greater efforts to fulfill their set targets, the leader said, adding that the Government is yet to adjust the growth targets set at the 13th National Party Congress and assigned by the National Assembly and will continue with two scenarios of 6 percent and 6.5 percent./.

Goethe Institute to host Boulanger Trio chamber music programme

The German Cultural Institute (Goethe Institute) in Vietnam is scheduled to hold an online masterclass between August 17 and August 30, with the renowned Boulanger Trio of Germany set to offer tips and guidance to various local groups.

Renowned Boulanger Trio of Germany will join an online masterclass launched by the Goethe Institute.
The members of the Boulanger Trio are made up of Karla Haltenwanger, Birgit Erz, and Ilona Kindt, with the three working with local groups on different styles, ranging from classical to contemporary music, along with their performances and the language aspect of their music.

The purpose of the course is to guide groups of between two and five members, with the event set to take place online and concluding with a live stream concert.

The Boulanger Trio chamber music programme is being launched by the Goethe Institute in collaboration with Inspirito School of Music Hanoi and Saigon Chamber Music.

Originally founded in Hamburg back in 2006 by Karla Haltenwanger, who plays the piano, Birgit Erz, who plays the violin, and Ilona Kindt, who plays the cello, the trio is now based in Berlin and Hamburg.

Most notably, in 2007 the ensemble won the 4th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in Norway, followed by picking up the Rauhe Prize for Modern Chamber Music in 2008.

Law on Vietnam Coast Guard – ‘sharp tool’ in law enforcement at sea

Over the two years of enforcement, the Law on the Vietnam Coast Guard has proved to be a “sharp tool” for implementing law at sea.

The law, officially taking effect on July 1, 2019, consists of eight chapters with 41 articles. It regulates the position, functions, tasks, authority, organisation, and activities of the Vietnam Coast Guard; benefits and policies for the force; and responsibilities of relevant agencies, organisations, and individuals.

Assessing the law’s enforcement over the last two years, Maj. Gen. Bui Quoc Oai, Political Commissar of the Vietnam Coast Guard, said the law has helped improve all-level authorities, sectors, and people’s awareness and legal consciousness about the state management over the country’s seas and islands by law, along with the force’s position, role, functions, and tasks.

Based on the law’s stipulations on the force’s apparatus, personnel, and equipment, active and effective moves have been made to build an elite, lean, and strong Vietnam Coast Guard, thus better performing its tasks in the new context.

Oai noted thanks to the enforcement of the law, the force’s coordination with military units and relevant agencies of ministries, sectors, and localities in safeguarding the maritime sovereignty and enforcing law at sea has been carried out more strictly and also fruitfully.

The Vietnam Coast Guard has enhanced relations with law enforcement forces of other ASEAN countries, as well as the countries whose sea areas are adjacent to Vietnam’s, in conformity with the Party and State’s viewpoints on defence diplomacy and national safeguarding.

Communications have also been boosted to engage people in the formation of the people-based security position at sea and to strengthen fishermen’s trust, the officer went on.

He added that in the time ahead, the Vietnam Coast Guard High Command is pushing ahead with information dissemination to help people gain a better understanding of the law-based state management over seas and islands while encouraging the people to join the force in protecting national sovereignty and interest at sea and maintaining security, order, and safety for the country’s sacred maritime and insular areas.

Located next to the sea, Vietnam boasts a sea area of more than 1 million sq.km., nearly 3,000 islands and archipelagoes, and a coastline over 3,260km long.

In the face of recent complex developments in the East Sea, particularly violations of the maritime sovereignty, smuggling, piracy, and fishing boats’ infringements of territorial waters, the Law on the Vietnam Coast Guard has proved itself to be a “sharp tool” and the legal basis for the coast guard force to implement law at sea, thereby helping to manage and safeguard the country’s sovereignty, sovereign right, and jurisdiction and guarantee order and safety in Vietnam’s sea areas./.

Vietnam wishes to receive Russia’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccine in July or August: ambassador

Vietnam hopes that Russia will support technology transfer and COVID-19 vaccine production in Vietnam and provide the first batch of vaccine in July or August, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Dang Minh Khoi has recently told Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.

Presenting a copy of State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s credential letter to the Russian official, Khoi thanked Russia for granting 1,000 vaccine doses during the Vietnam visit by Secretary of the Security Council of Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev in March.

Morgulov expressed his delight that Russia’s vaccine receives Vietnam’s attention, promising to push for the early delivery of vaccine to the country.

He also appreciated the Vietnamese community living in Russia, and promised to maintain attention and coordination with the Vietnamese embassy in addressing existing legal obstacles to facilitate the life, work and study of Vietnamese citizens in Russia.

At the meeting, both sides affirmed that Vietnam and Russia consider each other a reliable partner, and a priority in their respective foreign policy. They said that maintaining the time-tested good relationship is an important condition for promoting bilateral cooperation in the new situation.

They also reached a consensus on boosting effective cooperation through such measures as delegation exchange, technology transfer and vaccine production, the development of key economic projects, especially in the fields of oil and gas, energy, agriculture, logistics, science and technology. The two countries will also coordinate in the international arena./.

University students make a cabin to transport COVID-19 patients

Students and lectures at the University of Science and Technology under Da Nang University have created a mobile cabin to transport patients with COVID-19 in quarantine areas.

The cabin is equipped similarly to a negative pressure chamber with disinfectant spray equipment, oxygen tank and warning lights. The device has wheels so people can move it easily by using an electric scooter or just pulling it.

The device has wheels so people can move it easily by using an electric scooter or just pulling it. (Photo: VNA)
The cabin is made within one month at the request of the Lien Chieu district Medical Centre, aiming to serve the transportation needs of patients suspected or infected with COVID-19 within the hospital. It was handed over to the centre on July 1.

Le Van Sy, director of the centre said that once it is put into use, the device will help facilitate the transportation of patients suspected of having COVID-19 from quarantine areas to wards for clinical examination, as well as from the wards where they are detected to the concentrated quarantine areas. It helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and cross-contamination during travelling.

Earlier, lecturers and students of the University of Technology (Da Nang University) have also invented many products to serve the community in the prevention and control of COVID-19./.

USAID partners with Đà Nẵng to accelerate renewable energy

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and central Đà Nẵng City People’s Committee have launched a project promoting urban energy security during an online event held on Wednesday.

USAID Vietnam Urban Energy Security is a four-year (2019-2023), $14 million project to promote deployment of advanced, distributed energy solutions in urban areas in Đà Nẵng and HCM City.

It addresses Việt Nam’s rapidly growing energy demand and air pollution in urban areas by working with governments and creating business opportunities for entrepreneurs. The project supports the deployment of advanced distributed energy solutions such as rooftop solar panels, electric vehicles, waste-to-energy, and other energy efficiency solutions.

At its completion, the project aims to achieve a number of high-level expected results in Đà Nẵng.

These are:

* at least 40 megawatts of advanced, distributed energy systems deployed.

* at least $60 million in public and private investment mobilised for advanced, distributed urban energy systems.

* at least five innovative solutions to address urban energy and environment issues demonstrated and/or commercialised.

USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Ann Marie Yastishock. said: “USAID is helping Việt Nam transition to a more resilient energy sector, powered by renewable energy.

"We are excited to work with Đà Nẵng to promote clean energy in the region, provide access to technical expertise, and become a global convening centre to help Việt Nam realise its goals in renewable energy.”

Đà Nẵng is viewed as among the most dynamic, green, and smart cities in Việt Nam. Investing in renewable energy and other advanced energy efficiency solutions will increase the competitiveness of the city, attract green investments, and directly benefit the citizens of the city with a cleaner environment. In addition, these solutions also contribute to the long-term mitigation of the impact of climate change to the city and its citizens.

The Đà Nẵng City Government has a strong commitment to respond to climate change, protect the environment and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and has set priorities to accelerate renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment with specific target and action plans. USAID is providing technical support to the Đà Nẵng Department of Industry and Trade in operationalising these strategies.

Over the past five years, USAID has committed more than $40 million to support the energy sector in Việt Nam and plans to commit an additional $36 million over the next five years. 

Central city works to ensure water security

The Đà Nẵng Water Supply company (Dawaco)’s clean water network can provide an average of 310,000 cubic metres of clean water each day, 84 per cent of the city’s total water demand, after completing upgrades in May.

Dawaco said the company’s water supply system would hit a capacity of 350,000 cubic metres daily to supply 95 per cent of the city’s demand six months later.

Meanwhile, the firm's new Hòa Liên water plant is set to add another 120,000 cubic metres to the city’s water network per day by the end of 2021.

General director of Dawaco, Hồ Hương, said a series of key projects had been rapidly constructed in 2019-20, including the water plants of Cầu Đỏ and Khe Lạnh and three small plants in Sơn Trà District.

He said for the An Trạch pump station, temporary dam systems were built on the Quảng Huế and Cẩm Lệ rivers to reduce salinity, while a 285km water pipe system was installed to carry a huge volume to the end of pipe system effectively.

Hương added that the Cầu Đỏ water plant's capacity increased from 170,000 cubic metres in 2018 to 290,000 cubic metres per day this year.

Cu Đê River in suburban of Đà Nẵng supplies fresh water to Hòa Liên Water Plant in Đà Nẵng city. The city's water network could supply 370,000 cubic metres each day by the end of 2021. VNS Photo Trần Lê Lâm 
“We strongly believe our network is readied for the highest demand with the best quality this summer. The network will operate at its maximum capacity of 350,000 cubic metres per day by the end of this year,” Hương said.

“The raw water input system at the Cầu Đỏ was designed to collect enough freshwater from high salinity in summer. It completely dealt with the shortage of water during the dry season due to high salinity at the Cầu Đỏ water plant,” he said.

Two temporary dams were built in the upstream Quảng Huế and Cẩm Lệ rivers to reduce salinity for the pump station to take fresh water to the lower river, he said.

Hương said the city’s water system was designed to have its capacity increased from 400,000 cubic metres in 2022 to 800,000 cubic metres per day in 2030.

“We asked the city to invest in a permanent dam on the Quảng Huế River as the temporary dam costs from VNĐ500 million (US$22,000) to VNĐ1 billion ($43,500) to repair each year,” he said.

According to Đà Nẵng’s construction department, the upgraded water supply system, pump stations, water pipes and new water plants could supply enough clean water to the farthest end of the water pipe system in Sơn Trà and Cẩm Lệ districts.

The city also asked for the reservoirs of the two hydropower plants A Vương and Đắk Mi 4 to jointly operate to aid the dilution of salinity in the Vu Gia-Thu Bồn rivers – a major water source for Đà Nẵng.

The department said the city’s major water supply system often suffers a serious lack of clean water, while reservoirs of hydropower plants, including Sông Tranh 2; Đắk Mi 4; Sông Bung 4,5 and 6; and A Vương, often collect water from the rivers to generate power.

A section of the anti-salinity dam in Quảng Huế River. The dam will help reduce salinity in the river in supplying fresh water to Đà Nẵng in dry season. Photo courtesy of Dawaco
Đặng Nguyễn Thục Anh, from the city’s natural resources and environment department, said a joint-action plan was proposed among upstream hydropower plants.

She said the operators of the A Vương and Đắk Mi 4 hydropower plants agreed to discharge at least 8.2 million cubic metres for the Cầu Đỏ water plant in the dry season when salinity in the Cầu Đỏ River hits 1,000mg per litre – a standard for collecting fresh water for the city’s network. 

Young musician writes hits for pop stars

Young songwriter Hứa Kim Tuyền of HCM City, one of the most outstanding composers in the Vietnamese music industry, has written many hit songs and is known for his sweet voice.

The 26-year-old musician became popular after competing in Bài Hát Hay Nhất (Sing My Song), a TV reality show about original songs, launched by Việt Nam Television in 2016.

Tuyền said: “I began to write songs in 2011, but my mom didn’t want me to follow a music career because she thought it was unstable. However, my passion and love for music changed her mind."

After Sing My Song, Tuyền was invited to write music for pop stars like Tóc Tiên, Văn Mai Hương and Trúc Nhân and well-known rapper Đen Vâu, all of whom earned success with his songs.

“Working with these pop stars allows me to professionally experiment and improve,” said Tuyền, who has been working as a music producer for St.319 Entertainment, one of the country’s leading entertainment companies since 2017.

He wrote and produced six songs for young singer Amee's debut album “dreAMEE” in 2019.

His songs like Yêu Thì Yêu Không Yêu Thì Yêu (To Love or Not to Love), Em Bé (Baby) and Ex's Hate Me have become hits among young Vietnamese.

The album brought Amee the Best New Asian Artist Vietnam award at South Korea's MNET Asian Music Awards 2020.

On May 15, Tuyền along with Amee and rapper Grey-D released a MV Bài Ca Bầu Cử (Song of Election) to encourage young people to vote for the 15th National Assembly (NA) and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-26 tenure on May 23.

The song, part of the communication campaign “Tôi Đi Bầu Cử” (I Go to Vote) launched by VTV Digital, quickly became viral.

Tuyền’s latest composition is Giữa Đại Lộ Đông Tây (Riding through East-West Highway), sung by Uyên Linh, winner of the TV reality music show Vietnam Idol 2010.

The ballad has gentle melodies and lyrics as a girl whispers to her loved one. The music video has attracted more than 1.8 million views on YouTube since its release on May 17.

Hồng Phượng Lê, a YouTube viewer, said the song and Linh’s voice reminded her of her innocent and playful youth, when she had no worries and responsibilities.

Singing career

Although Tuyền is popular with dozens of favourite hits, he is known for his sweet voice. In July 2020, Tuyền debuted as a singer with his song Hoa Kỳ (American Dream) as a way to send best wishes to overseas Vietnamese. 

The song featuring young singer Hoàng Dũng was popular among many people in Việt Nam and abroad.

Trần Minh Thư, a resident in Đồng Nai Province, said: “Both Tuyền and Dũng’s voices are sweet. Thanks to such a meaningful song, I miss my best friend so much.”

Hoa Kỳ is a song from Tuyền’s music project called Colours consisting of compositions reflecting different facets of life and love.

The project has introduced two songs Ước Mơ Của Mẹ (Mother’s Wish) about a mother who devotes her life to her children, Nếu Một Mai Tôi Bay Lên Trời (If I Fly to Heaven One Day), which tells stories of children who suffer from congenital heart disease, featuring Văn Mai Hương and Trúc Nhân.

Tuyền said: “I also want to encourage people to live optimistically and treasure their life, and remind them of appreciating those who are always standing by them, and what they have done for them.”

On March 28, Tuyền released Sài Gòn Đau Lòng Quá (Dear Sài Gòn! It’s Hurt), a ballad about sad memories of a couple after a breakup.

The song featuring Hoàng Duyên became a viral hit among music fans, attracting more than 35.6 million views on YouTube.

Tuyền received a great welcome from music fans while performing in Xuân Hạ Thu Đông Rồi Lại Xuân (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring) broadcast on HCM City Television (HTV) from January to May.

Its videos have earned tens of millions of views on YouTube.

He is also participating in Eye Contact Live, a show featuring street performances of Vietnamese singers, which is being streamed on YouTube. 

HTV produces reality game shows without live studio audiences

Hồ Chí Minh Television (HTV) has produced a series of reality game shows without a live studio audience amid the social distancing period. 

Safety at filming studios has been prioritised, and crews are more flexible about their schedules.

The fourth season of Chuyến Xe Âm Nhạc (Music Route), a music game show targeting students, began shooting in May without live audiences. It features solo singers who perform in folk, pop, rock and hip-hop. 

The producer decided to use scenes featuring live audiences from previous seasons for this new season. The show airs every Thursday starting in June 3, and has attracted audiences who enjoy entertainment at home. 

“Due to the pandemic, we have to produce new programmes, but have given priority to scenes in outdoor areas without any people. In the studio, we have no live audiences,” said Lê Việt, producer of Music Route.

“We have worked to ensure our filming schedules and follow epidemic prevention regulations. In addition to masks and sanitisers for the whole crew, we have set up barriers and lines in studio to avoid crowds and help our staff and the show’s participants,” he added. 

 Although entertainment centres, cinemas and theatres have been temporarily closed in HCM City, many TV crews have produced new content. 

Ở Nhà Hát Ca (Singing at Home), a new music game show launched last week by HTV. People are encouraged to send a video featuring their voice to the producer. 

Nine candidates with the best voices, selected by the jury, will perform solo on television every month. Their performance will be filmed without a live audience. They also wear a face mask and keep distance in the studio. 

The top three winners will be voted by audiences who will send their vote by email or via the show’s website. 

According to TV producer Bích Liên of Việt Nam Television, it has been more expensive producing a TV drama during the pandemic compared to other times. TV producers, their staff and peformers have had to work under pressure. 

“Many complex scenes with the participation of live audiences had to be postponed, which added to the cost of production,” she said. 

Liên and her staff are working on Sàn Chiến Giọng Hát (Singer Auction)  a new music game show featuring pop idols and talented singers. 

“My crew has been very supportive and has encouraged constant disinfection at the studio. Strangers are not allowed as well,” she said. 

The Long An Province Radio & Television (LonganTV) has worked to produce the second season of its new TV drama programme about Vietnamese culture and lifestyle. 

It features 100 two-act plays written by the late musician and author Bắc Sơn, one of the region’s leading artists in music, theatre and movies in the 1980s and 90s. 

“Our plays portray southern people and their culture. The lifestyle and characters of farmers living in Mekong River Delta provinces are also highlighted,” said theatre actress Bích Thuỷ, one of the show’s producers.

The first season introduced two plays, Đêm Dài Như Biển (Long Night as the Sea) and Con Dế Mèn (A Cricket), starring veteran drama actresses Tú Trinh and Bích Thuỷ. 

The second season will attract cải lương stars such as People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết and People’s Artist Ngọc Giàu. Young talents Nghi Tâm and Bình Chinh will also be included. 

It is expected to air this month.

Kiên Giang to invest in infrastructure to cope with coastal erosion, climate change

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang plans to invest VNĐ4.92 trillion (US$214 million) in infrastructure projects to cope with natural disasters and climate change in the 2021 – 25 period.

Funds will be used for erosion prevention, saltwater prevention sluices, freshwater reservoirs, storm shelter areas for fishing boats, and irrigation systems, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Households in areas prone to natural disaster and erosion will be relocated, including 126 households in the eroded area of Ba Hòn Mountain in Kiên Lương District and households in flood-prone areas caused by rising sea levels.

Coastal erosion

The province will build embankments along coastal areas to prevent erosion. It will upgrade its sea dykes, start the second phase of Dương Đông Reservoir in Phú Quốc City, and build storm shelter areas for fishing boats on the estuaries of Cái Lớn and Cái Bé rivers, and in Phú Quốc City.

Three urgent coastal erosion-prevention projects are being carried out in An Biên District’s Mũi Ranh area, An Minh District’s Kim Quy estuary, and a coastal section from Kênh 9 Canal to Kênh 7 Canal in Hòn Đất District. 

More than 50 kilometres of coast in An Minh District’s Vân Khánh and Vân Khánh Tây communes face dangerous erosion and need embankments, at a total cost of VNĐ1.16 trillion ($50 million).

The province has petitioned the Government to allocate funds to build the erosion-prevention embankments. With a coastline of about 200km, the province has 80 km of eroded coast areas identified as dangerous or extremely dangerous.

Coastal erosion has caused damage to protective mangrove forests, sea dykes and facilities, affecting the livelihoods of local people and the environment.   

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in co-operation with localities is checking dykes and sluices, and ensuring that they operate effectively.  

The province has also planted mangrove forests to prevent erosion along coastal areas in An Biên and Hòn Đất districts in recent years. It planted a 35ha new mangrove forest to protect sea dykes in An Biên District’s Nam Thái Commune, and a 50ha new mangrove forest along coastal areas from Bình Sơn Commune to Bình Giang Commune in Hòn Đất District. 

Medical workers go the extra mile for child COVID-19 patients

In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors in frontline hospitals have become nannies to take care of child patients.

Pham Thị Thanh Thúy, a doctor at HCM City’s Trưng Vương Hospital, recently shared a photo showing her in full PPE holding a seven-month-old baby girl in her arms and bottle-feeding her.

The baby girl has been hospitalised for COVID-19 treatment. Her parents and her two-year-old brother are also infected with the coronavirus.

Thúy is among the frontline doctors at the hospital’s Emergency Department. The photo was taken by her colleague. Thúy then posted this picture on her personal Facebook page with the caption: "There is a kindness that brings joy to the giver and the receiver."

Late on June 22, the hospital received three newly infected patients, a father and two children from Bình Tân District’s An Lạc Ward.

The two children were quite small – a two-year-old boy and a seven-month-old baby girl.

The mother was the first to be infected with the virus when she had contact with a previously confirmed case in a local market and spread the disease to her husband and two children. The mother is being treated in intensive care at Phạm Ngọc Thạch Hospital with severe respiratory failure.

At Trưng Vương Hospital, the father has been supplied with oxygen and is too tired to take care of the children.

Thúy and her colleagues take turns to take care of the children, feeding them, changing diapers, and playing with them during their breaks.

"The baby smiled whenever my colleague held her and teased her: 'What are you doing here, dear? Go home!'" she wrote on her Facebook.

Thúy said the medical team were trying their best to treat the father with the hope that his health would be better and the family would return home soon.

Currently, there are 400 doctors and nurses working in the hospital, 200 of whom directly treat COVID-19 patients. There are 81 children infected with the virus at the hospital.

Nguyễn Nữ Quý Thư, a doctor at the hospital’s Emergency Department, is very young and has no experience in taking care of young children. She has had to learn child care skills to properly care for the little patients.

“I have to ask my colleagues to guide me on how to take care of children, from how to hold them, give them a bath and feed them. We are both doctors and nannies. We love them so much and try to take good care of them,” she told Sức khỏe & Đời sống (Health & Life) newspaper.

“We didn't have much experience, and we were a bit tired in the first days. But we have got used to it. Currently, there are many sources of funding for diapers and milk for babies, so we are not worried about it,” Thư said.

Lê La Ngân Khánh, another doctor of the Emergency Department, said although the hospital received roughly 100 COVID-19 patients every day, doctors have not got much experience with treating infected children.

She said she had learned how to hold the babies and make friends with them so they won't be afraid of her.

“All the children are in stable health and they are very obedient and cooperative with doctors,” she said.

Since Trưng Vương Hospital was converted to a frontline hospital to receive COVID-19 patients, Thúy said this was the first time she had treated a very young child with COVID-19.

Thúy said she was a mother and her baby was less than 10-months-old. She has been away from home and her child for a month and did not know when she would return home.

"I never thought I would have to leave you so quickly and so long. My son, you will be able to walk when we see each other again. I'm sorry that I won't be able to witness your first steps,” she wrote on her Facebook page to her son.

Chinese men found to have illegally entered Việt Nam while in Đà Nẵng

Four Chinese nationals have been found to have illegally entered Việt Nam while they were walking in central Đà Nẵng City’s Hoà Vang District on Wednesday, local authorities said on Thursday.

They were also taken to a quarantine centre in Liên Chiểu District.

They admitted that they entered Việt Nam illegally through border areas in the northern region of Việt Nam and were on the way to the South to work for another Chinese person.  

The case is under investigation.

Bình Dương seeks medical help amid spike in COVID-19 cases

The southern province of Bình Dương has sought support from the Ministry of Health and the Pasteur Institute in HCM City amid a spike in community transmissions of COVID-19.

The province on Thursday noon reported 48 new locally acquired cases, lifting the number of infections in the province to 455 in the country's fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 457 COVID-19 patients are being treated in the province, including 455 locally acquired cases, one imported case, and one reinfection case.

Health authorities said the province was facing an alarming spike in local cases, with many detected in boarding houses for workers, factories and industrial parks.

It has been conducting large-scale testing of workers at industrial parks. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, health workers and medical student volunteers took samples from 4,000 locals in Hòa Lợi Social Housing for testing.

The province asked the Ministry of Health and the Pasteur Institute in HCM City to send health experts and medical workers soon to speed up the epidemiological investigation, contact tracing and testing for COVID-19.

It also asked the ministry to dispatch doctors and nurses to treat COVID-19 patients as well as supply test kits, testing machines and protective equipment.

Rare sea turtle lay eggs on Quy Nhon beachA green sea turtle or chelonia mydas has been found laying around 100 eggs on a beach in Quy Nhon City in the southern central province of Binh Dinh.

According to the Binh Dinh Fisheries Board, on June 29, some people in Nhon Hai Commune saw the 60-kilo turtle laying eggs on Mui Con Beach.  

They then informed the department of the case. The board cordoned off the egg-laying area and asked local residents to protect the egg nest.

On the following day, under the instructions of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, local authorities relocated the nest to another place to avoid being swept away by flood tides.

Besides Mui Con Beach, Hai Giang and Hon Kho beaches are also places for turtles to lay eggs. Sea turtles’ hatching season often lasts between April and October with the peak time ranging from July to September.

Social customs and beliefs of Khau Vai Market recognised as national heritage

The social customs and beliefs of the Phong Luu Khau Vai Market in Khau Vai commune, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province have been recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The market, also known as the Hang Phung Liu market, is held only once a year on the 27th day of the third lunar month. Believed to date back to more than 100 years, it is now a popular attraction for visitors and photographers in Ha Giang province.

What makes the market stand out from the others is that it is not a trading place for agricultural products or specialties as usual but instead is a meeting venue of couples who were in love but didn’t tie the knot, and broke up in the end.

On the day, local ethnic women and men dress in their most beautiful traditional costumes and go to the market where they are free to meet their exes in public, and their husbands and wives do not get angry or jealous because the meeting at the market is supposed to be a temporary moment and does not affect their daily lives or relationship.

The market is now organised within of the framework of the annual Khau Vai Culture and Tourism Week, which often lasts for three days with assorted cultural activities, in order to attract more visitors to Ha Giang province.

Commercial vehicles see road user charges decreased by 10-30 percent

Commercial vehicles transporting passengers and goods will enjoy reduced rates of 30 and 10 percent of the fee for using roads respectively.

The decision is part of the Circular No. 47 of the Ministry of Finance reducing fees and charges to support businesses and individuals hit by Covid-19, effective from July 1 until December 31, 2021.

The fee reduction will be applied at Vehicle Registration and Inspection Centers. The calculation software will help automatically calculate the total estimated compensation.

Transport operators who want to temporarily suspend their operation must submit a documentation of confirmation by the local Department of Transport and inform the halt of business activity to Vehicle Registration and Inspection Centers to enjoy exemption of the fee for using roads until reopening business operation.

Covid-19 epidemic in HCMC to end in August: researchers

The Department of Information and Communications in Ho Chi Minh City said that the Covid-19 infection has peaked in June and it will end in August. The Department’s announcement is based on the research result of the two groups of researchers.

The Department of Information and Communications has sent its reports about the analysis and prediction of the coronavirus epidemic development in the southern city as well as preventative measures to Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong.

According to the Department, the Directive of the municipal People’s Committee has been effective in preventing the coronavirus pandemic citywide. The peak of the epidemic has been in June and it dropped dramatically in July. Therefore, the continuance of application of directive 10 has helped to control the epidemic in August.

The Department proposed the city Steering Board for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to consider warnings of two groups of researchers. Regarding classification of districts, the Department proposed to add districts 1, 4, 12 into an extremely high-risk group while districts 7, 10, 11, and old Thu Duc District into a high-risk group.
Presently, the city authorities have been classifying districts 8, Binh Tan, Tan Phu, Hoc Mon and old Thu Duc as extreme high-risk places for the coronavirus epidemic spread.

Five groups of people enjoy exemption of Covid-19 testing fee

According to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, five groups of people are entitled to get their coronavirus testing free of charge.

The Ministry of Health has just issued an official guideline on how to collect SARS-CoV-2 testing fees when more people must undergo tests at medical facilities. Accordingly, the cost of testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is covered by the Health Insurance Fund and the state budget.

Under the Ministry’s guideline, the five groups include inpatients, outpatients, officials, medical workers, employees at medical examination and treatment establishments; patients’ relatives taking care of the patients at hospitals, foreigners, and Vietnamese people abroad who return to Vietnam and have completed the prescribed medical isolation period.

The guideline will be applied nationwide, specifying that the health insurance fund and the state budget will pay for the testing fee of the above-mentioned groups at medical facilities.

Specifically, the health insurance fund pays for holders of health insurance cards at medical facilities as per the scope and level of the health insurance coverage. For those who belong to the above groups but do not have health insurance cards, their testing fee will be covered by the state budget.

The maximum price of SARS-CoV-2 virus testing service by RT-PCR technique from oropharyngeal swabs is VND734,000 (around US$32) per sample.

Medical workers, employees at medical examination and treatment establishments carry out a Covid-19 test every seven days. Outpatients who are asked to stay in a hospital by doctors will be tested immediately. Patients who are transferred from a hospital to another must also be tested. Inpatients must undergo tests every seven days.

In case an inpatient in a hospital’s treatment department was detected to have Covid-19, all patients in the department necessarily undergo Covid-19 tests. Inpatient caregivers will be tested once in case that the inpatient stays in the infirmary for less than seven days or three days while caregivers of inpatients staying in the hospital for more than seven days must undergo two tests.

Complicated COVID-19 situations recorded in Southeast Asia

Indonesia recorded a daily spike of 25,830 COVID-19 cases on July 2, while Cambodia decided to suspend the operation of the Olympic Market in Phnom Penh to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

Indonesia on July 2 reported 25,830 coronavirus infections and 539 deaths, both record highs. It was also the 7th consecutive day the nation’s daily number of cases exceeding 20.000.

Also on the day, the nation issued an emergency use authorisation for the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna.

Indonesia has so far reported a total 2,228,938 cases and 59,534 deaths.

On the same day, in Cambodia, the Phnom Penh authorities decided to close the Olympic Market, one of its big central markets, for 14 days from July 3 to 16.

The move came after the detection of more than 40 cases at the place. As of July 2, Cambodia had confirmed 52,350 infections and 660 deaths.

Meanwhile, Thailand will speed up inoculations of elderly and medically vulnerable people to reduce the number of coronavirus patients in critical condition, senior health official Sopon Mekton said on July 2, as the country reported a third successive day of record deaths.

Health authorities had initially aimed to vaccinate those groups first, but supplies were diverted to factory workers, communities with big outbreaks, and the population of the island of Phuket ahead of this week's reopening to foreign tourists.

Thailand has to vaccinate at least 50 percent of the two groups by the end of July, the official noted.

The two groups combined have a population of 17 million, but only 0.7 percent or 83,000 of over 60s and 3.1 percent of people with health conditions have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine./.

VinBrain wins ACM SIGAI industry award 2021 for excellence in artificial intelligence

“DrAid for Radiology” by VinBrain -a subsidiary of Vingroup in Vietnam- has just been granted the ACM SIGAI Industry Award 2021 for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence.

As the world's top award in the field of artificial intelligence, this award is granted to only one AI product per year. The award will be presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) 2021 from August 19-26, 2021 in Canada. In 2019, the award was granted to Microsoft Corporation.

The ACM SIGAI Industry Award for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the world's top awards in the field of artificial intelligence which will be given annually to individuals or teams who have transferred original academic research into AI applications. The ACM SIGAI Award is held by the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI) - the world's largest scientific and educational computing society, established in 1947 with nearly 100,000 members.

The ACM SIGAI Industry Award has been awarded since 2019. Microsoft, led by the famous AI scientist John Langford (who gained H-Index of 71 – an index indicating the influence of global scientific publications with more than 41,000 citations) was chosen as the winner of the inaugural 2019 award. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Industry Award was unable to go forward. In 2021, the award is restarted and granted to a Make-in Vietnam product - “DrAid for Radiology” by VinBrain.

Launched on June 14th, 2020 as an intelligent assistant for radiologists, “DrAid for Radiology” is the first product of VinBrain and also the first complete AI product of healthcare in Vietnam. The product is capable of detecting and screening over 21 abnormal signs and pathologies of Lung - Heart - Bone within 5 seconds with an accuracy of over 89 percent and sharing diagnostic results via QR code or link. In particular, it is capable of self-warning of COVID-19, including asymptomatic cases or mild lung injury based on upright chest X-Ray and improving accuracy in addition to reducing false negatives when being used in combination with PCR test. DrAid also features the (remotely) “Consulting a second doctor” function. Enabled by images shared directly from DrAid, doctors can remotely consult with colleagues or leading experts without being affected by geographical barriers.

DrAid was highly appreciated by the ACM SIGAI selection committee because of its combination and application of the most state-of-the-art AI techniques, such as multi-class classification and structured prediction, active learning, adversarial training, convolutional networks, speech recognition for automatic medical report editing, lesion localisation on medical images with machine learning using high-tech AI based on models with hundreds of millions of pixel parameters and big data of millions of images of millions of pixels each, among others, into a comprehensive health care AI service.

Many world-famous scientists, including Professor Andrew Ng at Stanford University, also highly appreciated DrAid, especially for its practical application. Professor Andrew Ng is one of the Top 4 of AI scientists in the world. He is also the Founder of Coursera and Google Brain and a pioneer in the field of online AI learning with 77 million users. Others include Curtis Langlotz, Stanford University, Assistant Professor and Chief of Health Services Research, Department of Radiology; Professor Al Pisano -Dean of School of Engineering, University of California San Diego (UCSD), Co-Chair of Pre-screening Committee of VinFuture Prize, etc./.

Kien Giang to invest in infrastructure to cope with coastal erosion, climate change

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang plans to invest 4.92 trillion VND (214 million USD) in infrastructure projects to cope with natural disasters and climate change in the 2021 – 25 period.

Funds will be used for erosion prevention, saltwater prevention sluices, freshwater reservoirs, storm shelter areas for fishing boats, and irrigation systems, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Households in areas prone to natural disaster and erosion will be relocated, including 126 households in the eroded area of Ba Hon Mountain in Kien Luong district and households in flood-prone areas caused by rising sea levels.

Coastal erosion

The province will build embankments along coastal areas to prevent erosion. It will upgrade its sea dykes, start the second phase of Duong Dong Reservoir in Phu Quoc city, and build storm shelter areas for fishing boats on the estuaries of Cai Lon and Cai Be rivers, and in Phu Quoc city.

Three urgent coastal erosion-prevention projects are being carried out in An Bien district’s Mui Ranh area, An Minh district’s Kim Quy estuary, and a coastal section from Kenh 9 Canal to Kenh 7 Canal in Hon Dat district.

More than 50 kilometres of coast in An Minh district’s Van Khanh and Van Khanh Tay communes face dangerous erosion and need embankments, at a total cost of 1.16 trillion VND (50 million USD).

The province has petitioned the Government to allocate funds to build the erosion-prevention embankments. With a coastline of about 200km, the province has 80 km of eroded coast areas identified as dangerous or extremely dangerous.

Coastal erosion has caused damage to protective mangrove forests, sea dykes and facilities, affecting the livelihoods of local people and the environment.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in cooperation with localities is checking dykes and sluices, and ensuring that they operate effectively.

The province has also planted mangrove forests to prevent erosion along coastal areas in An Bien and Hon Dat districts in recent years. It planted a 35ha new mangrove forest to protect sea dykes in An Bien district’s Nam Thai commune, and a 50ha new mangrove forest along coastal areas from Binh Son commune to Binh Giang commune in Hon Dat district./.

Nearly 5,100 UNFPA dignity kits sent to women in pandemic-hit localities

Close to 5,100 Dignity Kits sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have been delivering to women and girls at risk of gender-based violence as a result of the COVID-19 in the three pandemic-hit areas of Bac Giang, Bac Ninh provinces, and Ho Chi Minh City.

The kits, each consisting 21 items worth 850,000 VND (37 USD), are a signature product of UNFPA's comprehensive package of humanitarian assistance in partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Governments of Australia and Japan. They aim to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by a crisis.

Their delivery is underway by chapters of the Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VFU) at different level between June 29 and July 9. A total of 2,397 kits will be distributed in Bac Giang, 1,438 in Bac Ninh, and 1,259 in HCM City.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the kits on June 22, UNFPA Representative for Vietnam Naomi Kitahara said a Dignity Kit comprises the basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain their basic hygiene, respect, and dignity in the face of COVID-19.

Promising a prompt delivery of the kits to women in needs, VFU Vice Chairman Nguyen Xuan Dinh said the kits, especially information and knowledge on how to protect themselves from gender-based violence, are very useful for women./.

Int’l law has supreme role to play in resolving disputes: Russian experts

The ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), based in The Hague (the Netherlands), in July 2016 became an important milestone in the history of territorial disputes in the East Sea, and international law plays the supreme role in resolving these disputes, according to some Russian experts.

Dr Alexander Korolev and Dr Irina Strelnikova from Russia’s Higher School of Economics made the comment in an article published on the website of the Russian International Affairs Council on July 1.

They cited the PCA’s ruling as concluding that China’s claims of its “historic rights” and jurisdiction over the waters in the East Sea run counter to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements.

The writing affirmed the arguments that China used are not reflected in the principles of international law and thus unable to be considered the excuse for its refusal to implement the PCA’s verdict.

The authors also underlined the role of international law in settling disputes among parties in the East Sea, noting that UNCLOS is the most legally binding for all the parties to the convention.

They held that UNCLOS is the legal source replacing any historic right, sovereign right, or jurisdiction that China used to deal with the East Sea disputes.

The article also highly valued ASEAN countries actively discussing the necessity to replace the outdated Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), signed in 2002, by a Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters - a legally binding tool that will serve as the foundation for managing disputes in the East Sea./.

Ministry receives 190,000 COVID-19 test kits from German states

The Ministry of Health on July 2 received 190,000 COVID-19 test kits worth some 500,000 USD donated by German states via the World University Service of Germany (WUS).

The rapid antigen test kits are donated by the states of Hamburg, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Sachsen-Anhalt.

At the handover ceremony in Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong thanked the German Government and people for their precious and effective assistance to Vietnam’s healthcare sector in the recent past, expressing his hope that medical cooperation between the two countries will continue developing in the time ahead.

The test kits will be distributed to provinces and cities facing complex pandemic developments to serve the fight against COVID-19, he added.

He also noted that in 2020, when the pandemic first broke out in Germany, the Vietnamese Government presented 100,000 face masks to its German counterpart. Besides, Vietnamese people in the European nation also donated 100,000 masks to German states while making face masks and offering free meals to medical establishments and rest homes in the country.

German Ambassador to Vietnam Guido Hildner said the test kits are part of Germany’s support presented via the WUS, which will call on the administrations of German states to make more donations to provide Vietnam with about 1 million rapid COVID-19 test kits in the coming time.

The aid reflects the solidarity between the two countries, not only at the governmental level but also the state level, he emphasised./.

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




Twelve groups of policies to support pandemic-hit people announced