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Vietnam reports 15 new cases of COVID-19 on June 26 morning

Vietnam reported 15 new COVID-19 cases, including two imported ones, in the past 12 hours to 6 am of June 26 morning, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the 13 domestic cases, five were in quarantine sites or sealed off areas, it further said.

The new cases brought the national tally to 15,115, with 1,751 imported and 13,364 locally transmitted ones.

The ministry said 5,949 patients have been given the all-clear so far.

Among the active patients, 388 have tested negative once to the SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease, 126 twice, and 137 thrice.

Fourteen localities have gone 14 days without new infections and 12 localities have recorded no new secondary infections./.

HCM City seeks to reduce plastic waste

The HCM City People’s Committee has unveiled a plan to strengthen the management, recycling, reuse, processing, and reduction of plastic waste in the city.

It targets supermarkets and other commercial centres in the city using eco-friendly reusable plastics in place of single-use plastics this year.

Traders at traditional markets are encouraged to use eco-friendly reusable plastics to package food and cut single-use plastic packaging by half by year-end.

Shoppers are encouraged to limit the use of disposable plastic items and take reusable bags when they shop.

State agencies and State-owned companies are required to take the lead in campaigns for the reduction and recycling of plastic waste and ban single-use plastic items such as bottles, straws and containers.

Plastic waste discharged by seaside tourism services and seafood farming have to be collected and transferred to waste treatment facilities for recycling and treatment to reduce plastic waste in the oceans.

The city’s reduction, reuse and recycling programme will be scaled up to encourage the reduction of plastic waste.

City authorities have ordered district authorities to strengthen communication to raise public awareness and change attitudes towards plastic to reduce waste and to reuse and recycle.

It should be carried out at crowded public places such as supermarkets, malls, traditional markets, the airport, railway stations, hospitals, schools, stores, tourist sites, hotels, and parks.

Inspections related to plastic waste discharge and environmental protection taxes will be tightened.

More than 9,000 tonnes of solid household waste are generated daily in HCM City, including 1,800 tonnes of plastic, according to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. 


Worker insurance gets livestream attention


Activities to mark 60th Vietnam AO/Dioxin disaster day

The Central Committee of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) held a press conference in Hanoi on June 24 to announce a series of activities to be held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Vietnam AO/Dioxin disaster day (August 10, 1961-2021).

At the event, VAVA Chairman Nguyen Van Rinh said a number of key events will run in the capital city, including a congress of 300 delegates to honour outstanding supporters of the AO/dioxin victims during 2016 – 2021; and an international seminar on AO/dioxin related illnesses.

A meeting with the participation of between 300 and 500 people will be held to show the serious consequences of chemicals on the human health and environment as well as Vietnam’s efforts in addressing such consequences, and will call for domestic and international support toward the AO community.

The activities will also feature an exhibition, an award ceremony of a VAVA-initiated writing contest, and a text message campaign to raise fund for the victims.

The VAVA central committee said these events will take place virtually or physically in a limited scale in line with pandemic-prevention regulations.

From 1961-1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides - 44 million litres of which were AO containing nearly 370 kilograms of dioxin - over southern Vietnam.

As a result, around 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the chemical’s effects./.

Vietnam striving to raise living standards of ethnic minority groups

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on June 24 asked ministries and agencies to roll out specific action plans to speed up the disbursement of public investments and deal with impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority groups.

The National Assembly has approved the funding that aims to raise living standards of ethnic minority groups and those living in mountainous areas during the 2021-2025 period, said Binh, who is also head of the steering committee for the national target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas.

The approval is significant to the country’s socio-economic development, he added.

Minister-Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minorities Affairs Hau A Lenh said the 2021-2030 national target programme is set to narrow the gaps of living standards and income between ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas and the national average.

The number of communes and villages in extremely difficult circumstances is expected to be halved by 2025, and there would be no localities facing such circumstances by 2030.

The total funding for the programme during the 2021-2025 period stands at about 147.05 trillion VND (over 6 billion USD).

Deputy PM Binh ordered establishing a working group in charge of mobilising official development assistance (ODA), and asked the Committee for Ethnic Minorities Affairs and the Ministry of Transport to coordinate with relevant ministries to propose programmes and projects on infrastructure construction and human resources development in ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas, using ODA and foreign loans worth around 350 million USD./.

Wild animals returned to nature in Quang Binh

A number of rare animals have been reintroduced into the wild in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, the central province of Quang Binh.

They consist of five Asian palm civets, two Rhesus monkeys, two pig-tailed macaques, two stump-tailed macaques, one masked palm civet, four keeled box turtles, one elongated tortoise, one giant Asian pond turtle, and three Asian water dragons, the park’s management board said on June 23.

Rescued from poaching or handed over by local residents, they were released after a period of time under care.

According to Deputy Director of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency Nguyen Xuan Dung, Vietnam has developed and enforced a number of programmes and action plans on the urgent conservation of endangered species such as tigers, elephants, primates, and turtles.

Projects monitoring wildlife populations have been carried out in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province, Cat Ba National Park in Hai Phong city, Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh province, Na Hang and Cham Chu Nature Reserves in Tuyen Quang province, and Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh province, among others.

Other projects building biodiversity corridors in the central provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue have also contributed to maintaining and protecting the habitats of endangered species such as the buffed-cheeked gibbon, Edwards’s pheasant, red-shanked douc, Annamite striped rabbit, and Annamite muntjac.

Vietnam is now home to 173 wildlife conservation zones, comprising 33 national parks, 66 nature reserves, 18 species and biotope reserves, and 56 landscape protection zones./.

Four arrested for illegal border crossing

Competent forces in the northern border province of Dien Bien have arrested four people who crossed the border to enter Laos illegally.

The men were captured on June 24 at border marker 74 on the Vietnam-Laos borderline in Tan Phong hamlet in Nam Po district’s Si Pa Phin commune. All of them are residing in Dien Bien province.

They confessed that they came to Laos to exploit forestry and local products, and were arrested on way home.

Authorities are conducting further legal procedures to deal with the case./.

Ninh Thuan deports 10 Chinese who entered Vietnam illegally

The competent forces of Ninh Thuan Province deported 10 Chinese citizens who had earlier entered Vietnam illegally, after they completed a mandatory quarantine period and tested negative for COVID-19 three times.

Ten Chinese citizens who were recently deported for entering Vietnam illegally – Photo: TNO
The provincial Department of Health on June 24 said that the forces imposed administrative fines on the 10 Chinese and took them to the Lang Son border gate to conduct procedures for their deportation, reported Thanh Nien newspaper.

Earlier, on June 4, a local COVID-19-related task force arrested four Chinese people traveling on a car driven by Le Duy Thuy, who resides in the central province of Thanh Hoa, while they were en route from Binh Thuan to Ninh Thuan.

After inspection, the task force arrested six more Chinese citizens on a seven-seater car which was traveling on the National Highway 1 section from Binh Thuan to Ninh Thuan.

The force took these 10 Chinese to a local concentrated quarantine center in line with prevailing regulations.

The 10 Chinese had their Chinese identity cards but no passports or visas and showed signs of illegal entry. All of them are male and reside in China’s Fujian.

Virtual concert calls for donations for COVID-19 vaccine fund

An international virtual concert connecting Vietnam with the world will be broadcast live on VTV1 channel on June 27 as part of calls for people to donate to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine fund.

The concert will be directed by talented conductor Le Phi Phi from the EU and will feature the participation of elite artist Vuong Thach from the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO), along with several other renowned artists.

Viewers will be encouraged to send their donations via the website, or to the bank accounts stated by the organisers during the concert.

Donors can also send the message “COVID NK” by text to 1408 in order to donate to the fund. They will then receive a virtual certificate for their donations.

The COVID-19 vaccine fund has been set up as part of efforts to receive voluntary financial and vaccine donations and assistance from organisations and individuals specifically for the procurement, import, domestic research, production, and provision of COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the Ministry of Health, the nation requires 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a cost of VND25.2 trillion, equivalent to US$1.1 billion, in order to inoculate the roughly 75 million people needed to reach herd immunity.

Phuong Anh named among top five hot picks by Missosology

As the world’s leading publication on beauty pageants, Missosology has selected Vietnamese representative Phuong Anh as the first runner-up in its second hot picks for the upcoming 60th Miss International contest.

Valeria Estefanía Franceschi of Panama has been named as the favourite to be crowned Miss International 2021, with Cindy Isendi of Kenya expected to be picked for the second runner-up title.

The other beauties from the Czech Republic and Mexico are anticipated to make the pageant’s leading five contestants.

Local girl Phuong Anh is 22 years old, stands at 1.77 metres tall, and measures 87-61-93. Born in Ho Chi Minh City, she first rose to prominence by winning the first runner-up title at the Miss Vietnam 2020 pageant and will therefore represent Vietnam at the 2021 Miss International pageant.

Originally launched back in 1960, Miss International makes up one of the Big Four international beauty competitions, including Miss World, Miss Universe, and Miss Earth. This year’s contest is scheduled to take place in Japan in November.

In previous versions of the event, Vietnamese representatives won high prizes at the Miss International pageant, including Pham Hong Thuy Van who won the third runner-up title in 2015 and Tuong San who clinched a finish among the leading eight contestants back in 2019.

Bio-diversity protection: top priority in Đồng Tháp

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp is taking measures to preserve bio-diversity in its wetlands, waterways, and dry land areas, as well as in agricultural production, in the 2021-25 period.

Huỳnh Minh Tuấn, deputy chairman of the province's People’s Committee, said that fish and other aquatic species, for example, were often released into the wild on public holidays. The province releases more than 2 million fish of various species into the wild each year. 

The province has surveyed eco-systems to identify the specific areas and species of plants and animals that should be preserved. Typical plants like lotus, water lily, cajuput trees, bamboo, rice varieties and other indigenous plants will be preserved.

Many plants, especially rice varieties and specialities fruits like Cát Chu mango, Cát Hoà Lộc mango and pink mandarin, will be preserved as well.

The province is also focusing on developing animal husbandry, aquaculture and plants in the Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) area in the Tràm Chim National Park, Gò Tháp Heritage Site, Xẻo Quýt National Historic Site and Gáo Giồng cajuput forest area.

In the Gáo Giồng cajuput forest area in Cao Lãnh District, 68 types of bamboo on a bamboo reservation area are under preservation.

Huỳnh Thanh Hiền, head of the Gáo Giồng cajuput forest area’s Management Board, said the reservation is part of a preservation area attached to the Gáo Giồng ecotourism area. Many bird species are now coming and making nests in the bamboo area. The bamboo reservation is also a place for researchers and tourists to visit and study about bamboo species in Việt Nam.

From 2021 to 2025, the province People’s Committee said it would improve public awareness about bio-diversity preservation and environmental protection.

Nature reserves, endangered animals and plants, and forest areas, especially special-use forests, will all be protected. Focus will also be on the reproduction of indigenous plants and animals that have high value and the use of advanced techniques in agricultural production to promote bio-diversity.

The province is calling for private investment in bio-diversity, forest and eco-tourism preservation and environmental protection projects. 

Ovaltine provide milk to people at quarantine areas in HCMC

In the unpredictable pandemic spread across the country especially in Ho Chi Minh City, Ovaltine has launched a program to bring over 240,000 glasses of milk to the local people at quarantined areas around Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

Since the end of April, HCMC has entered the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic with the number of infected cases increasing day by day;  the number of centralized quarantined areas have also increased; especially many residential areas have been forced to lock down. This situation is causing countless difficulties and inconveniences for the community. In the quarantined areas, many people have lost their jobs, especially low-income households such as blue-collar workers, workers in industrial zones, and university students...Besides, the frontline workforces such as volunteers and medical staff in those areas are also working under hard pressure and intensity, hence, their meals are usually taken in a hurry and lack of proper nutrition.

Ovaltine has coordinated with the People's Committee of An Lac Ward, Binh Tan District & the Women's Union of  Binh Thanh District to deploy the program by creating the Nutrition Cabinets for sharing, with the goal is to supply more nutrients in daily meals to help frontline forces and people have more energy to overcome challenges. Ovaltine creates the Nutrition Cabinets providing free 240,000 glasses of milk, nutrient-rich malted chocolate  to different areas, installed in Binh Thanh and Binh Tan districts that are currently locked down with more than 17,000 households.

Prior to this project, Ovaltine has also donated $3,000 to Pediatric Hospital 1 to support many children with poor families. 

Đồng Nai on higher alert as COVID-19 infections increase in HCM City and Bình Dương

The southern province of Đồng Nai has been urged to tighten COVID-19 prevention and control to minimise the risk of infection in industrial parks while its two neighbouring localities – HCM City and Bình Dương – are becoming major COVID-19 hotspots in Việt Nam.

Chairing an online meeting between the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and Đồng Nai authorities on Thursday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said that it was urgently necessary to monitor people who frequently travelled from provinces to Đồng Nai like workers, drivers or those who transport goods.

They must submit health declarations at checkpoints whenever they entered the province, he said.

The province was also asked to adopt measures to better manage workers’ schedules, especially those who are living in other provinces but working in Đồng Nai.

Four COVID-19 cases linked to patients in HCM City, Đà Nẵng and Bình Dương have been reported in Đồng Nai Province but the alert was raised to the highest level as Đồng Nai is hosting 1.2 million workers – the biggest working force in Việt Nam.

According to the national committee, factories and companies should rearrange shifts so that if an infection is reported, only one production line involved would be stopped instead of halting production of the whole factory or company. 

Deputy PM Đam asked the provincial authorities to prepare facilities, staff and equipment to respond to the disease outbreak, particularly in testing, tracing and isolating COVID-19-hit areas.

Director of the province’s Health Department Phan Huy Anh Vũ said that in the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, four COVID-19 cases were reported in the province with 500 F1s and 2,000 F2s detected.

“Due to close linkage with HCM City and Bình Dương, there is a high possibility of the spread of COVID-19 to Đồng Nai,” Vũ said, adding that the province prepared nearly 20 concentrated quarantine areas for about 3,000-5,000 people.

Đồng Nai Lung Hospital and Đồng Nai Dermatology Hospital would be used for COVID-19 treatment only if needed.

Vũ added that thanks to Health Ministry’s support, the province now had three COVID-19 testing units that could deal with about 5,000 single tests daily or 50,000 pooled sample tests per day. Their capacity could be increased to 12,000 single tests per day.

Vũ asked for COVID-19 vaccines for workers as soon as possible.

He also recommended a meeting where authorities of HCM City, Bình Dương and Đồng Nai discuss travel restrictions. Đồng Nai authorities also planned to arrange workers to stay in factories to minimise infection risk and continue working.

Also on Thursday morning, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn inspected COVID-19 prevention and control at Đồng Nai Province General Hospital and two companies at Amata Industrial Park.

Sơn recommended that Đồng Nai should have an appropriate testing strategy, especially the protection of hospitals and medical facilities for early and quick detection of cases with clinical signs of COVID-19 when they reached there for examination and treatment.

Rapid testing, single sample testing and pooled sample testing must be combined properly and effectively.

The province was suggested to allow F1s to take health quarantine at home or in residential areas with the supervision of health authorities. 

The Ministry of Health assigned HCM City-based Chợ Rẫy Hospital to guide the province in preparing resuscitation facilities, supporting Bình Dương and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu provinces when there are serious cases.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) will be given to Đồng Nai so that it could soon set up a treatment area for COVID-19 patients in critical conditions. The area could start with 10-20 beds and then increase to 50 beds. 

Water security to be strengthened in Central Highlands and south-central coast

A new project aims to improve climate-resilient irrigation and water security in the Central Highlands and south-central coastal region.

A signing ceremony for the ‘Strengthening the Resilience of Smallholder Agriculture to Climate Change-Induced Water Insecurity in the Central Highlands and South-Central Coast Regions of Việt Nam’ project was recently held by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and five provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk Nông, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận.

The project will be financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with a grant of US$30.2 million and leveraged co-financing of $126 million from the ADB and the Government of Việt Nam on modernised irrigation infrastructure.  

The awarding of the project reflects the efforts of the Government and the UNDP in leveraging finances for more effective investment in climate resilience. This is the third non-refundable grant project for Việt Nam financially supported by GCF and technically supported by the UNDP.

The project, which will be carried out between 2021 and 2026 by the five provinces, will directly benefit more than 222,400 people in the five provinces (about 10 per cent of the population of the target provinces) with climate-resilient irrigation, improved water security and livelihood options, increased knowledge of climate risks and resilient agricultural techniques, and access to localised climate advice and market information.

It will also indirectly benefit more than 335,000 women and men with enhanced access to climate risk information, weather, market and agricultural advisories and widespread dissemination of best practices in climate-resilient agriculture.

“UNDP is proud of our strong partnership with the Government of Việt Nam for mobilising international climate finance to accelerate national efforts for building the resilience of communities vulnerable to climate change, with three GCF projects,” said Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Việt Nam.

“The project will support poor and near-poor farmers in the Central Highlands and south-central coastal regions adapt to increasingly severe droughts, exacerbated by climate change. This complements the ongoing GCF project UNDP supports in 28 coastal provinces for building the resilience of poor communities vulnerable to floods and storms,” she said.

Pepper farms in Central Highlands region of Việt  Nam often face water shortage in dry season. The region has been improved the water security by support from UNDP and international sponsors. VNS Photo Công Thành 
Việt Nam is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Central Highlands and south-central coast are expected to experience wetter wet seasons and drier dry seasons with an increased risk of severe droughts. This means farmers will face reduced crop productivity, which in turn hurts food security and incomes.

"Việt Nam is among the countries most affected by climate change and extreme weather events such as floods and droughts are occurring more frequently," said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Hoàng Hiệp.

"This innovative project will address the critical issues of water insecurity for smallholder agriculture and will support our farmers, especially women, ethnic minority and poor farmers, to become more resilient to cope with increasing climate risks to agricultural production," 

Vice-Chairman of Ninh Thuận People’s Committee, Lê Huyên, said:  “This project will address the emerging needs of the farmers, not just in Ninh Thuận Province, but in the five project provinces.

“Through this project, farmers will gain access to stable water sources and be better equipped with advanced farming techniques for effective climate-smart agriculture production that will be needed for continued economic development.”

Agriculture and water resources are the foundation of the livelihoods of about 64 per cent of the people in the Central Highlands of Việt Nam, especially ethnic minorities. Around 48 per cent of the people in the south-central coast region rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

The Central Highlands are susceptible to changes in water availability in the dry season when there is little rain and low river flow. Only about 27.8 per cent of the region’s agricultural land is irrigated.

The south-central coast is the driest area of the country with a long dry season, the lowest rainfall, and a relatively small river system. Only about 30 per cent of agricultural land is irrigated.

HCM City People’s Council vows support for people and businesses, elects key leaders

Secretary of HCM City Party Committee Nguyễn Văn Nên said the city would give top priority to both maintaining business and production and providing help to people and businesses affected by the pandemic.

Nên spoke at the first HCM City People’s Council meeting for the 2021-26 period yesterday.

In addition to voting for the city’s key leaders, the People’s Council meeting focused on major policies related to COVID-19 prevention and control as well as measures to support people and companies affected by the outbreak.

“We must ensure that workers who have lost their jobs, especially those who are more vulnerable, such as street vendors, are supported in a timely manner,” said Nên. 

The city government has asked the People’s Council to approve a package worth VNĐ345 billion (US$14.93 million) to support freelance workers affected by the pandemic.

If approved, each worker will receive VNĐ1.5 million, which will be sourced from the city budget and the Fund for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and other sources.

As many as 230,000 freelance workers in the city have lost their jobs, have had income reduced, or have no income since the first social distancing period began several weeks ago, according to the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

As many as 47,533 workers at 2,862 enterprises in the city have been laid off, and authorities have provided assistance to 20,000 of them.

The city is also expected to provide a second financial relief package for affected businesses and workers.

Tourism, transport, small and medium-sized businesses, teachers, laid-off or terminated workers, and informal sector workers will be beneficiaries of payments to be made between this month and December.

Pandemic situation 

Over the past three weeks, HCM City has been taking all measures needed to fight against the latest outbreak. After the first two weeks, the city basically controlled two large outbreaks in Gò Vấp District and Thạnh Lộc Ward in District 12.

“The highly contagious Delta strain has made the fight against the virus much more challenging,” Nên said.

The city has continued to detect new cases in the community without knowing the source of infection, requiring the city to increase the level of prevention measures.

The city is carrying out the largest vaccination campaign ever in an effort to curb the outbreak, according to Nên. As of yesterday afternoon, the city had recorded more than 2,100 locally transmitted cases since the fourth wave began in late April, ranking second in the country after the Bắc Giang Province hotspot.

Bình Tân District has recorded the highest number of cases in the city with 309, followed by Hóc Môn, Gò Vấp, District 12, District 8, and Thủ Đức new city. VNS

Key leaders elected

Nguyễn Thị Lệ, chairwoman of the People’s Council, was re-elected chairwoman of the People’s Council after winning 95.35 per cent of the total votes from the delegates.

Born in 1967 in Củ Chi District, Lệ, who holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and a master’s degree in law, will assume the position for the remaining period of the 2016-21 tenure.

In March 2019, Lệ was appointed as deputy secretary of the city Party Committee for the 2015-2020 term, and then was elected chairwoman of the city People’s Council for the 2016-2021 term. 

Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee, was re-elected with an approval rate of 89.53 per cent of deputies for the remaining period of the 2016-21 tenure.

Phong, 59, from Bến Tre Province, holds a doctorate in economics. He is the former president of the Việt Nam Student Association in HCM City, secretary of the HCM City Youth Union, and secretary of the Central Committee. 

The city People’s Council also elected key leadership positions of the city government, including chairman and vice chairmen of the People’s Council and the People’s Committee, heads and deputy heads of the People’s Council Committees, and others.

The meeting also discussed policies related to compensation and resettlement for residents in the Thủ Thiêm new urban area, the city’s medium-term public investment plan for 2021-2025, and investment for expansion of national highway 50, among others. 

Toxic buoys to be removed from fish farms on Bai Tu Long Bay

Authorities in Quang Ninh Province will remove the styrofoam buoys used at fish farms on the Bai Tu Long Bay and replace them with environmentally-friendly alternatives. 

According to local authorities, nearly 10 million styrofoam buoys at fish farms on Bai Tu Long Bay will be removed and replaced by environmentally-friendly materials by the end of this year.

There are now nearly 1,400 fish farms covering nearly 2,900 hectares in the area.

Most of the local farmers are using styrofoam for their oyster cages with a total reported number of 9,930,000 buoys. Many old styrofoam buoys are being left on the bay, causing pollution.

Quang Ninh authorities have planned to replace the styrofoam buoys for many years but only a limited number has been removed due to many local farmers being unable to afford the cost of replacements.

While local authorities hae been keen to implement plastic buoys by the end of this year, local fishermen are facing financial challenges to carry out the work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the fishermen, the prices for each styrofoam buoy range between just VND25,000-35,000 (USD1.10-1.50) while each plastic buoy costs at least VND50,000 (USD2.20). And they will need some VND1 trillion (USD44 million) to replace all the styrofoam buoys with the plastic alternatives.

A farmer, Vu Ngoc Tung, said that he had spent hundreds of millions of VND to buy over 9,000 styrofoam buoys in 2019. However, they have faced difficulties selling their oysters for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now I don't have money to buy the standard buoys," Tung said. "I hope that we will be given more time to gather enough money for the replacement."

Vice chairman of Van Don District People's Committee, Dao Van Vu, said that most local fishermen have supported the replacement of the toxic styrofoam buoys with environmentally-friendly alternatives to ensure sustainable farming. However, they need time while being affected by the pandemic.

"We’re working with some firms to help farmers with preferential loans or buoy supplies so that we can complete the work by the end of this year," the official said.

240 Vietnamese citizens brought home on direct flight from the US

A repatriation flight which landed at Khanh Hoa Province early this morning brought 240 Vietnamese citizens home from the US.

240 Vietnamese citizens return from the US on a repatriation flight which landed at Khanh Hoa Province on June 25.

The flight which was operated by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines departed from Washington Dulles Airport and landed at Cam Ranh International Airport at 12am on June 25.

This was the first direct flight between Vietnam and the US this year and was among 12 flights approved by the US authorities earlier this month to transport Vietnamese citizens home in 2021. 

Vietnam Airlines has so far been the first and only airlines in Vietnam to have received a license from the US Transportation Security Administration for conducting such flights.

With a total round-trip flight time of more than 30 hours, Vietnam Airlines will use the most modern wide-body aircraft such as Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 for flights to the US.

All of the flights will strictly conform to Covid-19 prevention regulations. 

The flight crew members

Last year, the national carrier carried out over 20 charter flights between Vietnam and the US to repatriate local people as well as transport experts and cargo.

SCGP hands over paper innovations to support Covid-19 fighting in HCM City 

In face of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic surging in Ho Chi Minh City, Bien Hoa Packaging JSC (SOVI), member of SCGP has timely manufactured and provided innovative applications to Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Ho Chi Minh City to support the pandemic prevention and control at administrative agencies and medical facilities in the local communities.

In particular, since June 11th, 1000 SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds have been delivered to the Vietnam Father Front Committee in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). These unique innovations later on will be transferred to medical units and lockdown areas to almost all districts around the city to further support the fight of COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding that Ho Chi Minh City's neighboring provinces are considered high-risk areas, SCGP also presented 1000 SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds to Binh Duong and Long An provinces, supporting the locality against the pandemic.

Sharing about this donation, Mr. Dang Ngoc Diep, General Manager of SOVI said: “As a responsible corporate citizen, SOVI has quickly taken action and provided necessary initiatives to support the local communities in Vietnam during this challenging time. With our innovative paper products, we hope to join hands with the local authorities and frontline workforce of Ho Chi Minh City to fight against the pandemic effectively."

SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds are made of 100% recycled paper, easy-to-install and built to provide comfort and safety for both patients and medical teams. Previously, this innovation has been successfully put into usage at Field Hospitals in Bac Giang and Hai Duong provinces, relieving the burden of medical workforce in transporting and installing the patients’ beds.

Receiving the support from SOVI, the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Ho Chi Minh city has showcased appreciation for the meaningful initiative. 

“In such a short time for preparation, some quarantined areas are still lacking facilities. Hence, SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds supported by SOVI are very convenient and meet our urgent needs.

Accordingly, 1,000 SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds have been distributed to 17 districts in HCMC, Thu Duc city and National University Dormitory – the most crowded quarantine area in the city. All the recipients are very happy and appreciated the convenience of the product and look forward to the company's continuous support.”.

SCGP is the Packaging Business of SCG – the leading conglomerate in ASEAN region. Following the corporate’s sustainable philosophy, SCGP has applied the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy throughout its investments and operations in Vietnam, in which environmental and social welfare are greatly emphasized.

Prior to this, as the situation of COVID-19 remains unpredictable, SCG has mobilized the support from subsidiaries to provide timely support at critical touch points in the nation. Primarily, SCGP has donated to Hai Duong province 10,000 premium-quality paper boxes to transfer provisional contents to the lockdown zone, and 100 SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds made from recycled paper. In the hot spot Bac Giang, 100 SCGP Paper Field Hospital Beds were delivered to be equipped at the field hospital and 1,000 face shields from SCG Vietnam Co., Ltd to protect the medical team. In order to support the government in protecting social health and safety during elections, SCGP has awarded 400 paper partitions to polling stations and local government offices.

To support the borderland security, SCG Vietnam Co., Ltd has teamed up with Tin Thanh Packing JSC (BATICO) - a subsidiary of SCGP to donate 25,000 masks for the border’s force to support the force to overcome this hardship. Simultaneously, Prime Group JSC also coordinated with Lac Viet Friendship Hospital to organize sample checking for 850 officials and employees in 5 business units in improving local testing capacity, contributing to the process of tracing, and preventing COVID-19, together with utilities for the locals.

These contributions in the pandemic prevention and protection for the frontline medical force, once again demonstrate the relentless commitment of SCG in general and SOVI in particular to the local community, towards a better quality of life for Vietnamese people. 

Protected zone established for endangered primates in Quang Binh

The central province of Quang Binh has approved the establishment of a strict protection zone on 710ha of special-use forest area to protect 22 Hatinh langur herds in Dong Hoa commune of Tuyen Hoa district.

The province said all rock mining and mineral exploitation activities will be banned in the area and surrounding communes to ensure a safe habitat for the endangered primates.

The provincial rangers sub-department said at least 22 endangered langur herds with a total population of 156 have been found living in 509ha of primary limestone forest of Son Hoa, thanh Hoa, Dong Hoa, and Thuan Hoa communes since 2015. Thanh Hoa commune is home to the largest population with 12 herds and 91 individuals.

The urgent action plan on the protection of the endangered primates will help conserve the langurs and promote awareness among the community to conserve their natural habitat and the forest.

International biologists, conservationists and wildlife photographers have visited the site to take photos of the primates and nature.

According to Nguyen Thanh Tu, 59, a retired border guard soldier, he and local communities in the area have voluntarily protected the Hatinh langurs in Dong Hoa commune over the past decades.

The Hatinh langur, which is listed as an endangered species by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), lives only in central Vietnam and eastern Laos.

The largest population is in Quang Binh province, and a small group lives in neighbouring Quang Tri province.

A herd of five Hatinh langurs, which was found in a primary forest of Huong Lap commune of Huong Hoa district in Quang Tri, was reported to have had conflicts with local residents in 2020. The district rangers have been trying to move the endangered herd back to the forest since early May./.

Lao people support Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight

A delegation from the Vientiane capital of Laos on June 25 handed over 30,000 USD to the Embassy of Vietnam to help authorities and people of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City fight COVID-19.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Secretary of the Vientiane Party Committee Anouphap Tounalom affirmed the Lao capital city’s special relations with Hanoi and HCM City, voicing his belief that the two cities will soon surmount hardships caused by COVID-19 to stabilise the life and restore production for socio-economic development.

The assistance was raised by Vientiane authorities and people, along with the Vietnamese community and firms operating in the city, he added.

For his part, Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung thanked the delegation for its support even when Laos and Vientiane in particular are also striving to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He believed that the two Vietnamese major cities and Vientiane would further bolster the traditional relations and contribute to the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the Parties, States and peoples of the two countries.

The Vietnamese Embassy has to date received about 1.3 million USD from Lao organisations and individuals to support Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19, including 500,000 USD worth of medical equipment./.

Senior officials laud progress in EAS cooperation

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung attended the East Asia Summit (EAS) Senior Officials’ Meeting, held virtually on June 24.

The meeting gathered officials of the 10 ASEAN countries and the EAS partners of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the US, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

They recognised the progress in the EAS cooperation in the recent past despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the implementation of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018 - 2022).

Applauding the outcomes of the 15th EAS in 2020, they emphasised the need for coordination to actively realise the outcomes and joint statements of this summit, including the Hanoi Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the EAS, and further enhance the EAS’s role and strategic value in the new development period.

The participating countries agreed to maintain the current EAS cooperation trend, invest resources in implementing the Manila Plan of Action for 2018 - 2022, and prepare to build a plan of action for the next period on the basis of the priorities matching the new context.

In the face of the complex COVID-19 situation in the region, the partner countries pledged to give high priority to assisting the ASEAN nations to improve the preventive medicine, develop vaccines, and ensure the safe, effective, and even distribution of vaccines.

The ASEAN countries asked the partners to support the bloc’s COVID-19 response initiatives such as the ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies, and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

At the meeting, participants agreed to maintain economic connectivity and regional and global supply chains, promote recovery and green growth, work towards sustainable development, apply innovative achievements, and boost cooperation in such new areas as digital economy, e-commerce, and renewable energy.

They concurred in working together to prepare for the EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting this August and the 16th EAS in late 2021.

Talking about the emerging challenges and latent risks to regional peace, security, and stability, including the Korean Peninsula, East Sea, and Myanmar issues, officials affirmed that continuing to guarantee peace, security, and stability is the common benefit, particularly amid the fact that countries are applying themselves to coping with the pandemic and boosting recovery.

The EAS needs to further bring into play its important role and actively contribute to these efforts, they noted.

Regarding the East Sea, an arterial shipping route of the world, the countries stressed the necessity for coordination to ensure peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation and overflight, and to turn this body of water into an area of peace, friendship and cooperation.

They called on the relevant parties to refrain from any action that escalates tensions or complicates the situation; not to conduct militarisation or use and threat to use force; and resolve disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They also appealed to ASEAN and China to fully and effectively carry out the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and build an efficient and effective Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Officials also lauded the outcomes of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on April 24 this year, affirming the support for the bloc’s role in promoting dialogue and reconciliation in Myanmar and helping this country seek solutions to stabilise the situation.

Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung asked the countries to continue highly prioritising coordination to help mitigate COVID-19 impacts, protect people’s health, and recover the regional economy while assisting efforts to narrow the development gap and ensure even and sustainable development in the region, especially the Mekong sub-region.

He reiterated ASEAN’s viewpoint on the East Sea issue, urging the parties concerned to enhance efforts to boost dialogue and cooperation, build trust, effectively deal with emerging issues, improve their sense of responsibility, and uphold the rules-based approach in countries’ relations.

He also called on them to respect law, exercise self-restraint, not take action complicating the situation, not conduct militarisation, peacefully settle disputes, keep fully and effectively implementing the DOC, and exert efforts to overcome pandemic-caused difficulties to soon finalise an efficient and effective COC that accords with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, thereby helping to maintain peace, security, and stability in the East Sea and the region./.

Vietnamese, Chinese provinces bolster border control

Border guard forces of Lao Cai northern province of Vietnam joined talks on border issues in the first half of the year with the border control forces in Hekou district of China’s Yunnan province on June 25.

At the talks held at the Lao Cai-Hekou International Border Gate, they stated that the sides have complied with the implementation of three legal documents on border and bilateral agreements, as well as joined hands to facilitate trade of goods via the border gate and ensured COVID-19 prevention and control at the same time.

The forces had arranged four joint inspections with the participation of 403 officers and soldiers from each side and regularly updated adjusted policies and regulations related to border management, security and order and COVID-19 developments in the border areas.

They also agreed on prioritised customs clearance routes for farm produce and aquatic products in an attempt to create optimal conditions for exports-imports and economic development while following anti-pandemic measures.

In the reviewed period, the two sides carried out immigration procedures for more than 1,000 people with multiple nationalities, imported 36 products weighing 932,097 tonnes and exported 14 goods of close to 594,000 tonnes.

They are exerting efforts in arranging quarantine for illegal migrants and taking necessary steps to hand them over to relevant agencies.

Trade activities at sub-border gates and crossings have been suspended due to the adverse impact of COVID-19. At the talks, the two sides agreed that they will work with relevant agencies to resume travel and trade exchanges in the border areas in the coming time when the pandemic is kept under control.

On the occasion, leaders of the border guard forces presented the title of messenger of the Vietnam-China friendship to an official of each side. The border control post in Hekou also offered aid to help four Lao Cai’s border stations battle COVID-19.

On June 24, the Lao Cai Border Guard High Command and border guards in some localities of Yunnan province held a patrol on illegal entry prevention and COVID-19 containment.

They set up a patrol command and teams which will regularly patrol along the shared borders/.

Vietnam-China Party relations highlighted

Vietnamese and Chinese Party officials, scholars and experts gathered at an online symposium on June 25 to discuss the relationship of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China in the past, present and future.

Speaking at the event, Nguyen Ho Hai, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, stressed that the Vietnam-China friendship, founded by the countries’ leaders Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong, is a shared treasure of both sides and needs to be further promoted.

He noted that the Parties and States of Vietnam and China have given each other support during the reform and opening and socialism building in each country for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

HCM City Party organisation, administration and people treasure the valuable support from international friends, foreign partners, including those from China, to the city’s efforts to become a socio-economic, trade, science-technology hub of the country and an attractive destination of the region and the world over, the official said.

He held that the symposium creates a good chance for experts and scholars to review the traditional friendship, comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries and draw lessons for each side, thus further promoting the traditional friendship between the two Parties as well as the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

For his part, Liu Xiaoming, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said that the shared path to socialism has brought Vietnam and China closer together to become “good neighbours, good friends, good comrades, and good partners”.

Vietnam and China are among the few socialist countries having Communist Party as the ruling party, which is the choice of not only the history but also the peoples of both sides to represent their interest and their pursuit of happiness.

It is for the interest of both sides to preserve the vitality of the two Parties, which is a motivation for the completion of socio-economic development and the building of strong countries with rich peoples, he said.

The official noted that over the years, under the leadership of the two Parties and efforts of peoples of both sides, China and Vietnam have recorded considerable achievements, while promoting and deepening bilateral relations, especially in economy, trade, investment and COVID-19 prevention and control.

The function is expected to contribute to the growth of the communist movement in the world as well as the acceleration of partnership between political parties of both countries and the reinforcement of traditional ties between China and Vietnam, he added.

Addressing the event, Chinese Consul-General in HCM City Wu Jun said that the history and reality have proved that the persistent pursuit of socialism and the safeguard of security of the political systems in both countries are the most fundamental joint strategic interest of both sides. The staunch leadership of the Communist Party and the superiority of the socialism system are the basic factors for both countries to overcome all the difficulties, he affirmed.

The official stressed that the Party and Government of China are willing to work with Vietnam to promote the traditional friendship, comprehensive partnership between the two countries in the new era, thus building a community with shared destiny and creating new motivation for the growth of bilateral ties as well as the socialism building in both countries.

Participants at the event highlighted the theory of communism, and focused on the relations between the Communist Party of Vietnam and Communist Party of China in the past and the future, among others./.

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




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