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VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 29

COVID-19: 49 more cases recorded, including 46 in Bac Giang hotspot

 

The Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed an additional 49 locally transmitted cases in Vietnam over the past six hours, including 46 cases in Bac Giang, the country’s largest coronavirus hotspot.

All the new cases in Bac Giang were logged in quarantine and lockdown areas linked to fresh outbreaks at industrial parks, the MoH said in its 12.00am COVID-19 update.

Elsewhere, one case each was recorded in Tay Ninh, Dien Bien and at the Hanoi-based National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Notably, the Tay Ninh case, a 2-year-old boy, was closely tied to the coronavirus hotspot at the Revival Ekklesia Mission Vietnam, a Christian congregation in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tay Ninh is also the latest locality that has documented the emergence of the virus.

The MoH also said in its update, seven Vietnamese nationals returning from overseas were exposed to the virus.

The MoH data show Vietnam has recorded 3,643 new cases in 34 cities and provinces across the country since the emergence of the virus in late April.

Bac Giang, which is home to crowded industrial parks, is the hardest hit locality, with close to 2,000 cases confirmed.

MoH Minister Nguyen Thanh Long has said the latest outbreak in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh, another coronavirus hotspot, has yet to show signs of abating and the number of positive cases is anticipated to increase in the coming days.

COVID-19 vaccine fund raises 185 billion VND

Minister of Heath Nguyen Thanh Long on May 28 received 185 billion VND (8.01 million USD) in donations from businesses for Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccine fund.

The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) contributed 50 billion VND; the Vietnam Electrical Equipment Joint Stock Corporation, the BIM Group, and Vietnam Electricity 30 billion VND each; and the Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank 20 billion VND. The Kosy Group and the DHG Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company donated 3 and 2 billion VND, respectively.

At the handover ceremony, Long highlighted the complex developments of the ongoing fourth wave of COVID-19 in Vietnam that began in late April.

A concerted effort by the entire country was key to success in fighting the previous three waves, he stressed, expressing a belief that with solidarity and efforts, success will come again.

Vaccinations are considered an effective solution and top priority in pandemic prevention and control, he affirmed.

The health sector aims to increase vaccine coverage and reach herd immunity, he said.

Since May, the Ministry of Health and related agencies have actively negotiated and accessed different sources of COVID-19 vaccines. Vietnam was one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to sign a contract to buy the AstraZeneca vaccine and was also one of 92 countries supported by the COVAX Facility, receiving 38.9 million doses. The ministry recently signed an agreement with Pfizer to buy 30 million doses of its vaccine./.

National per capita income witnesses 2 percent fall in 2020

Vietnam’s per capita income in 2020 declined two percent to 4.23 million VND (183.19 USD) per month, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has said.

According to preliminary results of the GSO’s survey on local living standards in 2020, which covered nearly 47,000 households across 63 cities and provinces, the average monthly per capita income increased by 8.1 percent each year during the 2016-2020 period.

The monthly per capita income in urban areas is around 5.53 million VND, about 1.6 times higher than that in rural areas (3.48 million VND).

The richest group has an average per capita income of 9.1 million VND per month, compared to only nearly 1.14 million VND in the poorest group.

In terms of regions, the southeast region had the highest monthly per capita income, at over 6 million VND, 2.2 times higher than that of the northern midland and mountainous region which had the lowest monthly per capita income at 2.74 million VND.

The southern province of Binh Duong surpassed Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to top the nation’s per capita monthly income in 2020. The province’s per capita income was more than 7 million VND (303.93 USD) per month, followed by HCM City at 6.537 million VND, and Hanoi 5.98 million VND.

Of the total income, earning from wage and salary accounted for 55.3 percent, from agro-forestry-fishery activities 11.2 percent, non- agro-forestry-fishery activities 22.9 percent, and other activities 10.6 percent.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of poor families has continued to decrease thanks to social welfare policies, the GSO says. Policymakers, however, need to address the wealth gaps between urban and rural areas, the rich and poor as well as between regions./.

Vietnam has 87 new COVID-19 cases to report on May 29 morning

Vietnam logged 87 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases in the past 12 hours to 6am on May 29, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the total, 57 were reported in Bac Giang, 27 in Bac Ninh, one in Bac Lieu, one in Gia Lai, and one in Hanoi’s Hospital K.

As of May 29 morning, Vietnam documented a total of 6,657 COVID-19 cases, including 5,164 domestically-transmitted and 1,493 imported ones.

Report from the ministry’s Medical Examination Administration showed that the country has seen 2,896 recoveries and 47 deaths related to the disease.

Among active patients undergoing treatment, 112 have tested negative to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 41 twice, and 70 thrice.

There are 161,445 people who had close contact with confirmed patients or returned from pandemic-hit regions under quarantine nationwide./.

PM chairs national teleconference on COVID-19 prevention and control

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on May 29 morning presided over a national online conference on the COVID-19 situation and urgent response measures amid the complicated developments of the pandemic with an increasing number of infections recorded in industrial parks and major provinces and cities.

Attending the event were Standing Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, representatives of relevant ministries and agencies, and leaders of the provinces and centrally-run cities.

At the teleconference, representatives of ministries, agencies and localities reported on the COVID-19 situation and proposed more active and effective solutions to combat the pandemic.

Based on these proposals, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will make conclusions on urgent, stronger, more drastic and faster solutions for more effective pandemic prevention and control, in the spirit of "fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy".

On May 29 morning, Vietnam logged 87 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the country to 6,657, including 5,164 domestic and 1,493 imported ones./.

PM calls for ongoing support from UK in low-carbon economy

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh suggested the UK Government continue its support to Vietnam in finance, technology, and experience in transitioning towards a low-carbon economy, while receiving Alok Sharma, British Cabinet Minister and President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), in Hanoi on May 28.

During the reception, the PM called for the UK’s assistance in improving Vietnam’s climate change resilience, particularly for areas hard hit by climate change.

The PM also appealed to the UK to further help Vietnam access COVID-19 vaccines and consider the transfer of COVID-19 vaccine production technology.

The two sides compared notes on specific issues to further elevate the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership in the context of the world facing new challenges, especially climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinh suggested Sharma help accelerate the implementation of bilateral economic cooperation agreements and encourage British companies to invest in Vietnam, especially in fields where the UK possesses strengths, such as clean energy.

Severely affected by climate change, Vietnam has defined green growth as a central target and task in its sustainable development strategy despite a range of difficulties in resources, according to the PM.

It is transforming stably, harmoniously, appropriately, and effectively, with attention paid to jobs and living standards, he said, adding that the country has played an active and responsible role in cooperation and the implementation of relevant international commitments.

Vietnam also backs and appreciates the UK’s efforts in organising COP26 in the form of videoconference, he went on.

Chinh affirmed the country’s willingness to closely cooperate with the UK and partners to ensure the success of the conference, with stronger and more specific commitments to assisting developing countries in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, particularly in terms of financial access and technology transfer.

For his part, Sharma stressed that Vietnam is one of the British Government’s important partners in preparing for the conference, and lauded the country’s commitments and active participation in multilateral climate change forums as well as its efforts in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK will continue to support Vietnam in climate change response, including speeding up green energy development, he said.

Sharma conveyed the letter of invitation from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to PM Chinh to attend COP26, slated for November in the UK./.

VND30 trillion proposed for new elevated road project in HCM City

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To reduce traffic congestion, the HCM City's Department of Transport has proposed building an elevated road stretching from Cộng Hoà and Trường Chinh intersection in Tân Bình District to Nguyễn Văn Linh Street in District 7.


 

The HCM City Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) has proposed building an elevated road stretching from the Cộng Hoà and Trường Chinh intersection in Tân Bình District to Nguyễn Văn Linh Street in District 7.

The elevated route was not included in the previous planning of the five elevated routes in HCM City.

The new elevated road will begin from the intersection of Cộng Hòa and Trường Chinh streets and run along Bùi Thị Xuân Street, Alley No. 656 on Cách Mạng Tháng Tám Street, Bắc Hải Street, Lý Thái Tổ Street, Nguyễn Văn Cừ Street, and Ông Lớn Canal, before ending at Nguyễn Văn Linh Street.

The 14.1-kilometer road will have four lanes and be executed under a public-private-partnership (PPP) with a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract.

The project requires an estimated investment of VNĐ30 trillion (US$1.3 billion).

"The company wants to contribute to the development of urban infrastructure in HCMC, especially the development of new infrastructure models," Lê Quốc Bình, general director of CII said.

According to the city Department of Transport, due to the tight city budget, the proposed investment model is appropriate, so it suggested two plans to develop the project.

Under the first plan, the Department of Transport will coordinate with relevant agencies to prepare the prefeasibility and feasibility reports and hold a tender to choose the investors for the project.

As part of the second plan, the Department of Planning and Investment will require the investor to develop the project under the PPP format in line with the law.

While the metro system and other transport projects are still in progress, ring roads and elevated roads have almost been forgotten after 15 years of planning, experts have said.

Hà Ngọc Trường, vice president of the HCM City Port and Bridge Association, said that congestion is especially bad at intersections in big cities.

“Building more overpasses and tunnels can only reduce the pressure for a short time. For the long term, the construction of elevated roads is extremely urgent but it seems to have been neglected. Without elevated roads, it is difficult for the city to get rid of congestion,” he said.

Dr Vũ Anh Tuấn, director of the Việt Đức Transport Research Centre, said that priority should be given to elevated roads to deal with traffic gridlock.

“Without an elevated road network, congestion will worsen even though the city has tried to expand existing road networks or build new urban roads. Expanding existing roads results in high costs for site clearance compensation,” Tuấn said

HCM City can learn from other major cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta or Manila in building elevated roads. It is estimated that an elevated road system can improve average travel speed by 10-15 per cent, he added.

Under a plan in 2005 approved by the then Prime Minister, HCM City was expected to complete construction of a total of five elevated roads with length of 70.7km, which would be connected in high-traffic areas. However, since the plan, no elevated road has been built. 

Quảng Ngãi Province sets aside $1 million for COVID-19 vaccine, prevention efforts

Quảng Ngãi Province will reserve funding of VNĐ23 billion (US$1 million) for a COVID-19 vaccination and prevention programme throughout 13 districts in 2021.

Provincial authorities said the fund will help prepare medical facilities and test tools for a mass vaccination programme and medical services till the end of this year.

It said the COVID-19 patient (No 3067), who was reported on May 6, tested negative for SARS-COV-2 for the sixth time at Bình Sơn District's medical centre on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Đà Nẵng will resume taxi, bus, motorbike delivery and ride-hailing service operations from Friday.

The city said only drivers who have tested negative for SARS-COV-2 can work but they still need the second test after seven days of working. Daily health declarations and use of the Bluezone application are required for all drivers.

Nearly 9,000 drivers received tests for SARS-COV-2 between May 21-23, and at least 1,400 COVID-19 vaccine shots will be reserved for public bus and taxi drivers.

Barriers are removed from a living area in Đà Nãng after a 21-day lockdown. Photo courtesy COVID-19 steering committee 
Lockdown barriers were removed at three living quarters around the New Phương Đông Bar and an apartment block in Nại Hiên Đông Ward in Sơn Trà District from Thursday after 21 days, making them the first locked-down zones in the city to complete 21 days of isolation.

Five COVID-19 patients, of which three are members of a family, were released from hospitals between May 26-27. They will be quarantined at home under daily medical control for 14 days.

The city’s Lung hospital and Hòa Vang health centre have treated 159 COVID-19 patients. Nine patients have tested negative with SARS-COV-2 twice, while 48 others have negative tested once.

To date, Đà Nẵng has recorded no new SARS-COV-2 infection cases for eight days in a row.

Ministry of Health instructs factories nationwide how to stay safe amid pandemic

nspections conducted by the Ministry of Health at more than 200 factories and companies showed the limited capacity of some facilities in COVID-19 prevention and control work, said Deputy Minister of Health Đỗ Xuân Tuyên on Thursday.

Tuyên, who is deputy head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired a teleconference with authorities and leaders of local health departments in all 63 cities and provinces nationwide. Businesses, manufacturing facilities and industrial parks were instructed on COVID-19 prevention and control.

According to the health ministry, only 5 to 10 per cent of businesses and factories updated their outbreak status on the COVID-19 safety map. Some localities have not prepared COVID-19 prevention plans at industrial parks and every factory.

Deputy Minister Tuyên asked enterprises which have not recorded COVID-19 cases to actively conduct inspections, set up response teams and ask workers to fill in health declarations.

“At least 20 per cent of labourers who have suspected symptoms must have health check-ups. Workers have to keep a safe distance from each other at the workplace and during lunch time,” he said.

Factories which reported positive cases must zone off, isolate, and thoroughly trace infections, minimising the number of infections spreading to the community. Daily buses carrying workers to the factories must have windows opened, reduce the number of people by half and be disinfected every day.

Localities which have positive cases in both community and factories need to take preventive measures at residential quarters and workplaces in order to prevent cross infection, he said.

The Deputy Minister noted that businesses and industrial parks must think about long-term plans in case the outbreak lasts a long time.

Putting F1 cases in quarantine at home should be considered if there are many F1 cases in one living area. Taking testing samples, medical supervision and domestic waste collection at home quarantine sites are conducted the same as centralised quarantine sites, he said.

Businesses must conduct testing on workers and resume operation at virus-free factories, he said.

Since the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, industrial parks in Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang have become hot spots.

By 7pm yesterday, Bắc Giang has reported 1,564 community cases while the number of cases in Bắc Ninh continues to rise with 654 cases since April 27. Most of them are factory workers at local industrial parks.

The health ministry is asking localities to build COVID-19 safety protocols at industrial parks as clusters at factories are new in this wave. 

Hospital director dismissed due to patient's drug trafficking ring

The director of a hospital that was found to be the headquarters of a drug trafficking ring run by a patient has been sacked.

Vương Văn Tịnh, Director of National Psychiatric Hospital No 1 based in Hà Nội’s Thường Tín District, was dismissed due to improper management and responsibility that led to the drug trafficking ring operating from the hospital.

The incident was first reported on March 31 and is under further investigation.

Nguyễn Xuân Quý, 38, who resides in Hà Nội’s Thanh Trì District, is accused of starting the ring when he was receiving treatment at the hospital’s Department of Functional Rehabilitation and Traditional Medicine.

He was sent to the hospital for treatment in November 2018.

From then, he repeatedly left the hospital during treatment. In January this year, Quý was arrested by the police of Hai Bà Trưng District on charges of illegally possessing drugs but was returned to the hospital due to his mental illness.

The police investigation found that after a long time at the hospital, he formed close relationships with a number of hospital staff and was free to come and go as he pleased.

Quý allegedly renovated a treatment room into a soundproof room and installed large speakers and laser lights to use as a place to take and sell drugs.

As well as Quý and his friends, some hospital staff were also reportedly offered drugs in the room.

He is thought to have sold drugs at the hospital by telling his customers to pretend to be caregivers.

To avoid being detected, Quý hired two men - Nguyễn Trung Nguyễn and Nguyễn Công Thường - to disguise themselves as delivery drivers and stand at the hospital gate as lookouts. They also delivered drugs to customers.

On March 20, the Police Department for Investigation of Drug-related Crimes raided the hospital room, arresting Quý and five accomplices, including the two lookouts.

The police seized more than 6kg of drugs of various kinds, including ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine.

The investigation agency also arrested Nguyễn Anh Vũ, a technician from the rehabilitation and traditional medicine department at the hospital, to investigate him for not denouncing the crime. Vũ was found to be positive for drugs after a quick test.

As soon as the incident was reported, the Ministry of Health suspended the hospital director and set up a discipline council to identify and deliver punishment to involved people.

The health ministry on Wednesday also disciplined the hospital’s vice directors - Nguyễn Tuấn Đạt, Lê Ngọc Tú and Nguyễn Mạnh Phát, by warning and reprimanding them in front of the hospital staff. 

TripAdvisor lists An Bang, My Khe among top 25 beaches in Asia

An Bang and My Khe beaches in central Vietnam have been named among the top 25 most beautiful beaches throughout Asia, as voted on by readers of renowned travel website TripAdvisor.

An Bang beach in Quang Nam province comes in at 24th on TripAdvisor’s list.

Readers praised the beach for its soft sand, clean water, gentle waves, and friendly villagers.

In addition, the beach, which is home to fishing villages, also provides a romantic setting for couples to enjoy.

An Bang was also voted one of the top 100 beaches in the world by CNN Summer Travel back in 2013.

Meanwhile, My Khe beach, which runs from the base of Son Tra peninsula to the Marble Mountains, finished in 25th position.

The beach is 10km long and features an abundance of coral, plants, and other creatures along its banks and in the sea. In addition, the beach is situated next to the city centre, meaning transport links are highly convenient. 

The Sunday Herald Sun of Australia had previously voted My Khe as one of the 10 most popular beaches in Asia, which is famous for its white sand-banks, mild waves, and blue, warm water all year round.

My Khe was also voted by Forbes magazine as one of the most attractive beaches on the planet after meeting their criteria, including convenience, being free for tourists, and having long and flat sand-banks. This is along with getting plenty sunlight, having waves suitable for sports, being safe for tourists, and featuring luxury resorts and international standard villas.

Vietnam wants to deepen ties with Cuban, Russian Parties

Vietnam always wishes to deepen relations between the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the Communist Party of Cuba and the United Russia Party.

The statement was made by Le Hoai Trung, head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, while chairing online conferences to inform outcomes of the 13th National Congress of the CPV to the two Parties on May 28.

The official briefed the Cuban and Russian sides on achievements and challenges facing the country, as well as its development targets by 2030 with a vision towards 2045.

The Cuban and Russian sides congratulated the CPV for the successful organisation of the congress, and expressed their belief that under the CPV’s leadership, the Vietnamese people will realise guidelines adopted at the congress and reap greater achievements in socialism building.

The Communist Party of Cuba and the United Russia Party always attach importance to cooperation with the Vietnamese Party, considering this an important political foundation to promote and deepen the Vietnam-Cuba special friendship, and the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, their representatives said./.

Vice President visits pandemic-hit provinces

Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan, on May 28, visited and inspected COVID-19 prevention and control in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, which have borne the brunt of the current wave of outbreaks.

At her separate meetings with authorities of the localities, the official shared difficulties the two provinces are facing in the fight against COVID-19 and lauded their efforts to combat the epidemic and successfully organise the recent elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all level for the 2021-2026 tenure.

She recommended them to press ahead with pandemic prevention and control as well as sustaining socio-economic development.
On the occasion, the Vice President presented 3.5 billion VND (151,466 USD) to each of the two provinces in support of their fights against the pandemic.

As heard at the meetings, hit by a new strain with a high infection rate, Bac Ninh, home to a high population density and ten operating industrial parks (IPs) with more than 400,000 workers, is facing lots of challenges in repelling the epidemic.

The province has so far logged over 700 COVID-19 infections, including over 100 cases at local IPs. It has so far received 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to inject frontline forces and workers.

Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Dao Hong Lan said the number of doses till fall short of demand and hoped a larger number of vaccines will come for mass vaccination.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Bac Giang provincial Party Committee Duong Van Thai reported that the province has so far locked down six districts and stopped the operation of four IPs. Currently, more than 60,000 workers from 61 provinces and cities live in residential areas around the local IPs. Bac Giang has promptly blocked these areas, preventing workers from returning to their hometowns to avoid spreading the disease throughout the country./.

Contest seeks breakthrough climate change solutions from young people

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCMCYU) Central Committee and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the “Youth for Climate Innovation Contest” in Hanoi on May 28.

The contest seeks breakthrough solutions and initiatives from young people around the country regarding environmental protection and climate change response, and contributes to realising a project aiming to promote the role of the HCMCYU in this regard during the 2019-2022 period.

Vietnamese citizens in Vietnam and aged from 16 to 35 are eligible to enter.

Contestants must submit videos illustrating their initiative, with each allowed to send multiple entries on different content. The contest can be found at https://bitly.com.vn/y238yy.

Entries are open until July 25. Winners are expected to be announced in August.

There will be one first prize of 50 million VND (2,160 USD), two second prizes of 20 million VND each, three third prizes of 3 million VND each, and a prize for the provincial HCMCYU with the most entries, of 3 million VND.

UNDP Resident Representative for Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen said the contest is one of the ways to tap young people’s potential in stepping up climate change agendas, and expressed her hope that many entries will be submitted./.

Green Climate Fund offers Vietnam 30.2 million USD to deal with climate change

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has provided 30.2 million USD as non-refundable assistance to Vietnam to help the country deal with climate change impacts.

The sum will be allocated to a project “Strengthening the resilience of smallholder agriculture to climate change-induced water insecurity in the Central Highlands and south-central coast regions of Vietnam” (SACCR).

A document to this effect was signed by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Hanoi on May 28.

The project is expected to benefit local resident in five provinces, namely  Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Dak Nong and Dak Lak.

It aims to empower vulnerable farming households, especially women and people from ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands and south central regions in managing climate-related risks to agricultural production by ensuring the availability of water resources, climate change resilient activities and access to agricultural climate information, credit and market.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Hoang Hiep, this is the largest non-refundable aid that the Ministry has received from international organisations in recent years.

The project will help strengthen connection of irrigation systems, improve the management capacity, and effectively use climate change adaptation systems, especially in the South Central and Central Highlands regions.

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen said the project will support small farmers, especially women and ethnic people vulnerable to climate change to adapt quickly to natural disasters.

They will benefit through smart irrigation systems and livelihood options, she said, adding that they will be also provided with knowledge of climate risks and opportunities to access to efficient agricultural cultivation techniques, as well as information on market.

The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

The Green Climate Fund was established by 194 countries party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2010. It is designed as an operating entity of the Convention’s financial mechanism and is headquartered in the Republic of Korea. It is governed by a 24 Board member Board, representing countries, and receives guidance from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP).

Created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Fund aims to support a paradigm shift in the global response to climate change. It allocates its resources to low-emission and climate-resilient projects and programmes in developing countries./.

Youth Union raises funds for pandemic-hit people, children

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) Central Committee held a fundraising event in Hanoi on May 28 to support disadvantaged people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was part of a programme initiated since April 2020 to support frontline workers and pandemic-hit people, including children.

Along with providing daily necessities and free meals to beneficiaries, the programme also helps ease the difficulties facing workers at industrial parks and assists students seeking part-time work.

More than 4 billion VND (176,400 USD) in cash and kind was raised, and aid packages are on the way to frontline workers and people in the three northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, and Dien Bien.

On the occasion, Secretary of the HYU Central Committee Nguyen Tuong Lam urged members to uphold the pioneering spirit and take the initiative in carrying out suitable solutions in battling COVID-19.

Donations can be sent via money transfer or to Vietnam Youth Federation chapters around the country./.

Southeastern region at top in average expenditure per capita

Vietnam’s southeastern region leads the way in average monthly expenditure per capita, with residents spending about 3.9 million VND (nearly 168.9 USD) each month on average, according to the preliminary findings from a newly-released survey by the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The 2020 survey on Vietnam’s household living standards revealed that the northern midlands and mountainous region had the lowest expenditure per capita, at 2.1 million VND per month, up 5 percent since 2018. The figure surged 17.3 percent in the southeast.

The national average was 2.89 million VND last year, up 13 percent against 2018. Of this, living costs accounted for the majority, or 2.7 million VND per capita per month, of which food and non-food expenses averaged 1.69 million VND and 1.2 million VND, respectively, per month.

The average monthly consumption of rice fell to 7.6 kg per person in 2020 from 8.1 kg in 2018 and 9.7 kg in 2010. Conversely, the monthly consumption of meat increased to 2.3 kg per person last year from 1.8 kg per person in 2010.

The survey also found that 97.4 percent of households had access to clean water last year, up 6.9 percentage points from a decade ago. The rate in rural areas was 8.8 percentage points higher than in the 2010s. The increase was particularly high in the Mekong Delta (up 15.9 percentage points) and the Central Highlands (13.9 percentage points).

The percentage of households using electricity stood at 99.5 percent in 2020 compared to 97.2 percent in 2010. There was no significant difference between the rates in urban and rural areas or between regions./.

Appointment decision presented to Vietnam’s Honorary Consul General in Ukraine’s Odessa

Vietnamese Ambassador to Ukraine Nguyen Hong Thach on May 27 presented the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ decision to appoint Nguyen Van Khanh as the Honorary Consul General of Vietnam to Odessa province.

At the ceremony, Ambassador Thach congratulated Khanh, and expressed his hope that with his devotion, capacity and prestige, Khanh will make contribution to consolidating and enhancing the traditional Ukraine – Vietnam friendship, as well as support the development of the Vietnamese people community in Odessa.

For his part, Khanh described the appointment as a great honour for him, and committed to doing his utmost to nurture the fruitful relations between the two countries and build a stable Vietnamese people community, bringing practical benefits to both nations.

Khanh, the former President of the Vietnamese people association in Odessa, was sent to the Ukraine province for further study in 1979, and has lived in the port city of Odessa since then.

In 2003, the Vietnamese community in Odessa was recognised as a minority ethnic group in Odessa, and Khanh contributed greatly to the result.

Governor of Odessa province awarded an honourable medal to Khanh for his devotion and contribution to the development of Odessa city and Ukraine as a whole in 2011. Four years later, he was named among the top ten doctors in the south of Ukraine. In 2017, Dumskaya, the largest newspaper in Odessa, selected Khanh as one of the five most influential foreigners in the city./.

Two war-time bombs safely removed in Hung Yen province

Sappers under the Hung Yen Military Command have safely removed two war-time bombs in the northern province’s Tien Lu district.

The bombs, each is more than 2m long and weighs 230kg, were found at the bottom of the river by local residents.

The area was quickly isolated and boats were banned from crossing the river section until the bombs were moved to a safe area for defusing.

In recent years, sapper engineers under the Hung Yen’s Military Command have collected and dealt with dozens of bombs and mortar shells left from the war, mostly in Tien Lu, Kim Dong and Van Giang districts.

The province’s military command has warned local residents to immediately contact relevant agencies when detecting unexploded ordnances./. 

“De Men” award ceremony to take place on Children’s Day

The ceremony for the second “De Men” (Cricket) Award for Children will be held on International Children’s Day on June 1, according to the organiser, the Vietnam News Agency’s The Thao & Van Hoa (Sports & Culture) newspaper.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was only kicked-off at the end of March. It still managed to receive 120 entries, however, or 20 more than in the first edition last year.

Sixteen outstanding works were selected for the final round.

From May 20-27, a judging panel led by poet Tran Dang Khoa, Vice President of the Vietnamese Writers’ Association, selected one major prize, called “Cricket Knight”, and several “Cricket Desire” prizes.

Last year, the Cricket Knight prize, worth 30 million VND (1,300 USD), was presented to writer Nguyen Nhat Anh for his work “Lam ban voi bau troi” (Make Friends with the Sky).

The organiser also granted four Cricket Desire awards, each worth 10 million VND, to a collection of paintings from 10-year-old Nguyen Doi Chung Anh, a long story from 12-year-old Cao Khai An, a collection of short stories by writer Nguyen Chi Ngoan, and a collection of songs about children by composer Nguyen Van Chung.

Images of crickets and the “Adventures of a Cricket” by writer To Hoai were part of the childhood of many generations of Vietnamese.

Writer Nguyen Quang Thieu said that “De Men” was initiated in the hope of bringing the deepest and purest spiritual life to children. It is not only a prize but also an attitude towards the future, he said./.

ASEAN launches action plan to combat marine debris

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on May 28 launched the Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States for the 2021-2025 period, which provides a solution-focused joint strategy to address marine plastic debris across the region.

Adopted ahead of World Environment Day on June 5 and World Oceans Day on June 8, the Action Plan represents a milestone for ASEAN, signifying a renewed, bolder collective commitment through regional actions, aligned with national agendas towards tackling a critical environmental challenge.

Speaking at the event, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said the plan is a testament of collective and forward-looking response to the challenge with the aim to support regional policies, platforms and align resources to complement existing country actions.

The plan includes 14 regional actions across four pillars of policy support and planning; research, innovation and capacity building; public awareness, education and outreach; and private sector engagement.

Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa said building on the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region and the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris, the plan will play an important role in helping the bloc achieve this vision and protect vital marine environments that sustain the region for generations to come.

The plan supports ASEAN's overall commitment to tackle the challenge by reducing plastic inputs into the system, enhancing collection and minimising leakage, as well as creating value for waste reuse. Actions include guidelines for countries to phase out single-use plastics, harmonise regional policies on recycling and plastics packaging standards, and strengthen regional measurement and monitoring of marine debris. These coordinated measures will also enhance regional platforms for innovation, investments, and training.

Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank (WB) Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, said the WB has supported the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN member states in preparing this comprehensive Action Plan as a framework for joint action and accountability. The WB has also undertaken extensive diagnostics, policy support, and investments across the region, she added./.

RoK donates 40 thermal imaging scanners to aid COVID-19 fight

The Republic of Korea (RoK) on May 28 handed over 40 thermal imaging scanners as the RoK government’s gift to the Vietnamese government to assist it with the ongoing fight against the CVOID-19 pandemic.

The devices will be installed at the country’s 10 international airports to ensure safety for both staff members and passengers amid the ongoing COVID-19 threats.

Both the Vietnamese Health Ministry and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will be responsible for installing these scanners. The Korean side will also be organising a capacity building training course specifically for Vietnamese health experts and quarantine officers.

The overall value of the non-refundable aid package is worth approximately US$1 million.

Addressing the handover ceremony, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long thanked the RoK government and people for providing assistance for Vietnam for many years, especially for helping the local healthcare sector in the COVID-19 fight.

He went on to express hope that Korean businesses would offer more support through providing medical supplies and testing equipment, especially vaccines, to help Vietnam prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ho Chi Minh City on full alert as dozens test positive for COVID-19

The authorities of Ho Chi Minh City have scrambled to take stronger measures aimed at breaking a new chain of COVID-19 transmission after dozens of locals linked to recent outbreak at Revival Ekklesia Mission were exposed to the virus.

As many as 44 members of the church and their relatives who reside throughout 16 districts in the southern city have tested positive since the first case was announced on May 26, thereby posing a significant risk of community transmission, according to local medical experts.

Relevant agencies have therefore moved to cordon off a total of 44 locations, including residential areas, apartment blocks, and healthcare facilities.

Alongside speeding up the process of contact tracing and testing, the local administration moved to suspend all non-essential services, including beauty salons, massage parlours, entertainment centres, restaurants, and fast-food outlets.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) also decided to suspend operations at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s largest transport hub, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. 

“I am much more worried than surprised, because this is a new COVID-19 outbreak in the community with the source of infection being unknown,” Dr. Truong Huu Khanh of the City Children’s Hospital No.1 told zingnews.vn.

“This could be the largest and most complex outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City so far,” he added.

Though the number of cases is anticipated to increase over the coming days, Dr. Khanh advised local people not to be too worried as the southern city swiftly responded to the latest outbreak.

He also reminded local people of the necessity of fully following COVID-19 guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health, including wearing face masks, maintaining a safe distance from others, and avoiding large gatherings when in public places.

He also proposed that the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases conduct genome sequencing of the new cases to identify the source of infection.

Vietnam wants to deepen ties with Cuban, Russian Parties

Vietnam always wishes to deepen relations between the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the Communist Party of Cuba and the United Russia Party.

The statement was made by Le Hoai Trung, head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, while chairing online conferences to inform outcomes of the 13th National Congress of the CPV to the two Parties on May 28.

The official briefed the Cuban and Russian sides on achievements and challenges facing the country, as well as its development targets by 2030 with a vision towards 2045.

The Cuban and Russian sides congratulated the CPV for the successful organisation of the congress, and expressed their belief that under the CPV’s leadership, the Vietnamese people will realise guidelines adopted at the congress and reap greater achievements in socialism building.

The Communist Party of Cuba and the United Russia Party always attach importance to cooperation with the Vietnamese Party, considering this an important political foundation to promote and deepen the Vietnam-Cuba special friendship, and the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, their representatives said.

HCM City Buddhist Sangha donates 33 ventilators to India

The Ho Chi Minh City Buddhist Sangha, on May 28, presented its donation of 33 ventilators to Indian people amid COVID-19 at a ceremony held at the Indian Embassy in Hanoi.

The Meiko MMD-V1 ventilators are worth VND3.4 billion (US$147,283) in total.

At the event, Venerable Thich Duc Thien, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the VBS’s Executive Council, shared his deep sympathy over the difficulties and efforts of the Government and people of India in their fight against COVID-19.

He stated that the donation aims to help reduce Indian people’s suffering and protect their lives.

For his part, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma expressed his gratitude toward the assistance, saying it reflects the solidarity and mutual support between Vietnamese and Indian people and is a source of encouragement for Indian frontline forces in preventing and controlling the pandemic.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 28

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 28

Vietnam records 174 COVID-19 cases on May 28 afternoon

 

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