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VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 21 (updated hourly)

Investigation completes on case of appropriating State secret documents in Hanoi

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Nguyen Duc Chung, former Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee

 

 

The Investigation Security Agency under the Ministry of Public Security on November 20 issued the investigation conclusion on the case of “appropriating State secret documents” involving Nguyen Duc Chung, former Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee. 

The case’s file has been transferred to the Supreme People’s Procuracy for prosecution of four defendants in the case.

Besides Chung, the three others involved in the case are Pham Quang Dung, a former policeman; Nguyen Hoang Trung- a staff member of the editorial-secretariat section under the Office of the Hanoi People’s Committee, and Nguyen Anh Ngoc, the section’s former deputy head.

The investigation conclusion has also been handed over to the defendants.

In August, the Investigation Security Agency decided to detain for four months and launch criminal proceedings against Chung on charges of “appropriating State secret documents”./.

One imported COVID-19 case recorded on November 21

One imported case of COVID-19 was recorded on November 21, raising the national count to 1,306, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The new patient, a Vietnamese citizen returning from Germany on November 19, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 while staying in quarantine in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

As of 6pm on November 21, Vietnam had gone 80 straight days free of community infection of the coronavirus.

Among those still under treatment, 11 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, nine twice and five thrice.

Meanwhile, 15,582 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or returned from pandemic areas are under health monitoring nationwide./.

Project launched in HCM City to support disadvantaged children

Children in social sponsoring centres who are in special circumstances and may fall into special situations will receive support to access and exercise their rights under a project launched on November 21.

The Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Association (HCWA) and the Justice Initiatives Facilitation Fund of the EU Legal and Judicial Empowerment Programme in Vietnam (EU JULE JIEF) jointly kick-started the project.

Pham Dinh Nghinh, Vice President of the HCWA, said the project will also review proposals of competent agencies regarding education and employment for children, thus making the best preparations for them before they leave the social sponsoring centres.

The project, therefore, focuses on connecting these centres with concerned organisations and agencies in this issue.

Members of the project will make video clips, carry out communications activities at the social sponsoring facilities, compile relevant documents, and conduct surveys to explore children’s demand and strength.

According to the HCWA, the city has given priorities to disadvantaged children, as reflected through a wide range of activities aiming to promote their all-round development organised over the past years./

Vietnam shares experience in combating COVID-19

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Associate Professor PhD Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment (C) at the event

 

Vietnam has shared its experience in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons to make the initial success in treating the disease, as well as upcoming orientations of its Ministry of Health (MoH) for the work.

Addressing a forum on future health trends hosted by the National University of Singapore via a video conference on November 18, Associate Professor PhD Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the MoH, said Vietnam's initial and positive success in disease prevention, treatment and control was thanks to great efforts of the whole political system, society, people and partners.

Vietnam has developed strategies and plans to respond to disease situations, organised treatment, management and caring at all levels, managed reports on the number of COVID-19 cases and regularly updated professional guidelines, Khue noted.

It has also built regulations on equipment, drugs and medical consumables for COVID-19 treatment units, established testing systems at medical examination and treatment facilities, and implemented the assessment of human resources working in resuscitation and infection, and provided training courses to improve their expertise.

In addition, the country also set up mobile teams to provide regular support to localities in the work and an online centre for supporting COVID-19 treatment, while regularly monitoring and supervising the implementation of safe hospital criteria in preventing the pandemic, he added.

In the time to come, Vietnam will continue to focus on both disease and economic development, with its priority given to the development of a Tele-Medicine Network to improve the quality of medical services, apply information technology in disease prevention and control and treatment, Khue said.

Attention will be also paid to reducing hospital overloading and cross-infection at health facilities, he went on.

Participants to the forum mainly focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the response of health systems, especially difficulties to and challenges to allocating resources, including financial ones; major policy changes; and recommendations for public - private partnership.
Application of information technology and digital platforms in health systems such as tele-consult, tele-monitoring, and drug delivery to increase efficiency and reduce costs for health systems were also put on table.

The forum is rotated annually in Asia. Vietnam hosted the event in 2016 and 2018.

This year’s forum saw the participation of health experts from Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan (China), India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh./.

27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting opens

The 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting opened on November 20 via video conference with leaders of 21 member economies taking part.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the meeting, which aims to discuss the COVID-19 situation and adopt a new vision on regional cooperation in the post-pandemic period.

In his opening speech, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of Malaysia - the host of APEC 2020 - called on economies on the Pacific Belt to stay united to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and promote economic recovery.

Muhyiddin affirmed that APEC will play a central role in guiding recovery efforts following the pandemic. He also urged APEC member economies to ensure the fair right to access to vaccines and medical technology.

The Malaysian PM mentioned APEC’s prioritised fields, including support for rules-based multilateral trade system, and promotion of digital economy and comprehensive economic growth.

In his speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is willing to cooperate with APEC economies to create and share the regional future of peace and prosperity towards the target of building a future common community of the humankind.

He affirmed that China backs APEC in increasing the exchange of policies and building capacity in different fields, including public health and small- and medium-sized enterprises in a bid to facilitate the fight against COVID-19 and economic recovery.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum comprises 21 member economies which together account for 60 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The meeting is the most important activity during the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Week hosted by Malaysia./.

One new imported COVID-19 case confirmed on November 20

Vietnam confirmed one new imported COVID-19 case on November 20, bringing the total number of infections to 1,305, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The new patient is a 38 year-old man. He returned from Germany on Flight VN5036 which landed Van Don airport, northern Quang Ninh province, on November 19. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 while in quarantine.

The patient is being quarantined and treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases No 2 in Hanoi's Dong Anh district.

As of November 20 afternoon, a total of 1,142 COVID-19 patients in Vietnam had recovered. The death toll remained at 35.

Among patients undergoing treatment, 10 tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, nine twice and five others thrice. No patient is now in critical condition.

As many as 16,535 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are quarantined across the country.

Đinh La Thăng prosecuted for violations in ethanol case

The Supreme People’s Procuracy has issued an indictment to prosecute Đinh La Thăng, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) on charges of violating regulations on construction works, causing serious consequences at the Petrochemical and Bio-Fuel JSC (PVB) - a subsidiary of this group.

His alleged accomplices, including Trịnh Xuân Thanh, former Chairman of the PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC) and 10 other high-ranking officials and staff of PVB, will also be prosecuted for the same charge.

According to the indictment, Thăng signed a decision approving an ethanol factory project in the northern province of Phú Thọ in 2007. A year later, PetroVietnam established a steering committee led by Thăng to launch biofuel projects.

PVB later invited bidding for a package TK05 named “Design, procurement, supply of equipment and construction of ethanol factory in the north”.

Though six contractors were unqualified, Thăng and his subordinates signed many documents directing joint venture PVC/Alfta Laval/Delta-T to join the project.

The project was suspended in March 2013 due to the joint venture’s poor capability, resulting in a State budget loss of more than VNĐ540 billion (US$23.2 million).

Thăng, also a former Minister of Transport and former Secretary of HCM City People's Committee, was given a total of 30 years in prison in 2018 for his involvement in two other cases at PetroVietnamthat caused huge losses to the State. 

HCMC proposes building footbridge or underpass at TSN airport

In a dispatch sent to the operator of Tan Son Nhat International Airport and other relevant agencies on November 18 to ensure security and safety at the airport, the HCMC Department of Transport has proposed that the airport operator conduct a study on building a footbridge or an underpass connecting the domestic terminal with the TCP parking lot to ease traffic congestion and reduce traffic accidents.

The proposal to construct a footbridge or underpass is aimed at facilitating the movement of passengers and traffic flow on car lanes A, B, C and D, the local media reported.

To improve the traffic condition at the airport, the municipal department also proposed the airport operator work with some relevant agencies, including the management board of the parking lot, to give guidelines to passengers and drivers and arrange locations to pick up passengers.

In addition, the department proposed adding some speed bumps on the four lanes in front of the domestic terminal to ensure the safety of passengers.

Apart from this, the airport should have more elevators for passengers the airport.

The proposal came after the changes were introduced by the airport on November 14. Accordingly, among the four car lanes at the domestic terminal, Lane A is used for drop-off purposes, while lanes B and C are used by private cars to pick up passengers. Taxis and vehicles for the transport business are allowed to use Lane D to pick up passengers.

Due to the changes, tech-based ride-hailing vehicles such as Grab cabs and Be cars must access the third, fourth and fifth floors of the parking lot to wait and pick up passengers instead of using Lane D, which forces passengers to walk for longer and farther.

Luu Viet Hung, head of the office of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, told VnExpress that the changes helped reduce traffic congestion at the lanes.

ASEAN 2020: Philippine diplomat highly values Vietnam’s leadership role

Vietnam’s leadership to maneuver ASEAN through the COVID-19 pandemic is highly commendable, according to Ambassador Noel Servigon, head of the Permanent Mission of the Phillipines to ASEAN.

The country led negotiations on many critical issues spanning cooperation on the three pillars of political-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation with its external partners, he said in a recent interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Jakarta.

“The mantle of leadership was made heavier as the region moved through the unchartered terrain of the pandemic that brought all of us to unimagined realities,” he said, adding that despite the challenges, Vietnam not only successfully convened ASEAN meetings, but kept the momentum of cooperation going with all of ASEAN's Dialogue and External Partners, as well as through ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit.

And across these many interactions, Vietnam consistently underscored the primacy of ASEAN centrality, making it clear that ASEAN is in the driver's seat and decides the course of the region's future, according to the ambassador.

The Philippine diplomat said the recently concluded and highly successful 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits continued to highlight the importance of ASEAN centrality, and the relevance of ASEAN and its mechanisms.

“At the heart of the Summit was the region's collective response not only to address the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic, but also to embrace the opportunities towards a better future for all our peoples,” he stressed.

Regarding ASEAN’s outsanding achievemtns this year, Noel Servigon said ASEAN adopted a number of forward-looking documents and initiatives which make it clear that the only path forward must be one towards an even deeper regional engagement on vital issues.

The launch of the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases is a prime example, he said, noting “The Center is a manifestation of our collective recognition that if we are to emerge victorious from this current pandemic and avoid future ones, we must work in concert with one another.”

He continued the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement is another example of the 15 countries joining hands and embracing cooperation in the midst of protectionist pressures.

Apart from the many laudable initiatives conceived in 2020, this year should also be marked by the sheer triumph of the ASEAN spirit - one that is characterized by unity in diversity. “Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, our resolve to face those hurdles together have never been stronger,” he stated.

The signing of the agreement brought to a close an 8-year process of negotiations and marks the beginning of an even deeper regional integration, he said, adding that this milestone agreement is a beacon of hope in the face of rising protectionism and charts a path to strengthen supply chain connectivity.

The signing of RCEP demonstrates the commitment of 15 countries to freer trade and provides the momentum to economic recovery at a time when the global economy plunges into its worst recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given the enormous challenges of the pandemic, RCEP is crucial as we connect with countries where supply chains are essential to our economic recovery. Deepening regional integration and strengthening supply chain connectivity is more important than ever,” he said.

It will have far-reaching tangible and collective benefits and advantages for the region and our individual economies by, among others, empowering micro-, small and medium enterprises to gainfully participate in the global value chain, generate jobs and improve standards of living in the region and restore much needed business confidence, according to the ambassador./.

 HCM City sets new poverty standards for 2021-2025 period

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The Board for Raising Funds for Poor People in HCM City's District 11 provides assistance to poor households in the district.

 

Ho Chi Minh City's Steering Board for Sustainable Poverty Reduction has submitted its new multi-dimensional poverty standards for the 2021-2025 period to the municipal People's Committee.

The poverty threshold for the 2021-2025 will be less than 36 million VND (1,553 USD) in annual income per capita, compared to the current threshold of 28 million VND (1,207 USD) per capita, according to Le Minh Tan, Director of the city’s Department of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs and head of the board.

The multi-dimensional measures of poverty will include five dimensions: annual income, health, education, employment, and decent living conditions. There will be 10 indicators in the five dimensions of poverty.

The current five dimensions of poverty include education, health, employment and social insurance, living conditions, and information access with 11 indicators.

The city began using multi-dimensional poverty measures in 2016 in an aim to achieve sustainable poverty reduction and access to basic social services by the poor.

Tan said that changes in the poverty dimensional measures would help define the rights of the poor who need assistance from the city. It will also help assess the influence of the city’s policies on beneficiaries.

Households with three deprivation indicators will be classified under multi-dimensional measures.

In the dimension based on income, households would have income of 36 million VND per capita each year or less than 36 million VND. The proportion of dependent members in these households would account for 50 percent.

In the dimension of poverty based on decent living conditions, the housing area of each member in one household would be less than 6 square metres if they live in the city’s inner districts and 10 square metres in the city’s outlying districts.

With the new multi-dimensional poverty standards, the city expects to have 52,000 poor households, accounting for 2.4 percent of the city’s total population and 38,000 households near the poverty threshold with income from 36 million VND to 46 million VND per capita each year.

The city currently has 3,700 poor households, accounting for 0.13 percent of the city’s total population and 15,000 households near the poverty line.

Relevant ministries and agencies are developing the national multi-dimensional poverty standards for the 2021-25 period to submit to the Prime Minister for approval.

The poverty rate nationwide is expected to decrease to less than 3 percent by the end of this year from 3.75 percent in 2019.

More than 10 trillion VND from the State budget this year was earmarked for the National Target Programme on Sustainable Poverty Reduction.

As of June 30, loans from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies worth more than 18.6 trillion VND have been provided to 423,000 poor and near-poor households in the country./.

Special classes helping eliminate illiteracy

 

A number of special classes have been held in mountainous villages in the northern province of Son La over recent years by border guard soldiers, aimed at eliminating illiteracy and broadening local people’s knowledge.

The two-hour classes are held deep in the forests, where the students tend to live. Calloused hands, normally only used for farming, now hold pens and write letters for the first time.

As the classes are held in mountainous areas with difficult road conditions, border guards stay at the hamlet.

At the end of the three-month course, students will basically be able to read and write. These classes have helped eliminate illiteracy among the local population and contributed to development in mountainous border areas./.

Second congress of ethnic minorities to be held next month

The second national congress of Vietnamese ethnic minority groups is scheduled to take place from December 2-4 in Hanoi with the participation of 1,600 official delegates and 300 guests.

Over the years, the Party and State have paid special attention to socio-economic development and improving the material and spiritual lives of ethnic groups, as well as strengthening national unity, Hoang Thi Hanh, Deputy Minister, Vice Chairwoman of the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minorities, said at a press conference on November 17.

Since the first congress in 2010, the socio-economic situation of ethnic minorities has improved, she said.

The second congress aims to spotlight and recognise contributions by ethnic minority communities in poverty reduction, new-style rural area building, infrastructure development, implementing ethnic policies, national construction and defence and international integration in the 2010-20 period, said Hanh.

Participants will focus on reviewing the implementation of policies on ethnic affairs and relevant works in the last decade, towards perfecting ethnic policies.

The congress will also honour outstanding organisations and individuals who made important contributions to patriotic movements and development in ethnic minority-inhabited areas from 2010-2020.

The event is expected to serve as a venue for exchange and experience sharing, contributing to promoting unity among ethnic groups.

Sideline events such as an incense-offering ceremony at Hung Kings Temple in Phu Tho province, a visit to President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Presidential Palace, an exhibition displaying photos and cultural products, and an art performance programme will be arranged around the congress./.

Thailand earmarks 200 million USD for COVID-19 vaccine

Thailand’s Cabinet on November 17 gave permission to the Ministry of Public Health to pay 6 billion baht (200 million USD) and reserve 26 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

The government’s spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the money would come from its emergency budget reserved for the procurement of the vaccine now being tested by the pharmaceutical company.

The budget will go to two agencies – the National Vaccine Institute for vaccine development and the Disease Control Department for vaccine procurement and management.

Anucha said the government would buy the vaccine from AstraZeneca since the Ministry of Public Health had signed an MoU with the company and it had agreed to produce the vaccine in collaboration with Thai company Siam Bioscience.

The government has instructed the National Vaccine Institute to procure COVID-19 vaccine for 20 percent of the population or about 13 million people.

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said that the made-to order reservation ensured that Thailand would have access to the vaccine as soon as it received safety approval in the UK.

In addition, the contract with AstraZeneca allows Thailand to produce more vaccine at its own plant in Pathum Thani.

The government believes the arrangement will guarantee that the vaccine will be available to everyone needing it in Thailand and neighbouring countries as well.

Experts predict many countries to have supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next year. The ministry expects to be able to supply half the Thai population within two years./.

Two Lao citizens illegally entering Vietnam arrested in Dien Bien

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The two Laos citizens (centre) are arrested for illegally entering Vietnam

 

Border guards and police in the northern border province of Dien Bien on November 18 arrested two Lao citizens for illegally entering Vietnam.

The arrestees included Lo Van Don, 49, and Lo Van Nhi, 40, both residing in Huoi Lai village in Muong May district of the Lao province of Phongsaly.

The men confessed that they illegally entered Vietnam with the aim of coming to Hanoi where they were initially scheduled to meet someone at My Dinh bus station and ask for help to make fake personal papers before applying for jobs at construction projects.

The border guards are completing procedures to hand over the Lao citizens to authorities for settlement in line with law./.

International workshop promoting active ageing, mental health in ASEAN underway

An international workshop on November 18 and 19 is underway to provide a forum for foreign experts to share their experience and make recommendations on promoting active ageing and mental health in ASEAN member states.

The “International Workshop on Strengthening Stakeholders Cooperation in Promoting Active Ageing and Mental Health in ASEAN” is being co-held by the Ministry of Health, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organisation (WHO), in both face-to-face and video conferencing forms. It has gathered more than 170 representatives from ASEAN member states and partners.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong said the 21st century is viewed as the century of population ageing. ASEAN has the third-largest population in the world, after only China and India. The elderly (those aged over 65) number more than 45 million people, accounting for 7 percent of the regional population. By 2030, this group of population is forecast to reach 132 million, or 16.7 percent of the bloc’s population.

Four ASEAN nations - Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia - are already considered ageing societies and expected to move to “super-aged” by 2050, Cuong said.

He went on to talk about the situation in Vietnam, saying the country entered the “ageing” phase in 2011 and remains among the most rapidly-ageing countries in the world. The elderly now account for 7.7 percent of the national population, or 7.4 million people, with over 2 million aged 80 or above.

It will take Vietnam only 20 years to move from an “ageing” society, where the over-65s make up 14 percent of the total population, to an “aged” one, where the percentage is over 14 percent, while such a transition took much longer in developed countries, such as France (115 years), Switzerland (85 years), Australia (73 years), and the US (69 years), the deputy minister noted.

Ageing-induced demographic changes have had a major impact on all socio-economic matters in each country and each society, he continued, so the workshop offers a good opportunity for ASEAN countries to seek ways to ramp up the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in enhancing care for the elderly and achieving an active ageing and healthy ASEAN Community as well as a cohesive and resilient ASEAN./.

Vintage flea market and workshops at Saigon Outcast

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The outdoor bar Saigon Outcast will host “Sài Gòn Vintage Fair” featuring a flea market and workshops on November 28. — Photo courtesy of the organiser’s Facebook page

 

 The outdoor bar Saigon Outcast will host “Sài Gòn Vintage Fair” featuring a flea market and workshops on November 28.

The market will sell clothes, bags, and accessories in vintage style, along with natural and handmade lipsticks, perfumes, scented candles, crystals and accessories.

Homemade bakery, pots, plants and board games will also be included.

The event will offer workshops on making lipstick and perfume with natural ingredients, as well as Christmas decorations with traditional Vietnamese materials.

The event will be open from 10am to 7pm at 188/1 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng Street in District 2. Entrance is free. 

Solutions sought to mobilise resources to build hygienic toilet in rural areas

The Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) and partners held a workshop in Hanoi on November 19 to seek ways to mobilise resources for the building of hygienic toilets in rural areas.

Vice Chairwoman of the VWU Tran Thi Huong said the union has made it a priority to support women in building and using hygienic toilets as part of a campaign to encourage hygienic practice in rural families.

The issue is significant in ensuring the right to sanitation for everyone, especially women living in disadvantaged circumstances and those with disabilities, she said, adding that it will help to gradually change the awareness and behaviours of women, other people and the community about protecting a hygienic environment for the health of the community and their own families.

The VWU needs support and technical assistance from all sectors, the authorities, organisations and enterprises in working for the right to sanitation, Huong said.

Country director of the East Meets West Vietnam Hanh Nguyen highlighted that the issue of environmental hygiene and clean water is more urgent than ever in the central region which was hard hit by historic floods.

The organization will continue to work with local partners to ensure access to clean water and hygiene for disadvantaged communities, she said.

The VWU has coordinated with the East Meets Wests and partners to implement a project on hygiene and clean water in five provinces of Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Ben Tre. As a result, more than 9,100 households in rural areas were persuaded to build hygienic toilets. Besides, 980 other households, along with 50,000 children and 173 communal health clinics were provided with hand cleaning devices and soap for COVID-19 prevention under the project.

Poor hygiene and lack of clean water are among causes of malnutrition and diseases, especially in children. Under-five children in communities without hygienic toilets are 3.7cm shorter in average than their peers in communities with hygienic toilets. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the cause of nearly one third of deaths of under-five children in Vietnam..

Nearly 240 Vietnamese citizens flown home from Philippines

Nearly 240 Vietnamese citizens in the Philippines flew home aboard a VietJet Air flight on November 19.

The passengers included pregnant women, the elderly, children under 18, students without accommodation, workers with expired contracts, and others in extremely disadvantaged circumstances.

The Vietnamese Embassy in the country sent staff to the airport to assist the passengers with boarding procedures.

In-flight safety and preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic were rigorously enforced to protect the passengers’ health and prevent the spread of the disease.

Upon arrival at the Can Tho International Airport in the Mekong Delta city of the same name, all passengers and crew members received medical check-ups and were sent to quarantine in line with regulations.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with their wishes, the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, and quarantine capacity in Vietnam./.

Webinar calls for better wildlife conservation, control of animal-to-human disease transmission

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Wild birds sold at a market in Long An province

A webinar was held by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and the Vietnam Environment Administration on November 19 to call on regional countries to join in efforts to conserve wildlife and effectively control animal-to-human disease transmission.

Participants discussed the risks to public health posed by the wildlife trade, especially emerging infectious diseases from animals. They also shared information and experience, discussed cooperation issues, and considered the feasibility of using the One Health approach in ASEAN’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and any future pandemics.

Initiated by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the webinar heard that the global population has doubled over the last 50 years while the global economy has increased almost four-fold and global trade ten-fold, resulting in growing energy and material demand. Human factors have greatly affected biodiversity at the ecosystem, species, and genetic levels.

The degradation of biodiversity has also had socio-economic and health impacts on societies, participants said, noting that diseases from wild animals, like H5N1, HIV, Ebola, and now COVID-19, have had an intensive and extensive effect on human life and the global economy.

General Director of the Vietnam Environment Administration Nguyen Van Tai said wildlife protection is not merely nature and biodiversity conservation but is also associated with public health activities.

It’s time for all people, countries, and regions to effectively promote conservation and proactively prevent animal-to-human disease transmission, he said./.

Tripartite agreement signed to cut marine plastic waste in Quang Binh

A tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) on reducing marine plastic waste in the central province of Quang Binh was inked on November 19 as part of a workshop held in the provincial capital Dong Hoi.

The provincial People’s Committee, the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Vietnam were signatories.

Speaking at the workshop, WWF Vietnam Country Director Van Ngoc Thinh lauded the commitment and involvement of the Vietnamese Government and Quang Binh’s Dong Hoi city in protecting the environment and ocean ecosystem.

Vice Chairman of the Quang Binh People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Hoang said the province has launched several campaigns to tackle the issue, including one calling on all residents to collect waste on Sundays.

According to official data, some 466 tonnes of solid waste are disposed of in Quang Binh on a daily basis, of which 77.4 percent is collected and treated. The province has eight working landfills, two waste treatment plants, and one incinerator.

The workshop was held within the framework of a project on reducing marine plastic waste in Vietnam being implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, it is being conducted in Dong Hoi city, Ha Tinh province, A Luoi district (Thua Thien-Hue province), Da Nang city, Phu Yen province, Long An province, Rach Gia city (Kien Giang province), and three marine reserves - Cu Lao Cham, Con Dao, and Phu Quoc. The project is set to launch communications activities and support the building of guiding documents and the implementation of related policies in line with the national action plan on marine waste management by 2030./.

Destinations in Cần Thơ boosted for regional tourism growth

A number of new tours to the southern city of Cần Thơ, dubbed as the land of rivers, will begin in a bid to boost tourism.

The trips to Cần Thơ were introduced at a conference on Wednesday in Hà Nội at the Việt Nam International Travel Mart 2020.

At the conference, local businesses presented the new river tour of Mai Linh Group, farming experience at Bảo Gia Trang farm, eco-tourism at Thới An Đông Tourist Village, making traditional cakes at Cồn Sơn community-based tourist area and experience being landlords at Mỹ Khánh Tourist Village. To promote tourism in the region, the enterprises offer 30-50 per cent discount on services. Cần Thơ and the Mekong Delta businesses also signed agreements with businesses in Hà Nội and the northern region.

Speaking at the conference, Vice Chairman of Cần Thơ City People's Committee Dương Tấn Hiển said the promotions aim to introduce tourism products of Cần Thơ City and strengthen co-operation and market connection with partners in other regions.

“Tourism products in Cần Thơ City and the Mekong Delta provinces have authentic characteristics that are different from tourism products in other provinces in the north. 

"We hope that enterprises in the north and south can work together to connect destinations and attract tourists to experience tourism products in localities, step by step bringing the tourism industry to becoming a key economic sector,"

Vice chairman of the Việt Nam Administration of Tourism Hà Văn Siêu highly appreciated the attractive destinations of Cần Thơ tourism. Siêu said with the participation of Cần Thơ businesses to VITM, the biggest event of Vietnamese tourism industry and the committed co-operation with northern partners, Cần Thơ tourism will shine.

Addressing the conference, Siêu expressed the hope that Vietnamese tourism will soon recover and develop rapidly when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The growth of Cần Thơ tourism has shown positive signs with new products and attractive policies for tourists, he said.

"I expect that the co-operation between Cần Thơ and northern provinces will be successful, contributing to promoting tourism development in the country," he added.

Cần Thơ is the largest city in the southwestern region of Việt Nam, with the water-based tourism and culture. Some famous destinations include Cái Răng floating market specialising in selling fruits and agricultural products of the whole region; Bình Thủy ancient house in French architectural style located at 26/1A Bùi Hữu Nghĩa Street and Bằng Lăng Stork Garden, 52km from the city centre, home to thousands of storks as well as many other kinds of birds.

Hoi An reopens pedestrian streets and craft villages

The ancient city of Hoi An, home to one of the nation’s most famous UNESCO world heritage sites, has reopened its pedestrian streets, night streets, and craft villages following several months of closure due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and flooding.

The move to reopen various sites will see tickets to Hoi An Ancient Town halved between now and the end of June, 2021.

Tourist sites, entertainment centres, hotels, and restaurants, are also offering a range of promotional schemes aimed at luring more visitors to the town.

Truong Thi Ngoc Cam, director of Hoi An Culture and Sports Centre, said that the reopening of the site is expected to reinvigorate the central city’s tourism industry.

A broad array of art performances and special events will take place to mark Vietnam Heritage Day, with the majority of these being held on pedestrian streets at night, she said, adding that this will help local households to resume their businesses.

Work commences on Day-Ninh Co canal, expected to improve waterway transport in northern delta

The Ministry of Transport on November 19 began the construction of a canal connecting the Day and Ninh Co Rivers in Nam Dinh Province as part of a northern delta transport development project known as WB6, funded by the World Bank.

WB6 is the largest project on waterway infrastructure in the Red River Delta, implemented across 14 provinces and cities in the region to improve connections between inland waterways and coastal areas while reducing pressure on road transport.

The original project, which was completed in 2016, cost more than US$200 million, US$170 million of which was funded by the World Bank.

In order to maximise the project’s efficiency, Vietnam and the World Bank have signed an additional agreement to build a canal that connects the Day and Ninh Co rivers.

The canal and its related infrastructure will cost US$107.19 million, of which the World Bank provides US$78.74 million while the remaining US$28.45 million is financed by the Vietnamese government.

Located in the communes of Nghia Lac and Nghia Son in Nghia Hung District, the canal is scheduled for completion in mid-2022, helping fully-loaded 2,000-tonne ships and 3,000-tonne ships with reduced load to move through the Lach Giang river deep inland to Ninh Phuc Port in Ninh Binh Province.

In addition to the canal and its lock, the project will also include a bridge over the canal.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Nhat stated that the canal will cut 20% of travel time of ships from Nam Dinh to ports in Ninh Binh, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong, thereby reducing logistics costs and greatly benefiting people in the Red River Delta.

Three bridge projects along axis road connecting HCMC and Mekong Delta approved

The People’s Council of the Mekong Delta province of Long An on November 18 gave its nod to the investment plans of three bridge projects along an axis road connecting HCMC, Long An and Tien Giang, which requires an estimated investment of VND2.3 trillion (US$98.9 million) in total.

The three bridges will cross the Can Giuoc, Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay rivers, Nguyen Hoai Trung, deputy director of the Long An Department of Transport, was cited by the local media as saying.

Work on these projects will start next year and is expected to be completed within five years. The capital for these projects will be sourced from the State budget, the local budgets and other resources.

Of these, the two-lane Can Giuoc bridge will have a length of 2.7 kilometers, with each lane being over 14 meters wide. Meanwhile, the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay bridges will be over six kilometers long each, including approaching roads.

Once in place, the three bridges will be connected with provincial road 827E, forming a traffic system from HCMC to Tien Giang, thus enhancing traffic connectivity between HCMC and Mekong Delta localities.

The projects are also expected to help accelerate the urbanization and attract investment for socioeconomic development in Long An and the adjacent localities.

The axis road will also ease traffic on National Highways 1 and 50, ensure safe and efficient passenger and cargo transport and reduce traffic accidents.

Besides the three bridges, Long An is upgrading and expanding seven roads connecting to HCMC with a combined cost of VND24.4 trillion. These projects are expected to be completed by 2025.

Vietnam Airlines online check-in service now available at Cat Bi airport

Vietnam Airlines is offering the online check-in service to passengers departing from Cat Bi airport in the northern port city of Haiphong to help them save time while conducting flight procedures, a representative of the national flag carrier said on Wednesday, November 18.

Through this service, passengers can now check in for their flights online via the carrier’s website at www.vietnamairlines.com or its mobile app 24 hours or one hour ahead of departure.

After completing the online check-in process, passengers will receive an “online boarding pass” via email. If passengers do not have any baggage to be checked in, they can use the online or printed boarding pass to proceed to the security counter without having to stop at check-in counters.

To date, Vietnam Airlines has introduced the online check-in service at six domestic airports—Danang, Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai, Cam Ranh, Van Don and Cat Bi.

Aside from Vietnam Airlines, other local carriers have also introduced various air services.

Bamboo Airways is set to open its first ticket office in Central Vietnam on November 21. The office, which is located in Danang, will provide a wide selection of services including selling tickets for all flights operated by Bamboo and offering air consulting services for free.

Budget carrier Vietjet announced that Vietjet Thailand has just added two 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft to its fleet, raising the number of aircraft operated by the carrier to 13. Vietjet is expected to receive another two aircraft next month to enhance its operations in Thailand.

Gov’t to supply over 4,000 tons of rice to three central provinces

The prime minister has decided to use over 4,000 tons of rice from the national rice reserves and offer it as relief aid to the residents hit by floods and storms in Ha Tinh, Nghe An and Binh Dinh provinces in central Vietnam.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned the Ministry of Finance to provide over 4,303 tons of rice to the three provinces, with Ha Tinh set to receive 3,000 tons, Nghe An 303.4 tons and Binh Dinh 1,000 tons.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs was tasked with reporting the statistics to the prime minister, while the governments of the three provinces will be in charge of receiving and promptly delivering the rice to the affected residents.

Besides, the government of Ha Tinh Province was told to report the number of households in need of support and the results of the relief work to the ministries of Finance, and Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in detail, the local media reported.

The prime minister also asked the relevant ministries and departments and local authorities to quickly address the consequences of the recent storms and floods to stabilize the lives of residents.

Further, PM Phuc told rescue workers to continue looking for the rest of the people who went missing due to the landslides and storms in Quang Nam and Binh Dinh provinces.

Ministry starts work on biggest waterway traffic project in Northern Vietnam

Construction of a canal linking the Day and Ninh Co rivers, which is regarded as the biggest of its kind in the northern region so far, has been kicked off on November 19 by the Ministry of Transport.

The project’s total capital investment is estimated at US$107 million covering on communes of Nghia Lac, Nghia Son and Nghia Hung in Nam Dinh Province. Of which, US$78.74 milion comes from the World Bank (WB) while the rest is the Government's reciprocal capital.

The construction includes a 1km-long and 90-100m wide canal connecting the Day and Ninh Co rivers; a lock keeper measuring 179 meters in length, 17 meters width and 7 meters in height; systems of buoyage, plants, dyke, irrigation, electricity and connectivity.
The project is expected to be completed in the middle of 2022 and create an access allowing large and heavily loaded vessels to be able to enter inland waterway routes.
The canal is part of the “Red River Delta Transport Development Project” (Project WB6) which invests in the construction of inland waterway infrastructure in Northern Vietnam, covering 14 cities and provinces with the loan support provided by WB.

Vietnam Green Building Week 2020 to lure a thousand attendants

Green Building Week 2020 will lay the ground for an annual event of the construction sector.

Vietnam Green Building Week 2020 with a wide range of activities is expected to attract some 1,000 delegates and experts from national and international organizations, Kinh te & Do thi reported.

The event, slated to take place in Hanoi from December 9 to 11, will be jointly held by Vietnam’s Ministry of Construction and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It is also supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and other institutions.

Vietnam Green Building Week 2020 aims to create a forum for ideas sharing, information and experience exchanges on policy development. It is also a platform to introduce new technologies, products, equipment, building materials to develop green and energy-efficient buildings.

The event targets promoting urban development projects towards reducing green house gas emissions and environmental impacts for a better living environment.

Besides, it demonstrates efforts and actions of Vietnam in implementing international commitments on climate change and sustainable development.

Green Building Week 2020 will lay the ground for an annual event of the construction sector. The event will consist of technical seminars, field trip to a green building, policy dialogue session, plenary session, exhibition of buildings, materials, equipment and technologies to demonstrate the transformation of construction market towards the green, environmentally-friendly and energy efficient construction for national and international enterprises. 

Earlier, the Vietnamese government pledged to reduce 9% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The construction sector will implement the commitment through policies and development strategy in the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050. The development of green and energy efficient buildings is therefore an inevitable trend and solution.

In fact, in recent years, real estate developers and construction enterprises have made significant changes towards supplying more energy-efficient and environment-friendly properties to the market.

The annual Vietnam Green Building Week is therefore expected to raise the awareness of stakeholders in promoting green and energy efficient projects.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR

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