The Ministry of Health held a workshop in Hanoi on July 22 to speed up the research and production of a vaccine against COVID-19.

Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said this is the priority of all countries at present as the pandemic is still developing complicatedly.

Without a vaccine, it is difficult to bring life back to normal, he said, adding that so far the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has surpassed 15 million with over 600,000 deaths.

To date, Vietnam has recorded 401 infections, mainly imported. The country has gone through nearly 100 days without new local transmissions, Long reported.

The pandemic is curbed well at home; however, social distancing is just a temporary measure to limit the number of new infections and prevent an outbreak. The most effective solution at present is a vaccine.

According to Long, Vietnam is one of the 38 countries in the world that has a vaccine quality management system meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s standards. Therefore, if COVID-19 vaccine is successfully produced in the country, it could be exported, contributing to the prevention of the pandemic in other countries.

He asked manufacturers and research units to continuously study the production of a vaccine against the disease.

At the workshop, representatives of four domestic manufacturers reported preliminary results and research plans for the production of the vaccine in Vietnam.

More than 400 Lao students quarantined upon entering Vietnam

More than 400 Lao students were placed in quarantine in Ha Tinh province, central Vietnam, on July 22 after they crossed Cau Treo International Border Gate to enter the country for further study.

The students came from 18 provinces of Laos and they are to study at various universities across Vietnam, according to local police officials. 

They were required to fill out a health declaration form, have body temperature checked and complete other necessary procedures before taking buses to concentrated quarantine facilities.

The Lao students were provided with 4G SIM cards to support their study during the 14-day quarantine period.

Relevant forces of Ha Tinh province are set to receive and quarantine an additional 450 Lao students from Vientiane who had registered to cross the same border gate into Vietnam, on July 23.

The province is expected to receive more than 1,900 Lao students from now till the end of August. 

Vietnam is one of the destinations for Lao students to study under a student exchange programme between Vietnam and Laos. Currently, thousands of Lao students are pursuing different courses in Vietnam.

 COVID-19: Seven new imported cases recorded, total rises to 408

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A Vietnamese returning from abroad is quarantined at a military camp in northern Ha Nam province

Vietnam reported seven new imported COVID-19 cases on July 22 evening, bringing the total to 408 nationwide, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The new patients are Russian citizens coming to Vietnam to work as experts for an oil and gas company.

The group, aged between 42 and 55, landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in southern Ho Chi Minh City on Flight IO4405 on July 11 and were quarantined in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province immediately upon arrival.

They are all being treated at Ba Ria Hospital.

Earlier, Vietnam recorded 10 imported cases who are passengers on the same flight and being quarantined in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The country has gone through 97 days without new community transmissions. Among the total, 268 were imported and quarantined upon arrival.

More than 12,480 people having close contact or entering from pandemic-hit areas are under health monitoring and quarantined at hospitals, concentrated quarantine establishments, homes and accomodations.

The committee’s treatment subcommittee reported that 365 patients have been given all-clear and there is zero death. Most of the patients treated at health facilities nationwide are in stable condition.

Dialogue discusses COVID-19 impact on conflict-affected countries

The UN Security Council held an informal interactive dialogue on July 22 with representatives of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to look into the impact of COVID-19 on conflict-affected countries.

The videoconference, co-organised by Germany, Indonesia, Niger and the UK, was also attended by representatives of Canada as PBC Chair, Colombia and Japan as PBC Vice Chairs, and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.

PBC representatives said the COVID-19 pandemic has worsen problems in conflict-affected countries, pointing out that humanitarian crisis and food scarcity have increased, many economies are now on the brink of collapse, elections have been postponed, and inequality has got more serious.

 

Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco affirmed obvious impact of this pandemic on peace and security, which he said has made the UN’s works, including intermediary and peacebuilding roles, harder but also more necessary.

At the dialogue, member states of the UN Security Council applauded activities that the PBC has carried out in the recent past to cope with the pandemic. They were relatively unanimous in the need for an overall and comprehensive approach, attention to the coordination and cooperation among UN agencies, priority given to vulnerable groups, and improvement of the role of local communities.

They also suggested the PBC flexibly adjust its priorities to adapt to pandemic-induced issues.

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of Vietnam’s permanent mission to the UN, echoed the views on the pandemic’s impact, the importance of resolving issues as a whole, and the necessity for coordinating to avoid overlapping in the implementation of UN programmes and actions.

COVID-19 tally remains at 408 as no new cases recorded overnight 

Vietnam did not record any new coronavirus cases overnight and entered the 98th straight day without community transmission of the virus on July 23, the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control said.

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Vietnamese citizens in Taiwan (China) wait to handle boarding procedures before getting on a repatriation flight on July 20

Among the 408 confirmed patients, 268 are imported cases quarantined upon their arrival.

As many as 365 patients or 89.5 percent have recovered from the disease, and there are no deaths.

Most of the 43 remainders are in stable condition, including one negative from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, once.

There are 11,597 people having close contact with confirmed cases or coming from pandemic-hit areas in quarantine at present, including 136 in hospitals, 10,888 in other quarantine sites, and 573 at home or accommodation facilities.

Cambodia considers easing entry regulations

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has approved in principle the elimination of the 3,000 USD deposit and 50,000 USD insurance for investors, businesspeople and experts entering the country, the Khmer Times reported.

However, the technical working group of the economy and health ministries will discuss further to do check and determine whether the loosening of the measure will impact public health or not.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Economy and Finance Meas Sok Sensan said the government will facilitate the procedure for business-linked travellers, including investors, directors, general managers, technical staff, and their family members.

However, the regulation that travellers must have COVID-19-free health certificates within 72 hours prior to their arrival remains in place. On arrival, after normal immigration procedure, travellers will be quickly guided to have COVID-19 testing, and it takes about 8 hours to have test results.

The spokesman added that a 160 USD fee related to swab test, meal, and transport to pre-booked hotels for the first night accommodation will include the hotels’ first night fee.

If the test is negative, travellers can go to their own self-quarantine places for 14 days. If positive, they will be sent for treatment and their companies will pay the total bill.

The new procedure is expected to be applied next week.

Meanwhile, a secretary of state at the Cambodian Council of Ministers In Virak Cheat on July 20 sent a letter to Education Minister Hang Chuon Naronto to announce that the government gave the greenlight to the reopening of 20 schools meeting high-safety standards in Phnom Penh capital, Siem Reap city, and Battambang city.

According to the Ministry of Education, the first phase will include schools with high-safety standards, the second phase will focus on schools with moderate-safety standards, and the third one will be schools with minimum-safety standards.

Each class must not have more than 15 students, while social distancing must be strictly enforced, it said.

As of July 21 morning, Cambodia recorded 197 cases of COVID-19, including 140 recoveries.

Thailand’s emergency rule against COVID-19 extended till August 31

The Thai Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on July 22 approved the extension of the state of emergency nationwide for another month until August 31.

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the extension was necessary because the COVID-19 pandemic was still spreading worldwide and Thailand was allowing in foreign visitors and easing lockdowns on business and activities that pose high risks of disease transmission.

The emergency decree allows the government to restrict arrivals, follow up suspected cases of COVID-19 and impose disease control measures on all business and activities, Taweesilp said.

It will be an important tool to prepare national transition to the new normal until other laws can be put in place, he added.

Gen Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council and the man who proposed the extension, was quoted by the Bangkok Post newspaper as saying that global COVID-19 cases were rising by over 200,000 a day and were occurring in countries nearby to Thailand.

The disease control law would be amended to provide an efficient response to COVID-19. Pending that, the emergency decree should be exercised, he said.