Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia June 19
Seven more imported COVID-19 cases reported on June 18
Vietnam recorded seven more COVID-19 cases, all imported, on June 18, bringing the total to 342 as of 6pm on June 18.
According to the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, all the new patients returned from Kuwait on flight QH9092 on June 16.
Immediately after landing in Ho Chi Minh City, they were put into quarantine in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Tests on June 17 showed the seven were positive to SARS-CoV-2.
All the seven patients are being treated at Ba Ria hospital.
Among the total 342 confirmed cases, 202 were quarantined following their arrivals. As many as 325 out of 342 have been given all-clear, accounting for 95 percent, and there is no fatality.
Vietnam has gone through 63 consecutive days without local transmission.
At present, 6,285 who had close contact with patients or returned from pandemic-hit areas are under quarantine. Of which, 93 in hospitals, 5,775 in other facilities and 417 at homes./.
Press acting on fake COVID-19 reports
Vietnam has not reported any cases of community transmission of COVID-19 for more than two months. False information on COVID-19 is also close to disappearing, thanks in part to the role of the press in mastering mainstream news on the disease.
When Vietnam reported its 17th COVID-19 case, who returned from a trip to Europe, fake news and rumours spread like wildfire on social media.
The patient was the first in Hanoi to have been infected and suffered vicious online abuse, with many commenters slandering her with easily debunked claims.
With drastic measures adopted by authorities and citizens, Vietnam was able to contain the pandemic extremely well. Journalists have remained on the frontlines, providing honest information on the disease so that Vietnam’s efforts are quickly known among the public.
Regularly and accurately updating the public on the virus and the measures adopted to prevent its spread has affirmed the role of mainstream journalism in helping people become more aware about epidemic prevention, establishing trust in the Party’s leadership among the community.
64 days pass without new locally-infected cases of COVID-19
The number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam stands at 342 on June 19 morning as no new infections were recorded overnight, according to the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.
This also marks the 64th straight day without community transmission of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the country.
Of the total, 202 are imported cases and put in quarantine upon their arrival.
Meanwhile, 325 patients, or 95 percent of all cases, have recovered from COVID-19, including 49 of the 50 foreign patients.
After leaving hospitals, they continued to be quarantined for an additional 14 days and undergo more testing before returning to the community.
Only 17 patients are still under treatment at eight heath facilities nationwide, and most of them are in stable condition. Among them, four have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 at least twice.
At present, 6,176 people who had close contact with confirmed patients or returned from overseas are kept in quarantine, including 89 in hospitals, 5,734 in other quarantine facilities, and 353 at homes.
Assistance during humanitarian month reaches over 562,000 people
More than 434 billion VND (18.6 million USD) was used to support over 562,000 needy people during May, as part of the 2020 humanitarian month programme run by the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS).
The programme was in place from May 1 to 31, with the pinnacles being the two weeks from the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day on May 8 until the birthday of late President Ho Chi Minh on May 19.
It focused on supporting provinces affected by drought and saline intrusion, raising public awareness about COVID-19 prevention and control, giving aid to those affected by the disease, and organising blood donation drives.
According to preliminary reports from provincial and municipal chapters of VRCS, 350 humanitarian markets were held in 59 localities during the month, providing 100,000 vouchers for goods. These markets bought farm produce that farmers could not distribute due to the pandemic and gave it to the needy
The programme also saw the construction of 734 Red Cross houses and 344 other humanitarian facilities, including schools, roads, and bridges, worth more than 84 billion VND in total.
The chapters organised over 10,800 communications sessions on COVID-19 prevention and control for 1.8 million people, handed over 4 million face masks, and 646,000 bars of soaps or hand wash bottles. They also sent 6,540 sets of PPE worth more than 10 billion VND to hospitals and other units at the frontline of the fight against the disease.
Blood donation drives held during May collected a total of 104,160 units.
Thailand’s tourism businesses ready to resume after lifting of restrictions
Fifty-one hotels and resorts in Trat province, southeastern Thailand, have joined a "stay one night, get one night free" campaign to promote tourism under new normal conditions.
The Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Trat Office, chaired a recent meeting to discuss preparations for a project to promote tourism in Trat province.
President of the Trat Tourism Association Viyada Srong, together with hotel and resort operators in the eastern province, were in attendance to support the "stay one night, get one night free" campaign.
Travellers, who spend a night at hotels or resorts in Trat, and pay a room rate of 500 to 7,500 baht a night, will have the privilege of staying an additional night, free of charge. The campaign is supported by 51 hotels and resorts in Trat. It will run from July to September this year.
In southeastern Chanthaburi province, workers at The Music Bar & Restaurant are cleaning and renovating the premises, even though it will remain closed due to the precautionary measures. Apisak Padungsin, owner of The Music Bar & Restaurant, said that once the restrictions imposed on bars and entertainment venues are lifted, some 100 employees will be able to return to work. The venue has taken all necessary anti-contagion measures. He said the government should quickly find a vaccine, restore the confidence of tourists and revive the economy.
In northern Chiang Mai province, Chiang Mai Zoo reopened for the first time yesterday with free admissions on offer. People can book tickets at www.chiangmaizoo.com or via the "Eventpop" mobile application. The zoo is strictly observing new normal tourism protocols. Precautionary measures include screening visitors, requiring visitors to check-in and out with the government’s Thai Chana online platform, promoting social distancing and providing alcohol-based hand sanitisers throughout the venue. All facilities and vehicles at the zoo are thoroughly disinfected. Bookings from June 15th to 30th, 2020, are already over 70 percent of capacity.
Cambodia, China to trade rice in local currencies
The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) discussed ways to use the riel and the Chinese yuan in rice exports between China and Cambodia, Khmer Times newspaper reported on June 18.
The CRF also discussed with the representative of the NBC to promote the local currency for domestic consumption and transactions, Khmer Times quoted CRF vice president Chan Sokheang as saying.
He said all the transactions with the rice millers and farmers will use riel.
All rice exporters may soon have an alternative choice of payment either in US dollars or yuan. However, Sokheang said there were barriers to using the yuan for cross-border transactions previously, therefore, the discussions with the NBC were to resolve previous issues.
If Cambodia and China can trade with the riel and the yuan, the two countries will benefit from the exchange rate, Sokheang noted.
At present, exports of milled rice to China have been conducted in US dollars, but when the buyers sold the products in the Chinese market they get Chinese yuan. Then they exchange the Chinese yuan to US dollars to pay the Cambodia sides. Therefore, there is a loss on the exchange rate, he explained.
Sokheang said that for the first five months of the year Cambodia exported milled rice to China at a total value of 71 million USD. Therefore, the use of yuan and riel for the cross-border transactions will be beneficial for both traders – Cambodia and China – and they also enable the expansion of Cambodian milled rice to the Chinese market.
Long Vibunrith, deputy director of the NBC’s Exchange Management Department, said both sides agreed on the proposal to set up a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to begin transactions in yuan and riel at the meeting attended by the Chinese Central Bank, the NBC and commercial banks.
Vibunrith said that there might be an MoU signing ceremony during the Asia-Europe Summit in November, when the leaders of Cambodia and China meet each other.
Cambodian Senate adopts draft law on anti-money laundering, terrorist financing combat
The Cambodian Senate has approved the draft Law on Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism following its adoption by the National Assembly earlier this month.
The Senate said the draft law would prevent the misuse or exploitation of the financial market and help authorities identify measures to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) senator Chea Cheth said the draft law, comprising nine chapters and 47 articles, will fulfil the deficiencies in the existing law, which was adopted by the NA in April 2017 and ratified by the Senate in May the same year.
It demonstrates Cambodia’s commitment to anti-money laundering following a report of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), saying the country is linked to money-laundering.
Senator Chhay Vanna said all contents of the draft are accurate and in conformity with the duties of Cambodia as a member of the APG on Money Laundering.
The draft law is in accordance with Article 113 of the Cambodian Constitution and other legal norms in line with national and international law, he said.
The same day, the Senate also approved the draft Law on Anti-Financing of Proliferations of Weapon of Mass Destructions, which consists of eight chapters and 24 articles.
Thailand boosts green economy after COVID-19
Thailand’s Board of Investment (BoI) has approved adjusting investment privileges and conditions for agriculture categories to promote the bio, circular and green (BCG) economy.
Duangjai Asawachintachit, BoI's secretary-general, said the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on June 17 approved a new agriculture category applying to high technology, namely plant factories.
A plant factory is a closed growing system that uses artificial control of light, temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide and minerals as well as the biological environment such as contamination of diseases and insects from water, air and plants.
Such products must be of high quality, safe and sufficient for both domestic consumption and exports.
This new category will be entitled to a corporate income tax exemption for five years.
Workshop seeks ways to support returned migrant women
A policy advocacy workshop aiming to support returned migrant women and their households took place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 18.
The event was co-organised by Can Tho chapter of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
President of VWU Can Tho chapter Vo Thi Kim Thoa said Can Tho is among localities in Mekong Delta with a large number of women in transnational marriages, as well as returned migrant women.
From 2019 to the end of May this year, the city recorded nearly 2,600 international marriages. Meanwhile, there are about 300 women who returned from broken marriages with RoK or Chinese partners.
At the workshop, participants joined group discussions to contribute ideas for the establishment and operation of offices providing counseling and support for returned migrant women, which will be a key target of a project proposed during the event.
Data of the IOM showed that in 2018, women accounted for 85 percent out of over 16,000 transnational marriages in Vietnam. The RoK is among countries with the highest number of migrant Vietnamese women engaging in marriages, but also ranks second in terms of divorces with an average of 30 percent.
Vietnam must remain vigilant to guard against second COVID-19 wave
The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has requested that epidemic prevention and control agencies across the country move to heighten their vigilance against a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that is hitting Asia.
The request came during a meeting of the steering committee held in Hanoi on June 18 where delegates examined the possibility of easing travel restrictions with some countries that have successfully contained the epidemic. They also discussed the tightened control over arrivals entering the country as a result of the complicated COVID-19 developments occurring globally.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long emphasised that many nations have seen the outbreak of a second wave of the epidemic, posing a high risk of more COVID-19 cases to hit Vietnam.
He went on to request that relevant agencies remain vigilant and are ready to cope with any new scenario as the country moves into a new normal situation as it attempts to realise the dual goals of both combating the epidemic and boosting socio-economic development.
The steering committee maintained that a declaration of the end of the epidemic should be seriously considered, since Vietnam still has only a few COVID-19 patients under treatment while it continues to allow foreign experts and highly skilled workers to enter the country.
The committee assigned Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung to head a working group to work on regulations regarding the setting up of separate quarantine areas meeting epidemiological safety conditions for diplomats, investors, and businessmen to come and work in Vietnam.
According to a report issued by the steering committee, the novel coronavirus is showing signs of abating in Europe with some European nations moving to gradually relax measures and reopen their borders.
Elsewhere in the Americas, especially in both the United States and Brazil, the epidemic situation remains complicated with both countries seeing a sharp increase in cases and fatalities each day. Most worryingly, there seems to be an emerging trend of a second wave of the COVID-19 hitting some locations in Asia.
After going nearly two months without recording a single case of community infection, Beijing has become a new COVID-19 hot spot with the number of positive cases reaching more than 100 people.
The Beijing government has been swift to raise the emergency alert level, cancel more than 1,200 flights, close schools, while advising people to refrain from travelling.
In Tokyo, Japan, and Seoul, the Republic of Korea, the number of new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks has also increased dramatically.
British patient able to get up, turn around in bed
Without medical workers’ support, the British pilot, Vietnam’s most critically ill COVID-19 patient, known as patient 91, can get up and turn around in bed, doctors said on June 18.
Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Ministry of Health’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department, the patient’s lungs have recovered almost 90%, while his heart, livers and kidneys function normally.
The patient’s hands can now move normally and he has used a mobile phone to talk to his friends for nearly a week, said Khue, adding that the British citizen is still practicing walking with assistance from medical workers.
The patient can breathe unaided and doesn’t need a lung transplant. If he keeps recovering, he can even return to work as a pilot, Khue said.
The British pilot was confirmed to have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus on March 18. After being admitted to hospital, his health suddenly deteriorated and he needed ECMO, a life support machine.
Two months after falling in coma, the patient began to stay conscious and make a miraculous recovery. He has been disconnected from a ventilator for six days and feeds himself by mouth now.
According to experts, although the British pilot is making amazing progress, he still needs more time to recover completely.
Another recovered patient retests positive for COVID-19 in Vietnam
A person of Thai Binh province who had been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery from COVID-19 tested positive again for the virus, the Hai Phong City Department of Health announced on June 18.
The 26-year-old patient was repatriated from Russia on May 13 and was quarantined at a military school in Thai Binh province the same day.
After being diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus on May 14, he was transferred to the Thai Binh Provincial General Hospital for treatment.
On June 8, the patient was discharged from hospital after testing negative four times and showing no virus-like symptoms such as a fever, a cough or shortness of breath.
He was transferred to a military camp in Hai Phong City’s An Lao district for a 14-day quarantine period according to health regulations.
To his surprise, he tested positive again for the virus on June 16 and was taken to Vietnam-Czechoslovakia Hospital in Hai Phong for medical observation and treatment.
The Hai Phong City Department of Health also confirmed all four people who had direct contact with the patient were tested with the results coming back negative.
Earlier on June 17, a recovered coronavirus patient retested positive in Ninh Binh province and all 16 people who had close contact with the patient were quarantined for testing and medical surveillance.
Vietnam has so far reported 11 relapse cases but nobody has been infected from these relapse cases.