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A doctor examines a COVID-19 patient

A Vietnamese returning from Russia on a flight on May 13 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on May 26, becoming the 327th COVID-19 patient in Vietnam as of 6pm on May 26, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The latest case brought the number of passengers on the May 13 flight from Russia to 33. All the passengers on the flight were immediately quarantined after landing, posing no threat of spreading in the community.

Vietnam has gone through 40 days without any community infection of COVID-19 as of 6pm on May 26.

Among the confirmed cases, 272 (84 percent) have recovered.

Among the 55 patients still under treatment, six have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, and five others have tested negative for at least two times.

A total of 14,739 people are being quarantined in hospital, designated facilities or their homes and accommodations./.

Vietnam enters 41st day without COVID-19 community transmission

Vietnam reported no new COVID-19 cases in the last 12 hours from 18:00 on May 26 to 6:00 on May 27, entering the 41st consecutive day with no transmission in the community, announced the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Vietnam enters 41st day without COVID-19 community transmission hinh anh 1

Patient 19 is receiving treatment at Hanoi's Hospital for Tropical Diseases

Of the country’s total 327 infections, 187 imported cases were quarantined upon their arrivals, posing no risk of community transmission. 

Meanwhile, 272 patients have been given the all-clear, accounting for 83 percent. No death has been reported.

As of May 25 evening, among those who are receiving treatment, six patients had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, while five others at least twice. 

On May 27, three patients are set to be declared to be free from the coronavirus. They include Patient 19, who used to be in critical condition and suffered three cardiac arrests. After 81 days of treatment, she has tested negative for the virus seven times and is now in stable health.

Two other expected recoveries are Patients 52 and 324. They will continue to be quarantined for the next 14 days.

Right now there are 9,797 people in quarantine across the country, including 55 at hospitals, 7,535 at other quarantine establishments and 2,150 at home.

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Six more patients with COVID-19 recover, total hits 278

Six more COVID-19 patients recovered and were released from the National Tropical Diseases Hospital on Wednesday morning, bringing the country’s total cases being given the all-clear to 278.

They are all Vietnamese people, including Patient 19, Patient 52, Patient 291, Patient 295, Patient 308 and Patient 324.

Patient 19, 64, female, was admitted to the hospital on March 6. She was the most critical COVID-19 patient treated at the National Tropical Diseases Hospital so far. The patient has been treated with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) – a heart-lung by-pass machine that pumps and oxygenates a patient's blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest. The patient also had three cardiac arrests, so the hospital's doctors and nurses have worked hard to save her life.

During treatment, the patient repeatedly tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 on April 8, 15 and 30. At present, the patient has no fever, no shortness of breath and stable vital signs.

Patient 52, female, 24, was admitted to the hospital on May 11. During treatment, the patient was tested twice and both were negative for SARS-CoV-2 on May 20 and 25. Currently, the patient has no fever, no cough, no breathing difficulties and is in a stable condition.

Patient 291, male, 24, was admitted to the hospital on May 17. The patient's tests came back negative for SARS-CoV-2 on May 21 and 25. Currently, the patient has no fever, no cough, no breathing difficulties and is in a stable condition.

Patient 295, male, 26, was admitted to the hospital on May 17. During treatment, the patient had tests and all results were negative for SARS-CoV-2 on May 23 and 25.

Patient 308, male, 42, was hospitalised on May 17. The patient's test results were negative for SARS-CoV-2 on May 23 and 26. Currently the patient has no fever, no cough, no shortness of breath and is in a stable condition.

Patient 324, male, 18, was admitted to the hospital on May 18. His test results came back negative for SARS-CoV-2 on May 18 and 22. Currently, the patient's health is stable. He has no fever, no cough and no shortness of breath.

All six patients will continue to be isolated and monitored at the hospital for the next 14 days, according to the Sub-Committee for Treatment of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

As of Wednesday morning, Việt Nam reported no new community transmission cases over the past 41 days. The country's confirmed COVID-19 cases stand at 327 and no deaths have been reported. 

COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia over past 24 hours

The Philippines will not allow students to go back to school until a coronavirus vaccine is available, said President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech aired on May 25 evening.

Some 25 million primary and secondary students in the Philippines were due to return to school at the end of August after classes were shut down in March as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

Duterte said the risk was too great, even if it held students back academically. “For me, vaccine first,” he said, adding that if the vaccine is already there, he will agree to reopen schools.

Though researchers have launched an unprecedented global effort to quickly develop a vaccine, it is not clear when a viable candidate will be proven and distributed on a large scale.

The Philippine Health Ministry reported 13 deaths and 350 new COVID-19 cases on May 26, taking the country’s count to 14,669 confirmed cases and 886 deaths

On May 26, the Thai cabinet approved to extend the state of emergency until the end of June as proposed by the National Security Council (NSC). The country has so far recorded 3,045 coronavirus cases and 57 deaths.

A panel, chaired by National Security Council secretary-general General Somsak Rungsita, is scheduled the next day to discuss the third phase of easing lockdown measures as well as whether the curfew hours should be cut to midnight to 4:00 am. The third phase of easing measures is expected to kick in from June 1.

The same day, Malaysian Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced Malaysia will deport all illegal immigrants tested negative for COVID-19 to their countries of origin.

Ismail Sabri said matters relating to the deportation process will be discussed by the Foreign Ministry and their counterparts and embassies of the countries involved soon.

A total of 227 illegal immigrants detained at three immigration depots in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, have tested positive for the coronavirus. They included 53 Bangladeshi people, 41 Indians and 38 Indonesians.

In Indonesia, 415 people tested positive for the virus on May 26, putting the national tally at 23,165 with 1,418 deaths.

Also on May 26, Singapore announced a new economic stimulus package worth several billion USD, the fourth in the past several months, to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on businesses and households in the country.

Singapore counted 383 new cases of COVID-19 on May 26, bringing the total to 32,343.

Over 340 Vietnamese citizens in Japan make their way home
 

Passengers included children under 18, the elderly, the ill, pregnant women, workers whose visas and labour contracts had expired, and students. After landing at the Noi Bai International Airport, they underwent health check-ups and were then quarantined.

On the outbound flight, Vietnam Airlines carried a batch of medical masks from the Vietnamese Government for the Japanese people.

Depending on Vietnamese citizens’ wishes, the quarantine capacity in localities, and the situation surrounding the pandemic, Vietnamese authorities, representative agencies overseas, and airlines will arrange more commercial flights to bring more Vietnamese home, in line with the Prime Minister’s directions./.

UXO survivors in Quang Binh, Binh Dinh get support to respond to COVID-19

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A UXO victim in Quang Binh - Illustrative image

Representatives from the Republic of Korea (RoK)-Vietnam Mine Action Project on May 26 presented food, face masks and hand sanitisers to over 9,100 UXO survivors and their families in the central provinces of Quang Binh and Binh Dinh in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cho Han Deog, Country Director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Vietnam, said that many people have been seriously affected by the disease.

The gifts are the Korean people’s sentiments to the Vietnamese people, he stressed.

 

With the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Embassy of Ireland in Vietnam and the KOICA, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam organised the rapid assessment to help identify health and socio-economic challenges faced by People with Disabilities (PwDs) and their families during COVID-19.

Many of the UXO survivors in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces participated in this assessment and shared their difficulties in accessing necessary medical care, supplies and basic items such as food and personal protective equipment. Specifically, 66 percent of UXO victims do not have enough money to purchase essentials, 59 percent see their family income reduce and 35 percent are facing temporary unemployment.

“We wanted to react quickly to meet some of these urgent needs and today’s event is our immediate response to the survey results presented ten days ago,” said Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam.

Assistance to UXO victims and their families is an important component of the RoK-Vietnam Mine Action Project, which was jointly launched in early 2018 by Vietnam National Mine Action Centre, KOICA and UNDP to accelerate mine action for safety and sustainable development. In collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs, the project has developed an official database on 75,000 people with disabilities, 9,100 of them are UXO survivors. The database includes need assessment of UXO survivors, thus enabling the project to provide them relevant and targeted support.

The project also helps strengthen the governance and management of national mine action activities and reduce future accidents through increasing the awareness in local communities about the potential risk from ERW. The project has so far surveyed nearly 17,000 hectares of land and cleared over 4,000 hectares of contaminated areas in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh, providing more land for development projects in these provinces./.

Indonesia deploys soldiers, police to enforce "new normal" scenario

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (center) visited the MRT station on May 26 (Photo: Antara)


 

 About 340,000 soldiers and police officers will be deployed across four provinces of Indonesia to ensure the country’s transition to the "new normal", Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on May 26.

During a visit to an MRT station in Jakarta, Widodo said security forces would help to ensure that residents abide by physical distancing rules.

He added that the basic reproduction number (R0) of COVID-19 had fallen below one in several provinces, indicating a decline in the transmission rate in those areas. 

Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto Hadi said there were approximately 1,800 places that would be guarded by TNI and police personnel, including shopping malls, traditional markets, tourism spots and other places with high traffic.

According to the official government count, Indonesia had 23,165 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,418 deaths as of May 26.

Meanwhile, Chairman of House Commission X overseeing education Syaiful Huda on May 26 said 143 children in the country died of COVID-19. 

Indonesian Doctors Association data showed that 129 children have died with COVID-19 symptoms and 14 others who have died tested positive for the virus, he said.

The official called on the Indonesian government to be careful in planning for the reopening of schools as the virus transmission remained high, adding that forcing schools to reopen will endanger the students and teachers.

The number of infections in Indonesia is expected to increase significantly next week as many people have ignored physical distancing guidelines during the Idul Fitri holidays.

Indonesia’s national COVID-19 Task Force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said the large number of people violating the health protocol during the holidays will more than likely result in new confirmed cases next week.

Tri Wahyono, an epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, said human-to-human transmissions will spread rapidly in severely affected areas such as Greater Jakarta. The prediction that cases will peak in early June and reach a plateau in August is very likely to be missed, he said, noting that the epidemiologist said the final number of cases will surpass the projected 32,000./. 

Health centre supporting Vietnamese expats in Poland during pandemic

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A health worker tests samples to diagnose COVID-19 at a lab in Warsaw, Poland, on May 14 (Photo: PAP/VNA)

LOTUS, a health care centre set up under Vietnam-Poland cooperative efforts, is assisting Vietnamese people in the European country in handling testing procedures for COVID-19, free of charge.

The centre began the assistance on May 25, as Vietnamese expatriates in Poland have significant demand for coronavirus testing.

Those with ambiguous symptoms must pay for the tests, and many others, especially manual labourers, have encountered difficulties in accessing testing services due to limited language skills and the lack of a bank account.

LOTUS will provide free support for Vietnamese people to complete procedures for registering for tests at the Diagnostycka laboratory, including registering online, completing paperwork, paying fees online, and preparing for testing.

Tests for COVID-19 at medical centres in Warsaw currently cost 534 PLN (120 EUR) each. Results are available in 48 hours or 72 hours on the weekend.

Established in October 2009 as a joint stock company, LOTUS is the first concern of its kind set up under the two countries’ cooperative efforts in Poland.

Poland has a large Vietnamese community of some 25,000 people./.

Thailand: Mobile hospital delivers medical services to forest communities

Medical staff from Sangkhla Buri Hospital in Kanchanaburi have set up a mobile hospital unit in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, bringing medical services closer to remote communities, while promoting COVID-19 precautionary measures among villagers.

A medical team from Sangkhla Buri Hospital is transporting medical equipment, in four-wheel drive trucks through the jungle, over the mountain and across streams, to the remote Laiwo-Salawa village, located in the western part of Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary and close to the Thailand-Myanmar border.

On this journey, the medical team examined and treated villagers, and delivered medicine to people with chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.

Dr Pimpisut Kongwittayanon said the team is also encouraging the villagers to change their diet, after finding that many of them eat excessively salty and oily food. She said the mobile hospital unit allows doctors to understand the condition and difficulties faced by rural villagers, in addition to undertaking more examinations and treatments.

At night, the medical team sets up a small movie theater for villagers, which also screens health recommendation videos and a tutorial on how to wash hands properly, made in a local dialect./.

Friendship association supports Ukraine’s COVID-19 battle

The Vietnam-Ukraine Friendship Association on May 26 presented 5,000 antibacterial face masks and 332 million VND (14,250 USD) to help the Ukrainian Government and people fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Handing over the gifts to the Ukrainian Embassy in Vietnam, the association’s President Dang Van Chien said that these gifts were donated by Vietnamese people who used to live in Ukraine which they consider as their second hometown.

Thanking the association, Chargé d'Affaires at the Ukrainian Embassy Nataliya Zhykina said that the gifts are a great encouragement for the Ukrainian people, thus showing the two peoples’ friendship and solidarity.

She spoke highly of Vietnam’s disease prevention, adding that the country’s experience should be learnt by others./.

ADB approves 20-mln-USD loan to help Laos fight COVID-19

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on May 25 approved a loan worth 20 million USD to support Laos’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its statement, the bank said that the loan is additional financing to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Health Security Project in order to help the Lao Health Ministry in procuring personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment, testing kits, medical devices, and ambulances.

It will also help the government provide supplies and training to frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, lab testing, and clinical care for COVID-19 patients, and cover the government’s costs for contact tracing, risk communications, and other interventions.

ADB Health Specialist Ye Xu said that the additional financing will boost the resources and capacity of the Lao health system to address the impacts of the pandemic.

“The Lao PDR has been managing the outbreak relatively well, thanks to improved communicable disease surveillance and response capacity over the last decade. It still needs to maintain maximum preparedness and strengthen the health care service system to be able to respond to any resurgence of COVID-19,” Ye added.

As of May 25, Laos reported only 19 COVID-19 cases, with 14 given the all-clear. However, ADB said that the country is highly vulnerable, as the outbreak in the region forces many migrant workers to return from heavily affected neighboring countries. The health system, with limited medical personnel, supplies, and equipment, could be overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the virus./.

Cambodia: air passengers must undergo quarantine

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A health official checks documents from an arriving passenger at the Phnom Penh international airport. (Photo: https://www.khmertimeskh.com/)

Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bun Heng announced on May 25 that his country will be enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all passengers flying to the nation.

The measure comes after Cambodia identified two new cases of COVID-19, both departing from the US, bringing the total in the country to 124.

Accordingly, visitors entering Cambodia via the Phnom Penh airport will be quarantined and tested at a location near a military air base and 28 others near Chak Angre Kroam, Meanchey district.

If their test results are negative of COVID-19, they will be allowed to leave, Heng said.

Last month, the Cambodian government decided to lift the travel ban for six countries, namely Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US. However, those entering the country are required to have health certificates issued no longer than 72 hours before flying to confirm that they are free of the novel virus SARS-CoV-2 as well as minimum 50,000 USD health insurance policies.

However, Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, expressed his concern over the virus spreading amongst passengers./.