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Since January 27 when the third wave of COVID-19 began, Hai Duong has recorded 726 infections, of whom 717 have given the all-clear.

As of 5pm on April 13, there were only nine COVID-19 patients still under treatment in the northern province of Hai Duong, which was the country’s biggest pandemic hotspot in the latest resurgence that began on January 27.

Of those patients, three are being treated at the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases and six others at the provincial Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Since January 27 when the third wave of COVID-19 began, Hai Duong has recorded 726 infections, of whom 717 have given the all-clear, according to the provincial Centre for Decease Control.

As many as 17,561 F1 cases and 84,298 F2 cases completed quarantine. Local competent agencies conducted testing on a total 745,684 samples.

As of April 13, Hai Duong had gone through 19 consecutive days without new cases of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health has allocated 33,000 vaccine doses to the locality for the first phase of the national inoculation drive, with 18,645 administered. In the second phase, Hai Duong will receive 44,700 doses which will be administered from this month to mid-May.

Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 2,717 as of April 14 morning./.

State President hosts ASEAN diplomats in Hanoi

State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc received ambassadors and chargés d'affaires of ASEAN member states in Hanoi on April 13, as they came to congratulate him on his election as the President of Vietnam.

On behalf of the diplomats, Brunei Ambassador to Vietnam Pengiran Haji Sahari bin Pengiran Haji Salleh praised Vietnam’s achievements in pandemic control and socio-economic development in the past time.

He said he is confident that the country will continue obtaining new achievements in the time to come and unceasingly elevating its position on the regional and global stages.

Reviewing Vietnam’s achievements as Chair of ASEAN last year, the diplomat lauded its significant contributions to building the ASEAN Community, containing the pandemic, and expanding external relations.

He expressed his belief that President Phuc will continue working to deepen the solidarity and cooperation within ASEAN and Vietnam’s ties with other bloc members in contribution to regional and global peace and stability.

In response, Phuc underscored that the participation in ASEAN is always a priority in Vietnam's diplomacy and that the friendship with bloc members has become the basis of Vietnam’s bilateral relations.

He stated the spirit of cohesive and proactive adaptation has helped ASEAN to overcome difficulties last year, particularly amid the negative impact of COVID-19 on the region’s socio-economic aspect.

Based on such spirit, he noted solidarity and cooperation among member states as well as the promotion of ASEAN’s central role are key to overcoming obstacles in building a strong and prosperous ASEAN Community.

He pledged to continue fostering Vietnam’s friendship and close coordination with ASEAN countries, implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and making contribution to sustainable development in Southeast Asia.

The State President also expressed his wish that the diplomats will continue promoting their important bridging role and making further contribution to the promotion of friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and other ASEAN member nations.

He also took the occasion to send his greetings to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand on their traditional New Year festivals and to Muslim countries in ASEAN on Ramadan.

Untreated wastewater causes mass fish deaths in Ma River

Untreated wastewater has been identified as the cause for the recent mass fish deaths in the Ma River in Ba Thuoc District, Thanh Hoa Province.

Chairman of Ba Thuoc District said untreated wastewater was illegally discharged into the river by the Phu Thanh Forestry Product Processing JSC and the Tan Thai Thanh Co. Ltd. in the district’s Thiet Ke Commune.

From March 15 to April 8, the local authorities reported nearly 13 tons of dead fish in Canh Nang Town and the communes of Ai Thuong, Ha Trung, Luong Ngoai, Luong Trung, Thiet Ke, Ban Cong and Thiet Ong. The dead fish included 380 kilos of wild fish and 12.4 tons of fish raised in 214 cages in the Ma River by 159 local households.

This is not the first time that polluted water has caused mass fish deaths in the Ma River.

In April last year, Thanh Hoa Province suspended the operations of four companies and production facilities after they illegally discharged untreated wastewater into the Ma River, causing the deaths of 4.5 tons of cage-raised fish and nearly 2 tons of wild fish.

NA leader requests democracy, equality, transparency in election

The organisation of the upcoming elections must accord with law, bring into play democracy, and ensure equality, subjectivity, and transparency, National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue told the Standing Board of the Party Committee and the Election Council of northern Hai Phong city on April 13.

Hai Phong has 1,552 constituencies and more than 1.5 million voters in the elections of deputies to the 15th NA and all-level People’s Councils for 2021-2026, slated for May 23.

Ahead of the third round of consultative conferences for the elections, the city has 14 candidates in the NA election, along with 113 candidates for seats in the municipal People’s Council, 899 others for the district-level People’s Councils, and 9,332 for communal-level People’s Councils.

NA Chairman Hue, who had checked election arrangements in Kien Thiet commune of Tien Lang district earlier the same day, highlighted the city’s early, serious, timely, and thorough preparations, asking all-level steering boards and election councils in Hai Phong to review their work plans and assign detailed tasks to each collective and individual in the organisation of the elections.

The 14th parliament was assessed as highly successful in all the three aspects of making laws, exercising supreme supervision, and making decisions about important issues of the country.

That success was partly attributed to the quality of NA deputies, Hue noted, asking Hai Phong to grasp more thoroughly the purposes, requirements, and significance of this time’s elections, which are a particularly important task of the entire political system of Vietnam.

The elections must also be held in a safe and economical manner while selecting outstanding and deserving deputies who are true representatives of voters’ rights, legitimate interests, and aspirations in the NA and all-level People’s Councils, according to the top legislator.

He also told local authorities to pay attention to the areas that need early voting, as well as tertiary students and workers from other localities so as to ensure citizens’ voting rights.

The Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Hai Phong is scheduled to hold the third consultative conference on the candidacy on April 14.

More congratulations come in for Vietnam's new leadership

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has received congratulation messages from the King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongorn and the foreign ministries of Mexico and Bolivia on the occasion of his election as the President of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages were sent to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Ruler of Dubai; and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The President of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, Sergio Massa extended his congratulations to National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue over his election to the top post in the Vietnamese legislature./

HCM City Party Committee mulls over socio-economic development

The Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee held the fifth conference in the 11th tenure on April 13 to discuss a draft report on socio-economic and budget performance in the first quarter, and key tasks and goals for the second quarter.

They also mulled over a draft action programme to realise the Resolution of the 11th municipal Party Congress on mass mobilisation.

Chairing the event, Politburo member and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen said the fight against COVID-19 remains the top priority in the second quarter and the coming time.

He required that the city will continue raising public awareness of following the 5K message, tightening immigration management, while putting in place a plan to implement “vaccine passport” pending its approval to promote tourism and economic development.

The official took note of clear signs of recovery of the city’s socio-economy situation in the first quarter with the GRDP up 4.58 percent, compared to a 0.42 percent increase in the same period last year.

The city basically achieved the dual goal of containing COVID-19 while maintaining socio-economic development and ensuring national defence-security.

About preparations for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 tenure, he urged the steering committee, election committee and sub-committees involved to enhance inspection, especially personnel work, as well as promptly discover and handle acts that distort information related to the effort.

Nen also wanted work to early start to implement the master plans of HCM City and Thu Duc city.

He said more efforts should be made to improve business climate and competitiveness, first of all to tackle difficulties faced by businesses, push forward with administrative reform and assist people and enterprises in restoring production and business./.

Danang seeking ways to rescue injured monkey

Forest rangers in the central city of Danang’s Son Tra District are seeking ways to rescue a monkey that has been seriously injured by a trap.

Tran Thang, head of the district’s Forest Protect, said the trap, which was still attached to the animal's leg, had damaged the red-faced spider monkey’s right foot, resulting in bleeding. 

“Over the past few days, despite great efforts, we have failed to catch the animal which has been going around the Linh Ung Pagoda area. However, when people approach it, it often seems to be highly alert and tries to keep away from them. We do not have enough specialist equipment such as tranquiliser guns to catch the monkey. We’ll co-operate with experts from Ho Chi Minh City to rescue it,” Thang added.

Earlier, a group of tourists saw the monkey with the trapped foot. The animal tried to remove the trap but failed. As a result, the monkey’s injured foot could face necrosis.

More than 59,000 Vietnamese people vaccinated

More than 59,000 Vietnamese people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.

The Ministry of Health said that by 4pm on April 12, the 59,249 vaccinated people included frontline doctors, medical staff, sample collectors, contact tracers, members of community-based anti-COVID-19 groups as well as members of the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of localities.

Nine provinces in the country have completed first-phase vaccination - Tây Ninh, Long An, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Khánh Hoà, Đà Nẵng, Gia Lai, Hoà Bình, Hà Giang, and Bắc Ninh - using doses in the batch of 117,000 bought from AstraZeneca that arrived in February.

The ministry also said the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation had also been making preparations to distribute 811,200 doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX Facility that were delivered to Việt Nam on April 1 as the second phase of the vaccination drive.

The northern province of Bắc Ninh was the first locality in the country to start administering the vaccines in the second phase, with 311 people inoculated on April 12.

Hà Nội's health authorities planned to administer the 53,350 doses allocated for the capital city from the COVAX doses within April or early May at the latest.

Việt Nam is one of 190 countries participating in the COVAX Facility and is one of the countries belonging to the list to receive sponsored vaccines from the facility.

According to the announcement of COVAX, Việt Nam will receive between 4.8 million and 8.2 million doses, of which 25 – 35 per cent will be provided in the first quarter and 65-75 per cent in the second quarter of this year. The vaccine, provided in this batch, is from AstraZeneca.

The COVAX Facility is a mechanism designed to ensure that countries have equal access to COVID 19 vaccines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) works with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), vaccine manufacturers and partners to ensure countries have equitable and effective access to vaccines. COVAX will ensure that countries participating in this mechanism have access to vaccines with coverage of about 20 per cent of their population by 2021.

Relating to AstraZeneca-vaccine injection in Việt Nam, the ministry said about 33 per cent of vaccinated people showed mild reactions, including redness around the injection site, fatigue, slight fever, headache and nausea.

Their health improved within a day or two after the injection and the vaccinated person did not need any treatment, the ministry added.

They were common reactions of not only the COVID-19 vaccine but also other vaccines to prevent infectious diseases such as measles, whooping cough and tetanus, the ministry said.

The ministry also recorded about 0.1 per cent of cases of hypersensitivity reactions after injection. The vaccinated people's health got stable and they could return to work after treatment at medical facilities.

The data on the reaction of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccination in Việt Nam over the past month was similar to the figures provided by the manufacturer, the ministry said.

Việt Nam had yet to record any cases of blood clots and thrombosis occurring after vaccination, the ministry said.

The ministry said the process of vaccination against COVID-19 in Việt Nam always gave the safety of vaccinated people the top priority.

The COVID-19 vaccination facilities were ordered to ensure equipment and human resources and conduct pre-vaccination screening and counselling before injection under the guidance of the ministry.

Vaccinated people must stay at the facilities for at least 30 minutes after vaccination for monitoring. They would be instructed to continue monitoring their health at home for at least 24 hours after injection, the ministry said.

The first aid to prevent severe reactions after vaccination was always available at the vaccination facilities to ensure maximum safety for the vaccinated people, the ministry said.

Vaccination information of the vaccinated person was constantly updated, fully archived, systematically recorded in the electronic health record software to serve vaccine passport. 

Da Nang ready to welcome foreign tourists with vaccine passports

Da Nang City's Department of Tourism has selected a total of 10 travel agencies who can receive international arrivals in the near future, providing that the Government gives the go ahead to welcome travelers who have vaccine passports.

Local authorities have also chosen a variety of tourist destinations within Da Nang which can run suitable tours.

Nguyen Xuan Binh, deputy director of the central city's Department of Tourism, says welcoming the return of foreign travelers is one of many measures being implemented in an effort to revive the local tourism industry, with safety being the leading top during the world’s ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving forward, the municipal administration is set to receive delegations from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Vietnam Tourism Association who will conduct a thorough survey to detail the capacity of local travel operators when vaccine passports are brought into use.

In line with this, local authorities have initiated plans to hold a webinar aimed at promoting Vietnamese tourism to potential travelers worldwide, with a strong desire to connect Da Nang with various countries which have successfully brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control, Binh notes.   

Due to the damaging impact of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Da Nang welcomed a total of 881,000 foreign arrivals, a drop of by 70% compared to figures from 2019.

HCM City urged to put COVID-19 response measures in place

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has requested that numerous local departments and relevant agencies remain alert regarding the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the current increase in infection numbers in neighbouring countries.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee speaks at the meeting
During a meeting held between municipal authorities and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on April 12, Phong said that on April 10 alone Cambodia recorded a further 477 positive COVID-19 cases, with the figure rising to 800 in Thailand.

He therefore urged local authorities to take steps to reinforce measures aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic, although there has been no new cases detected within the community over the past two months.

This comes after the border area in Long An province has witnessed many young Chinese nationals illegally enter the country with the aim of moving on to Cambodia in order to find employment.

Furthermore, the number of overseas Vietnamese who have tried to return home from Cambodia has been rising due to concerns about the development of the COVID-19 pandemic in the neighbouring country.

The mayor has therefore called on every ward and commune to closely monitor the number of immigrants, with local policemen being urged to co-ordinate efforts with soldiers in order to ensure safety when receiving and putting illegal immigrants into isolation.

As of April 10, as many as 7,530 medical workers have been vaccinated in the first stage against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with Ho Chi Minh City set to receive 56,000 doses for the second stage of the ongoing vaccination process this week.

Furthermore, over 42,000 medical workers and 10,000 staff working at airports remain among the priority group in the second stage, according to Nguyen Tan Binh, director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health.

Phong added that although the southern city has received the largest amount of vaccines across the country, it will not be enough to vaccinate all local residents.

Whilst the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak remains significant residents must stay vigilant and local authorities should also prepare for the worst case scenario, he stressed.

Hanoi endures sharp rise in hand-foot-mouth disease cases

The number of individuals being infected with hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) has witnessed a sharp increase in the capital in recent months, with 82 new cases being detected since the beginning of this year.

The number of  children being infected by the HFMD in Hanoi sees a sharp increase
During a recent meeting, Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Health Department, said since the beginning of the year a total of 18,436 infections have been reported nationwide, with four confirmed deaths being linked with HFMD.

In contrast to the same period from last year, the number of infections has shot up by 4.3 times.

Hanh stated that a typical year normally involves the capital reporting between 1,000 and 3,000 HFMD cases, with the majority of infections occurring in children under five years old.

To limit the number of HFMD cases, the health department of Hanoi have requested that health centres work closely alongside schools, especially kindergartens and preschools, in order to take necessary preventive measures aimed at stamping out any outbreaks of the disease.

Furthermore, both children and adults should thoroughly wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet. These efforts will greatly contribute to preventing the risk of infections spreading, whilst also maintaining hygiene both at home and in public areas due to the disease spreading through contact with human waste and bodily fluids.

At present, there is no active vaccine that can protect people against HFMD, with the best solution being for patients to avoid complications being to go to hospital in order to receive treatment.

Many experts consider the disease to be highly dangerous as it can rapidly lead to fatal complications, including a decline in respiratory capacity, meningitis, and heart muscle inflammation. Indeed, treatment for HFMD requires the use of both respirators and blood dialysis.

Foreign website praise local volleyball player Thu Hoai

World Volleyball, the website of the International Volleyball Federation, released an article on April 11 titled “Vietnam’s future in good hands with Nguyen Thu Hoai” which offers plenty of compliments to the Vietnamese volleyball player.

The article starts by outlining, “Twenty-two-year-old setter Nguyen Thu Hoai is a compelling prospect leading the young Vietnam core with a ton of upside.”

In terms of her development, Thu Hoai has been trained since September, 2013, under the watchful eye of coach Nguyen Thuy Oanh.

“The girl has been asserting her talent to add new life to Vietnam and making it a strong contender in world volleyball for years to come. She has been making great strides in recent years and living her dream,” the article notes.

The native of Thai Binh province won the best setter award during the 2016 Southeast Asian U19 Championship, before going on to be named the best setter in the 2019 Vietnam national league.

Thu Hoai is notable for her forward-thinking mindset and her strong desire to become a better athlete for her country, the article says.

Throughout her eight-year career she has gone on to receive acclaim as a setter. As well as being a great individual, she has also led her team to podium finishes in regional competitions.

Most notably, the 23-year-old won a silver medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, the Philippines.

“Winning a silver medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila is probably my most fulfilling experience so far. At that time, I had a lot of pressure because my role was very important, but at the same time I was young and lacked experience. We came into the tournament with the goal of making it to the final, because we didn’t make it last time in 2017. I did well throughout the tournament, so it was really meaningful for me,” she shared with World Volleyball.

Illegal mining continues at Bong Mieu Gold Mine

Many people have continued digging for gold illegally even after Bong Mieu Gold Mine in Quang Nam Province was shut down.

A few years ago, Bong Mieu Gold Mining Company Ltd was accused of selling gold at cheap prices to their mother company to evade taxes and were shut down. However, many people continued to go to the mine to illegally search for gold. The situation became even more complicated after the Tet Holiday.

The sound of the mining activities can be heard from far away. Dozens of tents were set up and the streams around the mining areas have already turned muddy. The miners dug up chemical tanks haphazardly and cut down trees for the mine. Gold mining gold may lead to erosion and landslides during the rainy season.

Upon seeing strangers, some miners ran into the forests while others stopped working and stayed in their tents.

According to a miner, he was hired to work after Tet for VND200,000 a day. They had to look out for the police and ran away as quickly as possible. Because of Covid-19, local work was scarce so he had to find other jobs to support his family.

Most of the employers are local people who previously worked at Bong Mieu Gold Mining Company.

Chairman of Phu Ninh People's Committee Huynh Xuan Chinh said they had built a plan to prevent illegal gold mining at Bong Mieu.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cao Van Linh, head of the police force in Tam Lanh Commune, said from December 2020 to March 2021, there have been seven raids to the illegal mines. They seized 10 generators, 27 tents and various equipment.

"Due to limited personnel and rough mountainous terrain, it's very hard to chase the runaway miners. We have to make sure that there's enough staff left for Covid-19 prevention work," Linh said.

Danang hospital abandoned in prime location

A hospital has been abandoned for years in Danang City.

The Danang Rehabilitation Hospital was located by the beach, on Vo Nguyen Giap Street. According to the locals, the hospital was relocated to new premises in Hoa Xuan Ward in 2019. The old hospital complex included five buildings but have been abandoned for over a year and littered with graffiti.

Pham Van Tai, director of Danang Rehabilitation Hospital, said when they were relocated in July 2019, the old hospital was transferred to Danang Housing Management Centre.

"We already moved all of the equipment like air conditioners, beds and medical machines to the new place," he said. "The old hospital was opened 20 years ago and deteriorated very badly."

Nguyen Van Phung, director of the Danang Department of Finance, said the old hospital is on the pending auction list. However, the process was slow because they are having some trouble with a case of property theft there.

Danang Housing Management Centre said they received the old hospital in November 2019. On June 25, 2020, related agencies assessed the remaining items and transferred them to Danang Housing Management Centre. Since then, they have hired guards for the old hospital and the remaining items.

"The theft happened before the old hospital was transferred to us. Danang People's Committee is planning to transfer this case to the city police," said a representative of Danang Housing Management Centre.

However, it is said that strangers are often seen breaking into the premises and stealing any items left there because of lax management.

Vietnamese workers receive one-year extension of stay in RoK

The Republic of Korea (RoK) on April 13 announced a decision to extend the period of stay for about 115,000 foreign migrant workers, including those from Vietnam, by one year in a bid to relieve labour shortages at small businesses and in farming and fishing sectors.

The temporary extension of stay will apply to the E-9 non-professional employment and H-2 visiting employment visa holders, whose period of staying and working in the RoK is set to expire between April 13 and December 31.

Local media reported that the extraordinary measure will be implemented in consideration of COVID-19-related travel restrictions faced by migrant workers and labour shortages at domestic industrial, farming and fishing businesses.

The RoK’s labour and justice ministries said 62,239 E-9 visa holders eligible for the special measure will all be allowed to extend their period of stay and work activities by one year.

In the case of 52,357 eligible H-2 visa holders, confirmation on whether they are legally employed or not is needed prior to the extension of stay, they said, noting a maximum of 114,596 foreigners may benefit from the measure.

According to the Korean government’s data, the number of foreign workers arriving in the country with E-9 visas fell sharply from 51,365 in 2019 to 6,688 last year, due mainly to massive cancellations of international flights caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Arrivals of H-2 visa holders also dived from 63,339 to 6,044 in the same period.

Thus, the number of E-9 visa holders staying in the RoK stood at 237,000 as of the end of last year, marking a fall of 14.4 percent from 277,000 a year earlier, while H-2 visa workers also shrank 31.4 percent from 226,000 to 155,000.

The steep reductions in E-9 and H-2 visa holders have worsened labour shortages at small and medium-sized companies and in farming and fishing villages./.

Seafarers should be put on priority list for COVID-19 vaccine

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has asked the Government to add seafarers and maritime workers to the list of frontline workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

This agency also requested the Government to direct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help Vietnamese crew members who stuck abroad return home on repatriation flights.

Vietnamese seafarers who are quarantined in concentrated isolation areas should be prioritised at an affordable cost, the MoT said in the written request to governments and People's Committees of provinces and cities.

At the end of March, leaders of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a joint statement calling on United Nations member states to put seafarers and crew members at the head of the vaccine queue to facilitate safe travel between countries.

In a letter sent to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Nguyễn Xuân Sang, Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration and Deputy Secretary-General of the IMO Vietnam, asked IMO to prioritise COVID-19 vaccinations for sailors regardless of their nationality.

Sang proposed that IMO member countries include maritime workers on their priority lists , administering the vaccines to sailors and maritime workers on vessels that dock at ports under their management.

The Vietnam Shipowners' Association the move is to keep nation supplied with vital goods and contributing to the recovery and stabilisation of the economy.

Six volunteers on Monday received the second shot of a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, COVIVAC.

These people were injected with the first shot of COVIVAC, Việt Nam’s second candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, on March 15. 

The vaccine was developed by Nha Trang-based Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC).

Ninety-six volunteers have been had been given the first shot in the first phase of COVIVAC's clinical trials, according to Phạm Thị Vân Anh, director of Centre for Clinical Pharmacology, Hà Nội Medical University.

There were no serious reactions after 24-hours and 7-days in the volunteers.

Reactions were expected, mostly mild symptoms such as pain at the injection site and headache.

It is expected that the first shot of COVIVAC vaccine's test will be completed on April 18 for 120 volunteers. 

HCM City airport shortens time for goods clearance

The HCM City Department of Customs has shortened the time for goods clearance at the Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport by using an automatic airway management and monitoring systems at two warehouses.

The TCS warehouse is managed by the Tân Sơn Nhất Cargo Service Joint Stock Company and the SCSC warehouse by the Saigon Cargo Service Joint Stock Company.

Bùi Lê Hùng, head of Tân Sơn Nhất Airport's Custom Department, said the system would greatly reduce the time and necessary procedures for businesses and airlines to deliver goods.

The city's Customs Department worked with representatives of SCSC and TCS warehouses to implement the plan.

Last year, Hà Nội's Nội Bài International Airport began using the system after more than a two-year trial implementation.

A survey of enterprises by the General Department of Customs found that the VASSCM system helped save about 2.5 hours per shipment when completing procedures for importing goods through the Nội Bài airport. 

Programme calls for support to poor students nationwide

A programme called Điều ước cho em (Wishes for children) was launched on Sunday to call for resources to support the development of education in extremely disadvantaged areas.

The programme is a joint effort from the Ministry of Education and Training, the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union’s Central Committee, and the Việt Nam Red Cross Society, with an agreement signed about it the same day.

Addressing the launching ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said in many areas across the country, children are facing poor living and studying conditions.

He hoped the community will help take care of children, stressing the programme is expected to have the engagement of Party organisations, administrations in localities, organisations and businesses, providing poor students with nutritious meals and stable schools with playgrounds and hygienic toilets.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Ngô Thị Minh asked the education and training sectors in localities to advise local administrations on exploring the demands of students and teachers to update the requests to the programme's portal, whole working with relevant agencies to organise volunteer activities.

Donors can respond to the programme through the website portal at inhandao.vn/dieu-uoc-cho-em.

Currently, nearly 2,000 schools in 39 cities and provinces have registered to receive support on the portal, while 5,000 schools have submitted their specific needs.

Many domestic and foreign businesses have committed to supporting the building of schools and toilets, and providing lunch to 30,000 students as well as scholarships to poor students with a total value of VNĐ127 billion (US$5.51 million). 

Samsung Vietnam continues to recruit hundreds of engineers

Samsung Vietnam on Monday officially announced the recruitment of engineers, including bachelors in all majors from universities and institutes throughout the country in 2021 with a deadline of submission on 16 May, 2021. The recruiment aimed to expand its research and development (R&D) and production activities.

This is an annual activity that has been organised by Samsung Vietnam twice a year since 2011. Even in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was severe, it continued without stopping. The recruitment process is conducted strictly with many rounds of competition including profile qualifying round, GSAT round and interview round.

In Việt Nam, Samsung is the first and only organisation to organise the GSAT Global Aptitude Test on a large scale to ensure openness, transparency and provide fair opportunities for all bachelors. This is also a round in the recruitment process of all subsidiaries of the Samsung group worldwide with three main contents about mathematical ability, inference and thinking ability.

Nearly 14,200 employees have been recruited from this exam, many of whom have progressed and held key human resources positions, contributing to the success of Samsung Vietnam.

In addition to the recruitment through GSAT, Samsung Vietnam has hired about 700 university students through a separate process (SW test certificate) that employs excellent SW R&D personnel.

Choi Joo Ho, President of Samsung Vietnam, said: “The desire to work together in solving employment problems in the context of COVID-19 is the biggest motivation for Samsung Vietnam to continue implementing the recruitment programme in 2021. In addition, the maturity of the employees from these recruitment programmes every year is a testament to the efforts of finding, nurturing and developing high-quality human resources that guarantee the process of the sustainable development program in Việt Nam by Samsung."

 

Candidates who pass the recruitment rounds will work at six Samsung factories, R&D centre and branches in Việt Nam, including: Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEV), Samsung Electronics Vietnam Thái Nguyên (SEVT), Samsung Display Vietnam (SDV), Samsung SDI Vietnam (SDIV), Samsung Vietnam Mobile Research and Development Centre (SVMC) and Samsung SDS Vietnam Company Limited (SDS). 

HCM City to increase financial support for preschool teachers

The HCM City People’s Council has revised plans to improve the salaries of new preschool teachers in an effort to address the shortage of teachers at local preschools.

New graduates working in public preschools will continue to receive financial support to 2025.

Under the plan, new preschool teachers will continue to receive monthly support of VNĐ3 million (US$130) in the first working year, or 100 per cent of their base salary.

In the second year, support will be 70 per cent of the base salary and in the third year 50 per cent.

Preschools in the city recruit about 600 teachers a year, so the city needs about VNĐ20 billion ($870.26) to carry out the plan.

The original plan, which began in 2014, helped triple the number of preschool teachers in the city to 1,205 in 2019, according to the city’s Department of Education and Training.

However, the city now needs 871 preschool teachers working under formal contracts and 3,561 babysitters.

To attract more preschool teachers, the council has revised the plan to improve their income. Preschool teachers who have signed labour contracts of under 12 months will receive nine months of monthly support equal to the minimum monthly wage for workers in Region I, or VNĐ4.42 million ($191.39).  Contracted babysitters will receive half of that.

The number of preschool students in recent years in the city has increased by about 10,000 per year, putting great pressure on schools and teachers.

Many teachers quit because of the hard work and low salaries. Teaching preschoolers requires special skills, including dancing, singing and storytelling.

Teachers must also ensure both educational quality and student safety. Work hours typically range from nine to 10 hours a day with no overtime pay.

"The intense workload and burden of keeping students safe can cause chronic stress, which undermines the health of pre-school teachers," Hồ Thị Kim Ngân, deputy head of the Labour Relations Department under the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour, has said.

The confederation has asked the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to classify preschool teaching as "arduous, dangerous labour" to allow teachers to retire early.

If approved, male teachers would retire at 57 and females at 55, five years earlier than usual. The lower retirement age would also keep the workforce young, Ngân said.

Phạm Thị Ngọc Lan, 52, a teacher at Cần Thạnh Preschool in Cần Giờ District, agreed with the early retirement proposal.

"Everyone thinks this job is all fun and games, but it's really tough," she said.

Lan said that dealing with demanding parents can be intense and often threatening, especially when children suffer minor injuries from falls or fights with others. As a result, many young teachers are unsure about working until retirement age.

Việt Nam regularly faces preschool teacher shortages, with 45,000 currently needed, Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ has said. 

Like the Moon in a Night Sky 2021 film project showcases shorts, animations, and documentaries

A series of Vietnamese films, including contemporary short films, animations, and documentaries are being screened in HCM City from April 11 to 18 under the Like the Moon in a Night Sky 2021 project.

The films thematic categories include Eternal Sadness, And So It Was, Another Life, The Month of May, The Faces in Time, and Two Worlds.

They are being shown at Hoa Sen University’s Charlie Chaplin Theatre (8 Nguyễn Văn Tráng, District 1) and Dcine (6 Mạc Đĩnh Chi, District 1).

The programme kicked off on Sunday with five contemporary short films made by renowned and emerging Vietnamese filmmakers, with each film lasting 14 to 18 minutes.

A series of pre-2000s Vietnamese animated films, including Đáng Đời Thằng Cáo (Lê Minh Hiền, 1960), Sơn Tinh Thủy Tinh (Trương Qua, 1972), Giấc Mơ Bay (Hữu Đức, 1976), À! Ra Thế (Nghiêm Dung, 1981), Bộ Xương Biết Múa (Bảo Quang, 1993), Xe Đạp (Phương Hoa, 2000), and Bản Nhạc Của Thỏ Trắng (Minh Trí và Phương Hoa, 2001) were screened on April 12, with four animation screenings in their original versions and three others with new soundtracks.

In addition, many independent Vietnamese documentaries such as Ferry Tale (Nguyễn Hồng Quân và Michal Shanny, 2017), Nhà Ngoại (Nguyễn Hoàng Bảo Anh, 2018), Bến Nước Buôn Tring (Tạ Minh Đức, 2020) and Mùa Xuân Vĩnh Cửu (Việt Vũ, 2021) will be screened on April 14.

Two films, Tháng Năm, Những Gương Mặt (The Month of May, Faces in Time) and Chung Cư (The Apartment Building) by Đặng Nhật Minh and Việt Linh will be shown on April 15, and many other films, including Hai Thế Giới (Two Worlds), will be screened until April 18.

Made in 1953 by the then Paris-based Phạm Văn Nhận, Two Worlds opens a window into the Vietnamese community in France during the times of the Indochina wars. The film was digitised and restored by Cinémathèque Française, premiering in 2014.

KI}{INEMA curatorial group and directed by emerging filmmakers Đào Thu Uyên and Cao Việt Hoài Sơn, the project and the acts of intimacy it centres on enters a public space in today's COVID-19 world.

Like the Moon in a Night Sky 2021 is co-organised by TPD and COLAB Vietnam, with support from the British Council Vietnam, Vietnam Film Institute, Hoa Sen University, Dcine Cinemas, XineHouse and many other organisations and individuals based in HCM City and Hà Nội.

Initiated in 2020 by the TPD Centre for the Development of Movie Talents, the project includes a series of events about Vietnamese cinema, past, present and future.

Rock band The Wall to play concert at university

Late musician Trần Lập, the former leader of Bức Tường (The Wall) rock band, will reunite with other members “in a special way” in an upcoming concert, according to the current leader of the band, guitarist Trần Tuấn Hùng.

The concert, entitled Trở Về (Way Back Home), will be held on April 17 at the National University of Civil Engineering, the band's second at the venue 21 years after the first.

“Lập and I were always looking forward to the opportunity to re-organise the show to pay tribute to the National University of Civil Engineering and demonstrate our achievements,” said Hùng.

“It is not understandable why such a simple wish has not been fulfilled for the past 21 years. After Lập passed away, we told ourselves that we had to make it by all means,” he added.

Way Back Home was also intended to take place last year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the rock band but was cancelled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the event will coincide with the fifth death anniversary of Lập and also mark the 26th anniversary of the founding of Vietnamese students’ favourite rock band.

According to Hùng, The Wall had received a couple of invitations to perform at their former school but waited for the right moment to return for a show with the best sound, lighting and backdrop conditions.

According to Associate Professor Nguyễn Hoàng Giang, Vice-Rector of the National University of Civil Engineering, The Wall has always been the pride of the university.

The music of The Wall has supported the dreams and aspirations of young people in Việt Nam and of the university, he added.

This band’s return trip will feature 20 songs composed in the past 20 years.

“We want to tell the story of where we are from, who we are, how we work, how we contribute, where we have reached and what we can fetch,” said Hùng.

“We have to consider hard which songs to perform in almost every programme and which songs have to be left out. Besides the majority of familiar songs that have been associated with our band’s name, the audience will enjoy new songs included in our 2020 album Con Đường Không Tên (The Untitled Road),” he noted.

Way Back Home also arouses much emotion for guitarist Vũ Văn Hà, a member of The Wall. He recalled that although Lập was not a student of the National University of Civil Engineering, the university was where his career was nurtured.

“I feel that the National University of Civil Engineering meant a lot to Lập himself. In this show, he will come back as an own child of the university,” he said.

Late musician Trần Lập will reunite with other members of The Wall rock band "in a special way" at the upcoming Way Back Home concert, revealed its organisers. Photo plo.vn
The concert organisation board reveals that the former leader of The Wall will re-appear and reunite with other members on the stage of Way Back Home.

"Lập will certainly return in the most special way. For members of The Wall, no one can replace Lập. He has always been present beside us in his own way," Hùng said.

"Therefore, instead of trying to find a replacement for our leader, The Wall has worked with other singers so that the band could continue".

In the past five years after Lập’s death, The Wall has worked with nearly 30 singers, the most recent of whom is singer Phạm Anh Khoa.

Way Back Home will feature other guest artists, including singer Nguyễn Việt Lâm, the winner of The Wall Cover Singing Contest 2018, singer Phạm Anh Khoa and boy band Kháu that also originated from the National University of Civil Engineering.

The majority of tickets sold have been sold to Civil Engineering University students and only a small amount has been sold to outside fans.

Established on March 26, 1995 from the students’ musical campaign of the National University of Civil Engineering, The Wall first consisted of three members – Trần Lập, Trần Tuấn Hùng and Nguyễn Hoàng.

Many songs by the band became hits, particularly among Vietnamese students, like Đường Đến Ngày Vinh Quang (Road to Glory Day), Tâm Hồn Của Đá (Soul of Stone), Bông Hồng Thủy Tinh (Glass Rose).

At their peak, their leader, main singer and musician Trần Lập died of cancer in 2016. 

Students of Laos, Cambodia join New Year gathering in HCM City

Students of Cambodia and Laos in Ho Chi Minh City on April 12 joined a get-together held by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) of the city on the occasion of their New Year festival.

The New Year festival, called Chol Chnam Thmay in Cambodia and Bunpimay in Laos, takes place in April every year.

Addressing the event, Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Ho Hai wished the participants a new year of happiness.

He added that the friendship, solidarity and mutual support between the countries are the factor ensuring victory in the countries’ national development and safeguarding in the past, at present and in the future.

Hai voiced his belief that students of Laos, Cambodia and HCM City will actively strengthen their bond and bolster the sound relations between the countries towards the goal of building the ASEAN Community of peace, cooperation and development.

The get-together also featured Laos and Cambodia’s rituals like thread tying on the wrist and water-splashing to wish for a year of happiness and prosperity.

There are some 925 Lao and Cambodian students learning at HCM City’s educational establishments./.

Vietnamese Cambodians receive relief aid amidst COVID-19

Dozens of tonnes of essential goods, including food and medical supplies, have been allocated to Vietnamese Cambodians over the past week amidst the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cambodia.

The relief aid, contributed by agencies and organisations in Vietnam’s provinces bordering Cambodia like Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, An Giang and Dong Thap, have also come to those working on the frontline against COVID-19 in the neighbouring country.

They included rice, canned fish, face masks and disinfectants, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia.

The Khmer-Vietnamese Association’s chapters in Kratie, Mondunkiri and Tbong Khmum also received and delivered the relief aid to 1,056 households in these provinces.

In Kampong Chhnang which is home to the largest number of Vietnamese Cambodians, the community support fund of the embassy on April 10 handed over three tonnes of rice and 500 kg of essential goods to the Khmer-Vietnamese Association’s chapter in the province to assist Vietnamese Cambodians there.

The association is working hard to help Vietnamese Cambodians soon get access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Cambodia Representative Office has warned that Cambodia is now standing on the brink of a national tragedy due to COVID-19 despite efforts to control the pandemic.

WHO said Cambodia has reached another critical point amid a sudden and huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths.

New cases occur every day, and unless the country can stop the outbreak, its health system is at high risk of being overwhelmed, which could have disastrous consequences, said WHO Representative to Cambodia Li Ailan.

She also commended a series of anti-COVID-19 measures taken by the government, including an inter-provincial travel ban and nighttime curfew, to break the chain of transmission.

The representative also suggested that people stay home during the Khmer New Year holiday (from April 14 to 16) to minimise risks of infection./.

Binh Duong proposes purchasing over 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The Health Department of the southern province of Binh Duong has submitted to the provincial People’s Committee the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for local people.

Specifically, the province has demand of buying over 3 million doses to be injected into over 1.4 million people aged above 18, said Director of the provincial Health Department Nguyen Hong Chuong.

The province plans to use local budget to buy the vaccines and will offer them free for local residents.

Binh Duong has well performed pandemic prevention and control. However, amidst complex developments of the pandemic in other countries and fear of illegal entry, the Health Department requires localities to drastically carry out measures as directed by the Government, Health Ministry and provincial People’s Committee, thus contributing to ensuring the twin targets of well controlling the pandemic and maintaining local economic development./.

Top legislator inspects election preparations in Hai Phong

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on April 13 inspected preparations for the elections of deputies to the 15th legislature and all-level People’s Councils for 2021-2026 in Tien Lang district in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Hue, who is also Chairman of the National Election Council (NEC), led a delegation of the NA Standing Committee and the NEC, to inspect election preparations at a constituency in Kien Thiet commune, Tien Lang district.

The top legislator was reported that by April 13, all communes and towns in Tien Lang district had completed lists of voters and publicised them at constituencies. The district’s election committee had also established 11 inspection groups that have helped to deal with limitations and shortcomings in the work.

The district’s election committee had received no complaints and denouncements regarding candidates running for seats in the district People’s Council.

Communication activities have been stepped up and local voters are now ready to exercise their rights and obligations in the elections, scheduled for May 23, the district’s election committee said.

The NA Chairman stressed the need to organise the elections in accordance with law, and ensure democracy, safety and thrift practice during the significant political event.

The deputy structure should not affect the quality of deputies, he said, asking the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee and the election committee at all levels to tighten their coordination in the preparations, thus making the elections a success.

Hue also ordered the election committees of Tien Lang district and Kien Thiet commune in particular to review the lists of voters, and pay more heed to election campaigns and the communication work.

Notably, a COVID-19 prevention and control scenario needs to be drawn up soon, the top legislator said./.

Ukrainian media spotlight Vietnam’s economic reform, new leadership

Vietnam’s successful economic reform and completion of key leadership positions have been on the radar of several major newspapers in Ukraine over the past week.

The news site Porady published a feature on Vietnam’s new leaders and opportunities for Ukraine by Ruslan Bortnik, head of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics.

The article reviewed Vietnam's outstanding achievements after 35 years of Doi Moi (renewal), especially political stability, economic growth, and responsibility in building an international environment of peace.

The author said an increasing number of IT start-ups in the nation has attracted a significant amount of foreign investment. The people and society, meanwhile, put enormous faith in the capacity of the new leadership to successfully carry out economic development tasks and strengthen the country's position in the international arena.

In its recent article, from-ua.com said with achievements in the fight against COVID-19, Vietnam is planning to reopen its door to international visitors in July. The nation is also welcoming foreign investors in the context that it houses a large number of advanced production models and strong economic groups.

The article noted that high-ranking personnel changes taking place in stable political conditions and robust socio-economic development are a premise for strengthening local people's confidence on the path of completing institution, promoting strong interactions between society and authorities, and improving the overall "happiness index".

Other Ukrainian newswires, including Golos.ua, also posted articles analysing Vietnam’s reform experience and reviewing its growth, particularly the nation’s effective pandemic containment and economic development last year. They were confident in the new leadership’s capacity of steering the country toward sustainable growth and higher international positions./.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam urges scientific-technological breakthroughs for national development

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at working session with the Ministry of Science and Technology on April 13 that breakthroughs in science-technology are needed for the country to gain speed in development.

He said there are many things that need to be done to turn science-technology into the driver and a source of power of the economy, but the first task is to digitalise and use information technology to enable connectivity in management. Obstacles in financial mechanism should also be removed, the Deputy PM added. 

Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat affirmed that the ministry will continue to work with relevant agencies to build specific mechanisms for developing science-technology.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Le Xuan Dinh reported at the meeting that science and technology has contributed greatly to national development, as seen in the growing contribution of the total factor productivity (TFP) to national economic growth, from an average 33.6 percent in the 2011-2015 period to 45.2 percent in the 2016-2020. The country’s Global Innovation Index (GII) was ranked 42nd among 131 countries and territories, third in ASEAN and topped the group of nations with the same level of income.

The country has begun to form an innovative startup ecology with around 3,000 innovative startups, which attracted approximately 1 billion USD of investment in the past two consecutive years.

Investment in science-technology now comes from both the State budget (52 percent) and businesses (48 percent) instead of relying entirely on the State like 10 years ago.

One-stop service office for returning migrant women opens in Hai Phong

The Vietnam Women's Union (VWU) together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) put into operation a one-stop service office for returning migrant women and their families (OSSO) in the northern port city of Hai Phong on April 13.

The office establishment is part of a project is funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to enhance Vietnam’s capacity in supporting returning migrant women and their families' sustainable re-integration into local society.

According to official data, between 2015 and 2020, about 6,200 local people married foreigners, with a large number of these marriages turning out miserable due to language and custom differences and domestic violence. Many of these people were forced returning to Vietnam and continued facing difficulties in terms of employment, legal procedures, and re-integration, among others, at home.

At the opening ceremony, VWU Vice President Bui Thi Hoa highlighted the strategic meaning of the office establishment in Hai Phong and lauded the local chapter of the VWU’s active support for Vietnamese women married to foreigners.

She asked the managing unit behind the office to study the demand of returning migrant women and optimise the operation of the facility, making it a reliable address for the the women and their families.

KOICA Director Cho Han Deog expressed his belief that the OSSO will be helpful for the women and their families during their integration process.

The OSSO Hai Phong is one of the five offices set up under the project in Vietnam. They offer free-of-charge consultations for returning migrant women regarding legal, psychological issues, education and training, employment, loan obtainment, healthcare, and violence prevention. They also play a role of connecting related domestic and foreign organisations in support of the group.

Three imported cases of COVID-19 reported in past 12 hours

Three imported cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past 12 hours to 6am April 14, raising the national count to 2,717, according to the Ministry of Health.

All of the new cases are Vietnamese who were sent to quarantine in the central province of Khanh Hoa right upon their arrival.

Meanwhile, 2,445 COVID-19 patients have been given the all-clear, and the death toll remains at 35.

Among patients still under treatment, 16 have tested negative for the novel coronavirus once, 18 twice and 18 thrice.

A total 38,743 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined across the country.

The ministry said 990 people were vaccinated against the coronavirus on April 13, raising the total number of vaccinated people in the country to 60,139, mainly frontline medical workers, and members of community-based anti-COVID-19 groups and Steering Committees for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in 19 cities and provinces.

Many localities are promptly drawing up detailed plans for the second stage of the inoculation drive.

The Health Ministry continues to urge all people to follow the 5K motto – Khau trang (wearing facemask) – Khu khuan (disinfecting) – Khoang cach (keeping distance) – Khong tu tap (no gathering) – Khai bao y te (making medical declaration), in order to live safely amid the pandemic.

Vietnam to maintain growth with new leadership: Malaysian media

The Malaysian news service site theinnews.com (INS) has published an article, titled “Vietnam’s economy to keep growing solidly with new leaders”, highlighting that despite COVID-19, Vietnam has emerged as a shining star in Asia.

The article said the country’s political and economic achievements came from pandemic containment efforts that restrict COVID-19 impact on the economy. It noted the country has also wisely invested heavily in public healthcare system, which had benefited its people even before COVID-19.

“Effective management of COVID-19 has allowed the country to outperform all its regional counterparts,” it said, citing an example that Vietnam’s economy grew 2.9 percent last year from a year ago, outperforming even China which posted 2.3 percent growth during the same period according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The article also noted that as ASEAN Chair in 2020, while developing collective effort against COVID-19 and establishing joint groups related to public health emergencies, Vietnam undertook major initiatives under its chairmanship including cooperation on transnational crime, public security and coordination among the ASEAN law enforcement agencies.

Regarding Vietnam’s transition of leadership, the article expressed its belief that its new leaders will help develop the nation further.

It said in the face of a challenging situation in several countries in the region due to domestic political, economic and social instability, Vietnam stands out as a place of calm in a storm of uncertainty with a strong government in place that has managed to keep people employed and taken care of.

PM extends greetings to Khmer people on Chol Chnam Thmay

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has sent a letter of greetings to Khmer people in Vietnam on the occasion of Chol Chnam Thmay, their traditional New Year festival.

The Government leader extended his best wishes to the community as well as to Khmer dignitaries.

He noted that 2020 was a tough year for Vietnam due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the joint efforts of the political system, people, and enterprises, it recorded important and comprehensive achievements in both socio-economic development and pandemic control, becoming one of the 16 most successful newly-emerging economies in the world and enhancing its international position.

For the first time, a project and a national target programme were designed to boost socio-economic development in mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas, Chinh said.

The success of the 13th National Party Congress as well as the second national congress of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups also reinforced confidence among the country’s 54 ethnic minority groups in the Party and the State, he added.

The government leader expressed his belief that with the strict implementation of COVID-19 prevention measures, the Khmer people will have an enjoyable Chol Chnam Thmay festival and promote their cultural identity.

The PM also expressed his hope that the community will continue to promote patriotism and make more contributions to the country’s socio-economic development targets.

Also to mark the occasion, on April 13 a working group from the National Assembly’s Council for Ethnic Minority Affairs, led by its Chairman Ha Ngoc Chien, visited and extended greetings to the Khmer people in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh, where more than 300,000 Khmer people, or nearly 32 percent of the population, live.

Chol Chnam Thmay is celebrated each year from April 14 to 16. Buddhist followers gather at pagodas to perform traditional rituals throughout the festival./.

Binh Phuoc quarantines five foreigners entering Vietnam illegally

The Steering Board for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of Hon Quang district in the southern border province of Binh Phuoc put five foreigners and two Vietnamese taxi drivers into quarantine on April 13.

Earlier, on the evening of April 12, residents in An Tan hamlet in An Phu district reported two suspicious taxis to local authorities.

Upon seeing police, the two vehicles fled towards Loc Ninh district and were blocked in Soc Rul hamlet in An Phu commune.

After an inspection, the police arrested five foreigners who had entered Vietnam illegally and two Vietnamese drivers.

All were then taken to Loc Ninh district’s medical centre for quarantine./.

New Year for Cambodia, Laos, Thailand celebrated in Ba Ria-Vung Tau

A festival celebrating the traditional New Year of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand took place in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on April 13.

In attendance were Cambodian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Sok Dareth, Lao Consul General in HCM City Phimpha Keomixay, and Thai Consul General in HCM City Apirat Sugondhabhirom.

Addressing the festival, head of the provincial Department of Information and Education and Chairman of the provincial Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Association Nguyen Van Xinh said the celebrations are expected to increase mutual understanding and tighten the friendship and solidarity between the Vietnamese people and those from Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.

Participants were treated to musical performances, traditional cuisine, and traditional rituals./.

State President launches tree planting campaign

State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc launched a tree planting campaign at a ceremony held at the historical site K9-Da Chong in Hanoi’s Ba Vi district on April 13.

In his speech at the event, Phuc affirmed that the army should make tree planting and afforestation as a practical political task following President Ho Chi Minh's teaching.

He happily acknowledged that the army has actively responded to a project on growing 1 billion trees in Vietnam, having planted more than 1.5 million trees since the beginning of 2021.

The president lauded the Ministry of National Defence’s organisation of tree planting movements across all military units, particularly those stationed in midland, mountainous, and island areas; economic and defence groups; and barracks.

He recommended the army to conduct more communications campaigns on the role of afforestation and collaborate with local authorities and people to prevent illegal logging and forest fire.

The army planted nearly 11 million trees during 2015 – 2020 in contribution to greening up barren land, proactively preventing and combating natural disasters, and improving the environment and landscape around their barracks. It has set a goal to grow more than 37 million trees in the 2021 – 2025 period.

As part of the ceremony, Phuc joined other participating officials and military officers to plant trees at the site./.

Activities held to celebrate New Year with Khmer, Cambodian people

Authorities in many cities and provinces across Vietnam have organised activities to join Khmer ethnic minority people and Cambodians in celebrating their traditional New Year.

In the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, representatives from local authorities have visited and offered New Year greetings to Khmer people and Buddhist monks, encouraging them to continue leading a good religious life.

Representatives from the Khmer community thanked the Party, State, and authorities for their support in improving the livelihoods of the ethnic minority group and pledged to contribute more to local development.

Bac Lieu is home to more than 17,000 households with nearly 74,000 people from the Khmer ethnic minority, accounting for 7.5 percent of its population.

On April 12, leaders of the Border Guard Command in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong visited and extended New Year wishes to Cambodian police and military units performing border defence duties in Cambodia's neighbouring province of Mondulkiri.

Colonel Nguyen Van Lu, head of the Dak Nong Border Guard Command, expressed his hope that border protection forces in Mondulkiri will coordinate closely with Dak Nong border guards in safeguarding the border and preventing and controlling COVID-19.

In response, the Cambodian side affirmed they will enhance ties to boost border management and protection and develop bilateral solidarity and friendship.

On the same day, the Can Tho Union of Friendship Organisations held a gathering of Khmer members and Cambodian students from universities in Can Tho city in the Mekong Delta to celebrate the traditional New Year.

Venerable Ly Hung, head of Pitu Khosa Rangsay Pagoda and Vice Chairman of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association in Can Tho, presented 14 scholarships worth 1 million VND each to Cambodian students in the city.

The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association in Can Tho also raised donations to offer support of 400 million VND (17,300 USD) to people of Vietnamese descent in Cambodia./.

JICA gives recommendations on development of Da Nang’s port

The People’s Committee of central Da Nang city and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held a workshop on April 13 to look into the Lien Chieu Port development project.

In their end-of-term report, JICA experts identified the urban planning for the area surrounding Lien Chieu Port, a transport connectivity plan, a plan to find suitable locations for terminals, the feasibility of a public-private partnership, a model for effective management and operation of this port, and an appropriate investment plan harmonising interests of both State and private sector.

Vice Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee Le Quang Nam said the Prime Minister, in his decision to give the in-principle approval, requested the municipal People's Committee to promptly carry out procedures to select capable investors to build and run terminals of Lien Chieu Port in line with legal regulations.

He said JICA’s participation and assistance in preparing for the project are highly necessary that will create a prerequisite for the development of this port.

Shimizu Akira, Chief Representative of the JICA Vietnam Office, said Lien Chieu Port should be put into use as soon as possible, adding that the consultancy group will take into account the city’s opinions to perfect the port development plan.

He also expressed his hope for continued cooperation from local authorities in this issue.

The common infrastructure component of the Lien Chieu Port project was approved in principle by the Prime Minister on March 25, 2021, aiming to build infrastructure for common use in the port so as to create a foundation for developing a seaport in the Lien Chieu area.

It is expected to have total investment of more than 3.4 trillion VND (147.4 million USD) and be carried out from 2021 to 2025./.

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