Vietnam saw no new COVID-19 case over the past 12 hours to 6am February 28, making the national tally unchanged at 2,432, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Among the total, 1,530 were locally infected, including 837 cases since January 27.

A total 1,844 COVID-19 patients have recovered so far, and the death toll remains at 35.

Among those still under treatment, 32 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 50 twice and 100 thrice.

By February 27 afternoon, 10 provinces and cities had gone through 14 consecutive days without new locally-infected cases of COVID-19.

As many as 63,054 people who had close contact with confirmed patients or returned from pandemic-hit regions are being quarantine across the country./.

First Vietnam medical achievement award calls 16 winners

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The Voice of Ho Chi Minh City (VOH), the local official radio broadcasting station, together with the municipal Health Department hosted the first Vietnam medical achievement award ceremony on February 26 to honour 16 contributions to the community’s wellbeing in 2020 from across the nation.

The contributions were voted by the public from 22 nominations selected by the award’s council of professionals. Three months after its launch, the award received more than 60 nominations from medical facilities nationwide.

Among the winners were the work of doctors at the Cu Chi COVID-19 treatment hospital – the first of its kind in Vietnam, and medical staff at the HCM City Centre for Diseases Control. Since the pandemic begin in the country, hundreds of medical workers in Ho Chi Minh City have taken turns to be at the hospital, while preventive medicine workers at the centre have worked day and night on contact-tracing and testing sample collection.

Another was the operation that separated 16-month-old conjoined twins – Truc Nhi and Dieu Nhi, with the sisters now able to walk on their own. The surgery was performed by 93 doctors and nurses.

VOH Director Le Cong Dong said the award is now an annual event in celebration of Vietnamese Doctors' Day (February 27).

Duong Anh Duc, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, hoped the award will encourage more contributions to the health of the community to be made in the future./.

Sapa - Safe destination during epidemic

Sapa has always been among the most popular destinations for tourists during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, and despite COVID-19 still raging around the world, the northern hill town again greeted a large number of visitors this time around.  

Lao Cai province in general and Sapa in particular are considered safe, with zero cases of community transmission of the coronavirus. As a key tourism destination in the province, Sapa quickly adopted COVID-19 prevention measures at the beginning of the outbreak. Thanks to this, it was still able to welcome a huge number of visitors during the recent Lunar New Year holiday, with 60% of accommodation providers and restaurants open for business.

Every hotel and restaurant in town has carried out sanitation processes and strictly followed safety measures to protect visitors.

With mesmerising natural landscapes along with appropriate measures being carried out by local authorities, Sapa was one of the most popular and safest destinations in the country during the recent holiday./.

Aid offered for development of homegrown COVID-19 vaccine

The Ministry of Health (MoH) on February 27 received 20 billion VND (866,620 USD) from conglomerate Vingroup for the clinical trials of homegrown COVID-19 vaccine COVIVAC.

The candidate vaccine is being developed by the MoH’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC).

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long spoke highly of the support of enterprises, organisations and individuals for Vietnam’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first “Made-in-Vietnam” ventilators were produced under the collaboration of the ministry and Vingroup, he noted, adding that the machines have been provided to localities nationwide.

Vietnamese scientists have regarded vaccine development as the key factor to contain the pandemic, and the MoH has spared no efforts in the research for vaccine in order to be able to produce the vaccine as soon as possible.

The COVIVAC vaccine project has been rolled out since May 2020.

Results of pre-clinical trials affirmed its safety and efficiency, and the IVAC has been able to produce three batches of vaccine consisting between 50,000 and 10,000 doses each.

Clinical trials of the vaccines are projected to start this March and complete by October, said IVAC Director Dr Duong Huu Thai.

A dose may cost no higher than 60,000 VND and the vaccine is effective against emerging coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 variants originated from the UK and South Africa, he affirmed.

Meanwhile, the third domestic candidate vaccine VABIOTECH developed by the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1, is also set to enter clinical trials in the coming time./.

Politburo holds meeting with former Party officials

The Politburo and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat hosted a gathering in Hanoi on February 27 with former members of the 12th Politburo, the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and Party Central Committee.

Chairing the event, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong said the Politburo and Secretariat highly value the great contributions that the former officials have made to the Party, people and country during the time they held important positions in central and local agencies.

He highlighted that the country had reaped comprehensive achievements last year. The entire Party, people and army stood united and fulfilled the working programme for the tenure.

After the 13th National Party Congress, the people have demonstrated their trust in the Party’s leadership and the country’s future, despite the impact of the pandemic.

The Party chief wished that the former Party officials will continue to make contributions to the Party, people and nation, and lend their experience in addressing important issues of the country.

Participants expressed their belief that the 13th Politburo, Secretariat and Party Central Committee will lead the country to a higher development level in the near future.

They pledged to continue contributing to the Party’s cause and strengthening solidarity in the Party.

Expressing pride in being a Party member, they vowed to set examples and lead the way in implementing the Party’s policies, mechanism and resolutions to build a prosperous country with democratic, equal and civilized society./.

US pledges to enhance cooperation with Mekong subregion’s countries

The US will bolster support for countries in the Mekong subregion through the Mekong-US partnership, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Atul Keshap said at a recent online seminar to reveal results of a report on transboundary rivers and addressing challenges in Mekong River.

He said the support will focus on the management of transboundary water resources, regional economic connection, human resources development and response to non-traditional security challenges, including those in the health sector.

The report was based on outcomes of a virtual Indo-Pacific conference on enhancing management of transboundary rivers hosted by the East-West Centre last October.

Speakers at the event said that the Mekong subregion is facing challenges in security, development and climate change.

Keshap expressed the US’s concerns over impacts of hydropower dams in the Mekong River’s upper reaches on food security, economic development and environmental conditions of countries in lower reaches.

The US highly appreciates Vietnam’s efforts in pushing ASEAN’s cooperation to help the Mekong subregion cope with such challenges, he said.

Congressman Ted Lieu also affirmed that the US Congress wants the US government to further boost cooperation with the Mekong sub-region via the US-Mekong partnership. Since the launch of the Lower Mekong Initiative in 2009, the US has earmarked 3.5 billion USD for countries in Mekong River’s lower reaches.

At the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc underscored the significance of water security, especially transboundary water resources, to peace and prosperity in the region.

Countries in the Mekong subregion share responsibilities for the use and management of Mekong River’s water resources in a sustainable manner in a bid to offset impacts on development and the environment, he added.

The diplomat affirmed that Vietnam is always a responsible member in joint efforts to cope with challenges in environmental issues, climate change, economic development and security in the Mekong subregion.

He proposed that countries work together to build regulations and legally binding frameworks to manage transboundary rivers.

He also called on the US and other partners to invest in the region in the spheres of energy, infrastructure, climate change adaptation and sustainable development./.

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Bars and beer clubs on Bui Vien pedestrian street of HCM City


Certain non-essential services in Ho Chi Minh City are to remain closed until further notice in an effort to prevent COVID-19 transmission while others have been allowed to resume.

The municipal People’s Committee has ordered continued closure of dance halls, bars, karaoke parlours, pubs, beer clubs, and facilities for indoor sports activities like gym, fitness, billiards, and yoga centres.

Others not included in this list can be reopened but have to carry out all anti-coronavirus measures regulated by health authorities.

Besides, the set of safety assessment criteria in COVID-19 prevention and control must be seriously implemented in the fields of tourism, transport, and restaurant services, as well as at wholesale and retail markets, supermarkets, trade centres, relic sites, and libraries.

A distance of at least one metre from each other must be kept in those activities, and food service supplying establishments are not permitted to serve more than 30 people at the same time, according to the administration.

Meanwhile, religious activities and rituals at local places of worship can take place with no more than 50 participants at the same time. They also have to comply with other disease prevention measures regulated by the health sector, the People’s Committee said.

Earlier, the committee also permitted schools across the city to be reopened from March 1.

On February 23, the lockdown on an apartment block in Ward 13 of Tan Binh district was lifted. This was the last of the 35 sealed-off sites that had their COVID-19 lockdown removed in HCM City./.

Campaigns to provide 90,000 job opportunities to Vietnamese youngsters

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union's Hanoi chapter has cooperated with recruitment platform TopCV.vn  to launch a campaign to provide 90,000 job opportunities to Vietnamese students and youngsters in and outside the country.

Running from March 1 to September 1, the campaign aims to support the youngsters and students to connect with enterprises having recruitment demands, while bringing more employment and internship chances to them, said Deputy Secretary of the chapter Tran Quang Hung.

Hung said that the campaign will assist 5 million young people in Hanoi and Hai Duong and Vietnamese students abroad to seek suitable employment, while helping them design curriculum vitae and necessary job applying skills.

Besides, it will support colleges and universities to link with companies having recruitment demands on TopCV.vn.

A number of online job bazaars will be organised, while a series of online training courses will be held to equip job seekers with skills to apply for employment, added Hung./.

PM asks for timely, transparent COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Health Ministry to take responsibility for importing, receiving and distributing COVID-19 vaccines in a timely and transparent manner in line with instructions of the Politburo and Party Central Committee’s Secretariat.

The request was noted in Notice No.31/TB-VPCP dated February 25 along with other instructions that the Government leader made at a meeting of permanent Government members on pandemic prevention work.

The Health Ministry must work with the Foreign Ministry, especially Vietnamese embassies abroad, to access vaccine suppliers.

Vaccination for priority cases must be conducted quickly in accordance with the Government’s Resolution.

The PM also agreed with proposals by a number of localities including Hanoi and Hai Phong on buying vaccines using private financial sources.

Authorities of centrally-run cities and provinces are required to take the initiative in adopting suitable prevention and control measures based on the level of risk in each area, while ensuring smooth flows of goods, production and trade, thus minimizing negative impacts on trade and production and people’s lives.

The PM also demanded the strict enforcement of the 5K principle, especially the wearing of face masks, and pandemic prevention rules at workplaces, factories and trade and public facilities.

Authorities of pandemic-hit localities, especially Hai Duong and Hai Phong, must continue contact tracing, quarantining and testing in order to prevent any outbreak from spreading.

The Transport Ministry was assigned to partner with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Health Ministry to issue regulations on ensuring safety in transportation to/from and in pandemic-hit areas, particularly in key economic areas such as Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and Hai Duong.

The MoIT will be responsible for working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Health Ministry to regulate the procedures for buying farm produce from pandemic-affected areas.

The PM assigned Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh to direct the repatriation of citizens from abroad and conduct timely quarantine in line with regulations./.

First 35 volunteers receive injections of home-grown COVID-19 vaccine in second-stage trial

The first 35 volunteers received injections of the home-grown Nano Covax in the second phase of human trial at the Military Medical University on February 26.

Developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and the Military Medical University, Nanocovax is Vietnam's first COVID-19 vaccine to reach the human trial stage.

The 35 volunteers were chosen among about 300 people who registered to participate in the second-stage trial of the vaccine at the University after undergoing rigorous medical examinations. They are divided into three groups for receiving three different doses of 25mcg, 50mcg and 75mcg, and one group with five people getting placebo.

According to a representative from the University, a total 560 volunteers, aged 18-60, including those with several diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes, among others, will participate in the second-stage trial, which is carried out in Hanoi and the Mekong Delta province of Long An.

Lieutenant-General Do Quyet, Director of the Military Medical University, said since the trial sees the participation of volunteers with underlying health conditions, competent authorities have been prepared for all scenarios and ensure safety for all volunteers.

Results of the trial will be announced in May 2021 before preparing for the third-stage trial during which only one single shot of the vaccine will be administered to 10,000-15,000 people from both domestic and foreign pandemic-hit regions, Quyet added.

Present at the second-stage trial of Nano Covax at Military Medical University, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam encouraged the volunteers and the medical workers, while expressing his firm belief in the ability of the Vietnamese scientists in successfully developing COVID-19 vaccines.

The first-stage trial of the Nano Covax vaccine showed that it is likely to be effective against B117 variant from the UK.

Vietnam is one among 40 countries in the world that have started human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, after successfully producing coronavirus test kits early into the pandemic.

The country also has several other COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed, which are IVAC by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, VABIOTECH by the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1, and POLYVAC by the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals./. 

First Hanoi market to be installed with solar panels

The government of Hanoi has approved a pilot project to install rooftop solar power panels for the iconic Dong Xuan Market in Hoan Kiem District, making it the first wet market in the capital city to be equipped with the solar power system, aimed at saving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The market will be installed with 600 solar panels, which account for 18% of total area of the market’s roof. The system will generate 198 kWp of electricity.

The project is funded by the German non-profit limited company Engagement Global’s Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt (SKEW) through the following activities: enhancing the qualification and skills of employees of the district, which is in charge of operating and managing the pilot project using renewable energy; protecting the environment, saving energy, and using clean energy.

The project requires over 274,000 euros (US$333,000) in investment, with over 246,000 euros being provided by the German firm and the remaining amount being mobilized from legal sources by the district’s government. The project would be implemented from the date it was approved by the authorities to November 30, 2022.

After the pilot project is completed and proves effective, Hanoi will scale up the project to other places in the district.

Further, the government of Hanoi tasked the departments of Science and Technology, Industry and Trade, Natural Resources and Environment, Police and the Hanoi Power Corporation with instructing the project’s investor to conduct investment procedures, electricity connection, measuring and pricing activities in line with the prime minister’s decision on encouraging the development of solar power in Vietnam. 

Trial on violations at Phu Tho ethanol plant to open on March 8

The Hanoi People’s Court will open a 10-day trial on March 8 to hear a case of violations of regulations on investment in construction works, causing serious consequences, at an ethanol plant in the northern province of Phu Tho.

The 12 defendants include former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) Dinh La Thang, former Chairman of the Board of Directors and former General Director of the PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVC) Trinh Xuan Thanh, former General Director of the PetroVietnam PetroChemicals and Biofuel JSC (PVB) Vu Thanh Ha, former General Deputy Director of PetroVietnam Tran Thi Binh, former General Director of PVC Pham Xuan Dieu, former Deputy General Director of PVC Nguyen Ngoc Dung, former head of PVC’s economic and planning board Do Van Quang, former deputy head of PVB’s investment office Nguyen Xuan Thuy, former deputy head of PVB’s commercial office Khuong Anh Tuan, former head of PVB’s business office Le Thanh Thai, former chief accountant at PVB Hoang Dinh Tam, and Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director of the Kinh Bac Petroleum Construction and Investment JSC Do Van Hong.

Trinh Xuan Thanh has been charged with “violating regulations on investment in construction works, causing serious consequences”, under Article 224, Clause 3 of the Criminal Code 2015, and “abusing position and power while performing duties” under Article 356, Clause 3.

Do Van Hong has been charged with “abusing position and power while performing duties”.

The 10  remaining defendants are facing charges of “violating regulations on investment in construction works, causing serious consequences”.

According to the indictment, Thang signed a resolution to approve the investment in the project in October 2007. With Thanh’s support, PVC/Alfa Laval/Delta-T joint contractors, who had no previous experience in carrying out ethanol projects, were assigned to be in charge of the project.

As a result, the project was continuously lagged behind schedule and stopped in March 2013 with no construction items done.

Wrongdoings of the defendants were said to cause a loss of more than 543 billion VND (23.49 million USD) for PVB./. 

Vinh Phuc moves towards sustainable population development

The northern province of Vinh Phuc plans to have its entire population managed by the national population database system.

Under the province’s population strategy in the 2021-2025 period, it will provide health insurance and offer medical examinations and treatment to all elderly people at home and in healthcare facilities.

Vinh Phuc aims to maintain a reasonable age structure, with the ratio of children under 15 years old to be 23.5 percent and people aged 65 and over to be 9 percent.

 

It will bring the fertility rate closer to the replacement fertility level, increase the rate of women of reproductive age having convenient access to modern contraception and support in reproductive health to 95 percent, and halve the number of unwanted pregnancies.

The province aims to have 70 percent of young men and women obtaining health advice and check-ups before marriage, 50 percent of pregnant women being screened for at least four of the most common birth defects, and 70 percent of new-born babies being screened for at least the five most common congenital diseases.

It expects to see life expectancy of 75 years, while the urban population rate is to stand at 50 percent of the total.

The province is working to fully tap into its “golden population structure”, adapt to population aging, and improve quality of the population, thus contributing to its socio-economic development.

To reach these targets, provincial authorities will focus on improving mechanisms, policies, and laws on population, and bolstering the quality of population-related services.

It also has policies to encourage organisations, businesses, individuals, and production and distribution establishments to provide population-related services./.

Investors confident in Vietnam’s innovative startup ecosystem

Investors are confident in the potential of Vietnam's innovative startup ecosystem, and believe the country will become a big investment market in the region and the world, according to head of the Vietnam representative office of Genesia Ventures, an investment fund of Japan, Hoang Thi Kim Dung.

According to a report published by Do Ventures - a venture capital fund that focuses on making investments in tech startups in Vietnam and Southeast Asia - in 2020, Vietnam's innovative startup ecosystem ranked third in Southeast Asia, after Singapore and Indonesia.

Vietnam’s national innovation startup ecosystem is likely to earn a berth in the top 15 emerging ones in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030, the report said.

The Prime Minister in 2016 approved a project to support the national innovative startup ecosystem through 2025 under Decision No. 844/ QD-TTg (Project 844), which was designed to promote and support the formation and development of startup projects or startup enterprises and urgently complete the legal system to support innovative startups.

To further promote the development of Vietnam's innovative startup ecosystem in an intensive manner, recently the PM has approved the amending and supplementing of a number of articles in Decision No 844/QD-TTg.

Accordingly, an additional target is to build a system of innovation centres to support research and development (R&D) and creative startups, in tandem with ensuring their successful operation with specific, outstanding and highly competitive mechanisms and policies to make sure that they will be on par with other regionally and internationally leveled ones.

The green light will be given to developing national creative startup support centres in Vietnam’s three largest cites: Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, and innovative startup centres at ministries, sectors and localities, and organizations which boast potential for innovation and startup.

Attention will be paid to encouraging more interaction amongst innovative startup centres across the country and innovative startup ecosystems at home and abroad.

Vietnam hopes to establish international cooperation programmes with partners in at least five prestigious innovative startup ecosystems in the world by 2025, and attract more foreign resources to support domestic innovation startups.

According to statistics from the Project 844’s office, there are nearly 100 venture capital funds in Vietnam, including about 20 domestic funds. Each investment fund has different networks and strengths, so startups need to thoroughly research and group potential investors in accordance with their development orientation and goals./.

Vietnamese airlines gear up to transport COVID-19 vaccine

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways have said they are well prepared for the transport of COVID-19 vaccines for local pandemic prevention.

Bamboo Airways have put necessary resources in place for a couple of months, including the best possible means of transport, standardised vaccine storage, and effective arrangement of human resources.

A representative from the carrier said that wide-body aircraft Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be deployed for the mission, while staff with considerable experience will serve on the flights carrying COVID-19 vaccines.

Rehearsal was held regularly to ensure smooth transport of the vaccines, the representative said, adding logistics services, warehouses and refrigerated containers are ready for the mission as well.

Bamboo Airways also has experience in transporting critical goods to Northeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. The carrier has receive good response from its customers and logistics firms.

In the meantime, Vietnam Airlines has proposed it be officially permitted by authorised health agencies to transport COVID-19 vaccines from overseas.

The carrier said it has prepared all necessary resources to meet the strictest requirements on vaccine transportation by air. It has sufficient logistics services, modern cold storage systems, and trained human resources that meet international standards.

It is ready to introduce refrigerated container services for carrying vaccines, as poor preservation can affect quality and efficiency.

The carrier will also set up a specialised unit to perform these tasks.

Vietnam Airlines also has experience in transporting medical supplies, such as medicine and surgical instruments, as wells organs for transplant, even in time-sensitive emergencies.

It can deploy a fleet of wide-body aircraft such as Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s to transport large quantities of vaccines.

Transporting COVID-19 vaccine is seen as a century mission of the global aviation sector.

In Vietnam, ensuring sufficient COVID-19 vaccine supply in 2021 is a priority of the Ministry of Health and competent ministries and sector.

The Ministry of Health said it is working to secure 90 million COVID-19 doses this year, and to implement the biggest vaccination drive in Vietnam's history./.

Australian-funded course helps improve social work for abused women, children amid COVID-19

More than 30 consultants and social workers, on February 26, began a three-day Australian-funded course that helps them improve their work toward abused women and children during the current time of pandemic.

Sponsored by the Australian Government, the course is co-organised by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and Vietnam’s Centre for Women and Development (CWD) as part of a project on emergency response to violence against women and children amid COVID-19.

Participants are currently working at the CWD in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, as well as hospitals and social centres in the two cities.

During the training session, they will be provided with knowledge and skills to identify symptoms of stress and types of psychological trauma as well as practice some first aid and psychological care methods.

Statistics showed that, in the context of the pandemic, the rate of violence against women and children in Vietnam and in the world has increased by between 30 and 300 percent.

Nguyen Thi Thu Hoai, a social worker at CWD, said amid surging number of calls to a CWD hotline for abused women and children in conjunction with the pandemic happening, knowledge from the course will help her better approach and support the victims to soon ease their trauma./.

Vice President presents title of “People’s Doctor” to five doctors

A ceremony was held in Hanoi on February 26 to present the title of "People’s Doctor" to five lecturers of the Hanoi Medical University on the occasion of the Vietnamese Doctors’ Day (February 27). 

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh presented the title of "People’s Doctor" to Associate Prof. Dr. Tran Huu Binh; Associate Prof, Dr. Doan Quoc Hung; Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Tuan; Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Huu Uoc, and Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Kim Viet. They are former and incumbent leaders of important faculties and institutes of different central hospitals.
 
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said that the doctors receiving the title have shown excellent talent, knowledge, ethics and personality of a doctor and a teacher.
 
He expressed his hope that amidst the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hanoi Medical University will show strong performance in enhancing the quality of personnel training for health sector of Hanoi and the whole country, while conducting research for new technologies for the sector. 

Associate Prof. Dr. Doan Quoc Hung, Vice Principal of the Hanoi Medical University, said that he is proud of his contributions to the health sector and the caring for people’s health and the community as a doctor and a teacher.
 
On the occasion, the title of "Excellent Doctors" was also awarded to 12 other lecturers of the Hanoi Medical University.
 
The titles of "People’s Doctor" and "Excellent Doctor" aim to honour doctors with outstanding talent and professional ethics, which will be presented to eligible doctors once a year./. 

Authorities of Saint Petersburg city updated with result of 13th National Party Congress

The Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations held a teleconference on February 25 to inform authorities of Saint Petersburg city and several agencies in Russia about the results of the 13th National Party Congress.

Speaking at the event, head of the commission Hoang Binh Quan briefed the participants on the freshly-concluded congress's main outcomes, including the review of the implementation of the 12th congress' Resolution, achievements during 35-year reform and 30-year implementation of the Platform on national development.

He also shared vision, goals, development orientations, tasks and measures decided by the 13th National Party Congress and personnel work.

About external policy for the tenure of the Congress, he affirmed that Vietnam continues the consistent external policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of external relations, active and proactive global integration, while maintaining an environment of peace and stability, and further improve Vietnam’s position and prestige on international arena.

The Vietnamese Party and State consistently treasure traditional ties and comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, he said.

Participants said documents at the Congress reflect the strong will of the Vietnamese Party and people for a country of prosperity and well-being for citizens. They also highly valued Vietnam’s achievements in the cause of national construction and development.

Vice Governor of Saint Petersburg N.Bondarenko vowed to work with Vietnam to improve the efficiency of bilateral cooperation, step up practical projects in the fields of economy, trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people exchange, especially among the young generation.

Both sides also discussed orientations and several specific cooperation plans in the near future./.

Da Nang working to preserve, develop Cham relics

Leaders in the central city of Da Nang recently handed over a certificate to authorities in Hoa Tho Dong ward in Cam Le district recognising the Cham Phong Le archaeological site as a city-level relic, in an effort to improve the management and preservation of the site.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Quang Nam said the city is now home to two national special, 17 national, and 60 city-level relics.

Of these, only Cham Phong Le is named an archaeological relic, demonstrating its importance and exceptional values.

Excavations and studies reveal it is a large-scale architectural construction and part of the Cham tower system in the central region. The lives of Cham people in Amaravati land, as they called the area around Da Nang, between the 10th and 12th centuries are reflected through unearthed exhibits.

Nam took the occasion to request that Cam Le district leaders, people, and relevant agencies work together in the conservation and development of the relics.

The site was discovered by local residents in April 2011. The foundations of a brick construction and other elements were then found during an excavation by the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture.

After three excavations on nearly 790 sq m, the entire scale and basic structure of a large Cham tower was exposed.

It is believed to be have been built by the Cham in early 10th century and remained a place of worship until the 12th century at least.

The Champa Kingdom, from where the Cham ethnic minority people originated, ruled what is today Vietnam’s central coastal region between the 4th and 13th centuries.

They built a range of distinctive towers across the kingdom. Some still stand today, such as Po Nagar in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa province, Po Klong Garai and Po Rome in Ninh Thuan province, Nhan tower in Phu Yen province, and, especially, the 21 towers at the UNESCO-recognised My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam province./.

Vice President presents title of “People’s Doctor” to five doctors

A ceremony was held in Hanoi on February 26 to present the title of "People’s Doctor" to five lecturers of the Hanoi Medical University on the occasion of the Vietnamese Doctors’ Day (February 27). 

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh presented the title of "People’s Doctor" to Associate Prof. Dr. Tran Huu Binh; Associate Prof, Dr. Doan Quoc Hung; Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Tuan; Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Huu Uoc, and Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Kim Viet. They are former and incumbent leaders of important faculties and institutes of different central hospitals.
 
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said that the doctors receiving the title have shown excellent talent, knowledge, ethics and personality of a doctor and a teacher.
 
He expressed his hope that amidst the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hanoi Medical University will show strong performance in enhancing the quality of personnel training for health sector of Hanoi and the whole country, while conducting research for new technologies for the sector. 

Associate Prof. Dr. Doan Quoc Hung, Vice Principal of the Hanoi Medical University, said that he is proud of his contributions to the health sector and the caring for people’s health and the community as a doctor and a teacher.
 
On the occasion, the title of "Excellent Doctors" was also awarded to 12 other lecturers of the Hanoi Medical University.
 
The titles of "People’s Doctor" and "Excellent Doctor" aim to honour doctors with outstanding talent and professional ethics, which will be presented to eligible doctors once a year./.

Australian-funded course helps improve social work for abused women, children amid COVID-19

More than 30 consultants and social workers, on February 26, began a three-day Australian-funded course that helps them improve their work toward abused women and children during the current time of pandemic.

Sponsored by the Australian Government, the course is co-organised by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and Vietnam’s Centre for Women and Development (CWD) as part of a project on emergency response to violence against women and children amid COVID-19.

Participants are currently working at the CWD in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, as well as hospitals and social centres in the two cities.

During the training session, they will be provided with knowledge and skills to identify symptoms of stress and types of psychological trauma as well as practice some first aid and psychological care methods.

Statistics showed that, in the context of the pandemic, the rate of violence against women and children in Vietnam and in the world has increased by between 30 and 300 percent.

Nguyen Thi Thu Hoai, a social worker at CWD, said amid surging number of calls to a CWD hotline for abused women and children in conjunction with the pandemic happening, knowledge from the course will help her better approach and support the victims to soon ease their trauma./.

GEF-funded project proves effective

The “Energy Efficiency Improvement in Commercial and High-Rise Residential Buildings in Vietnam” (EECB) project is expected to complete some of its commitments in 2021.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the project’s goals are to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions from Vietnam’s building sector and to improve energy utilisation at commercial and high-rise residential buildings in HCM City and Hanoi.

Completion will be achieved through the implementation of the three following components: improved enforcement of energy efficiency building codes, building market development support initiatives, and building EE technology applications and replications.

Each component comprises a number of complementary activities designed to remove barriers to the stringent enforcement of the revised EEBC, and for the greater uptake of energy-efficient technologies, systems, and practices in commercial and residential buildings.

Vu Ngoc Anh, Director of the Science and Technology and Environment Department at the Ministry of Construction, who is also EECB director, said the project will complete mechanisms recognising energy consumption and announcing information on energy consumption, along with documents guiding the design, construction, and assessment of energy-efficient projects.

It has already studied energy consumption at 250 projects and recognised energy-efficient facilities. Many training courses within its framework have been organised nationwide.

The project fulfilled 11 of 14 set targets, including major targets like providing consultation for the national target programme on the economical and efficient use of energy, and contributing opinions on the Law on Construction.

The project is supporting the Ministry of Construction in amending a decree on the management of projects and their quality, and other documents.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Vietnam Sitara Syed said relevant parties have made great efforts over recent times. But, she added, they need to further their close coordination and flexibly adopt different solutions to optimise results brought about by the project./.

Ca Mau: Nam Can crab, U Minh Hot Pot named among Vietnam’s Top 100 specialties

A species of crab in Nam Can district and a fish sauce hot pot in the U Minh Forest in the southernmost province of Ca Mau have been listed among the Top 100 specialties in Vietnam in 2020-2021 by the Vietnam Record Organisation (Vietkings).

Ca Mau dried shrimp and U Minh honey, meanwhile, are in the Top 100 Vietnamese specialty gifts.

The specialties will be granted certificates at an event on April 24 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Over the past 10 years, Vietkings has sought and promoted Vietnamese cuisine, contributing to elevating the Vietnamese catering and tourism industries./.

VFF Central Committee gives guidance on introducing candidates for upcoming elections

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee's Standing Board has issued a guiding document on the organisation of negotiations to introduce candidates for election to the 15th National Assembly (NA) and People’s Councils at all levels in the 2021-2026 tenure and election campaigns in localities hit by COVID-19.

Localities are instructed to hold the elections flexibly in accordance with the situation on the ground, ensuring the strict implementation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Along with direct meetings, localities can choose other formats to collect voters’ opinions, such as online conferences or via email, SMS, mobile apps such as Zalo and Viber, and the post.

Earlier, on February 20 in Hanoi, Vice President and General Secretary of the VFF Central Committee Hau A Lenh and Vice President of the VFF Central Committee Nguyen Huu Dung co-chaired a meeting on guiding procedures to introduce candidates from central agencies, organisations, and units.

Dung told the meeting that procedures involve three steps. In the first, leaders of agencies, organisations, and units will hold a meeting to consider a list of candidates. In the second, a meeting will be held to collect ideas on the candidates from all staff at the agencies, organisations, and units. If a candidate has more than one workplace, the meeting will be organised in the workplace where he or she works most often.

In the final step, an expanded meeting of leaders of the agency, organisation, or unit will be convened to discuss and make a final decision on the candidates to be introduced.

Candidates must complete documents for nomination by 5pm on March 14.

Addressing the meeting, Lenh said that from March 18, the VFF Central Committee Presidium will organise the second round of negotiations to discuss and make a list of candidates running for a seat at the 15th legislature.

The elections of deputies to the 15th NA and People’s Councils at all levels will take place in May./.

Nearly 300 volunteers in Long An engage in second-stage trials of Nano Covax

Nearly 300 volunteers in the Mekong Delta province of Long An are set to receive injections of Nano Covax in the second-stage human clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Vietnam.

The Ministry of Health began the second phase of human trials at the healthcare centre of Ben Luc district on February 26.

The volunteers, chosen from more than 800 people who registered to take part, consist of two age groups: from 18 to 60 and over 60.

They will receive two doses of either the vaccine or the placebo AIPO4, with an interval of 28 days. Each volunteer will be monitored for 12 months after the first dose.

Volunteers receiving jabs on the morning of February 26 will receive the second dose in late March.

The research outcomes of these second-phase trials will be available in late April.

The second stage human trials of Nano Covax are also underway in Hanoi.

Developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and the Hanoi-based Military Medical University, Nano Covax is Vietnam’s first COVID-19 vaccine to reach the human trial stage.

According to a representative from the university, a total of 560 volunteers, including those with other ailments such as hypertension or diabetes, among others, will participate in the second-stage trials in both localities.

Lieutenant-General Do Quyet, Director of the Military Medical University, said that since the trial is seeing the participation of volunteers with underlying health conditions, relevant authorities are prepared for all possible scenarios and will ensure the safety of all volunteers.

The first-stage trial of the Nano Covax vaccine showed that it is likely to be effective against the B117 variant from the UK.

Vietnam is one of 40 countries and territories in the world to have begun human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, after successfully producing coronavirus test kits early in the pandemic.

The country also has other COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed: IVAC from the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, VABIOTECH from the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1, and POLYVAC from the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals./.

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