The anti-Covid-19 steering committee of Nghe An Province decided to lock down part of Ha Huy Tap Ward in Vinh City starting this morning, June 14, after the province's capital city reported its first suspected Covid-19 case by community transmission, affecting 5,000 local residents.

Duong Dinh Chinh, director of the provincial Department of Health, said that the suspected case is a hairdresser living in the ward, who tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, VnExpress reported.

The hairdresser could have caught the disease from another coronavirus patient in her hometown in Ha Tinh. She had a complicated travel history, but did not declare it honestly and was also in close contact with many people.

Therefore, the health department and the provincial government had to request the local competent forces specialized in information and technology to find the locations she had been to, according to VietnamPlus.

Earlier, on May 6, the north-central province of Nghe An reported one locally-infected case who was a local man in Hoang Mai Town. He was found to have caught the disease from the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.

Vietnam records additional 75 domestically-transmitted cases

A total of 80 COVID-19 cases, including 75 domestically-transmitted and five imported, were recorded in the past six hours to 6pm on June 14, the Ministry of Health said.

Of the cases, 29 were detected in northern Bac Giang province, which is the country’s current largest pandemic hotspot, 26 in Ho Chi Minh City, 11 in Ha Tinh, eight in Bac Ninh, and one in Nghe An.

The new infections brought the total number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam to 10,810, including 9,168 domestic and 1,642 imported. The number of domestic infections since the fourth COVID-19 wave hit the country on April 27 reached 7,598.

As many as 21 provinces and cities have gone through 14 consecutive days without new infections, including Yen Bai, Quang Ngai, Dong Nai, Quang Ninh, Quang Nam, Quang Trị, Thua Thien-Hue, Nam Dinh, Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang, Son La, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thai Nguyen, Hung Yen, Hai Phong, Tay Ninh, Gia Lai, Bac Lieu, Dien Bien, Dak Lak.

A total of 4,236 patients have been successfully treated, while the number of deaths related to the disease was 61.

Among active patients undergoing treatment, 431 have tested negative to coronavirus once, 72 twice and 73 thrice./.

Two more employees of frontline hospital in HCMC infected with Covid-19

The HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases tested 924 employees from June 11 to 13 and detected 55 Covid-19 infections, up two over the figure reported yesterday, June 13, said director of the HCMC Department of Health Nguyen Tan Binh.

At a meeting of the municipal steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control held today, June 14, Binh said the 55 cases were employees of 13 units of the hospital, such as IT, administrative, general planning, personnel organization and pharmacy, the local media reported.

Especially, all of them have got two shots of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Worryingly, almost all of them are asymptomatic carriers of the active virus, so if anyone comes into close contact with these cases, Covid-19 will spread silently.

Among the cases, one is residing in a Covid-19 hotspot of the city—Ehome 3 apartment building in Binh Tan District, Binh said.

Binh added that the coronavirus volume in the 55 cases was extremely low, which was a positive signal, proving the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Therefore, the risk that they will get worse is lower than that of unvaccinated people and their transmission possibility is also lower than those linked to the Revival Ekklesia Mission in Go Vap District.

In addition, two employees of Gia Dinh Hospital’s Microbiology Department were also found to be infected with Covid-19, with one being the wife of an IT staff of the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Binh said the department had asked the Cu Chi District Hospital to get prepared to receive Covid-19 patients with a capacity of 500 beds and a recuperation area for critical patients. Medical workers from leading hospitals in the city will be mobilized to support the treatment of Covid-19 patients at this hospital.

The department will also establish emergency and recuperation units at the Cu Chi Field Hospital and the Can Gio Covid-19 Treatment Hospital and mobilize resources from general and specialized hospitals in the city.

Hospitals in the city should enhance their support for the Covid-19 treatment. General hospitals having the department of infection control were asked to receive patients from the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases so that the hospital can focus on treating Covid-19 patients.

100 more Covid-19 patients announced in Monday noon report

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An additional 100 more Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in Vietnam, raising the total number of patients in the country to 10,730, the Ministry of Health reported at noon on Monday.

According to the ministry's report, all of the newly-confirmed patients are locally-transmitted cases most of whom were detected in quarantine sites or areas under lockdown in some localities including 69 in Bac Giang, 26 in Ho Chi Minh City, four in Hanoi and one in Ha Tinh.

The outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City has become more complicated, especially following detection of a chain of transmission at its Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Fifty-five employees of the hospital have tested positive for the virus. The HCM City Centre for Diseases Control is working closely with the hospital to carry out contact tracing, isolation, testing and disinfection.

The 69 cases in Bac Giang were recorded at some local industrial parks which have reported a large outbreak over the last few weeks.

As of Monday noon, 7,523 locally-transmitted cases have been reported since the new outbreak occurred in the country on April 27, including 4,137 in the virus epicentre of Bac Giang. The outbreak has so far spread to 40 cities and provinces nationwide.

With these new infection cases, the number of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam has increased to 10,730 including 9,093 locally-transmitted cases.

As of 6 pm on June 13, a total of 3,998 Covid-19 patients had recovered and been discharged from hospital.

So far there have been 59 deaths, most of them being the elderly with serious underlying diseases.

At present, over 196,000 people who had close contact with Covid-19 patients or returned from virus-hit areas are being monitored at hospitals, quarantine facilities, and at home.

On June 13, an additional 43,222 people were given Covid-19 vaccine in Vietnam, raising the total number of vaccine doses used in the country to 1,498,323. The number of people who have received two doses has risen to 55,265.

Airports face fake driver licenses

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has raised warnings after many people have been found to use fake driver licenses for flight check-ins.

Dinh Viet Son, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, signed the official document asking related agencies to be alert and have measures to deal with the problem.

In 2020, 23 people were caught using fake driver licenses and 13 people were caught in the first six months of 2021.

"Using fake papers is a legal violation and an aviation risk," Son said.

In the latest case, a male passenger was found to use a fake driver licence for a flight from Hanoi to HCM City. He said he had the fake license made at the price of VND1.5m. This is the first time he used a fake licence. The case was later transferred to the police.

According to airport employees, people were sometimes found using fake papers to board planes every day including fake IDs and fake driver licenses.

Vietnamese citizens over 14 years old can use various papers to board planes including ID, driver licenses, press cards and identity cards of Vietnamese airlines.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam also asked the Road Directorate to have measures to put an end to the easy availability of fake papers.

WURI honours two Vietnamese universities in top global 100 rankings

The World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI), a new university ranking system run by the Hanseatic League of Universities, has honoured two Vietnamese in its global top 100 Innovative Universities.

Tra Vinh University and Lac Hong University are among best performing education institutions that WURI has highlighted in its global top 100 Innovative Universities. 

In its 2021 WURI rankings, Tra Vinh was placed 71sr, up 15 notches compared to the 2020 rankings, while Lac Hong was positioned 93rd.

Notably, Lac Hong came in 27th in the Ethical Value category, up six notches compared to the 2020 listing.

Tra Vinh University finished 17th for start-up innovation and 48th for student mobility and openness.

WURI highlights creative and innovative approaches to university research and education that focus on industrial applications, value-creating startups and entrepreneurship, social responsiblilty, ethics and integrity, and student mobility and openness for exchange and collaboration.

Vietnamese expats in Japan launch fundraising campaign to help Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight

The Vietnamese embassy in Japan on June 13 launched a fundraising campaign to collect money for Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccine fund in response to the call of the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s Central Committee on “National unity to fight COVID-19.”

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Vu Hong Nam urged all staff members of the embassy and Vietnamese representative offices in Japan as well as the Vietnamese community in Japan to join hands with the homeland in order to achieve the dual targets of curbing the spread of COVID-19 while promoting socio-economic development.

Ambassador Nam highly appreciated the prevention measures and mutual support among the Vietnamese community in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the number of community-transmitted cases among Vietnamese expats in Japan remains particularly low.

At the ceremony, over 500 million VND (more than 21,780 USD) was contributed to the COVID-19 vaccine fund.

Overseas Vietnamese also expressed their strong confidence in the Vietnamese Government's effective measures to fight the pandemic, and hoped that with the concerted efforts of the Government and people at home and abroad, Vietnam would soon overcome the epidemic.

According to statistics of the Japanese Ministry of Justice, there were 448,053 Vietnamese living in Japan as of the end of 2020, up more than 10 times from a decade ago and accounting for more than 15 percent of the total number of foreigners in Japan./.

“Keep the world beating” chosen as slogan for World Blood Donor Day 2021

The slogan “Give blood and keep the world beating” has been chosen for World Blood Donor Day 2021 (June 14), said the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion.

The day aims to honour blood donors and encourage more people to voluntarily give blood, as well as raise public awareness of the necessity of safe blood products.

It is also meant to commemorate World Health Organisation for his discovery of major blood groups A,B,O.

On the occasion, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called on countries’ governments, medical sectors and blood transfusion services to ensure resources and infrastructure to receive quality blood.

According to the WHO, one in every 10 patients needs blood transfusion. In Vietnam, it is estimated that 5,200 units of blood are needed everyday for emergency and treatment. The shortage of blood remains prevalent in developing countries, especially during disasters and epidemics.

With the slogan, WHO wants to convey a message that blood is the life of every person, healthy or ill. For a patient, blood is not only the help from the community but also a source of life for them to survive.

Besides, blood donors also have a chance to have their health checked.

Last year, Vietnam received over 1.4 million units of blood, 99 percent of them came from voluntary blood donors, who accounted for about 1.5 percent of the total population./.

Psycho-horror movie earns millions of views on YouTube

Điên Tối (Darkness), a new psychological horror movie by young director Jack Carry On, has become a hit on social media since it premiered on YouTube on June 10.

The Viettel Media production earned more than 1.84 million views 15 hours after its premiere.

The 90-minute movie features Thạch, a young director from an orphanage who to make a movie adaptation of a novel by famous author Mạn Châu.

After meeting with Châu at her bookstore, Thạch and Châu begin a mysterious adventure.  

Award-winning actor Lương Bỉnh Phát and actress Yu Dương play roles in the film.

Phát rose to fame after performing in Song Lang (The Tap Box), a film about the 100-year history of cải lương (reformed opera), a genre of traditional theatre in southern  Việt Nam.

The film was directed by Vietnamese-American Leon Lê in 2018. Phát played a cải lương performer who falls in love with his male colleague and makes sacrifices to pursue his dream.

Phát won Best Actor at the Golden Kite Awards 2019 organised by the Việt Nam Cinematography Association. He also won the Tokyo Gemstone Award in the Best Newcomer category at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018.

Yu Dương, whose real name is Nguyễn Thùy Dương, is known for playing the leading role in the 2014 horror movie Lời Nguyền Huyết Ngãi (Blood Curse) directed by Bùi Thạc Chuyên, when she was only 16 years old.

She later took part in movies and TV series such as Cô Dâu Đại Chiến 2 (Bride War 2) and Tốc Độ và Đường Cong (Speed and Curve).

In 2020, she impressed audiences with two thrilling movies Bí Mật Của Gió (Secrets of the Wind) and Thang Máy (Elevator).

Võ Ngọc Anh from Đồng Nai Province said that when she heard of the film and the cast with Phát and Dương, she knew it would be a good production.

“The film is awesome and meaningful. I cried at the ending,” Anh said.

The director said: “Although Điên Tối is covered with darkness, it finally exposes the evil and opens a bright and better world.”

Jack, whose real name is Trịnh Tài Việt, began making movies when he was 14 years old.

The 26-year-old self-taught director is known for his online short films such as Câu Chuyện Pháp Sư (Story of a Shaman) and Bí Mật Phòng Kế (Secret of the Next Room).

In 2020, he introduced his first web series Ảo Tưởng Tuổi 18 (Illusion at 18) consisting of 18 episodes, featuring struggles and challenges that young people face in modern society. The film received a warm welcome from young audiences.

Điên Tối is available on YouTube channel FIM360, with English subtitles.

Nguyễn Du film to shine at national film festival

A documentary movie about celebrated 18th century poet Nguyễn Du will compete at the Việt Nam National Film Festival in Thừa Thiên Huế Province in September. 

Called Đại Thi Hào Nguyễn Du (Great Poet Nguyễn Du), it was produced by Việt Media over three years. 

Producer Phạm Xuân Mừng, who has 20 years of experience in film and literature, said that it will honour the poet and highlight the value and longevity of Nguyễn Du's masterpiece Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều) as well as his significant role in promoting Vietnamese language. 

"For Vietnamese people, Truyện Kiều and poet Nguyễn Du is familiar," said Mừng.

"However, not everyone knows nor profoundly understands the life and career of the poet and the context of the writing and creations of characters."

Key parts of the series used writings and studies from famous authors and cultural researchers. 

The film script was penned by a group of writers including Mừng. It was directed by Nguyễn Văn Đức and features 50 actors from leading film studios and art schools and 1,000 extras. 

The crew travelled to capture beautiful scenes of traditional culture and rural life in Hà Tĩnh, Hà Nội, Bắc Ninh, Thái Bình, and Huế. 

Great Poet Nguyễn Du focuses on his life and career from his birth in Thăng Long citadel in 1765, his military service during the Gia Long dynasty through to his death in Huế in 1820. 

His father, Nguyễn Nghiễm, a mandarin under the Lê dynasty, is also highlighted. 

The 180-minute documentary film has three episodes: Gia Thế và Tuổi Thơ (Family and Childhood), Mười Năm Gió Bụi (Ten Years of Vicissitude), and Nghiệp Văn và Quan Trường (Literary Career and Mandarinate).

The first episode made its debut in Hà Nội and central province of Hà Tĩnh last year in celebration of Nguyễn Du's 255 birth anniversary and his 200th death anniversary. It made a deep impression on audiences. 

“Our film aims to introduce and promote celebrated poet Nguyễn Du’s masterpiece and other works to both Vietnamese people and foreigners," Mừng said.

"We hope it will inspire younger generations' patriotism and national literary pride."

The film also features poetic love between Nguyễn Du and female poet Hồ Xuân Hương -- a beloved poet known for her sharp wit and sterling command of chữ Nôm (Nôm script). 

Great Poet Nguyễn Du will be released next month and participate at the Việt Nam Film Festival, 22nd edition, from September 12 to 16. 

Trà Vinh embraces science, technology in agriculture

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh has earmarked VNĐ150 – 200 billion (US$6.6 – 8.7 million) for research into and adoption of processing technologies, especially for its key agricultural products, in 2021 – 25.

It will focus on creating hybrid plant and animal strains that can adapt to climate change, expanding production models that use high technology, bio-technology and organic methods to improve yield and quality, according to Lê Thành Ôi, director of the province Department of Science and Technology.

The research and use of technology would be linked with guaranteed sales of produce, he said.

The department has implemented three projects that used modern agricultural technologies in the first five months of the year.

They include growing a high-yield peanut variety on sand dunes in Trà Cú, Cầu Ngang and Duyên Hải districts, producing bio-products EMTV1 and EMTV2 and using them for breeding shrimp in Duyên Hải District and Duyên Hải Town, and growing honeydew melon in polyhouses equipped with drip irrigation system in Châu Thành District.

It has also worked with localities like Cầu Ngang District and Trà Vinh City for intercropping grapefruit and guava using efficient irrigation systems and growing clean watermelon in Cầu Ngang District and a fresh eating grape variety in combination with offering tourism services on a pilot basis in Trà Vinh City.

It also plans a project to compare the efficiency of models to grow honeydew melon on the ground and on substrates in polyhouses.

Phạm Minh Truyền, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has more than 17,000ha of hi-tech farming areas, including 10,400ha of aquaculture and 7,000ha of rice, vegetables and fruits.

In hi-tech cultivation, farmers use advanced technologies such as automatic irrigation, nano fertilisers, net houses, hydroponic methods, net houses, tissue culture, and good agricultural practices (GAP) standards.

In aquaculture, farmers use modern facilities for breeding shrimp under intensive and super intensive farming models.

Truyền said the province planned to use 1,500ha of unproductive rice fields and 500ha of sugarcane fields to grow high-value crops or perennial trees or rotate between rice and aquatic species on the same fields this year.

In the first five months of the year more than 1,200ha of rice fields and more than 125ha of sugarcane farms have been converted, with farmers growing vegetables, coconut and fruits and breeding aquatic species.

Sugarcane farmers have struggled in recent years because of low prices, and the province encourages them to switch to other crops.  

Trà Vinh is one of the delta’s coastal provinces and has been severely affected by saltwater intrusion in the dry season.

So local authorities have dissuaded farmers from growing rice in coastal areas and those without irrigation, and encouraged them to switch to other crops.

Farmers who grow vegetables, corn and watermelon have earned an average of VNĐ80 - 90 million ($3,500 – 3,900) per hectare per crop this year, according to the province Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department.

It has instructed farmers to adopt GAP standards to increase the competitiveness of their produce and incomes. 

Bình Dương IPs tighten COVID prevention measures

Companies in industrial parks in Bình Dương Province are applying stricter COVID-19 prevention measures while maintaining production activities. 

Chutex International Co., Ltd. in Dĩ An City's Sóng Thần Industrial Park, for example, which has over 6,000 workers, has required staff to wear face masks and disinfect themselves as they enter the premises, as well as take temperature checks at their work stations.

Businesses in the Việt Nam Singapore Industrial Park in Thuận An City have set up pandemic prevention teams at their gates, and have had staff disinfect themselves, make health declarations, and have their temperature checked.

Lê Văn Phức, a guard at Maruei Việt Nam Precision Co., Ltd in the industrial park, said that his company began applying prevention measures when the pandemic first appeared in the country, but has been stricter since May 25 as serious outbreaks have occurred in industrial parks in the north.

Staff are required to make health declarations via paper forms or smartphones, and smartphone users must install the Bluezone tracing application.

Meanwhile, Liwayway Joint Stock Company in the same park has put up large, hard-to-miss information boards about the pandemic at their gate, and has increased the number of staff stationed at the gate to monitor the health of more than 1,000 workers.

Staff with high fever are sent to a separate clinic room to be monitored. 

Banners and posters on how to protect against COVID-19 can also be found throughout the industrial parks in the province.

For more than a month, Bình Dương People's Committee and local authorities have been instructing regions, businesses and industrial parks to carry out strict pandemic prevention measures.

The Bình Dương Industrial Parks Management Board has instructed local IPs to regularly update their status on the COVID-19 safety map to keep the public informed, closely monitor workers, and form pandemic inspection teams.

The province is also working with health authorities and the management board to hold drill sessions and draw up plans to requisition factories and offices to quarantine up to 4,000 people if necessary.

According to Trần Văn Nam, secretary of the provincial party committee, Bình Dương has thousands of workers, many of whom are living within the industrial parks. 

Local authorities have been asked to refer to preventive measures taken by other industrial parks and regions, and come up with their own solutions for Bình Dương.

Bình Dương Province is one of the top regions in Việt Nam in terms of FDI attraction, exports and economic growth. 

 

Cà Mau ramps up production of processed agricultural products for export

The southernmost province of Cà Mau is increasing its output of processed agricultural products and promoting trade activities to expand markets for its key products like shrimp, crab, rice and banana.

Châu Công Bằng, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the aim was to increase value and attract investors.

Cà Mau, the country’s largest shrimp producer, produces fresh, frozen and dried shrimp as well as shrimp chips. It exported US$163 million of shrimp products in the first quarter of the year, up 6 per cent year-on- year. The province’s People’s Committee plans to reach more than $1 billion in shrimp export value this year.

OCOP products

The province’s products certified under the country’s one commune – one product (OCOP) programme have improved the quality of its speciality products and increased income for OCOP producers.

Lê Văn Sử, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, said that 33 products were certified as OCOP in the 2018 – 20 period, including three four-star and 30 three-star products, out of a five-star system. 

Last year, farmer Trương Ngọc Giàu, from Đầm Dơi District’s Tân Tiến Commune, received certificates for two OCOP products: three-star instant shrimp flakes and Vietnamese caramelised shrimp. This year she plans to apply for OCOP certificates for her dried greasyback shrimp and fried shrimp cakes.

Her clean shrimp products with their good brand name have increased her income. “They have contributed to improving the general quality of the province’s OCOP products,” she said.

Other areas have high potential for export as well. In Thới Bình District, concentrated farming areas use the shrimp – rice farming model. The district, the largest shrimp – rice area in the province, has been granted a collective brand name for its clean rice under the name “Thới Bình clean rice” from the National Office of Intellectual Property.

The district plans to produce 10,000 - 20,000ha of clean rice each year. The rice, which sells at a high price, is guaranteed outlets by companies.

Lý Minh Vững, chairman of the Thới Bình People’s Committee, said the district was developing its speciality products and encouraging local residents to produce them to improve their income.

It was also prioritising the development of co-operatives and small-size companies in order to turn speciality products into OCOP products, he said.

Bằng, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the OCOP programme had gradually changed production by establishing linkages among stakeholders, developing large-scale production, and establishing key product systems.

The province planned to develop more of these products as part of its strategy to promote OCOP sales, he said.

Many producers and trading businesses involved in specialty products are selling more of their products online to maintain revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tân Phát Lợi Co-operative in Ngọc Hiển District, for instance, is selling dried shrimp, shrimp salt, shrimp chips and shrimp flakes on its website.

Bùi Văn Chương, director of Tân Phát Lợi, said: “The co-operative has improved our website and increased our sales online.”

The co-operative can sell 100 - 200kg of products a day, equal to the amount sold before the pandemic.

The Ngọc Hiển District Farmers Association said that two companies, two co-operatives, five establishments and 10 households in the district were now selling local speciality products.

Lê Ngọc Lâm, chairman of the association, said most of them had begun selling products online after COVID-19 broke out last year.

Lê Quân, chairman of the province's People’s Committee, said that producers and trading businesses individually had begun selling their products online. 

But the province wants to promote its key products on an electronic commerce exchange so that producers and trading businesses can have their own virtual shops to show products on the exchange, according to Quân.

To attract customers, producers and trading businesses must provide efficient and convenient delivery services and suitable selling prices for OCOP and speciality products.

HCM City restricts use of groundwater, provides more clean water for residents

The People's Committee of HCM City has issued a plan to provide clean water to all residents and stop the exploitation of groundwater.

The city Department of Natural Resources and Environment has approved a plan to restrict groundwater exploitation in 2021, while the city People's Committee has set a roadmap to 2023 with a maximum of 150,000cu.m of groundwater exploited each day.

The plan aims to reduce groundwater exploitation by 16,650cu.m per day this year. This includes 8,000cu.m per day for households, 4,650cu.m per day for industrial production, and 4,000cu.m per day for the State-run Sài Gòn Water Supply Corporation (Sawaco).

To achieve the goal, the department will stop licensing 74 groundwater exploitation works that belong to companies, industrial parks and export processing zones, and will encourage households to fill up wells in areas where clean tap water is accessible. Costs for filling up wells will be covered by the city’s water sector.

Groundwater can be harmful to health because of dangerous chemicals and wastewater.

To protect residents’ health, city authorities said that clean, safe water would continue to be supplied to all households in every district.

According to Sawaco, under its plan for 2020-2025, the city aims to increase the average supply of clean water per capita per day by 165 litres and reduce the tap water leakage rate to 15 per cent.

The overexploitation of groundwater has changed underground water levels and the geological structure.

The city has an average subsidence rate of 4cm a year, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Land subsidence of 5-10mm has occurred in districts Bình Chánh, Bình Tân, Thủ Đức and Nhà Bè and districts 2, 7, 8 and 12. 

HCM City vows to speed up COVID vaccination

HCM City will speed up COVID-19 vaccination, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of its People’s Committee, told an online meeting on Friday.

A team led by People’s Committee vice chairman Dương Anh Đức and health experts will be set up to carry out procedures related to negotiations for vaccine supplies, consultations and organisation of inoculations, he said.

The city aims to vaccinate two thirds of its population this year, has a roadmap with a priority list of people because of limited supply yet, but would also ensure a sufficient number of people get vaccinated, he said.

District 12 authorities sought permission from the People’s Committee to continue district-wide social distancing under the Government’s Directive No. 15 after 15 days of social distancing under the more stringent Directive No. 16 in its Thạnh Lộc Ward.

Lê Trương Hải Hiếu, its chairman, said Thạnh Lộc has not recorded more new COVID-19 cases since social distancing began.

Tân Thới Nhất Ward has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the district, 51, he said.

The district has set up a quarantine with 100 beds at the Trần Phú Secondary School.            

Nguyễn Trí Dũng, chairman of the Gò Vấp People’s Committee, said the district has had 106 COVID patients, including five whose status would be announced by the Ministry of Health.    

According to the city Department of Health, the city’s largest cluster, which began in Gò Vấp on May 26, has seen 441 cases.

They include one each from four industrial parks. But thanks to early detection, there has been no spread from them to other workers, it said.    

The city has so far controlled Gò Vấp cluster well, it said.

Dũng said 15 days of social distancing is enough for the district.   

He said locals have complied strictly with regulations on social distancing under the Directive No.16. Non-essential services enterprises have closed.

The district has seven markets, seven supermarkets, and 200 convenience stores open to keep prices steady he said.

The district also identified facilities for use as quarantine.

Tân Bình District People’s Committee sought permission from the city for social distancing under the Directive No. 15 for one more week.  

Head of the department, Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, said many small COVID clusters have been found this week in the city, but due to social distancing, the risk has been low.

In the clusters found in a warehouse in Hóc Môn District, Ehome apartment building in Bình Tân District and a family in Thủ Đức city, only people in the infected people’s family were found infected, he said.    

The city is monitoring the clusters, he said.

According to a Ministry of Health report, the city has 838 COVID patients, including 270 recovered and two dead ones.

Bỉnh said the city would continue to tighten preventive measures, especially at industrial parks and export processing zones, to detect, localise and stamping out outbreaks in a timely manner.

Dương Hồng Thắng, chairman of the Hóc Môn People’s Committee, said manual workers and street vendors should be tested since they make up 70 per cent of the district’s patients so far.  VNS

Inbox:

The People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Tiền Giang has ordered social distancing under the Government’s Directive 15 for COVID-19 prevention and control starting on June 12 until further announcement after three new cases were found recently.

Cần Thơ to build embankment on Trà Nóc River to prevent erosion

Cần Thơ plans to build an embankment to prevent erosion along the Trà Nóc River at the Trà Nóc Bridge – Xẻo Mây Bridge section at an estimated cost of VNĐ531 billion (US$53.2 million).

After inspecting erosion that occurred recently along the river in Bình Thuỷ District’s Trà An Ward on Wednesday, Nguyễn Ngọc Hè, deputy chairman of the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta city People’s Committee, said the embankment should be built soon to safeguard local people and their property and infrastructure.

The work will comprise building a 1.1km embankment and pavements, planting trees and erecting lights.

The 122 families living along that stretch of the river will be relocated.

The place has suffered erosion five times since 2020, affecting 40 houses.

The city is undertaking a number of erosion prevention projects, including an embankment along the Cái Sơn Canal in Ninh Kiều and Bình Thuỷ districts and another at the junction of the Ô Môn River and Rạch Tra Canal in Thới Lai District.

They will be 2.8km and 430m and cost VNĐ290 billion ($12.7 million) and VNĐ49 billion ($2.1 million). 

Last month the city began building a 950m embankment on the right bank of the Ô Môn River in Ô Môn District at a cost of VNĐ114.5 billion ($4.96 million). 

Airports face fake driver licenses

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has raised warnings after many people have been found to use fake driver licenses for flight check-ins.

Dinh Viet Son, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, signed the official document asking related agencies to be alert and have measures to deal with the problem.

In 2020, 23 people were caught using fake driver licenses and 13 people were caught in the first six months of 2021.

"Using fake papers is a legal violation and an aviation risk," Son said.

In the latest case, a male passenger was found to use a fake driver licence for a flight from Hanoi to HCM City. He said he had the fake license made at the price of VND1.5m. This is the first time he used a fake licence. The case was later transferred to the police.

According to airport employees, people were sometimes found using fake papers to board planes every day including fake IDs and fake driver licenses.

Vietnamese citizens over 14 years old can use various papers to board planes including ID, driver licenses, press cards and identity cards of Vietnamese airlines.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam also asked the Road Directorate to have measures to put an end to the easy availability of fake papers.

Ha Long tourist boats lie idle despite end to social distancing

Tourists boats in Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province are still lying idle despite being allowed to resume operation.

The Management Board of Ha Long Bay said tourist boats were still lying idle although local tourist sites and services have reopened since June 8. According to a boat owner, the residents are already familiar with all the sightseeing spots and will not use their services while there were no visitors from other cities and provinces yet. Moreover, the operation cost is high and the crew are reluctant to return to work for fear of another outbreak.

On June 11, several restaurants also reopened. Nguyen Hai, the owner of Hai Quan Restaurant in Bai Chay Ward, said they took a risky move and bought some seafood, hoping that there will be customers during the weekends.

"During the previous outbreak, I also bought seafood but there were no customers. I still decided to invest some tens of millions of VND this time though. I hope to recoup some money," he said.

Statistics from Quang Ninh Department of Tourism show that by the end of May, the province had received 2.3 million visitors, accounting for 56.5% of the number of visitors in 2020. The revenue from the tourism industry was VND5trn (USD217m), accounting for 61% of 2020's firgure.

Tourism activities were resumed only for a short time between two Covid-19 outbreaks in Vietnam.

Ca Mau tourism works to adapt to “new normal” situation

The tourism sector of the southernmost province of Ca Mau is taking measures to adapt to the “new normal” situation amid complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the fact that it had remained free of COVID-19 so far. 

Tourist destinations pay great attention to following the “5K message” of khau trang (facemasks), khu khuan (disinfectant), khoang cach (distancing), khong tu tap (no gatherings), and khai bao y te (health declarations).

Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tieu Minh Tien said the province has issued a set of criteria to assess safety in COVID-19 prevention and control in the tourism sector, including specific regulations in each category and destination. 

The local tourism sector is ready with measures to record new development progress in the near future, he said.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Hong Quan said the province has set tourism as one of its economic pillars and identified measures for sustainable development.

The Prime Minister has approved the master plan for Ca Mau Cape national tourism site and the province already has planning for tourist areas such as Khai Long and Hon Da Bac and ecological tourism sites in Tran Van Thoi and U Minh districts.

It has upgraded infrastructure, diversified products at destinations, and actively sought investment in various fields, including tourism.

According to Tien, Ca Mau will step up tourism marketing at home and abroad to promote its land, culture, and people.

It is due to link up with cities and provinces to form tourism product chains in the Mekong Delta and on an inter-regional scale.

Website mobilises online donations for Covid-19 vaccine fund

The management agency of the COVID-19 vaccine fund has built an online donation system through the fund’s website, with a friendly and intuitive interface, in order to help benefactors easily access and support the vaccine fund.

On June 5, the Government held a ceremony to launch a vaccine fund against the COVID-19. This fund is managed by the Ministry of Finance to mobilisecontributions from domestic and foreign enterprises, organisations and individuals.

In addition, the official website www.quyvacxincovid19.gov.vn was also introduced with the aim to create an online donation channel for the vaccine fund.

The website is designed to be easy to use, with the function of directly supporting the Government’s Vaccine Fund through international credit cards, ATM cards, e-wallets, internet banking, mobile banking, and traditional bank transactions. Users can also register their support byleaving information to receive instructions to support the Vaccine Fund.

Through the website, all contributions from organisations and individuals will be directly transferred to the Government's COVID-19 vaccine fund account.

The Fund’s official website also affirms its public and transparent commitment, as well as its commitment to not create any benefits for businesses or any other organisation or individual other than for the purpose of mobilising contributions from businesses and organisations both at home and abroad to finance the purchase, transportation, preservation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Moc Chau plateau enters plum season

In June, many young people want to get a hide-way from the sweltering heat of summer. When Hai Lam, a Nhan Dan (People) journalist, saw his friend’s photos on Facebook, capturing a bunch of ripen plums in a garden in Moc Chau plateau, Son La province, he knew it as a call to visit the plateau.

No matter whether traveling by motorbike, car or bus, the road to Moc Chau is very beautiful for passengers. Having a passion for the nature of the Northwest region, Lam has been to Moc Chau quite a few times in different seasons.

The weather is cool all year round and the plateau wins the hearts of visitors thanks to its assorted green shades from both the mountains and forests.

During spring, the plateau is adorned with pink peach blossoms and white plum flowers while in autumn it is sprinkled with bright wild sunflowers. Winter comes with mustard and buckwheat flowers.

Nature lovers who were once enchanted with the pure white of the plum forest in February, come back here in summer and are often surprised to see that the tiny plum flowers have now become ripe fruit.

Taking a tour around Moc Chau town this season, one can see plum gardens and hills everywhere, which stand out against the blue sky with their clusters of dark purple and red fruit. With nearly 1,000 hectares of plum cultivation, Moc Chau is considered the largest plum grower in the country.

In recent years, tours to plum gardens have become an attractive tourist product of Moc Chau. While wandering in the plum gardens, visitors can enjoy the natural atmosphere and pick juicy and fresh fruit. The ripe plums turn dark red and has a sweet and fragrant taste while medium-ripe fruit is slightly sour, thus often served with chili salt or pounded salt with ‘mac khen’ pepper.

Visitors to the garden can also buy products made from plum including plum jam, plum wine, and plum syrup as souvenirs for their families and friends. Therefore, a trip to Moc Chau leaves impressions not only on the fruit pickers but also on the recipients of the delicious and aromatic dishes made from the plums.

This year, as the Plum Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ripe plums are being harvested and distributed to many places for consumption.

National Highway 50 linking HCMC, Long An needs expanding: Transport Dept

The HCMC Department of Transport has written to the HCMC People’s Council proposing expanding National Highway 50 that connects the city’s outlying district of Binh Chanh with Long An Province, at a cost of VND1.5 trillion.

The national highway is an important traffic route connecting the city with some Mekong Delta provinces, including Long An and Tien Giang and an approach road to the Da Phuoc solid waste treatment complex, leading to high traffic density, according to the municipal department.

The current national highway has only two lanes, while container trucks and garbage trucks share the road with motorbikes, cars and rudimentary vehicles, resulting in frequent traffic congestion, mainly at the National Highway 50-Nguyen Van Linh intersection, posing a high risk of traffic accidents.

Besides, once in place, the Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressway, which is underway, will attract many vehicles, increasing the burden on National Highway 50 as the former is set to directly connect to the national highway.

As such, the upgrade and expansion of the national highway in Binh Chanh District is necessary to facilitate traffic, strengthen the connection between HCMC and the Mekong Delta provinces, ease traffic jams and reduce traffic accidents.

The project to expand National Highway 50 will be developed by the HCMC Management Board of Investment and Construction of Traffic Projects under the public investment mode. Over VND680.3 billion of the total cost will be sourced from the central State budget and VND812.2 billion from the HCMC budget.

In the first phase of the project, a parallel road to the highway will be built at a length of 4.36 kilometers. The current national highway will be expanded in the second phase, while two bridges and tree, lighting and drainage systems will also be developed.

The project is set to be executed from 2021 to 2024, the local media reported.

HCMC needs over VND137.6 trillion for traffic infrastructure projects in 2021

The HCMC government has come up with a plan to develop the traffic infrastructure system in the city from 2020-2030, in which more than VND137.6 will be needed for traffic infrastructure projects in the city this year.

Of the total, nearly VND64 trillion will be sourced from the city’s budget and the remaining from the State budget, official development assistance loans and private resources, the local media reported.

Many projects were expected to be completed this year, such as four main roads in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge, the Dong Van Cong Street expansion and an overpass in front of the New Mien Dong Coach Station in Thu Duc City and the Hang Ngoai Bridge in Go Vap District.

In addition, many key and urgent projects will be approved, including the HCMC-Moc Bai Expressway, the Ring Road No. 2, the An Phu intersection and the Thu Thiem 4 and Can Gio bridges and projects to expand national highways 50, 22 and 13.

Elevated roads Nos. 1 and 5, the new Mien Tay Coach Station and a project linking bus routes to metro line No. 1 are also expected to be approved this year.

According to the municipal government, more than VND970 trillion is needed to develop the traffic infrastructure in the city in the 2020-2030 period. The first projects to be executed in the period are the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway expansion, the HCMC-Thu Dau Mot-Chon Thanh expressway, the Ring Road Nos. 2 and 3 and a road connecting Tran Quoc Hoan and Cong Hoa streets.

Moreover, the city will complete and put into operation the first metro line and start work on the second metro line, the first phase of the fifth metro line, a light railway linking the Thu Thiem Urban Area and the Long Thanh International Airport and inland clearance depots in Thu Duc City and Cu Chi District.

According to the municipal Department of Transport, it will coordinate with the relevant agencies and the authorities of Thu Duc City and districts to build a list of priority projects.

As of 2020, the total length of roads and bridges in HCMC reached over 4,500 kilometers. The city currently manages more than 8.3 million vehicles, including nearly 7.5 million motorbikes and over 785,000 autos. Its traffic infrastructure projects have failed to the meet the demand.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 13

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 13

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