Vietnam launches its COVID-19 inoculation drive on March 8 morning, administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to medical workers in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and northern Hai Duong province – the country’s biggest pandemic hotspot at present.

The vaccination is conducted at the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases and two medical centres in Hai Duong.

As many as 100 staff members of the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases are expected to receive the shots in the morning of March 8. The hospital is allocated 450 doses among the first batch of 117,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine the country has received.

In Hai Duong, 50 medical workers at Hai Duong city’s medical centre, and 30 others at Kim Thanh district’s medical centre will be the first in the province to be injected.

The Ministry of Health has allocated the vaccine to 13 localities, along with the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Public Security and 21 hospitals during the first phase.

Among the localities, all having reported COVID-19 cases since the latest wave of outbreaks since January 27, the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is given 8,000 doses, Hai Duong CDC 32,000, and HCM City CDC 8,000.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Public Security each receive 30,000 doses.

At a meeting on March 6, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long stressed the need to ensure equality in vaccine access as suggested by the WHO, UNICEF and COVAC.

The localities excluded in the first phase should continue to prepare for the inoculation, with training programmes, he said, adding that they would receive the vaccine after the next shipment arrives in Vietnam in March.

The ministry will roll out the vaccination in all COVID-19 treatment hospitals, prioritising those involved in frontline work, and those who participate in the pandemic combat in the community like contact tracers.
People getting the shots will be monitored via digital health records and receive e-certificates for their completion of inoculation.

Vietnam plans to import about 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines./.

14th Red Spring Festival blood donation drive surpasses set target

The 14th Red Spring Festival, the largest blood donation drive in the country, collected more than 8,300 blood units during one week from March 1, announced the organising board on March 7.

The result is 60 percent higher than the initial target of over 5,000 units.

The drive, launched by the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), together with the Hanoi Youth Association for Blood Donation and the Hanoi Steering Committee for Voluntary Blood Donation, aimed to address blood shortage in hospitals after Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

This year, due to the impacts of COVID-19, the festival was held at four venues, including at the NIHBT, to create optimal conditions for donors and at the same time follow preventive measures.

The pandemic triggered a steep decline in the number of donors and blood supply for treatment and emergency, said Chairman of the Hanoi Youth Association for Blood Donation Trinh Xuan Thuy.

The organising board has made thorough preparations to welcome donors so as to ensure COVID-19 prevention and control, he added.

The festival, first launched in 2008, had collected in excess of 93,000 blood units in total, and become the annual biggest blood donation event./.

HCM City wants to set up district-wise construction management teams

HCM City has sought the Government’s approval to set up a team in each district to manage urban construction comprising inspectors and urban development officials.

According to a report by the city Department of Construction, there were some 15,000 instances of violation of construction regulations between 2014 and 2019, including more than 8,500 cases of unauthorised construction.

It is difficult to completely prevent unlicensed and illegal construction works due to inconsistent regulations, Lê Minh Đức, the vice-captain of the Bình Thạnh District inspection team, admitted.

For instance, district People's Committees are not tasked with monitoring or penalising illegal constructions, and two different agencies manage urban construction and the environment but lack clear instructions from city authorities, leading to a lack of efficiency, he explained.

The city People's Committee has therefore sought approval to set up the team to manage urban construction directly under district administrations.

With the city gradually transforming the administration model, experts said the team’s remit is to grant construction permits, supervise construction works and plan projects but also assist in other areas like social order and sanitation.

The People's Committee wants the team to inspect, detect, prevent, and handle construction violations that do not fall under the authority of the Department of Construction or industrial park and export processing zones management.

The Government has approved the proposal in principle, but Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has instructed HCM City to get the opinion of the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Pre-feasibility study for HCM City – Can Tho high-speed rail commissioned

The Ministry of Transport has instructed the Railway Project Management Board to do a pre-feasibility study for the high-speed HCMC-Cần Thơ railway by 2022.

Recently the Southern Institute of Science and Technology (PNSTI), which is in charge of the project, submitted to the HCM City People’s Committee and the Ministry of Transport recommendations for the project after seven years of studies.

It will run along the HCM City-Trung Lương and Trung Lương-Mỹ Thuận expressways instead of passing through crowded residential areas and industrial parks to reduce the difficulties related to acquiring lands and cost.

The route will be 140km long, start at Tân Kiên Station in HCM City, pass through the provinces of Long An, Tiền Giang and Vĩnh Long and end at Cái Răng Station in Cần Thơ City. It will have nine stations.

Passenger trains will run at 200km per hour and freight trains at 120km.

It will enable people to travel between Cần Thơ and HCM City in just 45 minutes while it takes three hours by road now.

It will reduce the cost of transporting goods from the Mekong Delta to ports in HCM City and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and improve the competitiveness of the country’s exports.

According to PNSTI the project has attracted interest from more than 20 international investors in the US, Europe and elsewhere. It is expected to cost US$10 billion.

According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, by 2030 the volume of passenger and freight traffic between HCM City and Cần Thơ will increase by 4.8 and three times compared to 2008.

HCM City is the centre of the southern key economic region while Cần Thơ is its Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta counterpart.

The rail link is expected to have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the two cities as well as provinces such as Long An, Tiền Giang and Vĩnh Long.

It is included in a master plan that comprises five high-speed rail links between HCM City and provinces to ensure smooth transport of goods and improve logistics services and links between major ports.

The others are to Tây Ninh Province, Long Thành International Airport in Đồng Nai Province, Nha Trang City in Khánh Hòa Province, and Long An Province's international port. 

HCM City releases priority list for receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Frontline health workers, non-medical personnel who are potentially exposed to Covid-19 patients and samples and police and military personnel will be the first to get vaccines in HCM City, according to its Department of Health.

On Friday it submitted to the Ministry of Health’s general department of preventive medicine its COVID-19 vaccination priority list.

More than 44,000 people will be vaccinated now, including 2,270 health workers, 388 contact tracing personnel and 1,362 people in COVID-19 surveillance groups.

The rest include 600 army personnel, 1,042 police officers, 513 personnel at government-designated quarantine facilities, 38,000 individuals in community groups for COVID-19 monitoring, prevention, and control.

The vaccination, comprising two AstraZeneca shots, is expected to begin on Monday.

The first batch of 117,600 doses arrived on February 24. 

Dong Nai develops more concentrated slaughterhouses

The south-eastern province of Đồng Nai plans to increase the number of its slaughterhouse clusters to 58 in the next five years.  

Under a plan approved by its People’s Committee, they will have a capacity of slaughtering 360 buffaloes and oxen, nearly 7,400 pigs and 178,000 chickens a day.

They will be located far from residential areas, schools, hospitals, rivers, and springs, meet certain sanitation standards and have facilities to treat liquid and solid wastes.

The province will encourage co-operatives and companies to set them up with advanced technologies and link up with livestock farms, and offer them tax, land rent and credit incentives.

After developing the slaughterhouse clusters, it will cancel the licences of abattoirs that are not in the plan and crack down on illegal ones.

It now has 41 clusters though most are of small capacity, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Yet they do not operate at full capacity since they cannot compete with the dozens of illegal slaughterhouses that exist around the province and offer lower prices.

The province, which has the country’s largest livestock population, has many large companies which have linked up with farming households that raise animals.

Many livestock co-operatives operate on an industrial scale but also buy livestock from non-members. 

Đồng Nai had 1.9 million pigs and 26.18 million chickens, among its key agricultural products, as of last month, according to its Statistics Office.

Those injected with Covid-19 vaccines abroad allowed to enter Vietnam

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has asked the Ministry of Health to coordinate with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, Sports and Tourism to urgently issue guidelines to create conditions for those who have been injected with Covid-19 vaccines in other countries to enter Vietnam to ensure safety and serve the economic development and pandemic control efforts.

At a meeting of the national steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control on March 5, the deputy minister, also head of the steering committee, asked the healthcare sector to research and improve the production of quick test kits.

To prevent the Covid-19 spread, Vietnam has not allowed tourists from other countries to enter the country since March 2020.

As Vietnam has announced its Covid-19 vaccine injection plan and citizens in many countries have been injected with Covid-19 vaccines, many entrepreneurs expected the local Government would allow them to welcome tourists again.

At the meeting, Deputy PM Dam also required healthcare centers, schools, lodging facilities, factories, supermarkets and coach stations to seriously employ pandemic prevention and control measures. Those failing to comply with regulations on fighting the pandemic will have their operations suspended.

Central province to develop key river route

The central province of Quảng Nam plans to upgrade the inner waterway on the Trường Giang River as a key traffic system in line to boost transport options from Quảng Nam to National Express systems and the Central Highlands region.

Chairman of the provincial people’s committee Lê Trí Thanh said construction work would be slated for 2022-27 with an estimated investment of VNĐ2 trillion (US$87 million), of which 70 per cent funded by the World Bank.

He said the project will include dredging the 67km river section from Cửa Đại to Cửa Lở estuaries winding through the districts of Duy Xuyên, Thăng Bình, Núi Thành and Tam Kỳ City.

Thanh said the two-lane river route was designed for access of 100 dead-weight tonne (DWT) ships while serving as a major flood release.

Nguyễn Thanh Tâm, director of the provincial traffic investment and construction management board, said the river traffic project would include dredging of 4 million cubic metres of sludge and mud and building an 11.5km concrete dyke and five bridges.

Tâm said the project would complete dredging works in 2025.

Earlier, the province commenced dredging the Cổ Cò River to boost tourism links between Hội An and Đà Nẵng.

According to Quảng Nam authorities, the river route will help boost smooth traffic systems including the coastal road connecting Tam Kỳ city with Chu Lai Airport and Chu Lai Open Economic Zone in the linkage with Chu Lai Economic Zone, the Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi Expressway and the Dung Quất Economic Zone in neighbouring Quảng Ngãi Province.

Chairman Thanh said Quảng Nam would continue to invest in traffic infrastructure to lure more investment projects. 

Localities not allowed to directly buy Covid-19 vaccines

As the injection of Covid-19 vaccines is an extremely sensitive issue, the Ministry of Health will coordinate the purchase, distribution and injection of the vaccines to prevent localities from directly negotiating with enterprises to buy them, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long.

At a meeting of the national steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control on March 5, the minister said besides the import of Covid-19 vaccines, Vietnam needs to focus on the research and production of its own vaccines. This is a long-term strategy.

It is hard to access the Covid-19 vaccines of other countries as supplies are limited, while many countries have registered to buy a large volume of vaccines.

Since May 2020, the Ministry of Health has negotiated to buy Covid-19 vaccines. However, it is impossible to ensure a sufficient supply immediately. They are newly-developed vaccines, so their quality and effectiveness have yet to be determined.

COVAX Facility will provide Vietnam with five million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine this year and 25 million doses next year.

Minister Long also warned of fraud in the local Covid-19 vaccine supply. The news that some companies had affirmed that they could supply AstraZeneca’s vaccine was inaccurate, the minister said, adding that all Covid-19 vaccines are now licensed by the Ministry of Health.

As for more than 117,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine which has arrived in Vietnam, the minister said on March 3, Vietnam received certificates of the quality of the batch from South Korea and other independent testing agencies.

Local residents are eligible to receive the vaccine, Minister Long said.

Those directly participating in the treatment of Covid-19 patients at 18 treatment facilities will be injected first, followed by residents in pandemic hotspots in 13 localities reporting Covid-19 patients, especially Hai Duong.

At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the injection of the vaccine must be fair. Residents must be sufficiently provided with necessary information. Further, the Ministry of Health must be prepared for possible problems during the injection.

Chinese nationals entering Việt Nam illegally test negative for SARS-CoV-2 once

Thirty-five Chinese nationals who illegally entered Việt Nam and stayed at a hotel in HCM City have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 for the first time, HCM City’s healthcare centre said on Sunday.

The group were spotted by local police when they hired rooms at a hotel located on Lý Tự Trọng Street, District 1, HCM City on Saturday morning.

They have been quarantined at the Củ Chi Field Hospital and will have samples taken for further testing.

Nguyễn Thị Quỳnh Triều, chairwoman of Bến Thành Ward, said after receiving the first set of results, the lockdown has been lifted at the hotel.

Authorities will continue to test people returning from social distancing areas and ask them to make health declarations at airports, coach stations, healthcare centres and industrial parks.

As of Sunday morning, the city has taken 25,853 random samples at crowded places like airports, train stations, bus stations. As many as 25,637 samples were negative and the remaining 216 samples are waiting for results.

Prosecution proposed against former HCM City Vice Chairman

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Tran Vinh Tuyen, former Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee (Photo: VNA)

The Investigation Police Agency under the Ministry of Public Security on March 6 said it has suggested prosecuting 16 people, including a former senior official of Ho Chi Minh City, found to play a role in a law violation case in the State-owned Saigon Agriculture Incorporated (Sagri).

Investigations unveil that the mastermind of the case is Le Tan Hung. In his capacity as the Chairman of the Board of Members and General Director of Sagri, Hung ordered the building of 10 fake dossiers for Sagri officials and employees to visit 16 countries, aiming to appropriate more than 14 billion VND (607,120 USD).

Notably, aware of the ineligibility of a housing project in Residential Area No. 4 in Long Phuoc B Ward, District 9, HCM City, Hung still instructed his subordinates to complete procedures and signed documents proposing the municipal People’s Committee give a nod to the transfer of the project to Phong Phu JSC with a cost of 168 billion VND, causing losses worth hundreds of billions of VND to the State.

The agency found that Tran Vinh Tuyen, former Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee, signed Decision No. 6077/QD-UBND dated November 17, 2017 that gave the green light to the transfer of the project, invested by Sagri, although he knew its ineligibility./.

No COVID-19 infections logged on March 8 morning

Vietnam reported no COVID-19 cases in the past 12 hours to 6:00 am on March 8, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The country documented 1,585 domestically-transmitted infections, including 892 cases since the latest outbreak hit Hai Duong province on January 27.

As many as 45,219 people who came in close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are under quarantine nationwide, including 506 at hospitals, 14,266 at other quarantine sites, and 30,446 at home.

Among the patients under treatment, 65 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 57 twice, and 137 thrice.

The Treatment Sub-committee said that 1,920 patients have been declared clear of the coronavirus so far.

Hanoi has gone through 20 days without new local transmission of COVID-19, while other ten cities and provinces has logged no new cases in 23 days, including Hoa Binh, Dien Bien, Ha Giang, Binh Duong, Hung Yen, Bac Giang, Gia Lai, Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam begins COVID-19 vaccination on March 8, 2021, using recently-imported AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was granted Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organisation for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 in individuals aged from 18.

In a bid to live safely with the pandemic, people should strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering) and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.

New Year gathering hosted for adopted Vietnamese children in Italy

A virtual gathering was hosted by the Embassy of Vietnam in Italy on March 7 for adopted Vietnamese children on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

The event was attended by Director General of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Adoption Nguyen Thi Hao and adoptive families of Vietnamese children from more than 70 locations across the European country.

Speaking at the gathering, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue said with over 2,000 Vietnamese children adopted by Italian couples so far, and these adoptive families have become a major part of the Vietnamese community in Italy. They have contributed to strengthening the relations between the two countries, she said.

Many adoptive families in Italy want their Vietnamese children to know more about their roots, she continued, many Italian parents have also encouraged the kids to learn and speak their mother tongue. This has motivated the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy to host the gathering, she added.

Hue also took the occasion to thank the adoptive families for not only taking care of the Vietnamese children and providing them with a real home, but also giving an opportunity to preserve their traditional culture.

Representing the adoptive Italian families of Vietnamese children, Cinzia Fabrocini said the gathering offers a good chance for the children to have a better understanding of their fatherland’s culture and for the families to meet and talk about their shared interest in helping the children experience their birth culture.

Hao, for her part, said she hopes the Embassy of Vietnam and adoptive families in Italy will come up with more initiatives and activities to bring the children closer to their homeland.

 

Vietnam always welcomes the children and their adoptive parents to return to the country to explore Vietnamese culture and identity, she noted./.

40 illegal immigrants found in HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City’s police have detected 40 foreigners, all Chinese, who entered Vietnam illegally on March 5-6.

Of the people, five were found staying at a hotel and confessed that they came illegally to Vietnam from China’s Fujian province via unofficial channels in Vietnam’s northern border region, and caught a bus to the city.

Thirteen others were found on a bus parked in front of another hotel where the remainders were staying in.

The local police have instructed competent forces to collect samples of the people for COVID-19 testing, and put them into quarantine in line with pandemic prevention and control regulations.

Their illegal immigration is also under further investigation./.

HCM City to expand cultural activities

The cultural sector in HCM City should focus on developing resources, infrastructure and arts activities from now to 2030, experts have said at a recent workshop held in the city.

The city’s Department of Culture and Sports is focusing on a long-term project to develop film, performing arts, fine arts, photography, exhibitions, advertising, cultural tourism and fashion.

It aims to increase gross regional domestic product (GRDP), create jobs involved in producing diverse high-quality cultural activities, and meet residents’ cultural needs.

Another goal is to burnish the city's image by creating signature cultural products and turning HCM City into the cultural centre of the country and region.

Speaking at a workshop held recently by the department, Nguyễn Thị Hậu, general secretary of the city's Association of Historical Sciences, said the project should target “high culture”, saying that a big city should have such activities.

“It means a high level in art quality, infrastructure and human resources. The project should focus on signature performing arts forms of HCM City and the South like tài tử music, cải lương (reformed opera) and drama,” she added.

Except for the film sector, which has private investment, other sectors have not received sufficient investment to meet the people’s cultural needs.

Trần Hoàng Ngân, director of the HCM City Development Research Institute, pointed out that many theatres are in poor condition and theatrical works are not widely advertised.

Lâm Nhân, deputy principal of the HCM City University of Culture, said: “The city should build cultural policies to promote the development of performing arts programmes.”

For the film sector, scripts highlighting national cultural identity should be encouraged, he added.

Nguyễn Thị Mỹ Liêm, director of the HCM City Conservatory of Music, said that cultural authorities should meet with artists "to learn about their needs and seek solutions and policies to help them develop their careers".

Võ Trọng Nam, the department’s deputy director, said that after the workshop the department would work with the Development Research Institute to complete the project and then submit it to the city’s People’s Committee.

Under the project, the city targets revenue from cultural industries making up 5 per cent of its GRDP in the 2020-25 period and 6 per cent in the 2025-30 period.

Earnings from the city’s film industry will reach VNĐ10 trillion ($432 million) by 2030, with earnings from Vietnamese films making up 50 per cent. 

The city plans to reach revenue of VNĐ1.7 trillion ($73.5 million) by 2030 from the performing arts sector, VNĐ550 billion ($23.8 million) from fine arts, and VNĐ3.3 trillion ($142.5 million) from photography.

The exhibition and advertising sectors are expected to earn VNĐ11 trillion ($475 million) and VNĐ57.2 trillion ($2.47 billion), respectively, by 2030.

As for cultural tourism, the city targets revenue of VNĐ8.6 trillion ($351.6 million) by 2030, while fashion sector revenue will reach VNĐ5.5 trillion ($237.7 million). 

31 lawyers to protect 12 defendants involved in the Ethanol Phu Tho case

Thirty-one lawyers have registered to protect 12 defendants involved in the case of violations of regulations on investment in construction works, causing serious consequences, at an ethanol plant in the northern province of Phu Tho, for which a 10-day trial will be opened by the People’s Court of Hanoi on March 8.

Prominent among the 12 defendants are 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; and former General Director of the PetroVietnam PetroChemicals and Biofuel JSC (PVB) Vu Thanh Ha

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.

Thang will have three lawyers to protect him, Thanh four, and Ha six. One defendant has not asked any lawyer to defend him at the court.

The court will summon six inspectors and a number of witnesses as well as those having relevant obligations and rights.

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 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)./.

Popularising Vietnamese culture through social media

The first personally-funded YouTube channel specialising in content promoting Vietnam’s tourism and culture was the result of the enthusiasm of a culture lover. In the year since the first episode aired, Sunny Vietnam has now posted 20 high-quality videos warmly supported by viewers.
 
Sunny Vietnam is social media project promoting Vietnam’s tourism and culture to the world. It aims to introduce the country, stimulate travel and shopping demand, and encourage young people to pursue traditional trades, thus developing the local economy.

The first video debuted in December 2019, featuring ox eye daisies - a typical image of Hanoi in autumn - and received a bunch of likes from viewers.

Last September, the channel won third prize in a video clip competition called “Vietnam NOW” run by the Ministry of Tourism./.

Ukrainian President hails Vietnam socio-economic, integration achievements

Vietnamese Ambassador to Ukraine Nguyen Hong Thach has presented his credentials to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who lauded Vietnam’s achievements in the “Doi Moi” (Renewal) cause as well as economic development, international and regional integration and improvement of locals’ living conditions.

At a reception for the diplomat following the presentation, the host expressed his pleasure at the positive growth of the Vietnam-Ukraine partnership, and thanked Vietnam for supporting Ukraine in the COVID-19 prevention and control.

He showed his hope that the bilateral cooperation will be further expanded in various areas, especially in vaccine production, trade and culture.

President Zelensky wished Ambassador Thach a successful office tenure, and many contributions to the acceleration of the ties between the two Governments and peoples.

He took the occasion to invite President Nguyen Phu Trong to visit Ukraine in August this year on the occasion of the 30th independence anniversary of the country.

For his part, Ambassador Thach extended regards and best wishes from Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong to President Zelensky as well as people and Government of Ukraine.

He expressed his delight to take office as an ambassador to Ukraine, a beautiful country that is rich in historical tradition and culture.

The diplomat thanked the State and people of Ukraine for supporting Vietnam during the past struggle for national independence and current national construction and defence.

He affirmed that Vietnam always attaches great importance to developing ties with Ukraine.

At the reception, Ambassador Thach proposed that President Zelensky and Ukrainian authorities assist him in completing his tasks and create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the host country.

He also conveyed Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong’s invitation to President Zelensky and his spouse to visit Vietnam. President Zelensky accepted the invitation with pleasure./.

100 local food specialties announced

The Vietnam Records Organization (VietKings) has unveiled two lists featuring 100 local delicacies and 100 Vietnamese gifts from the 2020 to 2021 period.

The organisation aims to discover unique and strange specialties and gifts from 63 cities and provinces nationwide in order to help promote local culture to the world.

After receiving nominations from various localities nationwide, the organisers have selected the top 100 food specialties and gifts which showcases the true diversity of Vietnamese culture.

Pho (noodle soup), Bun Cha (noodles with grilled meat), and Cha Ca La Vong (La Vong fried fish), from Hanoi, along with Mi Quang (Quang noodles), and Com Ga Hoi An (Hoi An chicken rice), from the central province of Quang Nam, are among the leading 100 Vietnamese food specialties.

Banh Com (green sticky rice cake) from the capital, and Banh Phu The (conjugal cake), of Bac Ninh province have also been named in the list of 100 Vietnamese gifts.

First COVID-19 vaccination drive to be launched in 13 pandemic-hit localities

Medical workers directly involved in treating COVID-19 patients at 18 medical facilities and prioritised categories of people in 13 pandemic-hit localities will be among the first to be vaccinated throughout March and April, with the COVID-19 epicentre of Hai Duong being given the highest priority.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long chais a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control regarding the COVID-19 vaccination plan
This comes following Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long signing the COVID-19 vaccination plan for the 2021 to 2022 period on March 6.

The localities include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Hoa Binh, Gia Lai, Binh Duong, Dien Bien, and Ha Giang.

The objective of the plan is that 95% of all individuals who are at risk and the community have a sufficient number of doses for the inoculation process.

Moving forward, the vaccinations will be deployed based on actual vaccine supply progress.

In addition to pandemic-hit localities, provinces and cities that have large urban areas, high population densities, industrial zones, and are important traffic hubs, will also be granted priority to be vaccinated.

Ahead in April, the country will receive a further 1.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through Covax, a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing, and procuring COVID-19 vaccines and supply for member countries.

The nation has reported a total of 885 community transmissions across 13 cities and provinces since the reccurence of the outbreak on January 27.

360 Vietnamese citizens repatriated from Singapore

A total of 360 Vietnamese citizens, including minors under the age of 18, sick people and other specially difficult cases were repatriated from Singapore after touching down at Can Tho International Airport on March 7.

A range of measures on security, safety, and hygiene were strictly enforced throughout the flight as a means of protecting the health of citizens and to prevent the possible spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

All flight crew members and passengers underwent medical check-ups and were immediately transferred to quarantine facilities in line with regulations relating to COVID-19 prevention and control.

Colonel Phan Van Chuong, deputy director of the Logistics Department of Military Zone No 9, said that there have been many flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens based on their wishes in recent times, with the enforcement of strict anti-pandemic measures to ensure the safety of passengers and crew members.

Earlier on March 6, Can Tho International Airport also welcomed a flight to bring home  as many as 300 Vietnamese citizens from Malaysia, and all the passengers were put in quarantine in concentrated isolation facilities according to COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.

Ban flowers blooming under northwestern skies

March is a nice time of year to visit Vietnam’s northwest, when the beautiful Ban (Bauhinia) flower season peaks, painting the region white.

The northern mountainous province of Dien Bien is now fully immersed in the pure white of Ban flowers.

A symbol of love between a girl named Ban and a boy named Khum in an ancient Thái ethnic minority legend, the flower signals the arrival of spring in Dien Bien with its pure white petals and gentle, sweet aroma.

Many local boys and girls take the opportunity to capture a special moment of their youth during the bloom.

Ban flowers normally bloom in mid-February and show off their best in March.

2021 was the second year the Ban Flower Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but the ubiquitous sight of Ban flowers still provides a romantic and tranquil atmosphere to Dien Bien province./.

Overseas Vietnamese’s song expresses love for national islands

Though living far from home, many young Vietnamese people working and studying in the Republic of Korea have expressed their love for Vietnam’s sea and islands.

Living in the “land of kimchi” for 10 years, Thai Duc Kien completed his PhD and is now teaching at Sejong University in Seoul.

With musical talent and a love for Vietnam’s sea and islands, Kien composed the song “Hoang Sa, Truong Sa belong to Vietnam” in just a short period of time. The music video was viewed and shared by thousands of people in the 10 days it has been on YouTube.

Kien’s friends who heard the song after it was filmed had good things to say.

Kien said he will continue to compose songs about the country and the people of Vietnam, to spread love for the homeland among Vietnamese expats.

Contributing to the nation is a common desire for every overseas Vietnamese. For Kien and his compatriots, no matter who you are or what you do, every Vietnamese citizen has the responsibility to protect the national/.

New Year gathering hosted for adopted Vietnamese children in Italy

A virtual gathering was hosted by the Embassy of Vietnam in Italy on March 7 for adopted Vietnamese children on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

The event was attended by Director General of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Adoption Nguyen Thi Hao and adoptive families of Vietnamese children from more than 70 locations across the European country.

Speaking at the gathering, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue said with over 2,000 Vietnamese children adopted by Italian couples so far, and these adoptive families have become a major part of the Vietnamese community in Italy. They have contributed to strengthening the relations between the two countries, she said.

Many adoptive families in Italy want their Vietnamese children to know more about their roots, she continued, many Italian parents have also encouraged the kids to learn and speak their mother tongue. This has motivated the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy to host the gathering, she added.

Hue also took the occasion to thank the adoptive families for not only taking care of the Vietnamese children and providing them with a real home, but also giving an opportunity to preserve their traditional culture.

Representing the adoptive Italian families of Vietnamese children, Cinzia Fabrocini said the gathering offers a good chance for the children to have a better understanding of their fatherland’s culture and for the families to meet and talk about their shared interest in helping the children experience their birth culture.

Hao, for her part, said she hopes the Embassy of Vietnam and adoptive families in Italy will come up with more initiatives and activities to bring the children closer to their homeland.

Vietnam always welcomes the children and their adoptive parents to return to the country to explore Vietnamese culture and identity, she noted./.

Two Filipino nationals test positive for coronavirus in Vietnam

Two Filipino people and a Vietnamese citizen have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Vietnam, raising the total number of patients in the country to 2,512, the Ministry of Health reported on Sunday evening.

According to the ministry's report, the Filipino patients are a 30-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman who arrived from the Philippines to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on February 22. They were both sent to a local quarantine area upon arrival and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on March 7.

The two patients are now being treated at the Hanoi-based National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
The Vietnamese patient is from the country's Covid-19 hotspot of Hai Duong.

With these new infection cases, the number of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam has increased to 2,512, including 892 locally-transmitted cases reported since the new outbreak started in Hai Duong on January 28. Hai Duong Province alone has recorded 708 cases.

As of 6 pm on March 7, a total of 1,920 Covid-19 patients had recovered and been discharged from hospital. There have been 35 deaths, most of them being the elderly with serious underlying diseases.

At present, 45,219 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.

HCMC lists over 44,000 people prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination

The HCMC Department of Health has sent the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health and the HCMC Pasteur Institute a list of 44,175 people prioritized for the Covid-19 vaccination.

Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Health Nguyen Huu Hung said that the priority list includes 285 medical workers who are treating Covid-19 patients at hospitals, 388 members of contact tracing teams, 1,362 employees joining the epidemiological investigation, 600 soldiers and 1,042 police officers.

Some 38,000 members of Covid-19 prevention teams, 1,710 workers who are in charge of taking samples for testing, over 500 quarantine workers and 257 staff members in charge of injecting residents with the Covid-19 vaccines have also been prioritized.

HCMC has no active coronavirus hotbeds, so the city is not identified as a prioritized locality for vaccination, the local media reported.

Vietnam is set to start the Covid-19 vaccination on March 8, using the first 117,600 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by British drugmaker AstraZeneca that arrived in the country on February 24.

Party Committee discuss key solutions to turn Thu Duc into smart city

The executive party committee of newly-established Thu Duc City discussed key tasks and solutions to turn Thu Duc City into a smart, innovative and sustainable city in 2021 in its yesterday meeting.

One of significant tasks in 2021 is the continuity of the city’s stable state machinery to ensure the effectiveness in management for the city development. When it comes to this task, the city must enhance re-structuring of the machinery and re-arranging of administrative staffs as well as grading of levels and powers along with supervision for transparency.

The party committee said that it would also focus on spreading the information of the 13th National Party Congress and the 11th Ho Chi Minh City Party Congress as well as applying these congresses' resolutions into reality.

With regard to building up a strong party, meeting participants emphasized on the continuous implementation of Resolution No.4 on Party building and rectification adopted at the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee. They also emphasized on improvement of the managerial skills and abilities of leaders.
Additionally, participants were determined to maintain stable social security to pave the way for Thu Duc City’s socio-economic growth.

Speaking at the meeting, Thu Duc City Party Chief Nguyen Van Hieu ordered staffs in state organizations in the city to actively take part in the building up of the party and the government to improve residents’ living conditions.

First of all, Party Chief Hieu stressed that Thu Duc City must intensify application of IT and digitalization in management tasks which are important steps to move toward building smart city and urban administration.

Besides, each organization must set their own specific goals with the aim to benefit locals in the field of economy, culture, education and medicine.

Additionally, Mr. Hieu required state-run organizations and agencies to inform residents about governmental policies and mechanisms to get dwellers’ consensus during the building and development of Thu Duc City with orientation towards a smart and sustainable city.

Before, the People’s Committee in Thu Duc City submitted its paper in which set 26 goals for 2021 including collection of VND8,327 billion (US$359,344,016) for the city state budget, the proportion of disbursement for basic construction investment of 95 percent against the assigned plan and growing 250,000 trees.

Last but not least, the newly-established city will focus on site clearance in major projects comprising of Saigon Hi-tech Park, Thu Thiem new urban area, Ethnic Cultural History Park and urban renewal in Long Binh Ward. Especially, the city proposed specific mechanisms for its future growth.

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