Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has warned the nation to remain vigilant, despite the excellent work carried out to contain the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

Đam was speaking at a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Friday.

He urged people to continue implementing the 5K motto – masks, sanitise, keeping distance, no gatherings and complete health declarations – to prevent the spread.

“Only by doing so, can we contain the outbreaks and avoid imposing social distancing,” said the Deputy PM, who is also head of the committee.

“If everyone is safe, the whole country is safe.”

Đặng Quang Tấn, Director-General of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health said the COVID-19 outbreaks in the northern provinces of Hà Nam, Vĩnh Phúc and Yên Bái have been basically controlled.

He also said the outbreak at the National Cancer Hospital in Tân Triều, Hà Nội, has been contained.

But he did warn that no source has been identified for the cases in Đà Nẵng City at the An Đồn Industrial Zone and more can be expected in the coming days.

In Hải Dưong, all five community cases are linked to a resident who illegally returned to Việt Nam and then tested positive.

In Hà Nội, 76 infections have been recorded and the source identified. More new cases are expected in the capital.

At the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the majority of confirmed cases are residents from Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang provinces. The hospital has been locked down and is only receiving severe COVID-19 cases.

For the outbreaks at industrial parks in Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang, Tấn said the risk of community transmission is still high as many workers are residents of other localities.

In addition, Bắc Giang’s isolation and testing capacity remains questionable. Around 30,000 samples have been collected, but results have not been completed on more than 6,000.

While praising Quảng Ninh Province for supporting Bắc Giang in speeding up testing, Đam asked for more support for the two localities.

He also pointed out limitations in tracing and managing F2 and F3 cases, and urged localities to observe regulations.

Meanwhile, Hà Nội’s Department of Health announced they would take samples of all people who visited to Đà Nẵng from May 1-15 for COVID-19 testing. These people are also asked to make medical declarations and self-isolate for 21 days since their last day in Đà Nẵng City.

If symptoms remain, patients should contact medical facilities.

On Saturday morning, 20 new cases were recorded. This takes the amount of new community infections detected since April 27 to 808.  

Press agencies urged to contribute to national defence

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Reporters from Vietnam News Agency's Vnews work at a COVID-19 checkpoint. 

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has urged press agencies to contribute to national defence.

Ministries, agencies, local governments and press/media agencies were told to work closely to boost communication to increase public understanding, awareness, responsibility and consensus in national defence.

The new directive by PM Chính aims to strengthen communication activities so press and media agencies can play a bigger role in protecting Việt Nam alongside the Party, State and the whole political system.

Under the directive, ministries, agencies and localities were asked to provide press and media agencies with official information on issues of public concern.

Press agencies were asked to adopt new forms of media and diversify information to help improve the national image in the international arena.

Press and media agencies must balance and combine information about internal and external affairs in line with national benefits and people’s benefits. Positive information about daily life and society in Việt Nam should be highlighted.

Nhân dân (People) newspaper, Quân đội Nhân dân (People’s Army) newspaper, Việt Nam Television, the Voice of Việt Nam radio and the Vietnam News Agency as key national press agencies must develop in-depth communication programmes about national protection.

Press and media agencies are also encouraged to take advantage of social networks, local communication systems and new forms of media to deliver official information. 

PM Chính asked the Ministry of Information and Communication to work with the Party Central Committee's Commission for Publicity and Education, the Việt Nam Journalists’ Association and other Government bodies to provide official information to help the public have the proper understanding and increase their vigilance against the plots of hostile forces.

The ministry was also asked to work with other agencies to speed up innovation in the sector.

In addition, they were told to tighten the management of communication activities on conventional channels and new ones including social networks. 

The Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Public Security and other agencies should develop social network-based channels in many languages to fight against bad information and fake news.

The ministries of Defence and Public Security will help equip managers, presenters, reporters and editors of press and media agencies with proper knowledge about national defence, skills to report on relevant issues as well as communication skills.

Advanced technologies are expected to be used to detect and tackle press-related law violations. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will provide information about international issues, external affairs and Việt Nam’s policies for overseas Vietnamese, as well as international events Việt Nam is involved in.

Vietnamese living overseas were called on to help promote Việt Nam’s image and its national defence.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will provide information about Vietnamese culture and history. The ministry will also help enrich cultural and historic knowledge for reporters and skills to report on relevant issues. 

State leader meets voters in Ho Chi Minh City

State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and candidates for the 15th National Assembly met with voters in Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts of Ho Chi Minh City on May 14-15 via videoconference.

Presenting his programme of action, President Phuc affirmed that he will do his utmost to serve the nation and people.

He stressed the need for deputies to listen to voters’ aspirations and ideas and report them to the National Assembly, Party, State and relevant agencies, and pay more attention to locals’ substantial socio-economic affairs.

It is also necessary to seek measures to reduce time and costs related to administrative procedures to create favourable conditions for locals and businesses, focus more on improving social welfare, and step up the fight against corruption and wastefulness.

The State leader also requested municipal authorities to invest more in areas with slow development, build strong defense and security, exert efforts to improve the position and prestige of Vietnam in the international arena and speed up judicial reform.

For Cu Chi and Hoc Mon, the State President said it is necessary to develop general planning for the two districts in the city’s overall master plan to develop them into an ecological urban area during 2030-2045, with the highlight being the Northwest urban area.

On this occasion, President Phuc also visited and met with voters of Division 9 of Army Corps 4, during which he hailed the unit’s contributions to the national construction and defemce.

Besides, he also visited and presented gifts to several policy beneficiaries in Cu Chi and Hoc Mon districts./.

Exhibition on NA election opens in Hai Duong

An exhibition entitled “Elections of the National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils” is taking place at the provincial museum in the northern province of Hai Duong.

More than 200 documents, artifacts, and images are being showcased, focusing on 3 main topics: the election of National Assembly deputies in line with Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts; the election of deputies to the NA and People’s Councils of Hai Duong province; and the outstanding activities of the province’s NA delegation and Provincial People’s Council.

The exhibition also features the contributions and achievements made by Hai Duong’s NA delegation during different periods, expressing the aspirations of local people and contributing to the development of the province in particular and the country at large.

It aims to raise awareness about the responsibility of local people in electing deputies to the NA and People’s Councils at all levels./.

Health sector must overcome difficulties, prioritise public health: PM

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on May 15 encouraged the health sector to overcome difficulties and shortcomings and consider protecting public health the first and foremost task.

In a working session with leading officials of the Ministry of Health, PM Chinh stressed the need to ensure safety and success of the upcoming elections of the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure.

To that end, the health sector and others must continue stepping up inspection and perfection of mechanisms and policies on COVID-19 prevention and control, he stressed.

It is necessary to promote proactive testing, and speed up the implementation of a “vaccine strategy” by increasing access to effective vaccine sources and stepping up vaccinations.

The Government leader called for a change in the popularisation of pandemic prevention and control so the people will voluntarily join the fight for their own health and for national interests.

PM Chinh directed the sector to carry out urgent tasks, including completing institutions, mechanisms and policies in accordance with the situation, raising the quality of human resources, especially in remote areas, investing in developing specific medicine, mobilising all legal resources in bettering health care, and stepping up the application of information technology in the sector.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vietnam may continue increasing; however, the sources of infection of all new cases have been identified.

Regarding the testing capacity, Long stated that Vietnam now can test nearly 66,000 samples per day, and increase to 290,000 samples at maximum if necessary.

As of May 13, 969,730 vaccine doses had been injected, he said, adding that there are four domestic companies researching and producing vaccines against the disease./.

Vietnam reports new COVID-19 death

An 89-year-old female COVID-19 patient has died due to her underlying conditions, announced the sub-committee for treatment under the National Steering Board on COVID-19 Prevention and Control on May 15.

She was admitted to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases on May 13 and died on May 15 from respiratory failure, severe lung infection due to COVID-19, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 fatalities now stands at 36./.

Border localities ready for National Election Day

Localities in the northern mountainous province of Son La have now completed preparations for the upcoming National Election Day. In Song Ma, a border district in the province, everything is set for Vietnam’s big day.

As a border district with nearly 90 percent of its population being from ethnic minority groups, Song Ma district has fully prepared for National Election Day.

Given COVID-19, it has also carried out a number of measures to ensure safety on Vietnam’s big day.

Some 12,000 residents of Song Ma district work far away from home. The district has directed communes and towns to provide these voters with information on the list of candidates, to ensure they can exercise their rights and obligations./.

HCMC puts stations for entry and exit management into operation

12 Covid-19 monitoring and control stations in land, sea border crossings throughout the city were re-established, starting at 0.00 am on May 15. 

The stations are placed at the city’s gateways and borders with neighbouring provinces of Long An, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

The checkpoints include Long Phuoc toll collection station on HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway, which connects HCM city and Dong Nai province; the toll station on HCMC- Trung Luong Expressway before the lead to Tan Tao - Cho Dem Expressway.

They are also located at the end of the Doi Brdige on Tran Van Giau Street; at the Ba Lang intersection on the National Highway 1A; on the National Highway 22; Phu Cuong Bridge on the provincial road 8; Vinh Binh Bridge on National Highway 13; Song Than Overpass on National Highway 1A, on National Highways 1K and 50; in front of The People's Security University on National Highway 1A in Thu Duc City; and Dong Nai Bridge.

The HCMC Government asked the municipal departments of Police and Health along with relevant units and local authorities of districts and Thu Duc City to take the responsibility of implementing inspection activities and controlling people and vehicles that enter and exit the city.

The stations will operate twenty-four hours a day.

Laos values Vietnam’s support in COVID-19 fight

Laos appreciates contributions and support by a team of Vietnamese medical experts, which has joined hands with Lao health workers and people in the southern economic hub of Champasak to battle COVID-19.

From May 11-15, the group shared experience in COVID-19 prevention and control with local agencies at villages reporting a large number of infections, along with quarantine sites, hospitals and testing units in the province.

Members also joined consultations regarding serious cases with their Lao counterparts, and held seminars sharing experience in fighting the ravaging pandemic.

Speaking with the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent, Dr Panom Phongmany, Deputy Director of the Department of Health Promotion and Hygiene at the Lao Ministry of Health, spoke highly of experience and opinions put forth by Vietnamese experts over the past few days.

He added that support from Vietnamese medical experts proves effective in the efforts in the province and the country at large.

From May 16-20, the team will continue its tasks in central Savannakhet province before leaving for Vientiane capital./.

Ninh Thuận raises bar for sheep farming

The south – central province of Ninh Thuận has raised sheep breeding to an industrial scale using advanced techniques to improve productivity and value. 

The country’s largest sheep producing province has nearly 117,000 head of sheep, mostly in the districts of Bác Ái, Ninh Hải, Thuận Nam, and Thuận Bắc, which normally have prolonged hot weather during the dry season, making sheep the ideal livestock for breeding, according to local farmers. 

Ninh Thuận, which has the lowest rainfall in the country, has a dry season running from March to September.

Thái Văn Sang, who has bred sheep in Bác Ái’s Phước Trung Commune for more than 10 years, said the weather in his commune is especially severe and depletes natural food and water for livestock.

To secure food for his sheep and based on instructions by local agricultural officials, in 2018 Sang turned his 3,000ha field into a grass meadow.

He has also installed an efficient irrigation system to save water.

He also uses bran and other agricultural by-products to feed his 180 sheep.

His ewes reproduce twice a year, delivering one to two lambs each time, and a lamb could reach a weight of 20 – 30kg in six to eight months and could be sold, he said.

“My family earns VNĐ120 million (US$5,200) a year.”

Sheep is one of the province’s 12 specifically identified products besides grape, jujube, asparagus, goat, Cà Ná fish sauce, and Mỹ Nghiệp brocade.

Its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has speeded up efforts to train sheep farmers in breeding techniques and zone pastures.

It has created favourable conditions for companies and co-operatives to link up to develop value chains for sheep breeding.

Trương Khắc Trí, head of the Animal Health and Animal Husbandry Sub-department, said to improve livestock farming efficiency, in 2021 – 30 the province plans to restructure animal husbandry to develop large concentrated breeding farms with grass fields.

It would prioritise advanced breeding techniques to improve the quality of sheep, goats and cows and productivity, he said.

It would produce more hybrid sheep to improve the quality of its herds and offer policy support to encourage companies and co-operatives that breed and sell sheep and process its meat.

It will step up inspection of disease prevention and control efforts and trade promotion.

High price

The prices of sheep have increased greatly this year, offering farmers high incomes, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Traders now buy sheep on the hoof at VNĐ130,000 – 140,000 ($5.6 - 6) a kilogramme, up VNĐ10,000 – 20,000 since the beginning of the year.

Prices are expected to keep increasing because of high demand in the domestic market, according to traders.

This year the province has good weather and rains, and so there is abundant food for its sheep.

Its sheep meat products have been issued geographical indication certification by the National Office of Intellectual Property. 

Surprise package Nam Định led by comeback kid Konan

While he's shining now at Nam Định, Oussou Konan Anicet was previously turned down by two other V.League 1 clubs, the striker has revealed.

Before the 2021 season started, expectations weren't high for coach Nguyễn Văn Sỹ’s Nam Định as they barely stayed in the division last season.

To make matters worse, after escaping relegation, Nam Định lost both Rafaelson Bezerra Fernandes and Đỗ Merlo who were their two top goal scorers.

However, with the season 12 matches old, Nam Định are flying high in fourth place and have scored the joint-most goals in the league so far.

Key to that fabulous scoring record is 32-year-old Ivorian forward Konan, who has notched seven goals this season.

 

But before his success at Nam Định, Konan was turned down after trials at both Becamex Bình Dương and HCM City FC.

"I've failed to get into two Vietnamese teams. They are HCM City and Bình Dương. After that, my agent said that I would have one last chance at Nam Định, but the chance to be accepted was very low,” Konan told zingnews.vn.

“I had to play in a 30-minute trial match. I will never forget that feeling when I had my trial at the club as I received the contract after only 30 minutes of playing.

“The coaching staff couldn’t speak English, so they signalled to me that I had succeeded and that I would be signed immediately," Konan added.

Konan is in excellent form and the two teams that rejected him could certainly do with his services, especially as their foreign players have struggled this season.

Rap Việt All-Star concert to be broadcast online

Rap Việt All-Star 2021, a concert that featured dozens of rappers from the Vietnamese underground music scene, will be broadcast on the streaming platform VieON at 8pm on May 21.

The four-hour concert featured 30 lesser-known as well as famous rappers, and 500 dancers who on April 10 performed in front of 10,000 people at the Sài Gòn Exhibition and Convention Center in HCM City’s District 7.

Opening the show was the song Chúng Ta Là Người Chiến Thắng (We Are the Champions) performed by six rappers RIC, Tez, Lor, Đạt Dope, Tony D and Yuno Bigboi.

The concert included performances of contestants from Rap Việt, a reality TV music show based on a Thai show called The Rapper, like TLinh, Lăng LD, Gonzo, Thành Draw, Ricky Star and MCK.

It featured Rap Việt winner Dế Choắt with Phiêu Lưu Ký (The Adventure) and Chú Bé Loắt Choắt (Naughty Boy), and the runner-up GDucky with Đôi Mắt (The Eyes) and Tiền Nhiều Để Làm Gì (What Would You Do If Have a Lot of Money).

The concert’s highlights are performances from seven big names in the Vietnamese underground music scene, including Rap Việt coaches Binz, Wowy, Karik, Suboi, judges Rhymastic and JustaTee, and music director Toulivers.

They presented their favourite singles like Bigcityboi by Binz and Toulivers, N-Sao? by Suboi, Hướng Dương (Sunflower) by Wowy, and Crying Over You by Justatee.

Apart from rappers, the show included pop singers Lưu Hiền Trinh and Anh Tú, as well as Miss Việt Nam 2018 Tiểu Vy and model Minh Tú.

The Rap Việt All-Star 2021 concert aims to highlight the journey of the first season of Rap Việt, one of Việt Nam’s first two TV shows honouring rap music.

Rap Việt quickly became the most-viewed TV show in Việt Nam in 2020 with 16 episodes.

Its second episode, which aired on August 8, attracted more than 576,000 concurrent viewers, a record for a reality TV show in the country.

Each episode of Rap Việt has earned 15-25 million views on YouTube.

Following its success, season 2 of Rap Việt began on April 13, attracting more than 4,000 contestants at qualifying rounds in HCM City and Hà Nội.

The qualifying rounds are expected to be streamed on the show's Facebook page and YouTube at VieChannel this month.

Trà Vinh eyes makeover of agriculture with advanced techniques, restructure

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh has stepped up support for farmers adopting advanced techniques to improve product value and income.

Phạm Minh Truyền, director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said advanced farming techniques are used on more than 17,400ha of rice, vegetables, fruits, and aquaculture.

The techniques include using automatic irrigation facilities, nano fertilisers, net houses, and hydroponic methods for crops and using modern facilities for intensive shrimp farming.

However, the area and output of high-quality products remain small and linkages between farmers and companies are not strong.

To improve the value of agricultural products, the province will spend VNĐ368 billion (US$15.9 million) to help farmers, co-operatives and co-operative groups apply advanced techniques in the 2021- 25 period.

They will be offered financial assistance to buy equipment and machinery required to grow products to good agricultural practices (GAP) standards, build brands, carry out promotions, and link up with companies to secure outlets.

The province will help farmers with around 10,000ha change their crops and livestock by 2025.

It plans to help them switch to high-value crops and more lucrative livestock or aquatic species on 1,550ha of low-yield rice fields this year.

It will invest more than VNĐ3.42 trillion ($148.2 million) in aquaculture infrastructure to help adapt to climate change, saltwater intrusion and lack of water.

It is calling on companies to invest in agriculture to improve produce value.

It is seeking investment in a number of agricultural projects that use advanced techniques such as breeding of brackish water shrimp, organic shrimp for export under the shrimp – forest farming and shrimp – rice farming models.

It is also calling on companies to invest in processing fruits, coconut and peanut, and will offer them incentives related to land rents and land clearance compensation and financial support to build infrastructure and train their workers.

It targets agricultural production worth VNĐ30 trillion ($1.3 billion) in 2025 to account for 21 per cent of its economic output.

In the last five years it has restructured agriculture on nearly 19,800ha and rolled out various efficient farming models that use advanced techniques.

Models for farming white – legged shrimp, giant river prawn, vegetables, fruits, and coconut promise to provide farmers with annual incomes of VNĐ100 – 500 million ($4,300 – 21,600) per hectare, according to the department.

Restructuring cultivation

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has strengthened advocacy activities to encourage farmers to reduce the cultivation of a third rice crop and switch to other suitable crops to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

This has persuaded thousands of farmers to switch to growing crops like corn, pumpkin, water melon, cucumber, and vegetables in unproductive rice fields in elevated areas and those lacking irrigation, and in sugarcane fields.

Trà Vinh is one of the delta’s largest sugarcane producing provinces, but farmers here have been suffering in recent years due to low prices.

Huỳnh Văn Thảo, head of the Trà Cú District Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said nearly 2,000 sugarcane farmers in the district have switched to other crops on more than 1,000ha of sugarcane fields.

“[This] offers farmers an income of VNĐ50 – 80 million ($2,200 – 3,500) per hectare per crop.”

Trà Cú District used to have more than 5,000ha under sugarcane previously, but has reduced gradually to 1,431ha now, according to its Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This year the province is offering support to thousands of sugarcane farmers in Trà Cú to switch to other crops, livestock farming and aquaculture.

Those who switch to vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, coconut, rice, pig, cow, goat, duck, black tiger shrimp, white – legged shrimp, river giant prawn, tra fish, and snakehead fish based on GAP standards are provided VNĐ6 – 10 million ($260 - 430) per hectare.

Truyền said the support policy also encourages farmers to embrace advanced farming techniques and VietGAP standards, which enables their produce to have high value and be sold easily, he added.

National Election Council agrees to early voting in selected locations

The National Election Council (NEC) has permitted the holding of early voting on islands of Truong Sa Township and the communes of Sinh Ton and Song Tu Tay of the Truong Sa Island District, Khanh Hoa Province, on May 16.   

Meanwhile, voters in the constituency of Truong Sa Lon Island will cast ballots on election day, May 23.

The election council of Truong Sa District was asked to review the preparations for early voting while paying due attention to COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Khanh Hoa Province has 13 candidates for the upcoming National Assembly (NA) election, including three nominated by central agencies, who will compete for seven seats in of the 15th NA. The province has more than 977,000 constituents.

Voters at polling stations in seven communes in Dak Glei District, and the border guard station in Dak Xu Commune in Ngoc Hoi District, Kon Tum Province, will cast their ballots on May 22, one day ahead of schedule, as approved by the NEC.

Voting will also take place that day at polling stations of armed forces in the districts of Ea Sup and Buon Don and the city of Buon Ma Thuot in Dak Lak Province.

On May 14, Party Central Committee (PCC) member, NA Secretary General, Chairman of the NA Office and Chief of the NEC Office Bui Van Cuong visited the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum to inspect preparations for the upcoming elections of the NA and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 term.

While applauding the province’s preparations for the nation’s significant event, he asked for further publicity campaigns in order to achieve the highest voter turnout possible.

In the context of complicated developments of COVID-19 pandemic, the requested highest effort to ensure safety and security at voting units.

The same day, an inspection delegation from the NEC led by PCC member and Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra held working sessions with the election committee in the northern province of Hoa Binh regarding the preparations for the upcoming elections.

Acknowledging the province's preparations so far, Minister Tra asked the provincial election committee to continue following election documents and directions while paying attention to the operation of election groups and enhancing inspection activities to promptly handle any arising problems.

Nearly 20,000 books with subsidies of up to 90% at National Online Book Festival

The closing event of the second National Online Book Festival 2021 is being held at Book365.vn from May 14-16 with subsidies of 50% to 90%.

Around 15,000 – 20,000 books from nearly 100 publishing houses are being introduced to readers.

More than 200 popular book titles from recent times are also included in the list of subsidised books.

In addition, the organising board has reduced the shipping fees of books by 30%, for readers nationwide.

According to the organisers, the 2021 National Online Book Festival has received nearly 4 million hits and provided readers with over 30,000 books over the past month.

This is the second year the National Online Book Festival was held with the message “Bringing books everywhere”.

Quang Ninh dispatches medical staff to help Bac Giang in COVID-19 fight

A delegation of 200 voluntary doctors and medical workers from the Vietnam - Sweden Hospital in Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province, headed to Bac Giang Province on the morning of May 15 to assist the province with COVID-19 testing.

Speaking at the send-off ceremony, Secretary of the Quang Ninh Provincial Party Committee Nguyen Xuan Ky stressed that it was time to promote the country’s tradition of solidarity and mutual support.

In that spirit, the Quang Ninh provincial leader decided to dispatch the medical staff, as well as modern medical equipment, to Bac Giang to help the province in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

He expressed his belief that with their experience and high determination, the medical doctors will make contributions to containing the spread of COVID-19 in Bac Giang and stabilising the lives of the local people.

On the occasion, the Quang Ninh provincial authorities and Dong Bac corporation announced an aid of VND6 billion to the COVID-19 prevention and control in Bac Giang.

* The local People’s Committee of northern Bac Ninh Province has applied social distancing measures throughout Yen Phong District, starting from 2pm on May 15, in the face of the complicated developments of COVID-19 there over the past few days.

Since May 5, Bac Ninh Province detected 192 COVID-19 cases. Yen Phong District in particular recorded 16 cases, including 14 cases announced on May 14 alone.

Earlier, the local authorities imposed social distancing in Thuan Thanh District from 2pm on May 9 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Vietnam Fatherland Front congratulates Buddhist dignitaries on Buddha’s birthday

A delegation from the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee led by Vice President Truong Thi Ngoc Anh visited Pothisomron Pagoda and Ngoc Minh Zen Monastery in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho on May 15 to offer their congratulations on the occasion of the Buddha’s 2565th birth anniversary.

Meeting with Most Venerable Dao Nhu, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS)’s Executive Council and head of the Executive Council of the VBS chapter in Can Tho City, the VFF Vice President lauded contributions made by VBS and the provincial VBS chapter to national development in recent years.

Describing Buddhism as a religion accompanying the nation, she noted that the organisation has taken the pioneering role in patriotic movements and religious solidarity, affirming that the achievements of the Vietnam Buddhism have proved that the right to freedom of belief and religion of the Vietnamese people have been protected by the Constitution and law.

VFF Vice President Truong Thi Ngoc Anh shared her wish that, with his prestige, Most Venerable Dao Nhu would continue working for the great national unity and calling on monks, nuns and Buddhist followers to continue joining the whole country in the implementation of the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, contributing to the successful organisation of the elections of the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels in the 2021-2026 tenure, as well as accomplishing socio-economic development goals.

Auxiliary constructions, railroads to relieve traffic jams on highway

Provincial municipalities and traffic experts are working to come up with infrastructures to relieve traffic from the National Route 51 and improve the road situation of the key Southern economic region.

There have been plans for new intersections of varying scales along National Route 51 as agreed upon by the investor of existing toll stations on the route, BVEC, and local authorities at Dong Nai and Ba Ria - Vung Tau provinces.

As well, BVEC and the two provinces have proposed to build 10 more overpasses and underpasses on National Route 51 under the BOT investment form, as well as expand the route itself to 8 lanes in some parts.

Another two projects proposed to the Ministry of Transport are the Phuoc An Bridge project worth VND5,000 billion (about US$217 million) connecting Ba Ria – Vung Tau with Dong Nai and the Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway, and a railway from Trang Bom to Vung Tau. The projects are expected to relieve National Route 51 from overflowing road traffic.

In terms of near-completion projects, the extended Street 319 from Bien Hoa to Long Thanh, Nhon Trach (Dong Nai Province) using the HCMC - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway is expected to be completed and put into use from June 30, 2021.

Meanwhile, the highway connecting Bien Hoa and Vung Tau planned in 2018 to relieve traffic through National Route 51 has not started due to administrative roadblocks.

Notice from the Ministry of Transport says toll collection along National Route 51 will cease within 2021, which might lead to manufacturers using inland roads as the main route of transport to cut costs, causing more traffic jams.

Traffic experts suggest building railways to help transport goods from ports and industrial zones and reduce traffic jams, pollution, and road accidents in the long run.

Severe traffic jams, road accidents plague major national route

National Route 51 has long been subjected to severe traffic jams, costing HCMC’s citizens and authorities tremendous amounts of time and money, increasing logistics and production costs as well as creating road crashes.

Traffic through the three toll stations along National Route 51 in 2021 continues to rise. Most notably, the station called T2 has received 40,934 vehicles since the first quarter, four times the intended capacity, a 6.9 percent up year-on-year and nearly 70 percent up from 2015, according to BVEC, the investor of the toll station project.

BVEC had to let vehicles through the barricades without collecting fees multiple times due to severely high traffic volume, namely 16 times in 2019, 39 times in 2020, and 98 times in the first quarter of 2021 alone.

On the other hand, people in traffic would constantly try to cut in line, go in the opposite direction, or run red lights to avoid bottlenecks, causing more chaos and road crashes on the route.

Official statistics showed 93 traffic accidents on the route in 2020, killing 39 people, injuring 82, and damaging 123 vehicles.

According to the Road - Railway Traffic Police in Ba Ria - Vung Tau, there were 20 traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2021 alone, resulting in 17 casualties and 8 injured.

Relevant units of the Ba Ria – Vung Tau province are working urgently to resolve the problems, said the head of Road - Railway Traffic Police in Ba Ria - Vung Tau.

National Highway 51 was expanded to eight lanes in 2009. It is an arterial road connecting major industrial zones in Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Binh Phuoc with various waterway ports in Dong Nai, HCMC and the and Cai Mep - Thi Vai port cluster in Ba Ria - Vung Tau.

HCMC collects samples of workers in EPZs, IZs for tests of coronavirus

The Management Board of Export Processing Zones and Industrial Parks in Ho Chi Minh City, the trade unions of industrial parks and industrial zones in collaboration with the Medical Center of District 7 organized a random Covid-19 screening test for 400 workers working in Tan Thuan EPZ on May 13.

Of which, 200 employees at Organ Vietnam Kim Garment Company with 1,600 workers and 200 employees at Furukawa Automotive Parts Vietnam Company with 7,000 workers who work in many departments are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus; therefore, their samples were first taken for testing.

Hua Quoc Hung, Head of the Management Board of EPZs and IZs in Ho Chi Minh City, said that the Management Board and Trade Union of EPZs and IZs have monitored the operation of production facilities, factories and factories at EPZs and IZs according to the city’s indicators for the risk of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection.

In addition, the Management Board, the Trade Union of EPZs and IZs in the city also coordinated with the Center for Disease Control, and district health centers to take random samples of 16,800 workers in EPZs-IZs, Hi-Tech parks, and worker dormitories for Covid-19 screening tests.

HCMC increases coronavirus tests in hospitals

Employees, patients, and their relatives in hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City are set to be tested for the coronavirus from May 12 to 13 following the Department of Health’s requirement.

Doctors, nurses, inpatients, and relatives in Gia An 115 Hospital were undergoing tests on the evening of May 12 immediately after receiving the Department of Health’s direction.

At the night, Dr. Truong Vinh Long, Director of Gia An 115 Hospital, directed to supply additional personnel for the hospital's testing department to take samples soon.

More testing is needed to identify people infected with the coronavirus and their close contacts who may be infected but are not yet experiencing symptoms. Quarantining exposed people before they infect others is an important way to slow the spread of the disease; currently, most of the test samples of medical staff and relatives of patients staying at the hospital have negative results while some are waiting for test results, said Dr. Truong Vinh Long.

Medical workers in Ho Chi Minh City-based Dermatology Hospital were taking samples from their peers, inpatients and relatives of patients to test for the new coronavirus on the evening of May 12. At around 10 PM, the collection of samples was completed. Samples were sent to the city Center for Disease Control for testing overnight.

The Department of Health on May 12 issued an urgent dispatch about taking samples for testing of all medical staff, patients, and patients’ relatives in all hospitals. Collection of samples at night for medical staff on duty in the hospital and patients and caregivers.

The city Department of Health on May 13 said that it had just discovered a patient proving dishonest medical declaration at the Oncology Hospital. On May 12, a 63-years-old patient with his relatives went to the hospital for medical examination. Patients and their families who make medical declarations live in Di An Town of the Southern Province of Binh Duong. Because they said they had no symptoms of respiratory disease, they were instructed to undergo a medical examination at the medical examination department according to the hospital's procedures.

However, a doctor at the examination room carefully asked the patient's information, especially the epidemiological area, discovering that the old man is not in Binh Duong Province as per his medical declaration but in Khe Sanh town of the Central Province of Quang Tri. Worse, he had been on April 24 examined and treated at the Cancer Hospital in Hanoi, which had been under lockdown after a cluster of infections were found since May 7.

Immediately after that, the patient and his relatives were taken to the hospital's isolation ward to take samples for Covid-19 testing and cancer treatment. The test results of the patient and relatives were negative.
Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung, Director of HCDC, said that tests will be done by RT-PCR method, not a quick test; therefore, test results are highly accurate for detecting SARS-CoV-2. “This is the first time that Ho Chi Minh City has organized rapid and simultaneous testing for SARS-CoV-2 on such a large scale, said Doctor Nguyen Tri Dung.

In related news, with the increasing cases of Covid-19 nationwide, the municipal People’s Committee has instructed the police and the Department of Transport to set up 12 checkpoints at the city’s gateways by May 15 to head off any possible spread by infected visitors.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 15 (Updated hourly)

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 15 

131 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Vietnam on May 15 evening