VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 20
Memorial ceremony held for COVID-19 victims
The Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee in conjunction with the Party Committees of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and localities nationwide held a ceremony on November 19 night to commemorate those who lost their lives to COVID-19.
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong also sent a wreath to the ceremony in memory of COVID-19 victims.
The event aims to express sympathy to bereaved families over their pain and loss, and remind people of their responsibility in the pandemic combat, organisers said.
At 8:30pm, the memorial ritual began. In HCM City, which was the epicenter of the fourth resurgence of COVID-19, pagodas and churches rang the bell, and candles were lit at public places to commemorate the victims.
According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam’s COVID-19 death toll exceeded 23,500 as of November 19, of which more than 17,200 were recorded in HCM City./.
Catholics in HCM City commemorate deceased victims of COVID-19
The Ho Chi Minh City Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics on November 19 held a commemoration and a requiem for the people dying of COVID-19.
The event, held at Nhan Hoa Church in Tan Phu district, also saw the presence of President of the municipal Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Committee To Thi Bich Chau and other officials of HCM City.
Chairing the ceremony, Priest Vu Dinh Thai, head of the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics in Tan Phu district, said the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on property, claimed lives, and affected the mental and physical health of many people.
In their daily rituals, Catholics always say prayers for those who have died of COVID-19, regardless of their religions. Many parishes across the city have also organised requiems for the deceased, prayed for good health and comforted the bereaved families.
The commemoration and requiem is also an occasion for people to pay tribute to frontliners who have devoted themselves, even their lives, to saving people in the pandemic, Thai noted.
In response to a ceremony held by the Central VFF Committee and the HCM City Party Committee in commemoration of the people and frontliners who lost their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic, all churches and chapels in the Archdiocese of HCM City will ring their bells in five minutes, at 8:30pm on November 19, to say prayers for the deceased’s souls./.
PM Pham Minh Chinh to pay official visit to Japan
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will pay an official visit to Japan from November 22-25, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The visit will be made at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, said the ministry./.
Vietnam needs to take opportunities to promote labour export to RoK
The number of Vietnamese workers entering the Republic of Korea (RoK) is expected to rise, reaching 183 at the end of this month, according to the Management Board of Vietnamese Laborers in RoK.
The number of Vietnamese guest workers has increased after the RoK lifted the restriction on the number of the weekly and daily entries in order to adapt to the "living with COVID-19" plan that the government is implementing.
Under the plan, foreign workers from all sending countries will be allowed to enter the RoK if they are confirmed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and hold RT-PCR test results negative to COVID-19.
According to Ta Thi Thanh Thuy, head of the Management Board of Vietnamese Labourers in the RoK, workers entering the RoK only have to be quarantined for 10 days instead of 14 days. Unvaccinated workers will be arranged for COVID-19 vaccination soon after completing isolation.
New regulations help reduce costs and create favourable conditions for both employees and employers in the context of Korean small and medium enterprises facing labour shortage due to restriction measures imposed by the government to combat the spread of coronavirus, Thuy told the Vietnam News Agency.
Hyun Hey Yong, director of the JI Korea Auto Parts Company, said her company started hiring Vietnamese workers in 2015. Some workers have returned home and recruited again because they worked very well, she said, adding that it currently employs five Vietnamese workers.
A representative of Haesung Metal Co. Ltd said it is waiting to receive more guest workers. Due to the pandemic, foreign workers are restricted from entering RoK, making it difficult for small businesses, he said.
The representative appreciated Vietnamese labourers for their hard-working and compliance with pandemic prevention and control regulations.
Restrictions on entry as well as those relating to quarantine rules have caused the number of foreign workers entering the RoK to drop sharply from an average of 50,000 people per year before the pandemic to less than 7,000 people last year.
The RoK is one of the key labour markets of Vietnam. To offer better support for Vietnamese labourers, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs decided to establish an office under the RoK’s Employment Permit System (EPS) programme in 2013.
Pham Minh Duc, head of the office, said in collaboration with Vietnam’s labour management board in the RoK, it has met with and provided direct consultations for thousands of labourers on weekends. The office has also offered between 100 and 150 consultations over the phone per week.
According to Duc, these activities have made an important contribution to supporting Vietnamese workers, thus reducing the rate of illegal labourers in the RoK from 40 percent in 2013 to less than 26 percent in 2020.
He suggested speeding up procedures to send qualified workers to the RoK soon.
Priority should be given to the vaccination of workers so that Vietnamese workers can enjoy preferential treatment when entering the country, Duc said, adding that the Korean language exams should be quickly completed at the same time to facilitate labourers’ entry in the future./.
NA Standing Committee's 5th session to open on November 22
The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee will convene its fifth session in Hanoi on November 22-23, according to the office of the NA.
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue will deliver the opening speech, with NA vice chairmen taking turns to chair meetings during the session.
The committee is set to consider and comment on a draft Resolution clarifying some articles of the Penal Code and give opinions on the Government’s proposal on adding two draft laws to the Law and Ordinance Building Programme 2022: the law amending and supplementing some articles of the Law on Radio Frequencies, and the revised Law on Medical Examination and Treatment.
Legislators will also scrutinise the signing of an agreement on social security between the Governments of Vietnam and the Republic of Korea.
Their discussions will cover a report on the management and use of the social security fund for the 2019-21 and decide on spending on the fund management for the 2023-24 period. The lawmakers will debate another report on the supervision of legal documents under the auspices of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs and other committees of the NA.
The committee is set to consider a report on voters’ petition work in October of the NA, review the second session and comment on the preparation for the thematic meeting slated for December and the third session of the 15th NA./.
Vietnam records over 9,600 new COVID-19 cases on November 19
A total of 9,625 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Vietnam during 24 hours from 4pm November 18 to 4pm November 19, including eight imported cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
The remaining 9,617 domestic infections were detected in 57 cities and provinces.
Ho Chi Minh City continued to record the highest daily case count with 1,339, followed by Binh Duong, 661, Tay Ninh 559, Dong Nai, 578 and Dong Thap, 509. The capital city of Hanoi logged 287 new cases.
Vietnam’s total caseload now stands at 1,075,094, of which 1,070,011 were are recorded during the fourth wave of infections that began in late April.
A total of 102 COVID-19 related deaths were announced on the day, with 55 in HCM City, 12 each in Dong Nai and Tien Giang, five in Binh Duong, four in Bac Lieu, two each in Tay Ninh, Binh Thuan, Dong Thap, Kien Giang and Can Tho, and one each in Binh Dinh, Lam Dong, Binh Phuoc and Long An.
The death toll in Vietnam is now 23,578, or 2.2 percent of the total cases.
Another 1,971 patients were given the all-clear on November 19, taking the total number of recoveries to 883,564.
Meanwhile, 4,596 patients are in serious conditions, with 426 requiring invasive ventilation and 9 on life support (ECMO).
Over 104.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Vietnam as of November 18, and more than 38.64 million people had been fully inoculated./.
President hails outstanding child participants of drawing contest
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on November 19 met with 16 children who participated in a contest to draw pictures and compose literature works on the theme ‘Vi mot Viet Nam tat thang’ (For a victorious Vietnam).
The contest, launched last August, was designed for children who were and are fighting against cancer and fatal diseases, Agent Orange/dioxin victims, those with disabilities and autism, and orphans.
Some 250 outstanding works out of 2,300 entries are on display at an exhibition.
At the meeting, President Phuc listened to each story of the young participants, stating that the exhibition helps people better understand and protect children’s rights as well as continue to effectively carry out the Law on Children.
The President called on relevant agencies and the whole society to raise responsibility for supporting vulnerable children.
He asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to devise more programmes fostering children’s talent, the foreign affairs sector to promote their spirit to international friends, and the health sector to pay special heed to the children./.
‘Ao dai’ promoted during 28th Vietnam Film Festival
The 28th Vietnam Film Festival is taking place in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, spotlighting not only cinematography but also “ao dai” (traditional dress) of Vietnam.
Accordingly, an event called “Ao dai and Cinema” saw the performances of collections by various designers who will introduce unique designs including traditional and modern traditional dress.
The community programme “Hue people and Ao dai” is a series of inspirational activities, including Ao dai exhibitions and performing Flash Mob dance while wearing Ao dai.
On this occasion, the Department of Culture and Sports will launch an event encouraging Hue people to wearing Ao dai to attend events and go to work from the day of the Film Festival to the day of Vietnam Cultural Heritage (expected from November 17 to 23)./.
Japan hopes to further bolster ties with Vietnam: Chief Cabinet Secretary
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will visit Japan next week, becoming the first foreign leader PM Kishida Fumio will host since he took office earlier last month, announced Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Matsuno Hirokazu on November 19.
"Vietnam is a partner to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific. We expect to further strengthen Japan-Vietnam relations and build personal trust between the leaders," Matsuno said at a press conference.
The four-day visit will start on November 22.
The two PMs also held talks in Glasgow early this month when they attended the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
At the meeting, the leaders agreed to closely cooperate for the sake of the development of the Vietnam-Japan relations and people’s interests, thereby contributing to common prosperity of the region and the world. They also agreed on prompt arrangement of visits by the countries’ high-ranking leaders./.
Front President calls for heightened awareness in pandemic combat
Do Van Chien, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, called for strengthened solidarity and heightened awareness in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, while addressing a memorial ceremony held for COVID-19 dead victims on November 19 night.
He shared the pain of the entire society after the pandemic has left thousands of the elderly alone and more than 2,600 children orphaned, while highlighted the noble acts of many people to help others in difficult times.
The ceremony was held by the VFF Central Committee in coordination with the Party Committees of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and localities nationwide.
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong also sent a wreath to the ceremony in memory of COVID-19 victims.
The event aims to express sympathy to bereaved families over their pain and loss, and remind people of their responsibility in the pandemic combat, organisers said.
At 8:30pm, the memorial ritual began. Delegates spent a moment of silence to remember the people who died of COVID-19. In HCM City, which was the epicenter of the fourth resurgence of COVID-19, pagodas and churches rang the bell, vessels at ports sounded their horns and candles were lit at public places to commemorate the victims.
The ceremony received the warm response from religious places and people across the country.
According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam’s COVID-19 death toll exceeded 23,500 as of November 19, of which more than 17,200 were recorded in HCM City./.
Vietnam can learn from Brussels' flood prevention experience: expert
Vietnam can learn from and apply experience drawn from measures that have been taken by Brussels to respond to climate change, prevent floods and protect the environment, Tristan Roberti, President of the Environmental Commission at the Brussels-Capital Region, said.
Brussels has potential for renewable energy but it is impossible to install wind power stations there due to limited space and frequent flights at Brussels International Airport. Thus, the capital does not focus on wind power but develop solar energy, Roberti said in a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency.
The city has encouraged residents to install solar panels on their roofs. It also set up an online energy map. Accordingly, people only need to access the map, fill in their home address to know whether the roof is suitable for installing solar panels and how they benefit from it. Businesses and schools are motivated to install solar panels.
Roberti said Brussels authorities have also provide technical assistance to households to install solar panels. Financial support is provided through the issuance of "Green Certification", which allows reducing energy prices for families, agencies and schools participating in the project.
In July, the Wallonia region - a French-speaking region in the south of Belgium - suffered a historic flood that killed nearly 50 people. To prevent Brussels from this situation, the capital applies rainwater collection in a natural way, so that it penetrates deep into the ground.
In some big cities, roads are asphalted which hinder water from seeping into the soil, causing flooding. Therefore, the city always leaves "green areas" for water to drain easily when designing roads.
In addition to upgrading the sewer system every year, the city also built a rainwater storage tank which helps limit the consequences caused by floods.
Regarding sustainable development, Brussels, like other major cities, is facing three challenges, he said. The first challenge is that the buildings have been built for a long time, not paying much attention to environmental factors as well as energy. Currently, the city is renovating these buildings to make them more energy-responsive.
Traffic also poses challenges for Brussels, Roberti said. The city advocates reducing personal cars, increasing public transport, using bicycles or walking. Brussels has now decided to stop using diesel cars by 2030 and gasoline cars by 2035. This is very important in improving air quality in the capital.
Green space is also a problem for the city. Currently, some streets in Brussels still lack green trees and many residential areas do not have green parks. Thus, the city is focusing on planting more trees as the measure does not only improve the environment and scenery of the city but also enhance the air quality as well as the living environment of the people, he said./.
Ben Tre cracks down on fishing vessels violating foreign waters
Vice Chairman of the Ben Tre People’s Committee Nguyen Minh Canh has requested relevant departments, sectors, and districts in the Mekong Delta province to drastically crack down on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in a bid to curb local vessels’ illegal operations in foreign waters.
Canh also asked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Department increase its coordination in implementing the tasks of the fight against IUU fishing, and monitor the number of ships that are operating or have been stopped operations in Ben Tre province.
According to Colonel Nguyen Chi Quang, Commander of the Border Guard Command of Ben Tre, the force will continue its communications work on the issue among fishermen.
The province plans to intensify its inspection of ships operating at sea via the monitoring system, seriously tackle violators of the marine bordere, and maintain surveillance at seaports.
Ben Tre now has 2,000 fishing vessels installing monitoring devices. Since the beginning of 2021 to date, it recorded 2,971 times of ships losing monitoring signals, 1,644 ship arrivals at ports, and 2,704 times of vessels leaving the ports.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, IUU fishing prevention activities still face shortcomings, such as the slow handling of ships that lose monitoring signals and the lack of specialised inspectors./.
Deputy PM urges acceleration of Long Thanh airport project
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has requested Long Thanh International Airport project to be accelerated so that its first phase could be completed in January 2025.
The airport in the southern province of Dong Nai is a national key project.
Once operational, it in will help ease the traffic burden on nearby Ho Chi Minh City and serve as an impulse for economic development in the southern region and the country as a whole.
To ensure the first phase’s progress, quality, and effectiveness, the Deputy PM asked Dong Nai province’s authorities to order relevant agencies to coordinate closely with each other in site clearance to ensure that the entire land for the project will be completely recovered by June 30, 2022.
He also told investors of sub-projects to accelerate airport design and construction so that the first phase could be completed in January 2025.
In the first phase, the airport is set to have one runway, one passenger terminal, and accompanying facilities, able to handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo per year./.
Da Nang welcomes international tourists in three phases
After a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the central city of Da Nang has opened its door to international tourists under a three-phase pilot road map.
In the first phase from this November, Da Nang, a large travel hub in the central region, is welcoming foreign visitors through package tours, charter flights, and international commercial flights to the designated areas and tourism service establishments in Phu Quoc city (Kien Giang province), Da Nang, and the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, and Quang Ninh.
In the second phase from January 2022, the city will expand the group of international tourists it is reopened to. They can also take part in tours of destinations in the five abovementioned localities.
It will completely reopen to international tourists in the third phase, whose beginning will depend on the pandemic situation and outcomes of the first two phases.
The municipal Department of Tourism said the reopening to international travellers aims to gradually recover the tourism industry and related sectors, helping guarantee social security and popularise Da Nang as a safe and attractive destination.
Foreign visitors to the city between November 2021 and February 2022 will be mainly overseas Vietnamese and from several key markets like the Republic of Korea and Japan, according to the department.
On November 17, a Vietnam Airlines flight from the Republic of Korea landed at Da Nang International Airport, carrying the first international visitors to Vietnam after a long period of pandemic-triggered suspension. After landing, they moved to Hoi An city of neighbouring Quang Nam province to spend their registered holiday there./.
EU, ASEAN promote partnership in environment protection, sustainable development
The European Union (EU) on November 18 launched a Green Team Europe Initiative in partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The initiative was launched by Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen during the 3rd ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Sustainable Development.
The initiative, backed by a 30-million EUR grant from the EU budget, is hoped to strengthen the EU-ASEAN partnership in areas including climate action, environmental and biodiversity protection, clean energy transition, disaster resilience, prevention of illegal logging, wildlife trafficking and air pollution.
This initiative provides the framework for coordinated green action between participating Team Europe partners (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Romania, as well as the European Investment Bank) and ASEAN member nations, seeking synergies between their respective political frameworks, especially the European Green Deal and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The Initiative will be implemented both at national and regional levels in the ASEAN region./.
Hanoi hotels offering quarantine service unattractive to F1 cases
Paid quarantine services at Hanoi hotels have failed to attract people who have had close contact with Covid-19 patients (F1).
Hanoi authorities have announced 12 paid hotels for F1 cases. The Hoa Binh, Muong Thanh Hanoi Grand Centre, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Silk Path, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hanoi Opera, Binh An 1, Binh An 2, Binh An 3, Grand Vista, Lake Side, Muong Thanh Grand Xa La, were all listed based in the districts of Hoan Kiem, Ha Dong, Ba Dinh and Soc Son.
The lowest price for a single room ranges from VND1.2-4.6 million (USD52.17-200) per night.
Le Thi Hien, director of Muong Thanh Grand Xa La Hotel, said that the hotel had 149 rooms for the quarantine service with prices ranging from VND1.8-3.2 million per night. However, the number of people who have chosen the service remains modest. The hotel has yet to receive a reservation from any person who has come from HCM City.
Despite offering a discount, the quarantine service of the chain of Binh An Hotel (Binh An 1, Binh An 2 and Binh An 3) has attracted only 40 people, including those returning from abroad. The quarantine fees of the hotel are VND1.2-1.8 million per room, including meals and the Covid-19 testing.
"We have arranged two kinds of dustbins for litter classification. The list of staff who serve customers is also published to ensure safety for Covid-19 prevention,” said Do Thien, the owner of the An Binh Hotel chain.
Districts in Hanoi have been asked to co-operate with the departments of health and tourism to carry out the plan for F1 case quarantine at the hotels from November 15.
Hospital’s free annual IVF programme turns focus on medical workers to say thanks for COVID efforts
Medical workers who have not had children for many years and face financial difficulties will get free IVF treatment under Mỹ Đức Hospital’s annual Ươm Mầm Hạnh Phúc (Nurturing Happiness) charity programme starting on November 25.
The programme is an initiative by Prof Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Phượng, the first doctor in Việt Nam to offer fertility treatment in which embryos are introduced directly into the uterus, called in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The application deadline is December 6.
The programme seeks to fete medical workers for their contribution to the fight against COVID-19.
Sixty five couples will start treatment on December 16 at Mỹ Đức health facilities in HCM City and Đà Nẵng and Bình Dương Province.
The charity programme has been carried out since 2014, with nearly 300 couples benefiting so far and 70 per cent of the women becoming pregnant following the treatment.
Information, registration forms and qualification criteria are available on the IVF Mỹ Đức website and Facebook page.
More assistance necessary for disadvantaged groups
Experts from various institutions have proposed that the government provide additional cash support to disadvantaged provinces and set a minimum budget allocation for social security to achieve 2022 targets.
Truong Thi Thuy, a Muong ethnic minority woman currently working at a construction site in the northern province of Quang Ninh, has just received cash support of VND1.5 million ($65) through a support package worth VND26 trillion ($1.13 billion) under Resolution No.68/NQ-CP released on July introducing some policies to support employees and employers in difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thuy said that each freelance worker whose job is affected by COVID-19 like her would receive the one-time pandemic support. However, the current wave is longer and more serious than any before it, destabilising her job and income prospects.
“My income decreased by one-third, but living expenses like electricity, water, and meals all increased because I was mostly at home during social distancing,” she said.
Thuy is still one of the lucky ones who received the support early on. Many of her friends who are also eligible are still waiting, while others could not submit all documents required – and others could not return to their hometowns to pick up their due.
Pham Minh Thu, a researcher of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs said that the cash support for employees who lost their jobs or had to temporarily suspend work accounted for only 9 per cent of the $1.13 billion support package.
Indeed, the entire package is less than half of the $2.7 billion support package released in 2020 as per Resolution No.42/NQ-CP on assistance for people affected by COVID-19. A one-off payment of $65 also cannot cover minimum living expenses in a city and is even lower than the current poverty line in urban areas defined at the monthly income of just under $90 per person.
Meanwhile, the level of support for employees with work contracts (received in the form of social insurance allowance) is also lower than the minimum salary of $143-161 in some cases, Thu said.
The cash support in 2021 is mainly focused on stimulating suspending and reducing social insurance premiums. At the same time, the 2021 policy largely ignored disadvantaged groups such as poor households, near-poor households, those in social protection and instead defines a number of specific groups such as tour guides and artists, which does not fully reflect the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This can create inequalities and does not support the goal of leaving no one behind,” Thu commented.
She added that the regulation that makes only one type of policy support available for each person will not expire until the end of 2021. Issued at a time when it was impossible to forecast the true impact and duration of the pandemic, this policy will make all further efforts ineffective.
According to a survey of almost 1,800 people with disabilities by the Action to the Community Development Center, the average number of working days for this group has halved since COVID-19.
This is the reason why 47.9 per cent of families with disabled people have had to reduce their living expenses by one-third, 56.4 per cent had to cut spending on food, 39.3 per cent have to use less electricity and water, and 15 per cent had to cut medical expenses.
In addition, 21.6 per cent of families have had to tap into their savings and 18.4 per cent had to borrow from relatives. Only 20 per cent of people with disabilities receive allowances or other financial support such as tax payment extension, tax reduction, loans with lower interest rates.
In order to help people overcome the lasting impacts of the pandemic, many experts proposed that the government increase support packages.
Nguyen Thu Huong, senior programme manager of Oxfam Vietnam, said, “Vietnam should allocate a minimum budget for social security, maybe from 6-10 per cent of GDP, and increase state budget spending on voluntary social insurance policies to give freelance workers the same benefits as compulsory social insurance beneficiaries.”
The Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs also proposed the government increase cash support for people to 4-5 per cent of quarterly GDP in the short term, targeting households with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
The institute proposed that the level of cash support should reach the minimum standard of living with reference to the poverty line set by the government. The time of cash assistance should also correspond to the time of quarantine or social distancing. This policy should be implemented early to prepare for further COVID-19 waves in 2022.
Nguyen Minh Tan, deputy head of the state budget department under the Ministry of Finance, explained that the 2021 support package was smaller due to budgetary restraints and the actual conditions.
“Given the available resources, direct cash support measures are useful, but indirect support is also essential, even more important. Indirect support helps restore the economy, support enterprises to develop and expand production and business, thereby attracting workers to return to work for a stable and better income,” Tan explained.
He said the 2022 budget is expected to increase spending by about $435 million for pandemic prevention and control. The funds will be used for purchasing, researching, producing vaccines and developing medicines to fight COVID-19, reducing spending on treatment, and zoning and suppression activities.
Regarding social security, Tan added, the country’s management agencies will adjust social security policies for social protection beneficiaries by increasing the support budget by around $215-260 million. Support policies for people with meritorious services will also be added.
Part of these funds will be used to increase pensions for those who retired before 1995 and to adjust the poverty line as outlined by the government. “These policies will support people in difficulties in 2022,” Tan affirmed.
Hanoi supports over 4.8 million disadvantaged residents with social security
From the beginning of July to November 10, the Hanoi Department of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs supported 4.8 million people facing difficulties due to COVID-19 to access preferential loans with a total budget of $229 million.
Under Resolution No.68/NQ-CP, Hanoi has supported over 1.84 million employees and employers with a budget of $48.6 million.
Meanwhile, under Resolution No.116/NQ-CP dated September 24, Hanoi Social Security Office has paid out a total of $147 million to 1,386 employees.
The city has also supported over 291,500 people and business households with a budget of $13.1 million.
Along with the implementation of the above policies, the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Hanoi has used $3.8 million from its COVID-19 support fund to assist over 175,000 disadvantaged people, including foreigners living, studying, and working in Hanoi. The number of people supported so far is just over 110,300.
Rach Mieu ferry to resume operations tomorrow
The Rach Mieu ferry terminal, which connects the two Mekong Delta provinces of Ben Tre and Tien Giang, will resume operations tomorrow, November 19, after over four months of suspension to battle the spread of the Covid pandemic.
The temporary ferry terminal will remain open from 4.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. every day. Passengers can charter a ferry if they want to use the ferry service at a different timeframe, according to the Ben Tre center for ferry and bus station management.
Earlier on July 12, the ferry terminal suspended its operations to curb the spread of Covid, so residents of the two provinces had to travel via the Rach Mieu bridge to make it easier to control vehicles and people to/from the provinces.
The ferry terminal, located some 10 kilometers away from the bridge, was opened to traffic in January to ease the traffic congestion facing the Rach Mieu bridge, the local media reported.
Shorter quarantine proposed for direct contacts of Covid cases
The Health Environment Management Agency under the Ministry of Health has proposed people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 would be quarantined for seven days, instead of the current 14 days, if they come into close contact with positive cases.
After the mandatory quarantine period, they would have to monitor their health for another week, the local media reported.
In addition, partially vaccinated people would be subject to a 10-day quarantine if they are close contacts of coronavirus-infected people. After that, they should monitor their health for seven more days.
But unvaccinated people would be isolated for 14 days and will have to spend another 14 days monitoring their own health.
All direct contacts of Covid-19 cases would have to take three PCR tests during the quarantine period, according to the proposal.
According to the agency, many cities and provinces have reported high vaccination rates, so their residents would have a low risk of infection with the coronavirus or of severe illness or death if infected.
Therefore, the agency asked local authorities to give their feedback on the proposal before November 22.
Northern region to face bitterly cold wave next week
The Northern region has been experiencing the bitterest cold days since the beginning of October. The National Center for Hydrology Meteorology Forecasting has just released a warning of colder climate with the lowest temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius in almost all of the Northern mountainous localities next week.
The temperature in some mountainous areas may be expected to drop down under 7 degrees Celsius.
It is forecast that the Northern region will continue to face dry- and-warm climates at daytime and cold nights with average temperatures between 14 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius from now through November 21.
At that time, the Central region will enjoy a mild climate with fewer rains until November 22.
From November 22, a bitterly cold air mass is forecast to head to Northern Vietnam, bringing the extremely cold temperature in many places while the thundery rains will return back to the Central region.
People are recommended to proactively deal with the cold wave, protect the vegetable crops, perform production plans to avoid unexpected damages.
This year’s winter season is considered to come one month earlier than the same period of previous years.
In the related weather news, the National Center for Hydrology Meteorology Forecasting informed that the UV radiation index in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Ca Mau cities reached the highest-risk level as of this morning.
Throughout Friday, thundery rains along with whirlwinds are forecast to threaten the territorial waters from Binh Dinh to Ca Mau, from Ca Mau to Kien Giang, the Gulf of Thailand, the middle and southern part of the East Sea including the Spratly Islands due to an influence of a low-pressure trough connecting upper- east wind turbulence.
Children honour COVID-19 frontliners with paintings
An exhibition of paintings composed by child patients, which aim to send encouraging messages to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, is being held at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
On display are 250 art works selected from 2,300 entries in the “For a triumphant Vietnam” contest.
Contestants are children that were or are being treated at hospitals around the country and from SOS children villages across the country.
Launched on August 8, the “For a triumphant Vietnam” contest is being co-organised by “The Sun of Hope” (formerly The Sun) program, the Hope Foundation, and the Foreign Trade University.
People can also visit the exhibition online. According to organizers, the paintings will also be exhibited in several other countries.
The exhibition will run until November 22. Paintings on display will also be sold, at prices starting from 500,000 VND, to support a fund for cancer patients and disadvantaged children./.
Order in East Sea should be built on basis of 1982 UNCLOS: int’l conference
Experts at the 13th South China Sea International Conference on November 19 shared the view on the significance of building order in the East Sea (internationally known as South China Sea) based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).
They pointed out complex developments in the East Sea and the region over the past time, which have drawn public concern.
Many said the ruling issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 plays an important role in narrowing disputes in East Sea, and clarifying the legal grounds for some issues in the waters such as oil and gas activities, the determination of baselines for features in the East Sea, and ensuring safety and security of navigation in the region.
Others said the battle of diplomatic notes between countries regarding the East Sea show that the majority back the use of the UNCLOS as the only and comprehensive legal basis for determining maritime claims and exercising the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of states.
The scholars emphasised factors that cause supply chain disruptions, rising costs and labour shortage; and discussed solutions to restore the sea route in the coming time.
They also stressed importance of marine science research and sea environment protection as well as the use of technologies for peaceful purposes.
Dr. Pham Lan Dung, Acting Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said proposals raised at the conference will contribute to improving public awareness of maintaining cooperation and peace in the East Sea in the context of the world facing difficulties caused by COVID-19 and each person striving to adapt to the new normal.
The conference, held in both online and in-person forms, brought together more than 60 scholars from 30 countries and territories, 90 representatives from diplomatic corps, and nearly 500 delegates./.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets voters in Can Tho
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh informed voters in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho of results of the National Assembly’s second session via videoconference on November 19.
At the event, constituents in Can Tho proposed devising a mechanism to attract investment and create jobs for local workhands and keep workers stay in the city.
They reported on unhealthy competitive activities that harm the export and brand names of Vietnamese rice on the global market and called for further acceleration of public investment, along with support for local people and businesses to resume operations.
PM Chinh stated that the Government is completing a draft strategy on COVID-19 prevention and control and a socio-economic recovery and development programme, to report to competent agencies.
He took note of constituents' opinions and will ask relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to consider.
Regarding their suggestion on policies to help farmers sell farm produce and switch to high-value plants and livestock, and to support those who are hit by crop failure and COVID-19, the PM said that the State has built incentives for the development of high quality products.
He affirmed that inspection will be carried out to detect and handle business frauds related to in rice exports which impair Vietnamese rice brands.
The Government leader also promised to require relevant agencies to join hands with localities in the building of economic and research facilities and human resources training./.
Top legislator lauds Hanoi Medical University for contributions to COVID-19 combat
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on November 19 praised officials, doctors, health workers, teachers and students of the Hanoi Medical University for their sacrifice and contributions to the COVID-19 fight.
The top legislator made the applause while speaking at a ceremony to kick-start the 2020-2021 academic year and mark Vietnamese Teachers’ Day (November 20) at the university.
He highlighted that 641 officials, lecturers, doctors and students of the university have voluntarily joined the frontline of the pandemic combat in hotspots in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Binh Duong provinces, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Hue expressed his belief that the university will overcome all difficulties and challenges to soon become a leading educational institution in the region, with a number of training sectors meeting international standards.
The leader called for joint efforts to build a modern medical sector for Vietnam, and contribute to the fundamental and comprehensive educational reform in the country. /.
Seminar looks into culture-art development
The Vietnam Union of Literature and Arts Associations (VULAA) held a scientific seminar in Hanoi on November 19 to discuss current issues on culture-art development, attracting the participation of cultural researchers and artists.
Speaking at the event, VULAA Chairman and Chairman of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association Asso. Prof Do Hong Quan said in response to the nationwide culture conference scheduled for November 24, the event aims to review the glorious tradition and historical journeys since the Communist Party of Vietnam established the National Salvation Cultural Association in 1943, the Vietnam Art Association in July 1948 to the VULAA today, as well as achievements and shortcomings.
He affirmed that generations of Vietnamese artists and intellectuals are always loyal to the Party’s guidelines and will do their best to keep improving their creativity to dedicate to the cause of national construction and development.
Participants at the event offered opinions about current issues regarding cultural-art development and artists amid the globalisation and global integration. A number of reports at the event underscored culture-arts’ contributions to national development.
They also highlighted advantages and disadvantages in cultural artistic activities amid the fourth industrial revolution, debated how to uphold democracy and respect creativity and talent, as well as raise the sense of responsibility of artists to the public and country./.
Workshop discusses active aging and care for elderly in ASEAN
An international workshop on active aging, innovation and application of digital technology in care for older persons in ASEAN was held in Hanoi on November 19.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen said that the workshop is an initiative of Vietnam as the deputy chair of the ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation (ACAI), which receives strong support from ACAI members.
This is a chance for participants to share experience for stronger cooperation among ACAI members and partners, heading to an ASEAN Community of solidarity and active adaptation to population aging in a dynamic, healthy and innovative manner, he said.
Tuyen noted that ASEAN, which has the third largest population in the world with 634 million people, is experiencing a population aging period with more than 45 senior citizens, accounting for about 7 percent of the total population in 2019, which is forecast to 132 million in 2050, making up 16.7 percent of total ASEAN population.
Vietnam is among countries with the fastest population aging speed in the world. Currently, the country has 7.4 million older persons, accounting for 7.7 percent of the population. The figures are predicted to reach 22.3 million and 20.4 percent by 2050, respectively, the official said.
Naomi Kitahara, Representative of Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam, stressed that there is no comprehensive policy that can deal with the population aging issue.
According to her, the important thing is to invest in policies toward the future based on rights and improvements of gender relations, and focus on demands of people at every age. This can ensure that ASEAN countries can head to a brighter future for all, without leaving anyone behind on the path of implementing development goals.
Last year, Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries signed an agreement on establishing the ACAI. In July 2021, at the ACAI's first session, Thailand was elected as the chair and Vietnam as deputy chair of the centre for the 2021-2023 tenure. Vietnam is scheduled to undertake the ACAI chair for the 2023-2025 tenure./.
Lai Chau gears up for third Mong Ethnic Culture Festival
Lai Chau is gearing up for the third Mong Ethnic Culture Festival that the northwestern mountainous province will host from December 24-26.
The festival is expected to see the participation of 14 Mong ethnic group-inhabited provinces of Lai Chau, Thai Nguyen, Lang Son, Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Dak Lak, Cao Bang and Lao Cai.
According to Tran Manh Hung, Vice Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, preparations for the event has been implemented with good progress in line with the plan.
Infrastructure system serving the event has been ensured with 129 hotels and homestays with 1,980 rooms in total to host more than 4,300 people, along with 138 restaurants.
Amid COVID-19 situation, the province has coordinated with relevant agencies and localities to apply solutions to ensure medical services for all participants as well as COVID-19 prvention and control measures and food safety in all restaurants, tourist destinations and accommodation facilities in the locality, he said.
The third Mong Ethnic Culture Festival is themed “Protecting and promoting the cultural identity of Mong ethnic minority group – Equality, Solidarity and Development. Various activities will be held, including artistic activities and a fashion show, along with a famtrip to scope out community-based and eco-tourism in Lai Chau pprovince.
A conference promoting investment, trade and tourism in the locality will be organised, along with exhibitions highlighting specialties and OCOP products of Lai Chau as well as the cuisine, people and land of Lai Chau.
The event is a chance for the localities to exchange experience in preserving and developing the cultural identity of Mong ethnic minority group, introduce the group’s cultural values to domestic and foreign friends, and promote tourism activities of the 14 localities./.
Cultural resources to be turned into national “soft power”
The cultural sector is working to turn cultural resources of the nation into soft power, thus promoting the cultural values and strength of the Vietnamese people, and contributing to speeding up fast and sustainable development.
To this end, the Culture, Sports and Tourism sector has defined eight major pillars of the cultural resources that can be transformed into cultural soft power suitable to the common criteria of the world.
The pillars include world natural heritage, intangible and tangible cultural heritage named in the Soft power 30 list, cultural celebrities and values, human resources and cultural products, infrastructure and cultural spaces, new festivals and cultural events, and innovative cultural organisations and communities.
Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has approved the Cultural Development Strategy to 2030, which is one of the major discussion contents of the National Culture Conference 2021 that is slated for November 24.
According to Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung, the strategy gives 11 major tasks and solutions, including raising public awareness of the Party viewpoints and President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts of culture regarding the building and development of the culture and people of Vietnam in the new situation.
The Minister stressed the need to complete institution, policies and legal corridor by reviewing all legal documents and solving bottlenecks in the field.
At the same time, it is necessary to develop cultural industry, he said, underlining the necessity of building a healthy cultural environment to create motivation for national development.
He also highlighted the need to improve the quality and efficiency of cultural activities, preserve and promote the cultural identities of 54 ethnic groups.
Another important task of the sector is to protect and promote the values of heritage, especially UNESCO-recognised heritage and special national heritage, he said.
According to Minister Hung, the strategy set a target of making a contribution of 7 percent from the cultural industry to the GDP.
In the time to come, it is necessary to strengthen international integration to promote the image of the nation and people of Vietnam to the world, enhancing the quality of human resources of the cultural sector, and increasing the application of science and technology in the field to better popularise cultural messages and values to the community, said the official.
The minister also underlined the need to seek resources, including those from the State and the community for cultural development./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan
HCM City on alert as COVID-19 cases rise again