A total of 15 provinces and cities have agreed to pilot the resumption of inter-provincial road passenger transport services, the Directorate for Road of Vietnam has said.

According to the Directorate, another 15 provincial Departments of Transport are waiting for the approval from the provincial People’s Committees.

Many localities are reviewing the lists of drivers who have fully got two shots of COVID-19 vaccines, it added.

The Ministry of Transport on October 10 issued temporary regulations on piloting the resumption of inter-provincial road passenger transport activities from October 13 – 20, ensuring safe and flexible response to and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transport service providers are requested to operate a maximum of 30 percent of the number of trips in seven days in accordance with the volume announced by the Departments of Transport. Regulations on distance between passengers must be applied.

For services from localities with low and normal risks to localities and areas of equivalent risks, transport activities shall take place normally.

Passengers are required to strictly comply with the 5K message of the Ministry of Health, comprising khau trang (face masks), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distancing), khong tu tap (no gatherings), and khai bao y te (health declarations).

Passengers traveling from a new normal and at-risk locality/area to a higher-risk locality/area comply with the “5K Message”; medical declaration according to regulations of the Ministry of Health, and do not join the trip when they have symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and sore throat.

Drivers, service staff working on vehicles are required to get full two shots of vaccines against COVID-19, or have certificates of recovery from COVID-19 within six months and have test results negative for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR or antigen rapid test methods within 72 hours before boarding buses./.

COVID-19: Vietnam working hard in vaccination

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health is working hard to roll out the vaccine strategy, especially vaccine diplomacy.

However, Vietnam and many other countries that have yet to produce vaccines are facing difficulties in vaccine access.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said one of the roadblocks lies with the purchase and import of vaccines as Vietnam has to satisfy almost requirements of vaccine suppliers, including the risk of overdue shipment.

He also pointed out the global vaccine scarcity, even in the case of the COVAX mechanism that has yet to complete its plan on providing vaccines for countries, including Vietnam.

Moreover, changes in vaccine policies like those regarding the expansion of vaccination eligibility and vaccine boosters have also exerted impacts given the global vaccine shortage, Long said.

According to the minister, the Government and the Prime Minister have made drastic instructions to seek more vaccine sources for the country.

The health ministry has also worked to accelerate the inoculation, and as a result, Vietnam’s vaccination rate stays high as compared with that of many other countries in the world, even surpassing 1 million doses each day.

Long said economic recovery and the resumption of social activities depend on vaccination, adding that his ministry has continuously urged localities to speed up the inoculation./.

Vietnam welcomes appointment of UN envoys for West Sahara

Vietnam welcomes appointment of UN envoys for West Sahara hinh anh 1

Vietnam welcomes the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as the United Nations Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara and Alexander Ivanko as the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Western Sahara and head of the UN Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO), said Nguyen Phuong Tra, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN.

Addressing a UN Security Council discussion on the situation in Western Sahara on October 13, Tra called on relevant parties to consider the appointment a new motivation for political process in the area, and show close coordination with the two officials to resume dialogues and end conflicts.

Tra reiterated Vietnam’s principle stance of supporting the settlement of the West Sahara issue through peaceful negotiations among relevant parties in line with international law and related UNSC resolutions.

Vietnam underlines the significance of seeking an equal, long-term and acceptable solution for all parties, ensuring the rights to self-determination of the people of West Sahara, in line with UN Charter’s principles and purposes for peace, cooperation and development in the region.

The West Sahara issue was debated at the UNSC for the first time in 1975 with Resolution 377 asking the UN Secretary General to consult relevant parties on the West Sahara situation. In 1991, the UNSC released Resolution 690 on the plan to organise a referendum so that West Sahara people can decide themselves whether to become independent or merge into the Morocco territory. The MINURSO was also set up that year./.

National Assembly’s second meeting to be shortened

The second sitting of the 15th National Assembly is scheduled to last for 17 days, starting October 20, heard the NA Standing Committee on October 13.

According to plans, legislators will meet from October 20 to November 1, and then from November 8 to 13, according to Bui Van Cuong, NA General Secretary and Chairman of the NA Office.

During the session, the NA will discuss reports on COVID-19 prevention and control, along with socio-economic and budget issues.

A draft resolution on the organisation of online trials will be submitted to the NA for consideration and approval. Meanwhile, a report on the implementation of the investment protection agreement between Vietnam and the EU will be withdrawn from the meeting’s programme as by the end of September the deal was yet to come into force.

The legislature is scheduled to vote to adopt two draft laws and five draft resolutions, and mull over five other bills.

Regarding the voting in the case the meeting would be held both online and in-person, the NA Office has coordinated with the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Public Security and other relevant agencies to complete the voting software system.

The NA Standing Committee basically agreed with the plan submitted by the NA General Secretary on holding the second sitting in both online and in-person formats, with an optional plan for online meeting in case the pandemic situation turns complicated.

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue stressed the need to ensure the best quality of the meeting even though the duration will be shortened, in order to make the soundest decisions for such a short period of time.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been basically put under control, complex issues still remain, he said, noting that great efforts are needed to reap the highest socio-economic achievements in the fourth quarter of this year.

The legislature will accompany the nation in these efforts, he pledged. /.

More support needed to help poor, disconnected students with distance learning

More than a month after the start of the new school year in early September, many students living in disadvantaged and border areas are still struggling with online learning due to poor internet connections and a lack of equipment.

In the border area of Lâm Thủy Commune in central Quảng Bình Province’s Lệ Thủy District, students have stopped going to school as usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, they can’t do distance learning as they lack reliable internet connections or a working computer – the basic tools to participate in virtual lessons from home.

To help students continue their education, teachers have travelled to students’ homes and brought textbooks, notebooks and helped them with self-study at home.

Bạch Đàn Village is only about five kilometres from the centre of Lâm Thủy Commune, but the road becomes uneven and slippery during the rainy season, making it hard for local people to travel.

Over the past four months, Hồ Thị Thanh Huyền and Hồ Thị Son, two sisters studying at Quảng Bình Province’s boarding high school were unable to go to school.

Huyền, an 11th grader, said the two sisters attended virtual classes from a treetop on a hill to get an internet signal.

“There are no internet connections in our village, so we climb up here and put up a tent with the hope of being connected and catching up with our classmates,” she told the online newspaper vov.vn.

There are nearly 60 households in Bạch Đàn Village, and 70 per cent of them are living in poverty. The majority live on wet rice and cassava.

Although struggling to earn a living, parents always care about their children’s education. Some managed to get second-hand laptops or computers for their children.

Hồ Thị Lài, mother of the two sisters, spent all her savings to buy two smartphones for her daughters before she heard the news that they would study online for the next three months.

However, learning remotely is not only about having good devices.

Hoàng Lý, chairman of Lâm Thủy Commune’s People’s Committee said students faced more difficulties in digital learning. Even when students had computers or smartphones, online classes were challenging as they lost their internet connection very often.

On stormy days, internet access seemed to be impossible, he said. The committee itself found it hard to connect to the head of the village as the village was isolated by landslides.

To ensure students get a good education, some teachers have volunteered to travel to the villages, bringing textbooks and helping students with new lessons once a week.   

Nguyễn Văn Hiếu, teacher at Lâm Thủy ethnic minority boarding school, said learning devices were hard to access and poor internet connection made it impossible to learn everything online this way.

He offered in-person instruction, and reached out by guiding students on how to self-study. He summarised the basic knowledge and sent copies to students every week.

Hồ Thị Dung, a seventh grader at the boarding school, said the teachers’ motorbikes and shoes were all covered in mud every time they approached the village.

“Previously, they helped take us to school on rainy days and now they bring us lessons while we study online so we won’t get off track,” she said.

Recently, the provincial authority has worked with Viettel Quảng Bình Branch of Viettel Group to survey the location for a mast to ensure 4G reaches the village.

Hồ An Phong, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the coverage would help online studying and ensuring rescue work, security and forest protection in the area.

He said the committee has received support from enterprises and individuals in supplying devices for disadvantaged students, so children would be able to study at home. 

Vietnam ready to unite with countries to respond to natural disasters

Vietnam remains ready to co-operate with international partners, agencies of both the UN and ASEAN, and international organisations to raise global awareness of mitigating disaster risks and improving adaptive capacity whilst responding to more effectively to natural disasters amid COVID-19.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh made the statement while attending a ceremony on October 13 held to mark International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and ASEAN Day for Disaster Management (ADDM) held by the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

Deputy PM Thanh said that the Party, State, Government, local authorities, and local socio-political organisations always pay close attention to disaster prevention and control measures. 

The country has actively joined several international organisations and forums relating to natural disaster prevention and mitigation. It is also an active member and effectively contributes to ASEAN's joint efforts in disaster risk reduction and prevention, the Deputy PM added.

However, there remains several limitations pertaining to forecast, warning, resources, equipment, infrastructure, forces, application of science and technology, and post-disaster recovery, he said. The COVID-19 pandemic poses a challenge to effectively cope with risks when they occur simultaneously alongside natural disasters.

The Vietnamese Government always considers natural disaster prevention and control to the main priority of the whole political system in order to protect the lives, health, and property of local citizens, Deputy PM Thanh said.

Vietnam therefore highly values and hopes that countries, organisations, and international friends continue to accompany and support the nation in gaining early access to advanced science and technology, along with resources to promptly respond and quickly overcome the impacts and consequences of natural disasters.

Ekkaphab Phanthavong, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General, acknowledged Vietnamese efforts in this regard, saying that the nation is a very active member in ASEAN.

Marco Toscano-Rivalta, chief of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific at the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), applauded the Vietnamese Government’s adoption of the national strategy for natural disaster prevention and control.

Book review contest offers a glimpse on Korean literature

The Vietnam's Women Publishing House in coordination with the Literature Translation Institute of the Republic of Korea launched a book review contest aiming to introduce Vietnamese readers to Korean literature.

The contest is open to Vietnamese citizens, who are encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings about one of the following five Korean literary works: ‘Chiec Thang Cao Mau Xanh’ (Tall Blue Ladder) by Gong Ji Young, ‘Hoang Hon Do Ruc’ (Red Sunset by Baek Shin Ae, ‘Cam On Tat Ca’ (Thank You) by Kim Jung-mi, ‘Trom Hay Loi Thu Toi Cua Mot Chiec Gai’ (Thorn Confession) by Kim Ryeo-Ryeong, and ‘Chuyen Doi Suong’ (The Story of Suong’s Life) by Suh Song Nan.

The entries can be presented in various forms, including articles no more than 2,000 words in length, videos with duration between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, audio files, or drawings with description.

Entries should be submitted to the official website of the Vietnam's Women Publishing House at https://nxbphunu.com.vn/ or via its Facebook page, before October 31.

Winners of the contest will be announced on November 9, with one first, one second, and one third prize, plus five voters’ choice awards to be presented to the most outstanding entries.

Goethe-Institut’s science film festival goes virtual this year

The Goethe-Institut in Hanoi has launched the 2021 international science film festival which is available online from October 10 to December 31.

The event has grown considerably since its first edition in 2005, becoming the largest event of its kind worldwide with more than 1 million participants.

COVID-19 has destabilized the global economy and upended the lives of billions of people around the globe. That is why the Science Film Festival turns its focus on health and mental health in 2021.

The Science Film Festival is held annually by the Goethe-Institut in Hanoi. The festival presents scientific issues accessibly and entertainingly to a broad audience and demonstrates that science can be fun./. 

Coordination enhanced to improve livelihoods for ethnic minorities

Many policies for ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas, and extremely disadvantaged areas were developed and implemented during the 2013-2020 period with the coordination between the Government Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs and the Vietnam Farmers Union (VFU).

A conference to review the coordination between the two agencies was held in Hanoi on October 13 under the co-chair of Minister-Chairman of the Government Committee for Ethnic  Minority Affairs Hau A Lenh and Chairman of the VFU Luong Quoc Doan.

It was reported at the conference that the two sides have worked together on a number of programmes, including  Programme 135, which aims to improve living conditions for rural residents with a particular focus on ethnic minority communities, and a specific policy for socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in 2017 – 2020.

Notably, the two agencies has coordinated to build the national target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas for 2021-2030.

The programmes and policies have contributed to fostering the confidence of people of all ethnic groups in the Party and the State, and firmly promoting the great national unity bloc.

Participants discussed and agreed on a number of contents for their specific coordination programme, including issues related to investment in creating livelihoods and economic development for ethnic minorities.

The two agencies signed a cooperation programme framework for the 2021-2025 period, and developed a plan for regular tasks of the two sides in 2022.

VFU Chairman Luong Quoc Doan expressed his hope that the two sides will continue to cooperate more closely to well implement contents and tasks of the national target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas for 2021-2030, helping to maintain political stability and successfully carry out the cause of national construction and development.

Minister-Chairman Hau A Lenh underlined the need to promote communication work, socio-economic and culture development and new-style rural area building in combination with investment and support for farmers through projects and models in ethnic minority and mountainous areas.

He suggested the two sides continue to innovate methods of mobilisation and popularisation in order to fully equip farmers with knowledge, thus changing outdated farming practices, towards promoting sustainable poverty reduction./.

Quảng Ninh looks to take lead in IT application in COVID-19 fight

As well as striving to vaccinate all eligible residents, the northern province of Quảng Ninh is also working hard to take the lead in the application of information technology to fight COVID-19.

Secretary of the Quảng Ninh Party Committee Nguyễn Xuân Ký, who is also head of the provincial steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, has asked the departments of health and public security, along with localities, to standardise data and ensure smooth connection and integration of information.

Moving to enhance its IT deployment capacity in the pandemic fight, Quảng Ninh is considering trialling artificial intelligence (AI) at the checkpoint on Bạch Đằng Bridge – a key bridge connecting the three major northern economic centres of Hải Phòng, Quảng Ninh and Hà Nội – and will expand this model if it proves effective. It is also boosting the use of QR codes at agencies, businesses, and stores, and requests visitors to those places to scan QR codes in order to help contact tracing.

Efforts are being made from provincial to grassroots levels to carry out integration and application solutions on the basis of the national population database, which is useful not only for the building of an e-administration, digital economy, and digital society, but also in the fight against COVID-19.

Established on September 1, the Quảng Ninh command centre for COVID-19 prevention and control is based at the headquarters of the provincial People’s Committee and uses the existing infrastructure of the local smart city operation centre. It is connected with 13 command centres at district level and 177 at communal level.

Via a camera system, it has discovered wrongdoings in the implementation of anti-pandemic regulations at several checkpoints, helping to quickly make improvements.

Many activities of the provincial command centre have been integrated such as reading and submitting reports, issuing directions, managing documents and tasks, convening teleconferences, and receiving and replying to people and businesses’ opinions.

This has helped maintain precise and continuous updates on the pandemic situation, keep contact with all-level centres around the clock, and make swift decisions to help the COVID-19 fight.

In addition, the provincial command centre set up two hotlines, 0203.223.588 and 0869.9199.588, available in four foreign languages (English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) to receive information about the pandemic. The hotlines handle around 80-100 calls per day, most of which ask for details about conditions for exiting and entering the province, quarantine procedures, and the vaccination policy.

The centre has advised the provincial People’s Committee on anti-pandemic measures when socio-economic activities are resumed, along with COVID-19 vaccinations for foreigners living in Quảng Ninh. It has also directed, examined, and promoted the implementation of measures against COVID-19 in the province.

By taking early action from the grassroots level and prioritising pandemic prevention, Quảng Ninh has succeeded in surmounting different waves of coronavirus infections.

So far, it has stayed free of community transmission of the coronavirus for more than 100 days and basically completed administering the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all those eligible.

The provincial administration has issued a plan to give the second doses, looking to finish the vaccination drive by October 30.

Authorities are also taking strong action to prevent the virus from entering the province to keep the local situation stable in the “new normal”.

In 2021, Quảng Ninh is aiming for a growth rate of 10 per cent in the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) and more than VNĐ51 trillion (over US$2.2 billion) in State budget revenue, thereby achieving the twin targets of curbing COVID-19 and boosting socio-economic development.

Its GRDP increased 8.6 per cent in the first nine months of this year, higher than the national average.

Vaccine self-sufficiency needed to return to new normal: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam held a working session with leaders of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology to review COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and biological products for testing.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam held a working session with leaders of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology to review COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and biological products for testing.

At the event, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said Vietnam has so far licenced eight types of COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, built specific criteria and standards for licensing home-grown vaccines based on feedback from experts of the World Health Organisation, which are scheduled to be issued before October 20.

About medicines, the Ministry of Health will create favourable conditions for firms to import materials and preapre for production after they are officially licenced. Several companies have received technologies to produce rapid antigen testing kits at reasonable costs.

Dam, who is also Deputy Head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said Vietnam has mastered technologies to produce biological products for testing and anti-pandemic equipment. At the same time, vaccine research and production have made initial positive steps with clinical trials since the middle of this year.

The Ministry of Health also reported that Vietnam has fully been self-sufficient in biological products for RT-PCR and rapid anti-gen testing.

The Deputy PM asked the Ministry of Science and Technology to promptly carry out the vaccine research programme till 2030 and scientific tasks for pandemic prevention and control, update the latest advanced technologies for the effort, and report issues out of its authority to the PM.

The Ministry of Health was assigned to work with ministries and agencies concerned to forecast the pandemic situation and demand for vaccines, medicines, biological products and anti-pandemic equipment. Considering the domestic situation, it should build a plan to import them in an economical and effective manner while encouraging the development of the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

The Ministries of Finance, Planning and Investment, Health, Science and Technology and the Vietnam Social Security must actively deal with suggestions by localities, medical establishments and enterprises regarding procurement mechanism and payment./.

UK newspaper upbeat about Vietnam’s digitally-enabled future

FPT UK Managing Director Mohan Naidu has said Vietnam is quickly becoming a hub of technology expertise, and the digitally-enabled future for Vietnam is just beginning.

In his article published on the UK’s intelligentcio.com on October 12, Naidu said Vietnamese enterprise leaders are looking at all business and talent models to get what they need, especially where emerging technologies are concerned.

Vietnam thoroughly embraced this shift and emerged stronger in the pandemic economy by virtue of its ambition, vision and willingness to pivot quickly, he wrote.

The article said software outsourcing is set to explode in Vietnam as its standing grows as an IT development destination. In recent years, Vietnam’s IT industries have been moving up the value chain and offering more value-added work.

According to the author, FPT Software is investing in its intercontinental expansion, with Europe targeted as a first port for capital commitment in the value of 100 million USD. The software company established itself in the EU market and in the UK with its first global client more than 20 years ago. European growth was steady but its focus and trajectory took it into Japan and the US, where it now employs thousands of local and international experts and engineers, reaching revenues of hundreds of millions in USD annually.

The focus has now returned to the UK and Europe, where there is a high demand for digital transformation and innovation projects.

He said the challenge Vietnam faces is a need to grow the digital workforce by an additional 190,000 IT engineers by the end of 2021.

Vietnam tackled this digital fluency challenge head on. A foundation of the attractive talent market in Vietnam is its robust, digitally oriented education system. Currently, Vietnam has 236 universities, 149 of which are training IT professionals, delivering more than 50,000 IT engineers to the workforce annually. This lands Vietnam on the list of the top 10 nations in the world for the highest number of IT students.

The article stressed that as Vietnam continues to promote business reform and cultivate digitally fluent talent; it is poised as a rising star in the global services market.

Earlier, Vietnam ranked ninth in the top 10 digital nations by the US’s investment strategy consultant Tholons. In 2019, the world’s leading consulting agency AT Kearney listed Vietnam among the top five most attractive destinations for IT outsourcing while the US technological consulting and research agency Gartner considered Vietnam as the Tier 1 emerging offshore outsourcing location in the Asia-Pacific./. 

Typhoon Kompasu to weaken to tropical depression after making landfall in central region

Typhoon Kompasu, the eighth storm to hit Việt Nam this year, will land between the central provinces of Thanh Hóa to Quảng Bình and weaken to a tropical depression by 4pm on Thursday.

At 4am on Wednesday, the eye of the storm was about 270km to the northeast of the Hoàng Sa (Paracels) Archipelago.

The strongest wind speeds were recorded at about 100 to 120km per hour.

The typhoon is forecast to move west at a speed of 20km per hour.

Once it weakens to a tropical depression, it will sustain winds of 40 to 50km per hour.

At 4am on Friday, the tropical depression will enter the central region of Laos with wind speeds decreasing to below 40km per hour.

Coastal areas from northern Quảng Ninh Province to central Quảng Bình Province and the East Sea area will experience strong winds.

Heavy rain is predicted from Wednesday afternoon to Friday in the northern region and Quảng Trị Province, with rainfall to 200 millimeters per. Regions from Thanh Hoá to Quảng Bình would also observe heavy rains with levels up to 350 millimeters. Flash floods and landslides may occur in certain areas, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

The tropical depression combined with a new cold wave in the north-central region will cause more heavy rain.

Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành on Tuesday required localities to minimise the storm’s impacts, thus preventing the double effects from COVID-19 and natural disasters.

Stressing the need for plans to evacuate locals in high-risk areas to safer places while still ensuring pandemic prevention, he asked the localities to pay special attention to giving safe shelter and support to migrant workers on the way to their hometowns from southern localities.

It is necessary to ensure the safety of dams, dykes and reservoirs while preparing forces and vehicles for rescue work, he said.

Representatives of localities that are forecast to be hit by the typhoon – Thanh Hóa, Hà Tĩnh, Nghệ An, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên-Huế – said that they had made preparations to brace for the typhoon, including alerting fishing vessels at sea and designing plans to respond to heavy rain and flooding.

Tropical storm Kompasu has set off landslides and flash floods in the Philippines, leaving at least 11 people dead, according to Aljazeera. 

Memorable days for volunteer medics at COVID-19 treatment field hospital in HCM City

The three months of fighting the coronavirus to save the lives of COVID-19 patients in HCM City will never be forgotten by Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Thành and other medical staff from the northern province of Quảng Ninh who have volunteered to come to assist the southern city.

Packing up recently to leave the hospital, Thành said the three-month period has been a valuable experience for him and his colleagues.

The staff always stood shoulder to shoulder to fight the virus.

“After 10 years in the profession, this was the most special business trip, and also my first time fighting a pandemic,” he said.

On July 13, Thành along with others on the volunteer medical team left Quảng Ninh to join force with the frontline medical teams of the southern city as it battled a severe outbreak that sees caseload and deaths surging to unprecedented levels.

They carried out their work at the COVID-19 Treatment Field Hospital No.12 in Thủ Đức City, which is slated to close in November, now that cases have dwindled.

 

Hospitalised patients are screened and classified. Severely ill patients are taken to the emergency room, put on a ventilator and closely monitored.

Every day, doctors check the patients while nurses measure their heart rates, temperature, blood oxygen levels, and administer drugs to the patients.

On the first days of work, the team faced difficulties due to a shortage of medical equipment, Thành said.

The number of hospitalised patients skyrocketed, with hundreds of patients on peak days and about 30 severe emergency cases.

"The hospital was under great pressure, but everything was new to me. I am not a doctor specialising in emergency resuscitation, so I had to learn from work experience," he said.

He said the most severe case was a 67-year-old patient with a history of hypertension and diabetes.

The patient showed severe symptoms and was transferred to the emergency department. Thành assigned the patient to be put on a high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) for breathing support.

After 10 days of treatment and monitoring, the patient's health status gradually improved and he was weaned off the HFNC before switching to an oxygen mask and later being discharged.

Most patients are treated for 7- 10 days before they are discharged. Only about 20 per cent of infections turn critical and need more time for treatment and recovery.

Only one death related to COVID-19, a male patient aged over 60, has been recorded at the field hospital No.12. The man had been treated for pulmonary tuberculosis for two years.

Three days after the date of admission, the patient coughed up blood and was moved to the emergency department. Despite multiple resuscitation efforts by doctors, the patient did not survive because of his serious health conditions.

"None of us could hold back the tears as the patient died without being able to see his loved ones for the very last time,” Thành said.

“So we sat back and told each other not to let our spirits fall, as the fight against COVID-19 would be long.”

"We have been luckier than our colleagues in other places because we have seen many patients discharged. That is the greatest consolation to any medic during this tough time," he said. 

Phạm Văn Võ, a nurse from Quảng Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital, said he had previously participated in the fight against COVID-19 in northern Bắc Giang Province, but he had been overwhelmed with the number of patients at the HCM City hospital.

“The number of new infections in one day in the city was equal to the total cases recorded in Bắc Giang in the last outbreak,” he said.

On the first day he started working, the hospital only used three buildings, but then all six buildings were full of patients.

Võ said patients with severe conditions are often under more stress because they are hospitalised alone. “Some easily panic when hearing that a family member has died,” he said.

Medical staff had to reassure the patients and also let them make video calls with their families, and encourage them to stay positive while fighting the disease, he said.

The latest outbreak in the city has subsided, with the number of new daily infections continuing to decrease.

Only about 10 patients are now being treated in the field hospital No.12’s emergency resuscitation department.

Dr Bùi Hải Nam, head of the Quảng Ninh Province’s volunteer medical team, said more than 70 medics from Quảng Ninh came to support the city in the past three months.

They have helped take care of and treat around 4,500 COVID-19 patients at the field hospital No.12. Of the number, more than 3,300 patients have been discharged from the hospital.

The team has been divided into several smaller groups and will gradually withdraw from the city. Among these, 29 doctors and nurses have applied to continue supporting the city.

Thành and his colleagues are now undergoing isolation at the Quảng Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital before they return home and reunite with their families.

Since July, about 20,000 health workers across the country have been sent to assist the city in the pandemic fight.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn has asked city authorities to plan for withdrawal of healthcare staff reinforcements from the city. They may call on them to help other COVID-19-hit localities in need.

HCM City to date has recorded over 410,000 COVID-19 infections, accounting for half of the country's total caseload. The number of daily new cases have been on the decline to around 1,500 in recent days since the peak of up to nearly 6,000 in August.

Nearly 16,000 fatalities have been logged, or three quarters of Việt Nam's total deaths.

Standing Committee discusses preparation for second session of the 15th NA

The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Wednesday morning discussed preparations for the second session of the 15th NA, which is scheduled to last for 17 days.

Under the schedule, the second session will be divided into two phases. The first phase will be from October 20 to November 1 whereas the second phase will be from November 8 to 13.

General Secretary of the NA and also chairman of the NA Office Bùi Văn Cường said that the session would discuss a report on COVID-19 prevention and control, including special measures to cope with the pandemic, and also discuss socio-economic development and the State budget.

The second session will also consider a draft resolution for online trials, consider withdrawing the report on the implementation of the Investment Protection Agreement between Việt Nam, the European Union (EU) and EU members as per the Government's request. By the end of September this year, this agreement has not come into force because only eight out of 27 EU members ratified the agreement.

In the meeting, deputies also gave opinions about a project of ensuring water security, dam and reservoir safety in the 2021-30 period.

Because it is a big project with many important national issues and a long-term vision, the NA Standing Committee proposed to ask for instruction from the Politburo. The Politburo suggested not arranging the issue in the schedule of the NA’s second session to have more time to prepare carefully.

It is planned that in the second session, the NA will consider and approve two law projects, five draft resolutions and give opinions on five law projects.

As for voting for approval, general secretary Cường said that electronic voting would be applied as usual via software on iPads.

The software was installed by the NA Office in co-ordination with the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Public Security and other agencies.

A deputy proposed to replace the question and answer session by “listening to citizens’ suggestions”. Via NA deputies, citizens can suggest measures to improve manufacturing after the pandemic, and bring the socio-economy to a new normal.

General secretary Cường answered that reports by the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee, in which summing up voters’ and citizens’ opinions, had brought the people’s wishes to the NA. The question and answer session was a supervision activity, expressing the companionship of the NA and the whole political system, especially the Government, to resolve difficulties, find effective solutions for pandemic prevention and control, recover production and ensure social security.

The NA Standing Committee members basically agreed with the presentation of general secretary Cường. They agreed with the plan for online and in-person meetings of the second session.  

Chairman of the NA’s Committee on Legal Affairs Hoàng Thanh Tùng said that the working time being shortened to 17 days was a great improvement. It was much shorter than usual year-end meetings in previous years because year-end meetings must consider many issues while must still ensuring quality.

If the session was organised reasonably, this would be an experience that could be promoted in the future, he said.

Emphasising that this would be a very important meeting because it would decide the framework for 2022, NA Chairman Vương Đình Huệ said that the meeting time would be shortened, but ensure the highest quality to have the most correct law projects and decisions.

NA committees, the Government, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuracy and concerned organisations, especially the NA Standing Committee, have closely co-ordinated in the preparations for the meeting.

“The pandemic was basically controlled, but the situation is still complicated requiring great efforts to achieve the highest results. The common spirit is that the NA would accompany the whole country," said Huệ. 

New Chairman of Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association elected

Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations Vu Hai Ha has been elected as Chairman of the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association for the 2021-2025 tenure.

Speaking at a conference of the association in Hanoi on October 13, Ha vowed to do his best to uphold the tradition of the association, and serve as a bridge between the Vietnamese and Cuban people, thereby contributing to the Vietnam-Cuba special friendship.

Truong Thi Mai, Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and Chairwoman of the Party Central Committee’s Organisation Commission, who was Chairwoman of the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Organisation for the 2017-2020 period, expressed her belief that Ha will fulfill his assigned tasks to contribute to the growing bilateral ties.

Amid the complicated developments of the COVID1-9 pandemic in the past nine months, the association switched from offline to online and semi-online activities to popularise the information about Cuba and its people, as well as the traditional solidarity between the two nations, affirming the Vietnamese people's consistent support for the revolutionary cause for justice of the fraternal Cuban people./.

Foreign Minister: comprehensive vaccine plan for 2022 needed

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has asked the Government’s Working Group on vaccine diplomacy to build a comprehensive vaccine plan for 2022 based on domestic demand, including vaccines for children aged 5-12 and 12-18, booster shots as well as the capacity of vaccine production at home.

Son, who is also head of the group, made the request while chairing its regular meeting in Hanoi on October 13, two months after the Prime Minister signed a decision on its establishment on August 13.

Reports by the ministries of foreign affairs and health said that positive results have been made in vaccine diplomacy. The total amount of vaccines to Vietnam has increased in recent months.

The group also advised the Government to step up cooperation in vaccine production and trials at home and import several types of COVID-19 drugs.

In his conclusion, Son said the most important task of the group between now and the year’s end is to continue accelerating and ensuring the delivery of vaccines as committed. It will promote international cooperation in vaccine production to increase domestic supply as well as step up approaches to COVID-19 medicines.

Amid the uncertain and prolonged developments of the pandemic, the minister suggested the group uphold the sense of responsibility, work closely and flexibly to offer timely suggestions regarding vaccine diplomatic activities that match domestic situation and demand, contributing to socio-economic development in the new normal./. 

Vice President attends third Eurasian Women's Forum

Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan lauded the Eurasian Women's Forum’s contributions to connecting and empowering women in her speech at the first plenary session of the ongoing 3rd Eurasian Women's Forum on October 13.

The forum, themed “Women: A Global Mission in a New Reality”, takes place virtually from October 13 to 15, gathering participants from more than 100 countries and international organisations.

Praising the theme, Xuan said the forum creates conditions to discuss opportunities and challenges that the globalisation, the 4th industrial revolution, and the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting the world in general and women in particular.

The Vice President talked about Vietnam’s experience and achievements in gender equality promotion across all social aspects, informing that the proportion of female National Assembly deputies, and key female leaders at ministries and ministerial-level agencies being at more than 30 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

She affirmed that Vietnam has also launched many initiatives to enhance the role of women as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term, the ASEAN Chair in 2020, and the President of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.

She called on countries to work together to solve urgent issues involving women such as mitigation of impacts of COVID-19, climate change, and conflict and violence.

The role of women in socio-economic recovery and development should be promoted, Xuan said, adding that coordination should be strengthened to boost the making and effective implementation of policies and laws for the comprehensive development of women.

The Vietnamese delegation is expected to attend and deliver speeches at a number of thematic sessions at the forum./.

Webinar seeks ways to promote OVs’ role in popularising Vietnamese goods abroad

A webinar was held in Hanoi on October 13 to discuss measures to further promote overseas Vietnamese’s role in the consumption and popularisation of Vietnamese goods abroad.

Co-hosted by the State Commission for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ho Chi Minh City's Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, the event aimed to realise the Prime Minister’s Decision No.1797/QD-TTg approving a project on pooling the OVs’ involvement in introduction, consumption and development of Vietnamese goods distribution channels abroad for the 2020-2024 period, on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13).

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu, who is also Chairman of the State Commission for OV Affairs  expressed his belief that Vietnam will soon overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic and more Vietnamese goods will become more popular worldwide, thus improving the images, trademarks and quality of Vietnamese products on the international arena.

Participants at the event discussed orientations to popularise Vietnamese goods abroad, especially linking domestic and representative Vietnamese agencies abroad, domestic and foreign enterprises together, as well as optimising exhibitions and e-commerce platforms to connect supply and demand./.

Legislators mull over land use for infrastructure development

The 15th National Assembly (NA)’s Standing Committee gave opinions on the national land use planning scheme for 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045 and a land use plan for 2021-2025 during its ongoing 4th session in Hanoi on October 13.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha said the scheme aims to arrange land areas to meet the requirements of developing a synchronous infrastructure system; maintain 3.5 million ha of paddy plantation fields; ensure a stable rate of forest coverage at 42-43 percent; reclaim, restore and put unused land into use; and curb land degradation and restore degraded land areas.

According to the draft of the planning, by 2030, the area of land for growing rice will decrease by 348,770 ha, with the reduction concentrated in the Red River Delta and the Mekong River Delta. Meanwhile, many areas will be converted to non-agricultural land such as industrial parks.

The NA’s Economic Committee proposed reviewing and restricting the conversion of rice plantation land into potential rice-growing areas to non-agricultural land.

Speaking at the meeting, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue stressed the need to apply modern technology to the management and monitoring of land data.

The management and use of land is the focus of the NA’s supreme supervision in the practice of thrift and anti-waste, he noted, requesting that land data must be specific based on on-site surveys.

Concluding the land use discussion, NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Hai stated the planning must go first as a basis for sectoral, regional and provincial planning schemes.

It must be specific to implement but be comprehensive and visionary to create room for development, he said, adding that information review and exchange with ministries, sectors, and localities should be done to avoid conflict and overlapping between the national planning with sectoral and regional planning schemes.

It is necessary to connect the land use planning scheme and plan with land-based economic development for effective exploitation, as well as the prevention of related losses, waste, and vested interest in the future.

In the afternoon, the NA Standing Committee considered and made a decision on supplementing the estimate of revenue and expenditure regarding foreign aid capital in 2021 for the central province of Quang Nam./.

FM: Vietnam wishes to enhance multifaceted cooperation with Poland

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has affirmed that Vietnam always treasures and wishes to enhance all-around cooperation with Poland.

During a reception in Hanoi on October 13 for Polish Ambassador to Vietnam Wojciech Gerwel, Son suggested both sides continue facilitating the exchange of visits by senior leaders and officials of ministries and agencies to foster political trust and mutual understanding, thus laying a foundation to expand bilateral collaboration in various fields.

He thanked the Polish Government and people for donating 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Vietnam and key medical supplies to Ho Chi Minh City to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Poland will also deliver 890,000 doses of AstraZeneca to Vietnam.

Son hailed Poland as the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in Central and Eastern Europe. Two-way trade was maintained at an impressive figure in the first eight months of this year, reaching 1.67 billion USD.

The host proposed Poland soon ratify the European Union – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and launch the bilateral economic cooperation consultation mechanism to tap benefits brought about by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EVIPA.

Ambassador, for his part, vowed to keep striving to further consolidate and tighten the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries to meet their practical interests./.

Hanoi - Past and present brought to life in paintings

The beauty of Hanoi, which lies in its ancient sites and vibrant life, is featured in 200 paintings from artist Van Duong Thanh. The paintings are now on show at the “Hanoi in Van Duong Thanh’s paintings” exhibition organised to mark the 67th anniversary of Hanoi Liberation Day, on October 10.

In Thanh’s artworks, Hanoi’s history is reflected through its mossy ancient walls and roofs, modern architecture, and vibrant streets.

The paintings are on large canvas and boast impressive, intense colours.

Artist Van Duong Thanh brought to the exhibition a special artwork of herself from renowned painter Bui Xuan Phai.

Proceeds from the sale of two of Thanh’s paintings - “Huong hoa sen” (Lotus flower fragrance) and “Ky niem pho xua Ha Noi” (Memories of old Hanoi) - created during social distancing in the capital, were used to buy five tonnes of rice to help disadvantaged people in Phu Yen province.

The exhibition is a vivid illustration of the vitality of Hanoi and art, which were both able to rise above the pandemic./. 

Exhibition marks 60th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea

An exhibition on seas, island and naval officers is being held in the northern city of Hai Phong from October 13-19, as part of activities marking the 60th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea.

Co-organised by the municipal Department of Culture and Sports and the Navy High Command’s Department of Navy Politics, the event showcases 180 photos, 35 documents and objects, two maps of Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea and Vietnam’s waters, and 10 statistical sheets on achievements made by the Vietnam People’s Navy.

Director of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports Tran Thi Hoang Mai said the exhibition offers an insight into the heroic tradition and achievements by the Vietnam People’s Navy in the fight for national liberation to which the strategic military transport route Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea made important contributions.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea was set up on October 23, 1961 to help with the transportation of weapons from the North to aid the southern liberation army.

During the resistance war against the US imperialists, the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea was considered a “true legend” and a miracle of the Vietnamese nation, contributing to the 1975 spring victory./.

Vietnamese businesses greatly contribute to Laos’s socio-economic development

The Vietnam Business Association for Cooperation and Investment in Laos (BACI) held an ceremony to mark the 17th anniversary of the Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day in both face-to-face and online forms in Vientiane on October 13.

Addressing the event, interim chairman of BACI Duong Dinh Bang said implementing the policy of promoting economic cooperation with Laos, on the basis of the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, many Vietnamese enterprises have poured investment into and done business in the country.

With more than 400 investment projects worth over 5 billion USD, Vietnam is currently the third largest foreign investor in Laos, after Thailand and China, he said.

In recent years, the Vietnamese business community in Laos has not only contributed to the Lao budget but also donated tens of millions of USD to social security activities, developing infrastructure facilities and creating jobs for thousands of Lao labourers.

It has also helped change Lao labourers’ awareness of shifting from small-scale production to commodity-based production, contributing to creating a new and fundamental orientation to promote sustainable production development in the country.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung praised efforts of the Vietnamese business community in Laos to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressing his delight at the increasing number of new projects invested by Vietnamese firms in Laos despite the health crisis.

He urged Vietnamese enterprises operating in Laos to update and further promote application of new technologies and digital transformation in order to maximise the efficiency of their production and business activities and effectively adapt to the pandemic.

The diplomat called on Vietnamese businesses to strengthen coordination and support each other, contributing to further tightening the Vietnam – Laos great relationship.

He took the occasion to applaud active contributions of Vietnamese enterprises in Laos to both countries' fight against COVID-19./.

PM Pham Minh Chinh meets voters in Can Tho city

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 13 met with voters of Mekong Delta city of Can Tho via teleconference.

At the meeting, voters of Can Tho expressed their joy at the recent achievements in the COVID-19 prevention and control, and their determination to continue to well implement the directions and guidelines on pandemic combat and socio-economic development. They also proposed many issues including increasing vaccine distribution, easing traffic restrictions, the continuation of social welfare policies as well as investment in infrastructure and investment attraction to create jobs for local workers.

The Prime Minister highly appreciated the voters’response to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining socio-economic development. He suggested agencies continue to deal with voters' proposals and recommendations.

The main tasks and solutions from now until the end of this year are to develop and implement priority plans for pandemic prevention and control, according to PM Chinh.

It was necessary to flexibly adjust, closely coordinate between monetary and fiscal policies, accelerate disbursement of public investment capital as well as promote exports and control prices, he said.

He said the Government will priotise removing difficulties in mechanisms and policies to tap all resources for pandemic prevention and control and socio-economic development, ensuring social welfare, and strengthening national defence and security.

The efficiency of external affairs work will be promoted along with pushing up international integration and drastically implement the 'vaccine diplomacy', Chinh said.

The Government and Prime Minister will accompany the authorities and people of Can Tho city to successfully implement the set goals with the immediate plan of shifting its strategy to safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic while boosting socio-economic development, he said./.

HCM City honours religious volunteers supporting COVID-19 fight

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Committee of Ho Chi Minh City and the city's Committee for Religious Affairs on October 13 honoured 82 religious volunteers who have worked side by side with medical workers at local COVID-19 treatment hospitals.

Addressing the event, on behalf of hospitals and clinics where the volunteers worked, Doctor Le Anh Tuan, Vice Director of the hospital for intensive care for COVID-19 patients thanked the volunteers for their assistance, which he said has helped medical workers complete their medical tasks.

Tuan noted that thanks to the joint efforts of medical staff and the volunteers, so far, 2,500 out of 3,800 COVID-19 patients with severe conditions at the hospital have recovered and been discharged.

To date, over 2,800 medical workers and volunteers from many hospitals, localities and training facilities across the country, including 387 volunteers from different religious, have worked at the hospital, he said.

Phan Kieu Thanh Huong, Vice President of the HCM City VFF Committee underlined that the precious support by religious dignitaries and followers has contributed to reducing the COVID-19 death toll in the city, and increasing the number of recovered patients.

On the occasion, the committee presented certificates of merit and gifts to the volunteers, who will undertake quarantine in line of regulations before returning home.

Since July 22, 670 religious volunteers have been sent to various hospitals for COVID-19 treatment across the city./.

ASEAN cooperation helps effectively respond to natural disasters: Deputy PM

The National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control on October 13 held a ceremony to celebrate International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and ASEAN Day for Disaster Management (ADDM).

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh said that with the theme "Cooperation to overcome challenges together", the event affirms Vietnam's determination in cooperating with countries, agencies of the UN and ASEAN, and international organisations in raising global awareness of mitigating disaster risks and improving adaptive capacity and responding more effectively to natural disasters in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Party, State, and Government, local authorities, and socio-political organisations of Vietnam always pay attention to disaster prevention and control, he stressed.

Vietnam has actively joined international organisations and forums related to natural disaster prevention and mitigation, Thanh said, adding that Vietnam always is an active member and effectively contributes to ASEAN's joint efforts in disaster risk reduction and prevention.

However, there are still many limitations related to forecast, warning, resources, equipment, infrastructure, forces, application of science and technology, and post-disaster recovery, he said. The COVID-19 pandemic poses a requirement to effectively respond to risks when they occur at the same time with natural disasters.

The Vietnamese Government always considers natural disaster prevention and control the top task of the whole political system in order to protect the people's lives, health, and property, Deputy PM Thanh said.

Vietnam highly values and hopes that countries, organisations and international friends continue to accompany and support Vietnam in early access to advanced science and technology, and resources to promptly respond and quickly overcome impacts and consequences of natural disasters.

Ekkaphab Phanthavong, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General acknowledged Vietnam's efforts, saying that Vietnam is a very active member in ASEAN.

Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) hailed the Vietnamese Government’s adoption of the national strategy for natural disaster prevention and control./.

Belgium shares development experience with Vietnam

Belgium is willing to share its development experience with Vietnam, Senate President Stephanie D'Hose told Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Nguyen Van Thao at a reception in Brussels on October 13.

Strengthening the exchange of experience in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding economic, trade and investment relations, and promoting the ratification of the Investment Protection Agreement between the European Union and Vietnam (EVIPA) are Belgium’s priorities in its partnership with Vietnam, she said.

D'Hose expressed her satisfaction at the positive development in bilateral relations in general and between the legislative bodies of the two countries in particular, especially the results of the recent visit to Belgium by Vietnam National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.

She assured his guest that the Belgian parliament will continue promoting the ratification of the EVIPA, while suggesting that the two sides seek opportunities to ramp up cultural cooperation, education and people-to-people exchanges.

Ambassador Thao highly appreciated the Belgian parliament’s goodwill, and suggested that Belgium soon ratify and lobby other EU members to complete the ratification of the EVIPA, in order to facilitate businesses’ operations in each other’s markets.

He noted that the two countries still have a lot of room for expanding cooperation, especially in areas where Belgium has strengths and Vietnam has needs such as renewable energy, smart agriculture, seaports and logistics, digital economy, climate change, and smart city.

As the two countries are rich in cultural traditions, he said both Belgium and Vietnam should increase cultural exchanges and education and student exchanges so as to enhance mutual understanding between their peoples.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 13

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 13

Prime Minister to attend 4th Russian Energy Week