Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long urged localities to raise their vigilance as the risk of further COVID-19 outbreaks is very high in the near future.

Localities are told to implement drastic measures to prevent a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

Speaking at an online conference on Resolution 128, which provides temporary guidance on safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the pandemic on Sunday, Long said the pandemic has been basically put under control in key areas in HCM City and neighbouring Bình Dương, Long An, and Đồng Nai provinces.

However, the number of people travelling from pandemic-affected areas to other localities increased after social distancing measures were eased.

New clusters have appeared with the infection source mainly from people returning from pandemic-hit areas. Phú Thọ, Thanh Hóa, Nam Định and some localities in the southwest region have recorded many community infection cases in this way.

“We express concern about the very high risk of new COVID-19 outbreaks in the near future. Localities must raise their vigilance to avoid new COVID-19 waves," he said.

Long asked localities to tighten control over people returning from HCM City, Long An, Bình Dương and Đồng Nai and implement appropriate preventive measures such as testing and quarantining as regulated to maintain anti-pandemic achievements.

Regarding the implementation of the Government’s Resolution 128 and the ministry’s Decision 4800, many cities and provinces have flexibly and safely adapted to the 'new normal'. Many localities raised opinions about quarantine and vaccination against COVID-19, proper treatment for patients as well as other issues on goods distribution and travel.

Long said the localities need to contact the ministry if they had difficulties in implementing the guidelines, stressing that the most important was to control the pandemic to avoid a new COVID-19 wave.  

He said vaccine coverage was one of the criteria for classifying pandemic levels, including low, medium, high and very high risk.  

The ministry targeted to reach vaccine coverage of the second dose for at least 80 per cent of people over 65 years old in October and reach the same coverage for people over 50 years old in November.

Long urged localities that have been allocated vaccines to speed up vaccinations and update vaccine records on e-health applications.

He suggested localities look at the situation of COVID-19 and vaccine supply to organise vaccinations for children aged between 12-17 according to the roadmap of the ministry.

The ministry has sent guidelines issued on October 14 on vaccination against COVID-19 for children between 12-17 years old to leaders of the cities and provinces nationwide.

The second criteria, he said, was adequate medical facilities, especially the treatment system, hospital beds and ventilators for the worst-case scenario to minimise the number of deaths. Medical staff must be trained to handle unexpected situations.

Localities that fail to meet those criteria must level up their pandemic risk, he added.

Regarding the assessment of the pandemic level, Long said the pandemic risk assessment should be carried out on the smallest scale in communes or wards. Travelling and transportation of goods must be maintained at all levels, but people must comply with 5K preventive measures.

Regarding COVID-19 testing, Long suggested localities strictly follow the instructions of the ministry to include 20 testing samples, including PCR, to reduce the cost of testing.

Hospitals and health clinics should only test people with symptoms. Patients would not be charged for the testing as it would be allocated from the health insurance or the state budget.

Regarding quarantine regulations, he noted that localities needed to lock down on a small scale, such as a few houses in an alley or a small area in a commune or ward, to control the outbreak and maintain people's lives and socio-economic development.

Tropical depression heads towards south-central Vietnam

A tropical depression moving towards south-central Vietnam is likely to increase its strength in the next 24 hours, the National Centre for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF) reported on October 26.

The tropical depression is forecast to dump heavy rain on coastal localities from Thua Thien-Hue to Binh Thuan, plus the Central Highlands and Southeastern regions, the NCHMF said.

In the early morning on October 26, the depression was about 310km off the coast of south central Khanh Hoa province, packing winds of 50kph near its centre.

In the next 36 hours, it is forecast to move in the west-northwest direction at a speed of 10kph-15kph, hit south-central localities and weaken into a low pressure area.

Heavy downpours will be reported in the regions, with rainfall likely to climb as high as 300mm.

Weather experts warned coastal and mountainous localities of severe flooding and landslides when the tropical depression makes landfall.

On October 25, the Prime Minister ordered localities in the central region, ministries, and sectors to take swift actions to address flooding consequences and gear up for the approaching tropical depression.

An official dispatch issued by the PM noted that incessant rains have occurred in central provinces over the past days, especially from October 22 to 24 in Thua Thien - Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh provinces, causing floods and landslides and isolating certain areas.

While some rivers in the region are still in full spate and several areas remain submerged, a tropical depression in the East Sea is moving towards the mainland, likely to intensify into a storm, and may continue triggering downpours in the areas from Da Nang city to Binh Thuan province, as well as the Central Highlands.

To cope with the tropical depression, protect people’s lives, and quickly address flood aftermath, the PM requested the administrations of the localities from Quang Tri to Binh Thuan and those in the Central Highlands to promptly make preparations for the depression, with a focus on ensuring safety for boats and vessels at sea and taking actions to guarantee people’s safety in case of serious flooding.

Meanwhile, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Thua Thien - Hue provinces were told to swiftly deal with flood aftermath.

The National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control was asked to direct the timely implementation of appropriate response measures so as to minimise losses, according to the dispatch./.

No Vietnamese injured in Moscow office building fire

Ten people were evacuated from the trade office of Vietnam in the centre of Moscow due to a fire on the second floor of a three-storey building, with no one injured.

The fire broke out on the second floor where the Vietnam Trade Office is headquartered.

The three-storey building also houses the Vietnamese Party Committee in Russia, the representative office of TH True Milk, and the office of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in the country./.

91 European families arrive in HCM City for adoption process

A ceremony has been held recently in Ho Chi Minh City to hand over adopted children to 91 families from various European nations.

The event was hosted by the Ministry of Justice, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, along with other relevant ministries and agencies, and 22 cities and provinces where the adopted children are from, in addition to eight European diplomatic representative agencies.

This comes following Vietnamese children being adopted by a total of 91 families from France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.

The Ministry of Justice believes that this event demonstrates the humanity, efforts, and commitment of the Government and other competent agencies of Vietnam in ensuring that adopted children are given proper care, and a loving family environment which is in their best interests.

In her address, Spanish Ambassador to Vietnam Pilar Mendez Jimenez expressed her thanks to the Vietnamese Government, the Ministry of Justice, the municipal People's Committee, and relevant localities for facilitating the adoption, adding that diplomatic representatives from the eight countries involved in the process hailed the efforts of the nation in various preparatory work to ensure the safety of the ceremony.

Lawmakers scrutinise two draft laws on October 26

The National Assembly is scheduled to discuss the draft Law on Mobile Police and the draft Law amending and supplementing several articles of the Law on Intelligence Property during its ongoing second plenary session on October 26.

The draft Law on Mobile Police includes five chapters and 31 articles, stipulating seven task groups of mobile police in accordance with the Ordinance on Mobile Police.

Meanwhile, the draft Law amending and supplementing several articles of the Law on Intelligence Property supplements 12 articles, revises 80, and removes two ones. After the revision, the Law on Intelligence Property will have 232 articles.

The Ministers of Public Security, and Science and Technology will clarify several issues raised by NA deputies./.

13 students in hospital after consuming suspected cannabis-laced candies

Thirteen students from Hoành Bồ High School, Hạ Long City, in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, were taken to hospital for emergency medical attention on Monday after consuming what is suspected to be cannabis-laced candies.

Five urine samples out of the 13 tested positive for cannabis.

The students suffered from abnormal health issues described as similar to food poisoning, such as limb numbness, headaches, nausea and stomach pains, and bodywide discomfort, before being brought to Hạ Long General Hospital.

According to initial information the police obtained from students whose conditions have improved, during the morning class, they ate the candies that a male classmate bought from a cafe. 

The wrappings of the candies, Medicated Nerds, indicated having tetrahydrocannabinol content, a psychoactive substance.

Police are further investigating the case. Cannabis is illegal in Việt Nam.

Quang Nam, Quang Ngai hard hit by torrential rains

The central provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai have suffered great losses because of flooding caused by recent torrential rains.

The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control reported that up to 5,373 houses were submerged in the districts of Nui Thanh, Thang Binh and Phu Ninh, Tam Ky City and Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province. In Quang Ngai’s Binh Son District, 11,038 houses have also been flooded.

In Quang Ngai, around 150 hectares of seafood farms, roads and water supply facilities have been seriously damaged.  

In addition, 77 hydropower reservoirs in the northern, central and Central Highlands regions are discharging water.

In the southern central region, 159 out of 476 reservoirs are full of water.

The flooding has left one dead and three others missing in Quang Nam. Hundreds of hectares of crops in the locality have been ruined.

A section of the North-South railway running from Quang Nam to Quang Ngai has been damaged. Landslides have also been reported on lots of roads in Quang Ngai.

It was announced that 2,149 households in the flooded areas in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai have been evacuated.

According to the National Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting’s Weather Forecast Department, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai have been forecasted to continue having rains tonight, October 25. The rains would also affect localities from Binh Dinh to Khanh Hoa.

On October 26-27, the southern central, Central Highlands and south-eastern regions would have heavy rains

Traffic accidents down in ten months

Traffic accidents down in ten months hinh anh 1

 Traffic accidents decreased in three criteria year-on-year from September 15 to October 14, said Chief of the Office of the National Traffic Safety Committee Tran Huu Minh.

Accordingly, the number of cases was down by 542, or 40.45 percent while the number of deaths and injured decreased by 216 and 482, respectively, equivalent to 36.42 percent and 45.69 percent.

During the period, 798 accidents nationwide killed 377 people and injured 573 others.

From December 15, 2020 to October 14, 2021, as many as 8,959 accidents left 4,552 dead and 6,218 wounded, marking a respective annual decrease of 25.52 percent, 18.5 percent and 30.42 percent.

Of accidents, 8,852 cases were on road, claiming 4,465 lives and injuring 6,204 others, falling by 25.52 percent, 18.45 percent and 30.38 percent, respectively.

In 57 railway accidents, 46 were killed and 13 others were injured, down 26.92 percent, 20.69 percent and 38.1 percent, respectively.

On waterway, 44 cases left 32 dead and one injured, marking a respective reduction of 24.14 percent, 25.58 percent and 80 percent year-on-year./.

Passengers don’t have to submit paper-based COVID-19 commitments from Oct 25

Passengers using airlines or trains to travel within Việt Nam don’t have to submit paper-based COVID-19 prevention and control commitments from Monday (October 25), according to the Ministry of Transport.

The passengers are only required to submit their health declaration via mobile phone app PC-Covid and take preventive measures which the ministry included in its two decisions – No 1840/QĐ-BGTVT and No1839/QĐ-BGTVT, dated October 20, when it decided to reopen domestic air routes and railways.

Under the two decisions, before their air/railway trips, passengers have to fill in a paper-based form in which they provide basic personal information and commit to following COVID-19 preventive and control measures when they arrive at their destinations.

The implementation of the requirement in the last few days revealed shortcomings, for example, passengers gathered in crowds to fill in and submit the forms in the lounges of railway stations or airports or on planes and trains, possibly delaying departures to wait for passengers who did not submit the forms on time.

The Ministry of Transport on Monday also asked aviation and railway authorities to co-operate with IT agencies at relevant ministries in reviewing and integrating passengers’ COVID-19 prevention and control commitments into the PC-Covid app.

The integration would help make use of available information, save time for passengers and provide necessary information to authorities.

Vietnam attends meeting of ASEAN defence senior officials

A Vietnamese delegation attended the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials' Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG), which convened virtually on October 25.

Head of the delegation, Colonel Vu Thanh Van, Director of the External Relations Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence, proposed that it is necessary to agree on how to implement the observer regulation of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus Experts' Working Group for partners on the basis of the ADMM's concept paper on external relations adopted at the 15th ADMM in June.

Van also announced the multilateral activities that Vietnam is expected to host in the near future, including the ADSOM WG at the end of November and the 15th meeting of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group on peacekeeping, scheduled to be held online in December. The ADSOM WG will discuss and develop guiding documents for the implementation of a flag-raising initiative, which places the ASEAN flag next to the national flag at the military unit of an ASEAN member state participating in UN peacekeeping operations.

At the conference, participants discussed the implementation of outcomes achieved at the 15th ADMM and the 8th ADMM Plus, including the consideration of the proposals of the UK, France, Canada, and the EU to become observers of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group.

They also agreed on the preparations for the ADMM Retreat and the informal meeting of ASEAN Defense Ministers of ASEAN with Australia and the Republic of Korea in November.

The countries also informed about upcoming activities in the ADMM and ADMM Plus mechanisms, including the preparation for the ASEAN-Russia navy exercise co-chaired by Indonesia and Russia./.

Stay-at-home mandate for unvaccinated in Bac Lieu’s high risk areas

Only vaccinated people in areas at high risk of Covid transmission in Bac Lieu Province will be allowed to venture out and the local authorities will set up Covid checkpoints to monitor these areas, according to this Mekong Delta province’s new anti-Covid regulations.

Provincial Chairman Pham Van Thieu this afternoon, October 25, passed a decision supplementing regulations for safe adaptation to Covid. The supplemented regulations will be in place starting tomorrow.

Accordingly, in Level 3 areas, which are still at high risk of coronavirus transmission, only vaccinated people or those who have recovered from Covid can step out of their houses.

In Level 4 areas, which are at extremely high risk, only the fully inoculated or those having recovered from Covid are allowed to go out. In these areas, Covid checkpoints will be set up to check compliance with Covid safety measures.

For people residing in Level 1 and 2 areas, which are at low and moderate risk, they can travel as normal but must practice anti-virus measures. There will be no checkpoints in these areas.

The provincial government also asked all people traveling on freight transport vehicles to make health declarations when they enter the province.

Star boxer wins first world belt for Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi excellently won the first-ever World Boxing Organisation belt for Vietnam after defeating a Japanese opponent in Ansan city, Gyeongi province, the Republic of Korea on October 23.

The Vietnamese boxer took the title on a split decision with two judges scoring Nhi at 96 points, two more than her Japanese rival Etsuko Tada after 10 rounds of the women's mini-flyweight title fight.

Nhi made history becoming the first ever Vietnamese to win a professional WBO belt.

Nhi was considered the underdog compared to her 40-year-old opponent in both experience and record./.

HCM City starts river tour to Can Gio

The Saigontourist Group on October 24 launched a river tour from Bạch Đằng wharf in downtown HCM City to  tourist attractions in Cần Giờ District, one of the first efforts to revive the tourism sector as the city eases COVID-19 curbs.

Fifty tourists left for Vàm Sát Ecological Park and Thiềng Liềng Island in Cần Giờ by a Greenlines high-speed ferry. They cruised on the Sài Gòn River and explored the Cần Giờ wetlands and the area’s signature dishes.

The coastal district is noted for its vast mangrove forests and wildlife sanctuaries, and was designated the first Mangrove Biosphere Reserve in Việt Nam in 2000 by UNESCO.

Trương Thành Vinh, a five-star hotel employee in the city, said he had visited Cần Giờ several times but it was his first river trip to the place.

A trip with friends was a relief from the mental strain after months of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, he said.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa, director of the city Department of Tourism, said the river tour was aimed at diversifying safe travel products, gradually reviving the tourism industry.

The department will co-ordinate with travel firms and local authorities to run more such river tours, including Bạch Đằng- District 7- Cần Giờ and Bạch Đằng-Củ Chi-Bình Dương.

In the past few years the city has been launching a number of them, including Bạch Đằng- District 7, Bạch Đằng - Bình Quới, Bạch Đằng - Củ Chi, Nhiêu Lộc - Thị Nghè Canal, and Bạch Đằng - Củ Chi - Bình Dương. 

Contest for voiceover artists launched

Amateur and professional voiceover artists around the country are invited to a dubbing contest called Thanh Âm Kỳ Diệu (Magical Voices), which is being held in HCM City.

The competition is open to people aged 16 years old and older, introducing them to 'dubbing' in the film industry. 

The event coincides with the 22nd Việt Nam Film Festival, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province on November 20. 

The participants will have the chance to learn the knowledge, skills and experiences required for dubbing, mixing or re-recording – a post-production process used in filmmaking and video production that is provided by both Vietnamese and foreign voiceover experts. 

The winner and finalists will receive a free three-month training course thanks to the organisers, Netflix and BHD – a leading Vietnamese film studio, distributor and cinema owner.

Successful contestants will also have the opportunity to work on new film projects by the organisers. 

A group of skilled Vietnamese and foreign voiceover artists and film producers make up the panel of judges.  

“Through the Thanh Âm Kỳ Diệu contest, amateurs and professionals will have a chance to explore their creativity in dubbing and develop their careers,” said Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà, deputy head of the Việt Nam Department of Cinematography. 

“The event will also help audiences discover and improve their knowledge about the film industry.” 

Vietnamese, Francophone parliaments promote human rights

A National Assembly delegation on October 25 attended a conference on strengthening the role of parliamentarians of member countries of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) in implementing the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism on human rights.

Co-organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF), the OIF, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the conference takes place both in virtual and in-person formats on October 25-26.

Addressing the event, head of the Vietnamese delegation and Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Anh affirmed the consistent policy of the Vietnamese State in respecting and protecting human rights. Vietnam constantly strives to better the legal system on human rights, promote economic development along with ensuring social justice, and constantly improve people's living standards.

She emphasised that Vietnam attaches importance to dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights and actively participates in making contributions at UN and regional forums on the matter.

Vietnam has completed the review under the third UPR cycle and is actively implementing recommendations that Vietnam accepts, she noted.

She continued to say that Vietnam is also one of the core countries in promoting content on climate change and human rights at the Human Rights Council.

According to Anh, the NA plays an important role in ensuring and realising human rights in Vietnam. Over the past time, the legislature has made continuous efforts to build and complete the legal system on human rights; and to regularly conduct the monitoring of law enforcement and the implementation of regulations related to human rights.

Anh said amid COVID-19, Vietnam has promptly implemented measures to fight the pandemic and maintain economic growth with priority covering the protection of people’s life and wellbeing. All people are supported to secure their lives, get medical care, and have equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, she added./.

HCM City speeds up construction of key traffic infrastructure after lifting COVID restrictions

By the end of the year HCM City aims to complete 11 construction packages of key traffic infrastructure projects which have been allowed to resume after the city relaxed its stringent COVID-19 prevention measures at the beginning of October.

Among them are an overpass in front of the new Miền Đông (Eastern) Bus Station on the Hà Nội Highway in Thủ Đức City, infrastructure at the Nước Đen canal area in Bình Tân District, the new Hang Ngoài Bridge in Gò Vấp District, the first branch of the new Bưng Bridge between Tân Phú and Bình Tân districts, and upgrade of Đặng Thúc Vịnh Street in Hóc Môn District.

The resumption of these projects is based on safe adaptation to the pandemic, according to the city’s Department of Transport.

So far the city Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment has resumed work on 45 construction packages at 27 projects with more than 1,000 workers and engineers.

After the fourth COVID-19 outbreak hit the city at the end of April, HCM City on July 9 and then 18 southern provinces went into lockdown under Government’s Directive 16.

All non-urgent construction works had been required to halt, including traffic infrastructure projects, and only key and urgent projects were permitted to continue.

Most of the suppliers of machinery, equipment and construction materials had to stop their operations due to the lockdown, making things more difficult for these projects.

The number of workers at the construction sites of many traffic works decreased steadily, because many workers returned to their hometowns to avoid the pandemic or living in locked-down areas.

Many F0 and F1 cases appeared at construction sites, forcing the need to test all workers and organise quarantine, interrupting the work at many projects.

Resumption

With the efforts to gradually reopen economic activities in the city, the municipal Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has issued a set of criteria for construction works that can resume if they meet safety requirements such as fully vaccinated workers and compliance with the health ministry’s 5K preventive measures and pandemic prevention and control regulations.

Contractors and investors must take responsibility for carrying out regular inspections to ensure pandemic prevention requirements are met at their site.

The projects allowed to operate had to implement the 'three on-site' model (work, eat, and rest at workplaces), or the 'one route, two destinations’ model (workers could only travel between their accommodation and the workplace on a fixed route and with no stops on the way). However, applying the models during the prolonged pandemic has caused financial difficulties to contractors and investors.

The metro line No 1 and Thủ Thiêm 2 Bridge are also among several projects on which work has been allowed to restart.

Only the Thủ Thiêm 2 Bridge project’s progress was basically ensured, and most of the rest have been going on at modest pace.

The metro line No 1 project will increase the number of workers to speed up progress on its bid packages. The new Thủ Thiêm 2 Bridge is expected to be completed on April 30 next year.

Overcoming challenges

The city’s high vaccination rate helps mobilise enough workers for construction to speed up work on projects.

After lifting COVID-19 restrictions from October 1, the projects do not need to observe the 'three on-site' model if they use COVID-19 green cards (which allow partly and fully vaccinated people and those who are immune after recovering from the disease to take part in public activities).

Besides construction works, the city has also allowed the resumption of a number of socio-economic activities.

The city has given funding priority for major traffic projects. Some VNĐ33 trillion (US$1.45 billion), or 23 per cent of the city’s public investment in 2021-25, is meant for traffic projects.

However, this amount is only enough for projects which have been left unfinished in 2016-20 and not enough for new projects.

Amid expectations the pandemic will last for long, the city was forced to assign the highest priority in allotting funds to pandemic prevention and control.

Due to limited availability of funds, the city had to cut VNĐ16 trillion ($702.8 million) from projects that had been approved but were not started to prioritise urgent projects.

The city's transport sector has drawn up a list of nine project groups by 2025 and mechanisms and policies to further mobilise investment in traffic infrastructure. The total financial requirement for the nine is estimated at more than VNĐ675 trillion ($29.6 billion).

The city is prioritising investment in ring roads No 2 and 3, the An Phú Intersection and the HCM City - Mộc Bài Expressway.

Contractors are facing difficulties due to labour shortages at many projects. Therefore, the transport sector focuses on finding workers for the projects.

The city’s Department of Transport is working with relevant agencies in other provinces and cities to bring migrant workers back.

The department has also worked with project investors to resolve difficulties related to transportation of construction materials and site acquisition. 

Thu Duc city’s intelligent operation centre goes official

The Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Corporation (VNPT) and Thu Duc city on October 23 officially opened the intelligent operation centre, an important cog in helping the latter build a smart city and e-governance, after a five-month trial run.

Hoang Tung, chairman of the People's Committee of Thu Duc city, said the centre would provide the city leaders with a “comprehensive and 360-degree view of ongoing activities” in terms of monitoring and managing all government services.

“It [is] a ‘digital brain’ of the city that supports its leaders in administrative management to better serve the public and businesses.”

It serves areas like administrative management, including socio-economic data analysis, and handling administrative procedures, getting feedbacks from the public, electronic document management, monitoring and managing public security and traffic, monitoring information from social networks, data in the education and health sectors, and geospatial information system (GIS), he listed.

It enables analysis of big data and supports decision making, developing organisational plans and developing mechanisms and policies for specific needs, he said.

Thu Duc and VNPT would continue to collect, refine and aggregate data from many sources, and store it, Tung said.

Making effective use of data, increasing the use of AI (artificial intelligence), analysing big data, building predictive models, and developing decision support tools are the goals, he said.

Ngo Xuan Truong, director of VNPT HCM City, said since the intelligent operation centre (IOC) began operation in May it has helped direct pandemic prevention and control work based on data analysis via the GIS application.

The app has a number of features to help manage the number of infections, lock down and quarantine areas, provide information about locations, addresses and maps of cases, and provide other information relating to quarantine, lockdown, treatment, and testing.

By August, Thu Duc city and VNPT completed data aggregation to create a dashboard with health and economic information.

The indicators are analysed to reflect fluctuations, specifically for monitoring testing, vaccination status and the pandemic situation, record data during treatment and monitor social security and the operation of enterprises.

The data shows a correlation between pandemic prevention and economic recovery, and is updated on a daily basis.

VNPT plays a leading role in the national digital transformation process. It has set up IOCs in more than 30 provinces and cities across the country.

Thu Duc City was established by merging HCM City’s three eastern districts of 2, 9 and Thu Duc into one administrative unit in January this year.

It was the country’s first ‘city within a city.’

Associated with a planned innovative interactive urban area in the city’s eastern part, Thu Duc is expected to drive HCM City’s economic growth, and develop into an innovation hub and smart urban area./.

Vietnamese national team gathers to prepare for World Cup qualifiers

The Vietnamese national team gathered for a training camp on October 25 in preparation for two matches against Japan and Saudi Arabia as part of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month.

Ahead of the gathering the squad welcomed the return of several players, including goalkeeper Nguyen Van Hoang, defenders Pham Xuan Manh and Do Thanh Thinh, along with midfielder Tran Minh Vuong.

Following Dang Van Lam, defender Nguyen Trong Hoang is another player who will miss out on the rest of the national team’s fixtures this year due to picking up an injury.

As a result of a busy schedule at the qualifiers for the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup, Park Hang-seo will be absent for the training camp. He has therefore appointed his assistant Lee Young-jin to direct the team before his return on November 4.

Moving forward, Vietnam are scheduled to play Japan on November 11 and Saudi Arabia on November 14.

This comes after a dispatch was sent to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism late on October 21, with the Hanoi municipal administration stating that the My Dinh Stadium will open its doors to vaccinated fans, with the number not exceeding 30% of the stadium’s capacity.

Localities in central region told to brace for coming tropical depression

The Prime Minister has ordered localities in the central region, ministries, and sectors to take swift actions to address flooding consequences and gear up for an approaching tropical depression likely to strengthen into storm.

An official dispatch issued by the PM on October 25 noted that incessant rains have occurred in central provinces over the past days, especially from October 22 to 24 in Thua Thien - Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh provinces, causing floods and landslides and isolating certain areas.

While some rivers in the region are still in full spate and several areas remain submerged, a tropical depression in the East Sea is moving towards the mainland, likely to intensify into a storm, and may continue triggering downpours in the areas from Da Nang city to Binh Thuan province, as well as the Central Highlands.

To cope with the tropical depression, protect people’s lives, and quickly address flood aftermath, the PM requested the administrations of the localities from Quang Tri to Binh Thuan and those in the Central Highlands to promptly make preparations for the depression, with a focus on ensuring safety for boats and vessels at sea and taking actions to guarantee people’s safety in case of serious flooding.

Meanwhile, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Thua Thien - Hue provinces were told to swiftly deal with flood aftermath.

The Government leader assigned the National Committee for Incident and Disaster Response, and Search and Rescue, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Transport to ready forces and equipment for assisting localities in the work.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was demanded to keep a close watch on the tropical depression, rain, and flooding situation to provide timely information for relevant agencies and residents.

Other ministries and sectors were told to take measures within their competence to ensure reservoirs’ safety, protect agricultural activities and the power system, and support localities in the central region to address flooding consequences in a timely manner.

The National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control was asked to direct the timely implementation of appropriate response measures so as to minimise losses, according to the dispatch./.

Lawmakers agree on amendments and supplements of many draft laws

Lawmakers discussed the draft law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Criminal Procedure Code via videoconference during the second session of the 15th National Assembly on October 25 morning.

Prosecutor General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy Le Minh Tri explained several issues raised by deputies.

Later in the morning, the legislators discussed in groups the revised draft Law on Insurance Business, which comprises eight chapters and 156 articles, and specifies seven groups of policies adopted by the Government under Resolution No.121/NQ-CP dated December 31, 2019.

Approving the comprehensive amendment of the law after 20 years of implementation, the deputies suggested that the work should remove bottlenecks and obstacles, helping the insurance market develop more equally and sustainably.

They proposed supplementing regulations on antitrust; strengthening the State management in insurance business activities; and revising the law in accordance with the trend of electronics and digitisation.

In the afternoon sitting, the lawmakers looked into the draft Law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Statistics Law. Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung clarified issues mentioned by NA deputies.

The deputies basically agreed with the need to such amendments in order to institutionalise the Party and State's guidelines, policies and laws on statistics work; and create a legal basis for timely data collection and assuring of the statistics’ objectivity and correctness, among others.

Minister Dung affirmed that the Government and the drafting agency will seriously take into consideration all valid opinions of the delegates and work closely with the NA Economic Committee in reviewing and completing the draft law./.

Films by young OV introduced at Ici Vietnam Festival in Paris

The "Ici Vietnam Festival- Spécial Cinéma" was held in Paris from October 22 to October 24, drawing the participation of numerous young overseas Vietnamese film directors as they shared their various achievements in the field of culture.

Young film directors share experience at the "Ici Vietnam Festival- Spécial Cinéma" (Photo: baotintuc.vn)
This marks the fourth time that the annual event has been held with the aim of introducing cinematographic works of both professional and amateur directors of Vietnamese origin.

During the three-day event, a total of 15 short films were screened in order to help audiences gain a greater insight into the unique characteristics of Vietnamese culture and other global cultures through the lens of young overseas Vietnamese directors.

These films feature real life stories or fiction, all of which reflect different characters, events, and psychological developments of Vietnamese people in every corner of the world.

All of the works were screened at Le Grand Action cinema in district 5 of Paris, while audiences were given the opportunity to interact with the young film directors and get involved in discussions regarding the content and the significance of the films.

"Ici Vietnam Festival” was held for the first time back in 2018 at the initiative of the General Union of Vietnamese in France (UGVF).

The event provides an ideal venue for young overseas Vietnamese involving in various fields such as film and music, contemporary art, dance, literature, football, and culinary arts can come together to promote their creativity and share their achievements.

 

Vietnam reports 3,639 new COVID-19 cases on October 25

The Ministry of Health announced 3,639 new cases of COVID-19, on October 25, along with 65 COVID-19 related deaths.

Among these new cases, 19 were imported and 3,620 were local transmissions. Of these, 1,573 were detected in the community.

The national tally now stands at 892,579, of which 887,797 are the result of the fourth wave of infections that swept the country since late April.

Ho Chi Minh City remained the locality with the highest number of infections of 969, an increase of three cases compared to the previous day’s figure. It was followed by Binh Duong province with 517 cases, down seven cases, and Dong Nai province with 458, up 29 cases. The capital city of Hanoi recorded 18 new cases in the past 24 hours, up four cases.

The 65 COVID-related deaths were in HCM City (40), Binh Duong (11), Dong Nai (7), Tay Ninh (3), Bac Lieu (2), An Giang (1), and Tien Giang (1). The country’s death toll is now 21,738.

According to the Ministry of Health’s report, 3,135 patients nationwide are in serious condition, with 15 on life support (ECMO).

A further 1,323 patients were given the all-clear on October 25, raising the total number of recoveries to 807,301.

More than 1.12 million vaccine doses were administered in Vietnam on October 24. The country has now inoculated more than 74 million doses of vaccine to date, with over 21.46 million people fully vaccinated./.

WHO Representative: Extensive vaccination of children helps reduce disease burden

The extensive vaccination of children aged 12 and above helps reduce disease burden and the risk of new variant emergence, potentially by reducing viral transmission, Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, said in an interview with Vietnam News Agency reporters.

Park spoke highly of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s vaccination scheme, saying that “the Ministry of Health emphasises the importance of accelerating vaccination for adults as first priority, especially the health workers, older people, and those with co-morbidities.”

This is in line with WHO recommendations, he stressed.

Regarding the ministry officially allowing COVID-19 vaccinations in children aged 12-17, with those aged 16-17 to get the shots first, the WHO official said extensive vaccination of children 12 years old and above will reduce disease burden and the risk of new variant emergence, potentially by reducing viral transmission.

According to Park, WHO has granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents (children above the age of 12).

WHO is urging manufacturers who have completed data on their vaccines to submit the data to WHO for review to increase vaccine availability for children and adolescents, he said.

As adolescents and children with comorbidities are also at significantly higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, they may be offered vaccination, he said, while calling on everybody to continue to implement the 5K and the other public health interventions.

In addition, children should be guided to inform parents or caregivers if he/she feels sick. Individual prevention measures of adults are also important in protecting children, preventing the transmission of the virus from family members, he added.

Studies are ongoing regarding the frequency and risk of COVID-19 in children and adolescents, he went on.

“We know that children and adolescents of all ages can become infected and transmit the virus; however, developing evidence suggests that younger children may be less susceptible and children, in general, are less likely to suffer from severe disease and death following COVID-19 infection compared with other age groups.

“The recently released Global Vaccination Strategy has included adolescents (children above the age of 12) as a key group in achieving 70 percent vaccination coverage. Therefore, once all high risk groups are fully vaccinated, vaccination of adolescents (those ages 12 and above) can be done to reduce disease burden and the risk of new variant emergence,” Park affirmed./.

38th and 39th ASEAN Summits open

The 38th and 39th Summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related meetings opened on October 26 under the chairmanship of Brunei – the country holding ASEAN chair in 2021.

The event took place virtually with a focus on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended the conference.

With the theme "We care, we prepare, we prosper", the ASEAN meetings are expected to discuss a number of issues including further strengthening the capacity of the ASEAN Community towards post-COVID-19 economic recovery, enhancing ASEAN's readiness to tackle common challenges, seizing new opportunities to pursue shared prosperity; while maintaining cooperation to achieve the long-term goals of the region.

The 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and related meetings will last until October 28. 

Along with ASEAN leader, the meetings see the participation of leaders of ASEAN dialogue partners, including China, Japan, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, the United States, Australia, Russia, and representatives of other countries./.

Vietnam attends meeting of ASEAN defence senior officials

A Vietnamese delegation attended the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials' Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG), which convened virtually on October 25.

Head of the delegation, Colonel Vu Thanh Van, Director of the External Relations Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence, proposed that it is necessary to agree on how to implement the observer regulation of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus Experts' Working Group for partners on the basis of the ADMM's concept paper on external relations adopted at the 15th ADMM in June.

Van also announced the multilateral activities that Vietnam is expected to host in the near future, including the ADSOM WG at the end of November and the 15th meeting of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group on peacekeeping, scheduled to be held online in December. The ADSOM WG will discuss and develop guiding documents for the implementation of a flag-raising initiative, which places the ASEAN flag next to the national flag at the military unit of an ASEAN member state participating in UN peacekeeping operations.

At the conference, participants discussed the implementation of outcomes achieved at the 15th ADMM and the 8th ADMM Plus, including the consideration of the proposals of the UK, France, Canada, and the EU to become observers of the ADMM Plus Experts’ Working Group.

They also agreed on the preparations for the ADMM Retreat and the informal meeting of ASEAN Defense Ministers of ASEAN with Australia and the Republic of Korea in November.

The countries also informed about upcoming activities in the ADMM and ADMM Plus mechanisms, including the preparation for the ASEAN-Russia navy exercise co-chaired by Indonesia and Russia./.

15th NA’s second session's first week completes proposed programme: Top legislator

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue assessed that in the first six working days of its second session, the National Assembly (NA) had basically completed the proposed programme.

He made the statement while chairing a meeting on works done in the first week of the session held in Hanoi on October 25.

The meeting agenda was arranged in a reasonable and scientific manner, making the most of time, regarding both group and online discussions, and ensuring the principles of democracy in the activities of the NA, Hue said.

During the remaining time of the online session, the NA will discuss the economic restructuring plan for 2021-2025, the national planning for land use for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050, among others. These are all important issues for the sustainable development of the country, ensuring the social security in the coming time, the top legislator noted.

The NA Chairman emphasised that it is necessary to further promote the good works and learn from the things that have not been done well in the first six days to better organise the session.

National policy and people's livelihood issues discussed, considered and decided by the NA need to be fully, promptly, and comprehensively informed to voters and the people, he said, recommending related parliamentary agencies be more proactive in providing information to the press.

He also requested tightening the work of ensuring safety and epidemic prevention and control during the event./.

Two men prosecuted for illegal transport of Covid-19 rapid test kits

Police in the Northern Province of Phu Tho yesterday said that they have prosecuted two men for “transporting prohibited goods", and "illegally transporting goods across the border".

Pham Huy Long, born in 1989, and Tran Dang Kiet, born in 1994, both in the Northern Province of Lao Cai have been held in custody.

At around 2am on August 22, police officers in Phu Tho Province in collaboration with the Traffic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security discovered Ly Van Thu, born in 1997 in Lao Cai Province was driving a car on the Hanoi - Lao Cai highway in Phu Tho Province’s Viet Tri City.

Driver Thu couldn’t produce certificates of commodity origin on his car. Among goods on the vehicle, there were nearly 7,000 Covid-19 rapid test kits priced at nearly VND1 billion (US$43,902).

During the investigation process, police officials found that Kiet and Long were involved in the case.

Long confessed he was hired to transport the commodities by a person in the capital city of Hanoi while Kiet was verified to be the importer of the above goods with the amount of VND112 million.

To cover up his illegal acts, Kiet declared that the import goods were five tons of spicy and sour vermicelli from China in customs declarations.

Vietnam latest news

Cambodian King lauds thriving cooperation with Vietnam

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni applauded the unceasing development of his country’s comprehensive ties with Vietnam while receiving new Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Huy Tang, who came to present his credentials on October 25.

Welcoming the diplomat, the king of Cambodia emphasised the significance of the time-tested solidarity and friendship between the two peoples, noting with satisfaction that the all-round cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia has been developing unceasingly as seen in high-level mutual visits, as well as expanding relations between their ministries, sectors, and in different areas.

He voiced his hope that the obtained achievements will be maintained and brought into play so as to benefit both sides.

He also spoke highly of Vietnam’s comprehensive development and wished Tang a successful term with numerous contributions to bilateral relations.

Expressing his honour to be appointed the Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia, Tang appreciated King Sihamoni’s sentiment and attention towards Vietnam and the long-standing solidarity and friendship between the two countries.

He hailed the flourishing comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, along with the enormous attainments the Cambodian people have gained, especially their consensus to surmount every difficulty and challenge in the COVID-19 combat.

The ambassador said he believes that under the judicious rule of King Sihamoni and the clear-sighted leadership of the Cambodian Senate, National Assembly and Government, the people of Cambodia will continue harvesting even greater successes on the path to build a kingdom of peace, stability and prosperous development.

Tang pledged utmost efforts to nurture the two countries’ traditional and close-knit relations, thereby helping develop their sound neighbourliness, traditional friendship, and comprehensive, sustainable, and long-term cooperation in an increasingly substantive and effective manner.

On this occasion, he conveyed the Vietnamese leaders’ best wishes to King Sihamoni and the Queen Mother. The Cambodian King offered thanks and wished the Vietnamese people more and greater achievements in national development./.

HCMC facilitates granting of vehicle registration certificate

The Ho Chi Minh City Road and Railway Traffic Police Department (PC08) under the Municipal Public Security Department today informed that residents can perform vehicle registration procedures for vehicles without transfer application or vehicles with many owners from now to December 31. After January 1 of 2022, the PC08 will not solve this procedure.

The HCMC traffic police have granted vehicle registration certificate without transfer application or vehicles with many owners to residents from now until December 31.

According to the PC08, vehicle users without transfer applications or vehicles with many owners can arrive at the agency to carry out the procedure of changing vehicle ownership and submit the appropriate documents following the regulations. Accordingly, those users have to declare the detailed vehicle purchasing process, eligible vehicle reception and guarantee the vehicle origin.

At the same time, the users have to submit the vehicle registration certificate, the transfer documents of both the owner holding the vehicle registration certificate and the latest seller (if possible).

As for the registration procedure, the PC08 guided the vehicle users to contact the registration agencies in the places where they are living to submit the registration application, registration fee documents as regulated, certificate of revoking registration certificate and license plate for vehicles of the provinces and cities or motorbikes of various registration agencies.

After 30 days without any disputes or litigation, the registration management agencies will consider granting vehicles registration certificates and license plates for cars in the same provinces, cities or motorcycles in the same registration agencies.

As for other cases, the registration management agencies will revoke the vehicle registration certificate along with license plates to carry out the procedure of registering and granting new license plates following users’ residence.

Hanoi launches first safety tour in new normal

A safety tour with a combination of automatic audio guides and traditional sightseeing has been launched recently at the Vietnam National Museum of History. The event was organised by the museum in collaboration with the Hanoitourist Corporation (Hanoitourist) to adapt to the current COVID-19 pandemic and adjust the museum's operations in the new normal.

This tour combines traditional sightseeing with the application of automatic narration technology through scanning a QR code to ensure the safety of visitors in the new normal.

In particular, visitors can also admire and learn about three among many rare and precious treasures only at the Vietnam National Museum of History. They are "Ngoc Lu bronze drum" and the golden books and seals - the treasures symbolising the supreme power of the kings of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam.

The tour connects events and artifacts displayed in the Vietnam National Museum of History with the Hanoi Opera House and the historical relic of the Bac Bo Phu (now became the Government Guest House) from the perspective of architecture and historical events, thereby helping visitors understand more deeply as well as having new experiences in the tour.

 To ensure safety, each tour group will have no more than 10 members and they have to keep a distance and do not contact with each other.

 The "French architecture in the heart of Hanoi" tour will be held every Saturday and Sunday, starting  on October 23./.

VinBus launches first smart electric bus service in Phu Quoc

VinBus, the member company of VinGroup specialising in transport services, officially put into operation first smart electric buses in Phu Quoc Island, southern Kien Giang province, on October 25.

In the first stage, the smart buses run every 30 minutes from 8:30am to 2:30am, connecting Phu Quoc United Centre – VinGroup’s new sleepless super complex – and VinPearl and Grand World.

VinBus is an electric bus model, the first of its kind in Vietnam, manufactured and assembled by VinFast at the Automobile Manufacture Complex in Hai Phong, which uses using green, environmental friendly energy.

It is part of VinBus’ plan to expand smart electric bus services in Phu Quoc in the future to meet the expectedly increasing travel demand from both local residents and tourists./.

Military doctor on the frontline against COVID-19

Major Bùi Thanh Thuyết, a 37-year-old doctor at the 108 Military Hospital, prepares for her latest departure to support frontline teams in the fight against COVID-19.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first appeared in Việt Nam in February 2020, Major Thuyết has headed a team responsible for taking samples and sending them for testing.

The work was hard and there was a high risk of infection, but she and her colleagues were steadfast, collecting and analysing samples as quickly as possible. 

She was recently sent to support frontline teams at the epicentre of COVID-19 in Bắc Giang Province.

"We have to stand very close to people to take samples from their throat and nose. Our actions taking samples often make people cough and choke, which causes a high potential risk of spreading the virus," Thuyết told Tin Tức (News) newspaper.

"We always have to focus to both ensure our own safety and the progress of our work."

Thuyết said she sympathised with the hardships many are facing, particularly when she saw health workers in protective equipment, drenched in sweat and working all night. Some were exhausted and fainted because of the long hours they worked in arduous conditions, Thuyết ​said. 

During the fourth wave of COVID-19, her family have stepped in to care for her two sons. Their time is split between her hometown with their grandparents and a military centre with their father in Thanh Hóa Province. She has even had to ask her children's teacher to take care of them.

“In this special situation, my children understand the hardships of their parents and they have grown up on their own. I see their changes through words, gestures and habits when I returned home after each time I have to work away from home," said Thuyết.

She missed her children very much and wanted to go home with them, but even they encourage her with phone calls and messages saying "Mom, you complete the mission and come back to us!".

She has worked hard to fight the pandemic, for the pride she feels in the blue shirt she wears, for the unconditional support her loved ones give her, for her community and for the Vietnamese people.

There was one posting where Thuyết and her colleagues had to stay in a COVID-19 hotspot for two months before they could leave.

As the head of her team, she always encourages her colleagues to listen and share their opinions on how to best complete their tasks together. 

Working in the Department of Microbiology at the 108 Military Hospital, she has also made contributions in scientific research related to sepsis, clinical characteristics, molecular biology, hepatitis E and D viruses, and the application of advanced techniques in diagnosis. 

"There are many people who have been silently doing their duty all day and night for the common good of everyone. They are quietly supporting us without knowing."

"We are always willing to work when the country needs us. We try and work hard not for the certificates of merit, but in the hope of contributing a small part to the fight against the pandemic,” Thuyết said. 

HCMC ready for control of Covid-19 in new normal situation

For the first time, Ho Chi Minh City has assessed and officially announced the epidemic level of each ward, commune, district, and city in accordance with the government’s Resolution 128 on October 24.

According to the assessment, the city is ranked at the second level of epidemic risk (or medium risk); therefore, administrative solutions and other social activities will continue to be easing regulations for the new normal when the city reaches the first level (or low risk).

The city can achieve such good results thanks to various drastic and synchronous solutions under the direction of the Government, the National Steering Committee for Disease Prevention and Control, the Ministry of Health, and the Ho Chi Minh City Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

Moreover, governments in all districts, departments, socio-political organizations, voluntary organizations, and people from all walks of life are united and determined to fight the epidemic.

Currently, the number of new cases in the city has decreased but is still high thankfully, the vaccination rate of people over 18 years old in the city has reached 99.12 percent, and especially the rate of full dose vaccination of people over 65 years old has reached 89.97 percent, so the city is classified as a medium-risk place at the second level. However, the city authorities and the health sector must have a plan to respond to the third level ( or high risk).

Furthermore, the city must complete fully self-reliant in the battle against the pandemic, thousands of medical workers students who have been sent to help Ho Chi Minh City and other southern localities in the fight against Covid-19 have withdrawn from the southern metropolis as the city has put the coronavirus situation under control.

Response scenarios for different circumstances of each risk level in the safe adaptation and effective control of the Covid-19 epidemic according to the Resolution 128 have been developed and implemented by the HCMC health sector to monitor the natural progression of the pandemic and detect Covid-19 outbreaks and infection cases early as well as provide care and treatment for people with Covid-19. The epidemic control groups of the city's Center for Disease Control are ready to fight when a new outbreak is detected.

The city has had a plan to replace military medical soldiers and promote the effectiveness of mobile medical stations in districts and Thu Duc city epidemic prevention steering committees and the health sector in accordance with the actual requirements. The city has even set up reserve squads for emergency situations. Treatment facilities at field hospitals and treatment hospitals are also ready for new situations in response to the epidemic levels.

Public and private hospitals have been converting isolation sections for people with Covid-19 before into Covid-19 treatment departments in readiness for the re-occurrence of coronavirus. In addition, several districts still maintained field facilities for treatment and isolation of Covid-19 infected patients.

Last but not least, in the new phase, the city will form three field infirmaries that ensure the on-campus treatment of severe Covid-19 patients.

Along with developing a plan for mobile medical stations and Covid-19 care teams in the community, the health sector has developed four unforeseen response scenarios corresponding to epidemic situations at hospitals.

If the city well controls the pandemic with a few infection cases, three hospitals including field hospital No. 16, the City Children Hospital and Tu Du Maternity Hospital with 2,000 beds, 120 beds of children, and 60 beds for pregnant women.

If the fresh cases of Covid-19 roughly correspond to the second level, the city will use the field hospitals No. 16 and 13 as well as Covid-19 treatment establishments in districts, two above-mentioned children hospitals, and two maternity hospitals Tu Du and Hung Vuong.

Once the city’s pandemic level reaches the third level, the city will use three field hospitals No. 13, 14, 16 and in districts, Cho Ray, Military Hospital 175 and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, three pediatrics hospitals and two maternity hospitals with 11,623 beds for Covid-19 patients, 180 beds for Covid-19 children and 120 beds for moms-to-be.

In the fourth scenario for re-occurrence of Covid-19 with more fresh infection cases, each district must set up a field hospital with over 300 beds in addition to the above-mentioned hospitals in the third level. 

President highlights need for elite, politically firm People’s Security Academy

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 25 underlined the target to build a modern and elite People’s Security force with firm political, ideological and moral strength in line with the goal set in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

Addressing a ceremony to celebrate the 75th founding anniversary of the People’s Security Academy, the State leader stressed that the academy staff and students must be deeply imbued with the viewpoint that the mission to protect national security must be put under the absolute and direct leadership of the Party, the concentrated and united governance of the State.

The State leader noted that the academy has maintained solidarity and creativity to overcome all difficulties and challenges, completing its mission in training personnel for the people’s public security force and contributing to protecting the national security and social safety.

Ensuring national security contributes very importantly to ensuring the strength and the existence of the Party and our regime, as well as the country's stability and sustainable development, President Phuc said.

Highlighting challenges and opportunities that the country is eyeing, he requested that the academy and the Ministry of Public Security to continue to firmly safeguard revolutionary achievements, the national interest, the Party, State, people and the regime, while strengthening renovation and international cooperation, fighting all sabotaging plots of hostile forces, and reducing crime.

He asked the leaders of academy to change the mindset and take stronger actions to further develop the academy and continue to complete all missions. At the same time, it should reform its training activities to acquire higher quality, he said.

Founded in 1946, the academy has made significant contributions to the training of public security officers serving the country during the two resistance wars for national independence in the past as well as the present national construction and defence.

On behalf of the Party and State, President Phuc presented the Military Exploit Order, first class, to the academy in recognition of its outstanding achievements.

President Phuc also beat the drum to launch the new academic year of the People’s Security Academy./.

HCM City drafts plan for downtown underground plaza

The HCM City Department of Architecture and Planning has sought feedback from other city agencies and experts on creating an underground plaza in the downtown area.

The plan envisages a square and commercial area under the Opera House, which will be connected with a park that is near Bạch Đằng Wharf on Tôn Đức Thắng Street.

The first level will have commercial space including shops and stores, and the next two and three will have parking space.

There will be escalators and elevators near bus stops in the area.

Beneath Mê Linh Roundabout will be a garden, coffee shops, restaurants, and retail stores.

The area will be connected to an underground parking lot beneath Tôn Đức Thắng Street.

HCM City had already approved a detailed plan for developing its downtown area in 2012.

The underground plaza will spread over 930ha, and will have an underground traffic system with two metro stations on line No 1 -- Bến Thành Market and Opera House – and a pedestrian walkway.

More than a dozen other projects alongside the metro line are under construction.

The project also hopes to reduce the traffic congestion in downtown roads.

The department said the underground development is urgently needed due to the metro system.

Lê Hoàng Châu, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Asociation (HoREA), said underground developments would be a new investment channel for developers and investors in general.

The first underground trade centre beneath the metro line near Bến Thành Market is being built on 45,000sq.m with a shopping area and square.

Water sources need to be prepared for winter-spring rice crop

Localities in south-central coastal and Tây Nguyên regions needed to sufficiently prepare irrigation water sources for the 2021-2022 winter-spring rice crop to ensure the cultivation schedule, said Lê Thanh Tùng, vice director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Crop Production.

The areas at risk of drought should switch from three crops to two, or arrange a suitable production schedule to avoid drought and salinity. They should also apply farming techniques to limit the impact of drought and salt water intrusion on rice areas, Tùng said during a meeting reviewing the 2021 summer-autumn and autumn crops and plan for the 2021-2022 winter-spring crop in the south-central coastal region, which was held in Hà Nội yesterday.

Localities had to promote the conversion of rice areas that were likely to suffer water shortages to other short-term crops to increase production efficiency and save water, he said.

According to the crop production department, the total area of the 2021-2022 winter-spring crop in the regions is 321,500ha, decreasing by more than one thousand hectares compared to the same period last year.

The average yield is estimated at more than 6.7 tonnes per ha and the output is expected to be more than 2.1 million tonnes, an increase of 10,000 tonnes compared to last year’s winter-spring crop.

The department recommended that the localities needed to instruct local farmers to start sowing from December 10 to 31, 2021 and later than January 10, 2022 to harvest before April 30 for areas which have adequate water.

Particularly for three rice crops in Bình Định Province, the sowing has to start from November 25 to December 5, 2021, and from November 15 to late December in Khánh Hoà, Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận provinces.

The areas that will face water shortages needed to be sown before December 10, 2021. The area is for 10-15 per cent of the total cultivated area.

Low-lying areas that have poor drainage capability need to sow before January 10, 2022, right after the water recedes.

The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) provinces must prepare irrigation water sources to sow from December 10 to 31, 2021.

Regarding the rice variety structure, the provinces should study the situation of each locality to use appropriate rice varieties.

However, it is necessary to promote the use of certified and short-term varieties with high yield, good quality, and good disease and drought resistance.

According to Tùng, due to the La Nina phenomenon, from October to the end of this year, the density of storms and tropical depressions in the East Sea will be more than the average of many years.

The total rainfall in the central and the Central Highlands regions in the last months of this year will be higher, so the early sowing of rice areas needs to be updated regularly with climate and weather information to ensure safe sowing and avoid damage caused by rain and flooding.

According to Nguyễn Văn Tỉnh, director of the Water Resource Department, the water sources for agricultural production in the region were mainly from irrigation and hydro-power reservoirs.

However, the reservoirs have just met 25-30 per cent of the total cultivation areas, Tỉnh said.

In general, the water resources for the 2021-2022 winter-spring crop will be adequate. However, there may be light droughts in Ninh Thuận Province and some districts of Bình Thuận Province which have small irrigation works.

In addition, areas that depend on water from hydropower systems such as Vu Gia - Thu Bồn, and Sông Ba may experience drought and local water shortages if the system does not operate sufficiently.

Tỉnh recommended localities should calculate the water sources for building up proper sowing schedules as well as closely co-operate with electric suppliers for proactively regulating the water from hydro-power reservoirs for production and daily life.

The provinces should also focus on building more irrigation works, large inter-regional water reservoirs and water transfer systems, Tỉnh said.

Nguyễn Thị Tố Chân, vice director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Bình Định Province, said the province had been zoning the areas which will face water shortages to actively respond and avoid losses.

The 2021-2022 winter-spring crop will be a difficult crop in terms of sowing timetable for the province as well as other localities in the region if the rain lasts until the end of December, Chân said.

Besides, the price of fertilisers and agricultural materials is too high now, she added.

The crop production department reported that in the 2021 summer-autumn crop in the regions, the cultivation areas reached over 181,000ha with a yield of 6.1 tonnes per ha and output of 1.1 million tonnes, an increase of 124,000 tonnes compared to the summer-autumn crop of 2020. 

No anti-Covid commitment required for air, rail passengers

Air and rail passengers will not be required to fill in a form showing their commitment to complying with Covid-19 safety protocols from today, October 25, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry has sent a dispatch to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and the Vietnam Railway Authority asking them to stop asking passengers to make a written commitment to compliance with anti-Covid measures.

In line with the decision signed by Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan, air and rail passengers will still have to file a health declaration using the PC-Covid mobile app and strictly follow Covid safety protocols.

Earlier on October 20, the ministry issued Decision 1840 on the resumption of domestic air routes and Decision 1839 on the arrangement of passenger trains.

Under the decisions, before boarding aircraft or a train, passengers are required to fill a form committing to complying with anti-pandemic measures. However, the requirement delayed the departure time of flights and trains and created mass gatherings, giving passengers a potential exposure to coronavirus.

The decision to remove the requirement was aimed at minimizing the Covid transmission risk, the local media reported.

ICI Vietnam Festival introduces films by young OVs in France

The annual ICI Vietnam Festival, the fourth of its kind, took place in Paris from October 22-24, introducing films by young overseas Vietnamese directors to the public.

During the event, 15 short films were screened, helping the audience discover many unique aspects of the convergence between the Vietnamese culture and others worldwide.

The audience also had a chance to interact with directors and filmmakers and share their feelings about films.

At an exchange on October 24 afternoon, they watched several films for free and met young directors joining the festival.

Held for the first time in 2018 under the initiative of the Association of Vietnamese in France, the event aimed to uphold the creativity of young OVs in a wide range of areas, from movie, music, contemporary arts to literature, football and cuisine./. 

Vietnam-ASOCIO Smart City Summit to take place next month

The Vietnam – ASOCIO Smart City Summit 2021 will be held next month by the Vietnam Software Association (VINASA) and the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO).

Themed “Smart City,” the event will be held from November 2 – 6 via video conference to discuss latest technology trends in smart city. It is expected to be attended by about 10,000 delegates from Vietnam and overseas.

The event provides a platform for experts to share information and practices in developing smart cities and improving living standards of urban citizens through 14 discussions across five topics – Digital Government, Smart Real Estate, Smart Industrial Parks, Products/Solutions for Smart City, and Startup with Smart City.

It also features a virtual exhibition of e-Government solutions, services and platforms in multiple areas.

The government approved a project for sustainable development of smart cities in Vietnam from 2018 – 2025, with a vision towards 2030, in August 2018. Since then, some 40 cities and provinces in the country have developed and adopted their own smart city plans./.

Vietnam actively makes responsible contributions to ASEAN common affairs

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will lead a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation to attend the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits, ASEAN summits with partners and the third Mekong-Republic of Korea (RoK) Summit via videoconference from October 26-28 at the invitation of Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hasanal Bolkiah – Chair of ASEAN 2021.

The summits are the most important high-level events of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2021 and the largest external activity that the Vietnamese PM is to attend this year.

As scheduled, 10 documents will be published at the summits, while 25 others are expected to be adopted, and 66 will be recorded, including statements, strategies, cooperation frameworks, action plans, reports and visions covering all three major cooperation pillars of the bloc.

Following the ASEAN Year 2021 theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, during the events, ASEAN member countries will continue to focus on promoting priorities of the ASEAN Community building. Contents on the ASEAN Community building in 2020 under the chair of Vietnam will be maintained and promoted, especially the ASEAN Community's Post-2025 Vision.

The 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and the related summits with partners of ASEAN will be chances for Vietnam to continue affirming the country’s external policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification, multilateralisation, and comprehensive and extensive international integration.

To promote the good outcomes of the ASEAN Chairmanship Year in 2020, Vietnam will continue to maintain its proactive and positive engagement and responsible contributions to the association's common affairs, while coordinating with Brunei to continue to implement priorities put forth by Vietnam in 2020 in association with ASEAN priorities in 2021, especially contents related to the bloc's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the evaluation of the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, the building of the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision, and the promotion of ASEAN's role in sub-regional cooperation.

Vietnam’s participation in the summits also manifests the country’s wish to accompany other ASEAN member countries in overcoming difficulties; maintaining the ASEAN solidarity and unity; continuing the building of the ASEAN Community and enhancement of regional connectivity; effectively responding to emerging challenges; and reinforcing the central role, position and voice of the ASEAN in the international arena./.

Female director introduces cải lương with TV shows

Female director Tô Thiên Kiều is making her mark and producing TV shows featuring cải lương (reformed opera), a 100-year-old traditional music genre of the south, to attract people in HCM City and the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region. 

“I hope my TV shows will help fans, particularly youth, love cải lương, a unique theatre that is the spirit of Vietnamese people in the South," said theatre scriptwriter-director Kiều, who has 20 years of experience in the industry.

Kiều has overcome serious challenges and proven her ability to produce quality cải lương shows featuring Vietnamese culture and history. She believes cải lương and other traditional gernes of theatre should be expanded on social networks, including YouTube. 

Kiều and her staff are working with TV stations and entertainment agencies to produce and release cải lương performances on social media platforms. 

"I love to entertain young audiences and YouTube is a way to meet them,”said the 48-year-old. 

Kiều began her career as a theatre actress for a cải lương theatre in Long An Province. She later was involved in scriptwriting before working as a TV producer. 

She has produced and directed 30 TV and game shows featuring veteran artists and young talents in cải lương. 

Through her productions, cải lương plays have been restaged in new versions meeting the tastes of young people.  

Her productions have been on channels of Hồ Chí Minh Television, Vĩnh Long Radio & Television and Bình Phước Television. They are also on YouTube as Kiều and her crew can attract more fans this way during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Highlighted shows include Tài Tử Tranh Tài (The Battle of Theatre Artists) and Danh Ca Vọng Cổ (Theatre Stars). Both shows introduce a mix of cải lương and bolero, a genre of slow-tempo Latin music. They have attracted young talents from art troupes in the region.  

 “Even though our shows are targeted to young audiences, we offer cải lương in a traditional style,” said Kiều, who began her career as a theatre performer. 

Another project by Kiều is Sao Nối Ngôi (Bright Stars), a TV game show offering cải lương and tuồng (classical drama) performances on the Vĩnh Long Television’s THLV channel.

The show targets youth and encourages audiences to learn more about Vietnamese history and culture through theatre. 

Sao Nối Ngôi has attracted millions of people in HCM City and the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region back to Vietnamese theatre and has offered quality plays staged by veteran and young actors.

“We are working to film, record and write about the events, the plays and artists of cải lương since the art's beginnings in Mỹ Tho in Tiền Giang Province in the early 1920s,” said Kiều.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 25

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 25

Lawmakers to mull over three draft laws on October 25