HCM City to receive 56,555 tonnes of rice from national reserve hinh anh 1

The General Department of State Reserves under the Ministry of Finance has issued a document on the provision of over 56,555 tonnes of rice from national reserve to Ho Chi Minh City to support pandemic-hit residents.

The department has signed contracts with the Phat Tai Company Limited in Dong Thap province, Thuan Minh Import-Export JSC in HCM City and Trung An High-Tech Agriculture JSC in Can Tho city to buy enough rice to supply to HCM City.

The HCM City State Reserve Department is tasked to work with local authorities to distribute fee rice to people in need.

Earlier, the General Department has given 14,500 tonnes of rice to the city. The distribution was completed on September 9./.

Local students win ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021

Vietnamese students Nguyen Nhat Vi and Pham Quang Vinh, both of whom are studying at RMIT University, have won third prize at the ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021 for their “Flatten the Plastic Curve” campaign.

The campaign was launched to encourage young Vietnamese people to minimise single-use plastics through online ordering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Nhat Vi, COVID-19 has challenged the sustainable habits of Vietnamese citizens since they were required to minimise physical contact and any unnecessary traveling.

“As the most adaptable generation of the region, ASEAN youth quickly adjusted themselves to the situation by transferring their daily activities to digital platforms,” says Vi.

“Convenience comes with a price, and minimized physical contact is a tradeoff between health and environment. The ‘new normal’ life is now indulged with single-use plastic packaging.”

“Sadly, this was not what we envisioned for our Vietnam, or our region, before the pandemic. We, as two Vietnamese youths, are now calling on young online shoppers to reduce as much as they can during the pandemic, for a greener new normal, and for a better life,” she added.

The ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021, under the theme “#ASEANYouth and COVID-19 ─ Response, Recovery, and Resilience”, was endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY). In addition, it was is also supported by the ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN Secretariat, Ireland Embassy, and the ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT, a joint project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. State Department.

The contest invited a number of talented youths from throughout ASEAN to share and promote fact-based and compelling messages which serve to showcase the importance of young people from the bloc at the forefront of efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typhoon Dianmu wreaks havoc in many localities

Typhoon Dianmu and prolonged subsequent rains had wreaked havoc in many provinces and cities across the country such as Hoa Binh, Phu Tho, Quang Tri, Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan and Kon Tum as of 5pm on September 24, according to the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control.

The typhoon, the 6th storm entering the East Sea so far this year, damaged 39 houses and two schools, inundated 126 ha of rice and 34 ha of crops, destroyed one dyke and water pumping station, and caused landslides at 16 locations.

At present, traffic on national highways is basically smooth.

The office asked cities and provinces to closely keep track of downpours following the typhoon, raise public awareness of prevention and control measures, and pool resources to find two missing fishermen.

They were also required to regularly report to the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control, and the Office of the National Committee for Disaster Response and Search and Rescue./.  

Vietnamese Ambassador highlights upcoming Russia visit by Foreign Minister

The upcoming Russia visit by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son aims to affirm that the strengthening of bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership is a priority of Vietnam, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Dang Minh Khoi in an interview recently granted to Vietnam News Agency.

Khoi said the visit, scheduled for September 25-29, will be the first overseas trip by the Vietnamese Foreign Minister. It is also the highest-level visit to Russia by a Vietnamese official in the past two years when the two countries are coping with COVID-19 pandemic.

Via the visit, the minister wants to convey the most important message that the consolidation of Vietnam – Russia comprehensive strategic partnership is a consistent policy and guideline of the Vietnamese Party and State, and Russia is always a priority in Vietnam’s external policy, Khoi said.

About the fight against COVID-19, the diplomat said the two countries have maintained channels to share experience in pandemic prevention and control as well as worked closely together on vaccine issues.

As regards the significance of the visit, Khoi said the visit is meant to maintain all-level liaison between the two nations, enhance collaboration in politics, external relations, national defence and security.

It is due to take place in the context that the two countries recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 20th anniversary of strategic partnership in 2021, and are preparing for the 10th anniversary of comprehensive strategic partnership next year.

Minister Son will mention collaboration in pandemic prevention and control, medicines and vaccines, and post-pandemic economic recovery, he said, adding that the visit is also expected to maintain, restore and strengthen economic, trade and tourism bonds.

In the near future, Vietnam will gradually re-open tourism market for fully vaccinated visitors who show a certificate of negative RT-PCR testing result to the virus. Vietnam considers Russia a key market in the field, Khoi said.

According to the ambassador, Minister Son will also talk with Russian leaders on the Vietnamese community in the country./. 

UNDP announces report on pandemic impacts on vulnerable households

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held a teleconference in Hanoi on September 24 to announce a report assessing COVID-19’s socio-economic impacts on vulnerable households in Vietnam, and another on the design and implementation of the Government’s second support package for those hit by the pandemic.

The survey polled 498 households and found out that 88 percent of them had jobs affected in July and 63.5 percent had income reduced by 30 percent and above compared to December 2019.

Those working in the tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors were the hardest hit.

Mental health is an emerging urgent issue because the lockdown situation is commonplace and prolonged. Up to 66.4 percent of respondents expressed their concern over the pandemic's impacts.

Cutting expenditure is the most common response employed by 79.4 percent of the households. As many as 71 percent cut food costs so that food security is also a problem.

A majority of respondents said they have yet to receive assistance from the Government’s second support package.

As the pandemic impacts in Vietnam are significant, the reports recommended that the Government should issue a new cash support programme with greater financial resources.

Pham Minh Thu, a researcher from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, said in the short-term, it is necessary to increase cash budget to meet people’s minimum living standards and use advanced technologies to offer timely support to individuals.

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Terence D. Jones talked about several trends that were mentioned in the two reports and hailed the Vietnamese Government for taking comprehensive health and social measures to mitigate the spread and impacts of the pandemic./.  

NA to organise annual socio-economic forum

The Office of the National Assembly (NA) in collaboration with NA’s Committee for Economic Affairs will organise a seminar to consult experts on socio-economic issues under the chair of NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Hai.

According to the NA Office, the seminar will focus on assessing the developments of the global financial, investment, and trade in 2021 and the latest developments of the world economy, and forecast the impact on Vietnam. The evaluation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's socio-economic situation, the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy, lessons learned in policy promulgation, recommendations and solutions for Vietnam from now until the end of the year and the following years of the 15th National Assembly will also be tabled for discussion.

This is the first consultation of the 15th National Assembly. The NA’s Office said the event is very important, even though it won't be held on a large scale due to the pandemic, adding that it is a part of the annual socio-economic forum of the NA.

The forum will contribute to gathering the wisdom of not only NA deputies but also a network of leading domestic experts, scientists, and managers as well as those from international organisations; forming quality practical scientific arguments, which are important inputs for the NA and the Government to consult in making reports on the implementation of the NA’s resolutions and other functions and duties as prescribed by law. It will attract the attention and supervision of the people and voters on matters of public concern, it said./. 

AmCham Vietnam donates medical supplies, equipment to HCM City

The Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Ho Chi Minh City on September 24 held a ceremony to receive medical supplies and equipment worth 352,000 USD donated by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) and its member firms to support hospitals in the city in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Ho Chi Minh City on September 24 held a ceremony to receive medical supplies and equipment worth 352,000 USD donated by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) and its member firms to support hospitals in the city in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The supplies and equipment include four ventilators, 55 electric syringe pumps and 10 portable ventilators.

Speaking at the event, chairwoman of the committee To Thi Bich Chau thanked Amcham Vietnam for its donation and shared her sympathy with the enterprises as they have overcome difficulties in production and business due to the pandemic.

She said their donation will be sent to front-liners promptly, helping to improve the efficiency of treatment for COVID-19 patients and drive back the pandemic soon.

Chau expected that the enterprises would continue supporting and accompanying Vietnam's and HCM City's policies, and “living safely with the pandemic” to help the city to push back COVID-19, re-open and recover the economy, towards returning to new normal./.

Binh Dinh province to restore Cham towers to create tourist attraction

The south-central province of Binh Dinh has recently approved a project worth 25 billion VND (more than one million USD) to renovate the Banh It towers in Phuoc Hiep commune, Tuy Phuoc district, in a move to promote their cultural values.

The work, invested in by the provincial Department of Culture and Sports, will be carried out in 2021-2022 and includes the completion of a cemented internal road, construction of a building to welcome tourists, a parking lot, and gardens.

Once completed, the Banh It towers, or Silver Towers, are expected to become a popular tourist destination.

Built in the late 11th and early 12th centuries on top of a hill, the complex has four towers that resemble “banh it”, a triangular glutinous rice cake from Binh Dinh. Each tower has its own architecture and high artistic value, with statues of God Shiva on top.

Binh Dinh was the capital of the Champa Kingdom from the 10th to 16th centuries, and proof of this golden age is in the towers still standing firm with domes covered by moss./. 

Mu Cang Chai tourism hit hard by pandemic

With magnificent landscapes, ideal weather, and the cultural beauty of the Mong ethnic minority people, tourism in Mu Cang Chai district in northern mountainous Yen Bai province has become a spearhead economic sector over recent years. Like elsewhere around the country, however, it has been hit hard by COVID-19.

Mu Cang Chai district has 94 accommodation establishments and 71 restaurants. With tourism advantages including iconic terraced fields, ideal weather conditions, and the cultural beauty of the Mong ethnic minority group, the local tourism sector has seen remarkable development over recent years.

The recovery of tourism in Vietnam and Mu Cang Chai will largely depend on how COVID-19 is controlled. With stringent measures imposed for pandemic prevention and new tourism products introduced to attract visitors, Mu Cang Chai’s tourism sector is expected to regain its strength soon and help tourism establishments offset the losses from the pandemic./. 

HCM City honours religious volunteers in COVID-19 fight

Ho Chi Minh City’s Vietnam Fatherland Front held a ceremony on September 24 to honour 147 religious volunteers who have completed their tasks of supporting doctors in the front line of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic at COVID-19 treatment hospitals in the city.

Addressing the event, Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the COVID-19 Intensive Care Hospital, praised the support of the volunteers, adding that when the hospital was newly established, the timely presence of religious volunteers helped the hospital complete its mission of providing medical care for patients.

Vice Chairwoman of the city’s Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee Phan Kieu Thanh Huong expressed her gratitude for the volunteers’ contributions to the pandemic fight, hoping that they will continue joining hands in pandemic prevention and control efforts to make the city soon return to the new normal.

Three more similar events were also held across the city to honour religious volunteers.

Since July 22, nearly 700 volunteers of different religious groups have taken part in COVID-19 prevention and control in various hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City./. 

2-mln-USD project to prevent maternal deaths in Vietnamese ethnic minority women

More than 2 million USD will be provided to help Vietnam reduce maternal deaths among ethnic minority women under a freshly-signed project.

The project “Leaving no one behind: Innovative interventions to reduce maternal mortality in ethnic minority regions in Vietnam” was signed on September 24 by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD HH Vietnam), a leading global biopharmaceutical company, and MSD for Mothers.

“Vietnam has made significant progress in improving sexual and reproductive health of the general population in the past 20 years, and was one of the only six countries in the world, which achieved, in 2015, the Millennium Development Goal – 5 (MDG5) on the reduction of maternal mortality,” UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Kitahara Naomi told the signing and launching ceremony of the project.

However, disparities and inequalities remain in access to and utilization of sexual and reproductive health services among different ethnic groups and regions, she said.

Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities and disproportionately affected vulnerable population groups, especially women and girls in general and pregnant mothers in the ethnic minority regions in particular, Kitahara said, adding that UNFPA is very much alarmed by this, as it essentially meant a reversal of developmental gains that Vietnam has achieved in the past decades in the areas of sexual and reproductive health.

Jennifer Cox, General Director of MSD HH Vietnam, said she believes this project will bring tangible benefits to women in Vietnam and set the foundation for communities and societies to thrive for generations to come.

Nguyen Duc Vinh, Director of the Maternal and Child Health Department under the Ministry of Health confirmed the support of the ministry to the project, adding to improve the health status of people who left behind including ethnic minorities is the centre of the government’s development agenda.

Funded by MSD for Mothers and MSD Vietnam in the amount of 1.2 million USD and the UNDP with 810,000 USD, the project is one of the most important initiatives to reduce maternal mortality among ethnic minorities in six provinces in Vietnam’s Northern Midlands and Mountains.

The project aims at increasing access to and utilization of integrated, quality and voluntary sexual and reproductive health services amongst ethnic minorities; improving the capacity on emergency obstetric care management in remote mountainous localities; and building a village-based birth attendant network in remote ethnic minority localities.

It will also integrate the COVID-19 prevention and control into the existing sexual and reproductive health programme and deliver innovative health education and community mobilization to ethnic minority communities to promote safe maternal deliveries.

Women, especially pregnant women, in 60 remote ethnic minority communes of six most disadvantaged provinces of Bac Can, Lai Chau, Son La, Dac Nong, Kon Tum and Gia Lai are expected to benefit from the project’s innovative interventions.

UNFPA will deliver the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Provincial Departments of Health in the selected provinces, and local civil society organizations from September 1, 2021 to September 30, 2024./. 

Party official meets South Sudanese Vice President

Vietnam will maintain its active contributions to UN peacekeeping efforts in South Sudan, said Phan Dinh Trac, Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of its Commission for Internal Affairs, during his meeting with the African country’s Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior in New York on September 23 (local time).

This is the highest-level meeting between the leaders of the Vietnamese Party and South Sudan since the two countries established diplomatic relations in February 2019.

Trac appreciated the progress in the two countries' relations since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, which, he said, helps create an important foundation to promote multifaceted cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels.

He congratulated South Sudan’s Government and people on their achievements in the transition process, believing that relevant parties will continue to well implement the 2018 Peace Agreement, thus bringing about long-lasting peace, stability and development to the country.

He also expressed his hope that the South Sudanese Government continues to create favourable conditions for operations of and ensure security and safety for Vietnamese soldiers participating in peacekeeping forces in the nation.

The Vietnamese official informed the South Sudanese President of the main achievements that Vietnam has achieved in the Doi Moi (Renewal) cause over the past 35 years and the main outcomes of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam. He shared experience in implementing Vietnam's foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralisation of relations, and emphasised the role of the Party's external relations in creating an important political foundation to stabilise, expand and tighten Vietnam's bilateral relations with other countries.

Vice President Rebecca conveyed greetings and thanks from President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the support of the Vietnamese Party, Government and people over the past time; and appreciated Vietnam's role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in contribution to South Sudan's peace.

She noted that South Sudan wishes to strengthen and expand diplomatic relations with all countries, including Vietnam, and continue to receive assistance from the international community.

She also expressed her deep impression on the image of a successfully transformed Vietnam, affirming that South Sudan will learn from Vietnam's development experience in many fields such as economy, trade, agriculture and health./. 

Pfizer committed to delivering 31 million doses of vaccine this year

Pfizer/BioNTech will provide Vietnam with 31 million doses of its vaccine for adults this year, and 20 million doses for children as soon as the vaccine is approved, says Jonathan Selib, senior vice president of Pfizer.

Selib was speaking on September 23 while receiving Vietnamese State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc who is on a working trip to the United States for the 76th UN General Assembly.

He also acknowledged Vietnam’s request for cooperation in vaccine production and said his company will quickly implement procedures for Vietnam to receive its unused vaccine from Poland.

The CEO welcomed the US’s recent establishment of a Regional Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Vietnam during Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Vietnam, demonstrating the US’s confidence in Vietnam’s disease control capacity. He said his firm will collaborate closely with this CDC office to work alongside Vietnam in its efforts to prevent diseases.

For his part, President Phuc said Pfizer has handed over more than 2.8 million doses of vaccine to Vietnam under the purchase contract signed with the Government of Vietnam, and expressed hope the firm would fulfil its commitment in the remaining months of the year.

According to President Phuc, a sufficient supply of vaccines will help not only protect people’s health but also stabilize socio-economic development, avoid supply chain disruption, and create favourable conditions for enterprises, including US firms, to maintain production. 

Sanofi Vietnam inks deal to switch to rice husk fuel for boilers from diesel

Sanofi Vietnam and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s Climate Protection through Sustainable Bioenergy Market in Vietnam Project are collaborating to convert diesel boilers at the former's factories into rice husk-fired ones to cut down the amount of waste and air pollution.

They signed an agreement on Thursday (September 23) for carrying out the conversion.

It will be done as part of Sanofi’s ‘Rice is the new green’ environmental initiative to develop sustainable rice husk biomass energy.

It is one of three to be funded by the company’s Planet Mobilization Fund as part of efforts to become carbon-neutral by 2025.

Sanofi Vietnam is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 2,300 tons a year.

Vietnam is the world’s fifth largest rice producing country and churns out more than 10 million tons of rice husk every year.

Rice husk is renewable and can serve as an alternative energy source replacing fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Moreover, the by-product of rice husk combustion is ash with a high content of silica, which is a raw material for industrial production that has however not been exploited.

Goalkeeper Trường won't let second chance slip by

The life of goalkeeper Bùi Tấn Trường has had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster.

Fame and fortune were quickly followed by a massive dip in form, loss of confidence, and even allegations of match-fixing. He went from national number one to a man out of work. But now his luck has changed once more, and he's back where he belongs, in goal for Việt Nam.

And after going from hero to zero, then back to hero again, he has now earned plaudits for his performances, chosen among the best keepers in the second qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup.  

At 35, some might say he is in last chance saloon, but the shot-stopper is fully aware of his responsibilities to repay the faith others have shown in him. 

Two years ago he was out of a job. After winning a number of medals during a six-year spell with Becamex Bình Dương FC, the allegations of match-fixing began to circulate. At the end of the 2019 campaign, Trường found himself on the scrapheap, unwanted and unable to find a new club. 

Born in 1986, he was a member of the Việt Nam U22 squad which won the Merdeka Cup in 2008 in which he saved a penalty against Malaysia in the final.

Trường made his debut for the national senior team in the 0-0 draw with Syria during the 2011 Asian Cup’s qualifier in 2009.

His Bronze Ball statue for the third-best player of 2009 brought him a record deal of VNĐ5 billion (US$270,000 at that time) with Đồng Tháp FC and made him the most expensive goalkeeper of the V.League in 2010.

Two years later, he broke the record he set with a VNĐ9 billion ($432,000 at that time) move to Xuân Thành Sài Gòn.

Trường signed with Bình Dương in 2013 and in six years he won two national championship titles, two National Cup and two Super Cup trophies.

Together with titles, he also made some terrible mistakes that strongly affected the results of the national team at the 25th SEA Games’ final in 2009, AFF Cup’s semi-finals in 2010 and 2015 Asian Cup qualifier in 2013, and for his club at the 2019 AFC Cup when Bình Dương lost to Ceres Negros of the Philippines.

Although he was never found guilty of match-fixing, rumours surrounded the goalie like a bad smell and he lost his place with the national team.

After spending time in the wilderness, Trường was left wondering if his chance would ever come again. He would even play football on the streets of his hometown of Lai Vung District in Đồng Tháp Province. Then a phone call changed everything.  

“I watched goalkeeper Nguyễn Minh Nhựt flying to save his goal in a match between Hải Phòng and Đồng Tháp in May 2020. I told myself if he, the same age as me, could still do a good job, why couldn’t I?" Trường recalled.

“I missed the feel and smell of my gloves, of the grass, and the atmosphere of matches.”

It was just two days before the deadline for the local transfer market when Trường received a call from Hà Nội’s goalkeeper coach Trần Tiến Anh who invited him to the capital.

He said: “Hà Nội needed a substitute for their No 1 keeper after one of their goalies was injured. After a day of thinking, I agreed and flew to the capital to sign with a firm belief that I would be No 2 only because the current one Nguyễn Văn Công is at his peak.”

His performance impressed coaches who did not hesitate to push him into the first team.

Trường helped the team win the Super Cup, the National Cup and finish second in the 2020 league season.

Trường was the oldest keeper of the V.League 1 but he proved that age was only a number. He won the coaching board’s belief and received an offer to extend his contract to 2022.

"Things changed in just five months," he added. "It is unbelievable and I could never think about it. How can anyone imagine that a rich and ambitious team like Hà Nội would choose me, a retired keeper?

“When agreeing to deal with Hà Nội, I wanted to try a new environment and work hard to integrate with a new team. Everything is better than I could have imagined. I am free in mind and received strong support. I feel like the football team is like my family.

“I hope to have a chance to lift the V.League 1 trophy with Hà Nội in 2022. If it happens, it would be great for me and the team.” 

His performances with Hà Nội were watched by the national head coach Park Hang-seo who decided to give the 1.90m player, who has a strong physique and good ability with the ball at his feet, a chance in his team to compete at the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The door was wide open for him to take the place in the team after the pandemic restricted other keepers chosen for the squad.


Trường did not waste his chance in the three last matches of the second qualification round.

“I was really nervous because people insulted me a lot because of my mistakes in the past," he admitted.

"But coach Park told me to leave the past behind because it would not help me at all. At present and in the future, I will contribute all my best efforts to the national team,” he recalled.

“The more I played the better I became. And I gradually won over the hearts of the staff. It is great to (again) step onto the field with the national flag on my chest and see supporters cheering on in the stands,” said Trường.

Trường will continue to take charge of the No 1 keeper position at the next matches of the World Cup’s third qualification after Đặng Văn Lâm suffered a shoulder injury.

“Back to the national team at 35, I have to work really hard to complete all the heavy exercises. In football, talent will be recognised but if you don’t try hard, chances will never come,” said Trường.

“My youth was stuck with so many mistakes including stupid ones that I sometimes don’t understand why I did them. But everyone makes mistakes because that's the way life is. Fortunately, I am lucky to receive a second chance, to play football and to win people’s hearts all over again.” 

Talented Hieu is one to watch at Futsal World Cup

Vietnamese midfielder Nguyễn Văn Hiếu has been named among the best five young players at the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania.

He has helped Việt Nam advance to the last-eight round for the second World Cup in a row.

Hiếu scored the decisive goal that saw Việt Nam beat the stronger Panama in the second Group D match on September 16.

He also played well in the team's third game which ended 1-1 against powerhouse Czech Republic three days later.

"Ready for an astonishing fact? When the last FIFA Futsal World Cup took place, Văn Hiếu had never even played the sport. He took it up in 2018, was a Việt Nam international just 12 months later and is now dazzling at Lithuania 2021," Football's governing body FIFA wrote in their description of Hiếu.

"And the winger who looks like a schoolboy had old pros feeling their age on Matchday 5. Hiếu thwarted a Panama attack with an excellent tackle inside his own half, whizzed the length of the court, shrugged off two challenges, rounded the goalkeeper, and cut the ball from an acute angle."

The world agency also quoted coach Phạm Minh Giang as saying: “Hiếu is the talent of Vietnamese futsal. His playing philosophy is very up-to-date. He is a very promising player.”

Other players selected were midfielder Yousef Jouad of Morocco, forward Leonardo Caetano Silva aka Leozinho of Brazil, forward Khusniddin Nishonov of Uzbekistan, and defender Zicky Te from Portugal.

An inborn futsal talent

Among 16 members of Việt Nam team, Hiếu, 23, is not the youngest but the one who came to futsal recently and has only three-year experience.

Born in 1998, Hiếu purchased an online business instead of going to study in a college.

Earning enough from his work, Hiếu had time to visit football fields and took part in street football matches.

Despite his self-trained skills, Hiếu became well-known in Đà Nẵng before signing a contract with futsal team Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng FC in 2018.

“Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng was rejuvenating at that time and had a lack of players. My friend was playing for them and asked me to have a trial," said Hiếu.

"Partly out of my curiosity and passion, I agreed and surprisingly I was recruited. I just have several days practicing with the club before taking part in the National Cup."

But it was enough for him to shine and win his first individual title.

He played a key role in pushing his club to the second position in the National Cup before receiving the title of top scorer of the national championship with 14 goals in 2018.

One year later, the agile 1.65m player was then called to the national team as coach Giang said he was quick, smart, and finished really well.

On his birthday on September 10, Giang continued to praise the player, telling him: "You have great potent. I hope you will keep trying, improving and working harder to become a key player for Việt Nam".

Despite many goals, the goal against Panama was one of the most special of his career.

"I am happy, really happy. It is a wonderful feeling as it is the first time I take part in World Cup," Hiếu said about his goal.

FIFA described it as an unbelievable solo effort that claimed a Futsal WC victory for Việt Nam and made it one of four nominations for best goals of the group round. 

His solo strike was also a topic to talk about among coaches, pundits, and his teammates.

"I found him when he started playing for Đà Nẵng," said coach Miguel Rodrigo who ran the Việt Nam national team from 2017 to 2019.

"He is skilled and has a great tactical mind. I told my assistants to bring him to the national team. Now, I am really happy because he does a good job and scored for Việt Nam."

The Spanish expert also compared Hiếu with Italian legend Adriano Foglia who was voted best player of the 2003 tournament.

"They shared some of the same points, small in size but with great technique and the same playing style. My assistant call Hiếu 'Đà Nẵng's Foglia'," he said.

Senior pivot Nguyễn Minh Trí also appreciated his young teammate saying Hiếu is strong and fast and really skillful. His goal to beat Panama showed everything of his ability, he said.

Former national goalkeeper Trần Trung Kiên added: "I really like to watch him. He impressed me in the national championships. It has been a long time that I have seen a player who could play with both feet. What he still needs to improve is experience. I believe that the more he plays, the better he will become."

Meanwhile former national champion Phạm Thành Đạt said: "Hiếu is rising star of Việt Nam, who can make a break by himself and create threatening chances."

"He will go far and will be the country's futsal future," Đạt added.

Volunteers print free altar photos of people who died from COVID-19

Photo printing services in HCM City, like many other services, have been shut down due to the current social distancing regulations, preventing many people from getting portraits of their deceased family members for their altar.

Many volunteer groups and individuals have tried to help those in need for free.

Tống Hoàng Quân, head of the volunteer group ‘G9- For the children smile’, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that he felt sad every time he received calls from people who wanted help to print photos of their deceased relative.

"You can feel the pain and loss in their voice over the phone. It’s so sad! There are even families who lost four people due to COVID-19. Our team wants to share the loss with them,” Quân said.

After receiving the call, the volunteer group asks the family to send a picture of the deceased so they can print it, put it in a frame, and send it to the family.

“We do it for free. We just share their loss and hope the deceased can rest in peace,” Quân said.

A patient at Củ Chi field hospital whose mother had just died from COVID-19 contacted the group to print her mother’s portrait to put on her altar.

Her entire family tested positive for COVID-19. Her mother passed away, and the family was still in quarantine at Củ Chi field hospital.

“When my mother passed away, I contacted the group and received great support. They joined hands with my neighbours to make a proper altar for my deceased mother. I appreciate their help during this difficult time,” she said.

Nguyễn Ân, 33, in Gò Vấp District has helped about 150 cases.

“I watch the news every day on TV, and see the high rate of infection and deaths. Many families who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19 cannot print picture of the deceased, so I just want to help them as much as I can,” Ân told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.

“I contacted all photo printing shops that I know. But none of them were open during social distancing. All I can do is help them edit the picture of their deceased and send it back to them. I suggest they open the edited picture on a smartphone or laptop and put it on the altar, and wait until photo printing shops open to get the proper ones.”

Last month, the city said that it would cover expenses for funeral services for deceased COVID-19 patients.

Nguyễn Toàn Thắng, director of the city’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that each family would receive VNĐ17 million (US$ 740) to cover transportation, cremation and delivery of the ashes to them.

For COVID patients who die at hospital, the city Department of Health would transfer funds to the hospitals to pay for funeral services. 

Children orphaned due to COVID-19 need another family: official

The Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has asked localities to promptly offer support to children whose parents have died of COVID-19, emphasising that a family environment is now best for them.

The move was made as last week, HCM City authorities reported that more than 1,500 children had no guardians to take care of them because they lost their parents and close relatives due to COVID-19.

To ensure timely care and support for the children at this tough time, the National Committee on Children and the MOLISA asked localities to collect information about the orphans, their circumstances, their desires and their guardians’ opinions so that agencies could offer suitable support.

Local authorities were asked to provide the orphans with support following current regulations. Moreover, the children whose mothers had COVID-19, or those whose parents/guardians died of COVID-19, with financial difficulties will receive donations extracted from the National Fund For Vietnamese Children.

Under the ministry’s direction, a prioritised measure is to arrange for the children to be taken care of by their relatives or individuals/families that want to adopt them so that the children could continue to live in a family environment and have their benefits ensured.

Local authorities were also asked to co-operate with relevant agencies to offer the children legal assistance to ensure their rights and benefits, and avoid being abused when they are without their parents/guardians care.

As soon as learning about the COVID-19 orphanage figures, Trương Gia Bình, chairman of the Hà Nội-based FPT – a technology giant in Việt Nam, announced that the company would establish a school to raise over 1,000 children whose parents died of COVID-19.

The school will operate for the next 20 years and FPT will commit to spending at least VNĐ80 billion ($3.5 million) each year on it.

Students will be trained up to college level and even higher if they want.

The urban complex FPT City Đà Nẵng in the central region is set to be the location for the school including accommodation.

Regarding the issue, the HCM City Department of Justice last Friday issued a policy about the future care of children whose parents and close relatives have died of COVID-19.

Under the policy, ward-level People’s Committees in 21 districts and Thủ Đức City have been asked to provide care and guardianship assistance to children in their localities.

If they cannot find guardians for the children, the local authority will be in charge of caring for the children.

Local authorities are also responsible for managing children’s inheritances left by the father, mother or relatives if the heirs or custodians cannot be identified.

If the legitimate heirs request their inheritance, local authorities will give it to them per the regulations of the 2005 Civil Code.

Đặng Hoa Nam, director of the MOLISA’s Child Care and Protection Department told online newspaper dantri.com.vn that he appreciated warm-hearted actions that businessman Bình in particular and other people took to help such disadvantaged children.

Nam said that kind of support to children should be consulted by experts working in child care and protection as well as relevant agencies so that the children could benefit the most from the support.

Children who lost their parent(s) due to the COVID-19 not only faced short-term difficulties but also long-term ones, Nam said.

“In child rights, children received the best care when they live in a family environment and are taken care of by their parents and relatives. A very special right of children is the right to live in a family environment and children develop best and most harmoniously when living in the family environment and nursed by their parents and relatives,” he said.

In case children lose their family environment (lose both parents) or cannot live with their parents, it is necessary to provide them with an alternative family so that they can be cared for by their remaining relatives or adopters.

“Bringing the children to concentrated public areas like social protection facilities or boarding schools is only the last solution when we cannot find another family for them,” Nam said.

The MOLISA was working with HCM City authorities to develop detailed plans to support the orphans whose parent(s)/ guardian(s) died of COVID-19, Nam said, adding that a priority is to find another family for them.

“Every support is to help the children have stable living conditions so they could continue to go to school,” he said.

Under Government’s Decrees 20/2021/NĐ-CP, orphans aged under 4 years old receive monthly financial support of about VNĐ900,000 while older children get VNĐ540,000 monthly.

Children whose mothers had COVID-19 or those whose parents/guardians died of COVID-19, with financial difficulties will receive VNĐ2 million each from the National Fund For Vietnamese Children as Minister of MOLISA Đào Ngọc Dung has decided.

Nam added that psychological support was urgent for them at this time because of the shock they suffered when losing parents in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 antibody testing not really necessary at this time: doctors

After recovering from COVID-19 a month ago, shipper Nguyễn Văn Út Em in HCM City’s Bình Tân District wanted to take an antibody test as he expected the result would help him get a “COVID-19 green card” – a requirement for him to resume work.

Thanks to a recommendation by his friend, the shipper arrived at a medical facility in the city to take the test - a blood test to check if you’ve either had coronavirus before or had antibodies after having the COVID-19 vaccine. An antibody test is different to the swab test to check if you have COVID-19.

The shipper said that in late July, after having a cough and fever for three days, he took a rapid antigen test at home. The test result showed that he was positive for SARS-CoV-2.

The man said that he was unable to contact local health workers, so he treated himself at home with medicines bought at a nearby pharmacy.

“All the symptoms disappeared after 14 days and I tested negative for the coronavirus,” Út Em said.

“I was told that an antibody test could prove I recovered from COVID-19. So, I will be eligible to get the COVID-19 green card issued by local authorities, allowing me to return to work,” he said.

Trần Thị Kim Cúc, a fully vaccinated woman in District 7, wanted an antibody test to verify if her body created antibodies after vaccination.

She thought that with existing antibodies, she would face fewer risks of COVID-19 infections as well as a better chance against the virus if she caught it.

Cúc spent VNĐ450,000 for the test at a local medical facility, she said.

Seeing increasing demand for antibody tests, medical facilities in the city started offering the service.

People who recovered from COVID-19 at least seven to 15 days ago or those who received a COVID-19 vaccine within 14-28 days can take the test.

If a sample is taken at the medical facilities, the service costs about VNĐ450,000 - VNĐ500,000 per person. If the sample is taken at home, users pay about VNĐ1.2 million – VNĐ1.3 million per test. Clients in groups will be offered discounts, for example, to groups of 50-60 people, the test-at-home price is about VNĐ600,000 per person, Sài Gòn Giải phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper reported early this week.

HCM City-based Chợ Rẫy Hospital is carrying out antigen testing for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Doctor Trần Thành Vinh, head of the hospital's Department of Biochemistry, said that this method was applicable to a group of people who need testing to know if they have antibodies and if so, how much will be achieved.

After vaccination, doctors will rely on that result to re-evaluate the body's ability to respond to the vaccine. In addition, this method is also applicable to a group of patients required to be tested as a doctor suspects them of having been infected with COVID-19, with the results supporting the diagnosis.

Lecturer Nguyễn Hiền Minh from the Department of Immunology - Pathophysiology, HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, told the newspaper that after naturally catching COVID-19 or having a COVID-19 vaccine, the body will produce antibodies.

Now, researchers are interested in SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests including antigen-binding antibody test and neutralising antibody test.

“Now is not the time to be sure about the correlation of antibody response levels with the body's immunogenicity with COVID-19,” he said, adding that not all service-providing laboratories had proper professional capacity and equipment to perform the above-mentioned types of antibody tests. “Antibody testing is not necessary at present because having antibodies after recovery does not mean permanent protection. Vaccination is still needed,” he said.

“Misunderstanding the COVID-19 antibody test in the blood can lead people to disregard preventive measures and make incorrect conclusions about the effectiveness of the vaccine. This may affect others' decision to vaccinate, increasing the possibility of disease spreading," said doctor Minh.

Vice director of HCM City’s Health Department Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh Châu said that antibody tests were very complicated.

Testing services offered now in the city might be general antibody tests while the antibodies that protect people from the coronavirus would be identified in the neutralising antibody test, he said.

"The health department does not yet have any guidelines on antibody testing," he said.

"In some cases, people with high concentration of antibodies in their blood still get the disease," Châu said, adding that in some countries, antibody testing was not used for all cases. 

Vietnamese man appears in court accused of people smuggling

A Vietnamese national has appeared in court in the United Kingdom charged with assisting illegal immigration.

Hồ Sỹ Quốc, 21, is accused of helping to smuggle Vietnamese migrants into the UK in the backs of lorries in August and September 2020. He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 12 October.

He was arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), who also this week arrested two taxi drivers suspected of working with a Vietnamese organised crime gang involved in people smuggling.

The first, a 32-year-old man, was detained at his home address in Bolton on Wednesday September 22 on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration

Around £15,000 in cash was seized from the property.

The second, a 40-year-old man living in Kent, was arrested on suspicion of the same offence on Thursday morning.

They were both questioned by NCA investigators regarding their alleged involvement in immigration offences, before being released under investigation.

NCA Branch Operations Manager Paul Boniface said: “Organised immigration crime groups require significant infrastructure – from transport to finance or advertising. These are all things we are seeking to disrupt.”

“People smugglers treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from and are quite happy to put lives at risk in dangerous journeys in the back of trucks or in small boats.

“Protecting life and preventing exploitation are our priorities, and this investigation continues.” 

People and businesses join the fight against COVID-19

As both medical facilities and human resources are stretched to the limit and more patients lose their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic, help is coming from across society.

According to the Ministry of Health, Viet Nam recorded 732,492 infections from April 27 to September 24. Over the past week, the number of new infections has been hovering at an average of nearly 10,000 cases per day.

The father of the "Rice ATM" scheme in the previous wave of the pandemic, Hoàng Tuấn Anh has continued to help people in need. His latest scheme is an oxygen ATM system for home-isolated F0 patients, which has saved many people's lives.

Starting with 90 oxygen tanks deployed at stations in Phú Nhuận district,  Anh has now coordinated with unions and business associations to supply thousands more at-home oxygen cylinders for patients in need.

The international office of leading Thai conglomerate TCP Group (TCPVN), and owner of Red Bull and Warrior energy drink brands, has contributed more than VNĐ2 billion (US$67,000) in cash and products in research and manufacturing activities, helping to support those on the frontline fighting the pandemic.

According to the firm, VNĐ1 billion is going to the Việt Nam Young Doctors Association, and an ambulance worth more than VNĐ810 million was gifted to District 11 Hospital.

The firm has also donated more than VNĐ3 billion in cash and 8,683 boxes of products to epidemic prevention programs, agencies and organizations.

Warrior, a brand of TCPVN, has contributed 6,000 boxes of energy drinks to COVID-19 frontline forces in HCMC and 18 other southern provinces. Amid the outbreak in Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh, the brand also provided VNĐ200 million and 600 boxes of products.

Vice-chairman of the Young Doctors Association, Nguyễn Hữu Tú said: "The business' cooperation has facilitated prompt distributions of oxygen cylinders and medical supplies to frontline facilities to preserve lives for patients."

General director of TCPVN, Nguyễn Thanh Huân said that the health and safety of the community are always a priority, adding: "We hope our efforts will aid the Government in supporting people to overcome difficulties" 

As the pandemic continues, Vietnam's health sector has to cope with many unprecedented challenges. More than ever, it is necessary for everyone to do what they can to bring the pandemic to an end. 

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



7.3 million people in HCM City to receive COVID relief