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Up to 91.58 percent of the national population are expected to join health insurance in 2021, according to the Vietnam Social Security (VSS).

Up to 91.58 percent of the national population are expected to join health insurance in 2021, according to the Vietnam Social Security (VSS).

The sector also aims to raise the rates of labourers participating in social insurance from 32.7 percent to 35.2 percent, and unemployment insurance from 27 percent to 28.5 percent.

To that end, the sector will continue with administrative reform and information-technology application, as well as artificial intelligence to better serve people and businesses.

It will also revamp the communications work to raise public awareness of social insurance, while intensifying inspections over social and health insurance payment of enterprises.

At a meeting of the Vietnam National Committee on Ageing (VNCA) on January 15, VSS Deputy General Director Tran Dinh Lieu said Vietnam aims to provide social insurance coverage for all elderly people nationwide by 2021.

According to a report of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam had nearly 13 million elderly people (aged 60 and above) in 2020, accounting for 12 percent of the population, with about 1.98 million aged over 80, and approximately 7.7 million elderly people living in rural areas.

The State budget spent about 18 trillion VND (779.69 million USD) implementing social assistance policies for the elderly in the community. Specifically, more than 1.8 million elderly people received monthly allowances, over 1.4 million enjoyed allowances as national contributors, and 3.1 million are enjoying pensions and social insurance benefits. In addition, 12.1 million senior citizens currently have health insurance cards.

The VNCA highly appreciated the efforts made by the Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE) and its local chapters in creating conditions for the elderly to participate in cultural, musical and sports activities, while urging for more active support from all-level Party committees and authorities in the work.

At the meeting, VNCA members agreed that in the time ahead, ministries, sectors and localities should focus on implementing policies related to the elderly in close association with multidimensional poverty elimination policies./.

Thanh Hoa detects numerous illegal entries

The Border Guard High Command in the central province of Thanh Hoa has recently detected eight people illegally entering the country and put them in quarantine.

On January 17, a patrol team of the force caught five people red handed in Muong Lat town’s Pieng Mon street about 500 metres away from border marker No. 282.

The five, all having residency in the central province of Nghe An’s Yen Thanh district, said they were illegally walking into the country via trails to avoid being quarantined. They are now put in quarantine in line with regulations.

On January 12, border guards on patrol detected three other people illegally entering on a border trail in Muong Lat district’s Nhi Son commune./.

2020 a successful year of people-to-people diplomacy: Official

2020 was a successful year of people-to-people diplomacy, Nguyen Phuong Nga, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), has said.

She made the remark during a meeting with the press ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, which was held in Hanoi on January 20.

The COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties of the global and regional politics-security have dealt a blow to various sectors in Vietnam, including people-to-people exchange activities, Nga noted.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the VUFO devised solutions to fulfil assigned tasks in an active, flexible, creative and effective manner, thus contributing to the successful implementation of the dual targets of containing the spread of COVID-19 and promoting socio-economic development, she added.

The VUFO and its affiliates also raised nearly 1 million face masks, thousands of medical devices and cash worth more than 10 billion VND (434,000 USD) in total to help people in other nations tackle the pandemic.

Such activities have strengthened the friendship with international friends, promoted the image of Vietnam, and raised the country’s global prestige, the diplomat underscored./.

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Indonesia records nearly 4,000 deaths from disasters, pandemic since start of 2021

Disasters and the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic have claimed nearly 4,000 lives in Indonesia since the start of this year, according to the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).

Sriwijaya Air’s passenger plane coded SJ 182 en route from Jakarta to West Kalimantan’s Pontianak crashed into the sea on January 9, killing 62 people onboard.

The same day, a landslide occurred in Cihanjuang of West Java’s Sumedang district, claiming 32 lives while eight others went missing.

Flooding in South Kalimantan three days later submerged at least 10 districts and cities. Five people were killed as of January 17.

A number of earthquakes and aftermaths hit Majene district and the coastal city of Mamuju in West Sulawesi on January 14-15. The death toll has risen to 81, including 70 in Mamuju.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities has been on the rise. From the beginning of 2021 to January 17, Indonesia logged additional 164,731 cases.

The Ministry of Health on January 18 announced that the country has reported a total 917,015 cases, with 26,282 deaths./.

ASEAN brings about valuable experience for South Asia’s integration process

The success of ASEAN has brought about valuable experience lessons for the promotion of integration in South Asia, Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Hoang Van Loi told a webinar held by The Diplomatic Society newspaper on January 18.

Addressing the discussion themed “Partners in Economic Integration and the Asia-Pacific Interdependence,” Loi said that ASEAN has made contributions to leading Southeast Asia to progress and prosperity and creating relations for peace and cooperation with partners in the region and the world.

The bloc has become an important element which plays a central role in cooperation mechanisms and regional structure in the Asia-Pacific region. The role, position and prestige of the bloc have been increased in the eyes of international friends and partners.

ASEAN is currently one of the most dynamic economies in the world, with an annual average growth rate of 5.2 percent during 2016-2020.

Loi cited analysts’ forecasts as saying that its GDP may reach 10 trillion USD and become the fourth largest single market by 2030.

The Vietnamese diplomat stated that for ASEAN, unity in diversity is one of the basic principles of operation, and the key pillars of connectivity are politics-security, economics and socio-culture.

Peace, stability, solidarity, unity, prosperity and sustainability for the interests of each member and the entire region are the top target and the foundation of the bloc, Loi said, adding that the association must play a central role at any international forums or in working agendas involved in the region, and cooperation and dialogue in the bloc or with other countries must rely on mutual trust as well as international law and order./.

Folk paintings displayed in Hai Phong

Nearly 60 traditional folk paintings of different genres such as Dong Ho and Hang Trong, and those of Tay and Cao Lan ethnic minority groups are on display at an exhibition in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

The event, from January 20 to the end of April, is jointly held by the Hai Phong Museum and the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum.

Those paintings feature daily activities and religious life of Vietnamese, reflecting their wish for peace, prosperity and happiness, said Tran Thi Huong, Deputy Director of the national museum.

With diverse subjects found in everyday life, they have contributed to preserving and upholding national traditions, she added.

Nguyen Van Phuong, Director of the Hai Phong Museum, said the paintings have not only mirrored the spiritual life of Vietnamese, but also have educational and moral values.

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Visitors to the exhibition will have a chance to learn how to make folk paintings.

Visitors to the exhibition will have a chance to learn how to make Dong Ho paintings in the northern province of Bac Ninh which date back to about the 16th – 17th centuries and developed until the first half of the 20th century.

A special feature of this woodblock printing art is that all materials are natural and found locally. Black colour, for example, is taken from burned bamboo or straw, while white colour comes from ground shells of scallops.

The visual language used is simple and easy to understand and so tends to leave an everlasting impression on viewers.

Meanwhile, Hang Trong, another genre in Hanoi, was first known as worship paintings. Later, its topics expanded to cover social activities like markets or dragon dance or famous stories like the Tale of Kieu and the classical drama of Son Hau./.

Upcoming film screening to celebrate 13th National Party Congress

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will host a film screening to celebrate the 13th National Party Congress, the 91st anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (February 3) and the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

The Vietnam Cinema Department will join hands with relevant agencies to organise the screening nationwide from February 3 to 18.

The films include “Con duong co Mat Troi” (Road with the Sun) and documentaries “Nho ve Tay Tien” (Remembering Tay Tien) and “Hanh trinh thu phap Viet” (Journey of Vietnamese calligraphy).

Audience is asked to strictly follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The 13th National Party Congress is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from January 25 to February 2.

Meanwhile, Tet, the largest and most celebrated festival of Vietnam, falls on February 12 this year./.

Friendship association helps boost ties between Vietnamese, Cambodian localities

The Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Association in Dak Nong has well performed its role in connecting the Central Highlands province with Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province in politic, economic and social matters, as heard the association’s congress held on January 20.   

Participated by 135 delegates, the congress elected 25 members of the executive board for the 2021 – 2026 tenure, with Vo Mich voted to become Chairman of the association.

In the tenure, the association will continue cooperating with the local authorities, armed forces and other relevant competent agencies in educating people, particularly those living near the border, on the Vietnam – Cambodia as well as Dak Nong – Mundulkiri solidarity and friendship tradition.

It will give advice to the Dak Nong authorities at all levels on calling for businesses and philanthropists to offer spiritual and financial support for needy Vietnamese expatriates in Mundulkiri.

Meanwhile, it will work with the border guard force to run communications campaigns and implement prevention and control measures targeting COVID-19, diphtheria, and other infectious diseases./.

Tourism on track in the world's largest cave

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Inside the Son Doong (Source: Oxalis Adventures)

France's news agency AFP on January 20 published an article on how tourism has been developed in and benefited local community around Vietnam’s Son Doong, which has been dubbed the world’s largest cave.

According to the article, located in the central province of Quang Binh’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – the World Heritage site, Son Doong was first discovered by local forager Ho Khanh in 1991, when he stumbled upon an opening in a limestone cliff and heard the sounds of a river deep inside. But after returning home through the thick surrounding jungle, Khanh forgot where the hidden entrance lay, and it stayed lost for another two decades. When he eventually led a team of British experts back there in 2009, the team found it had the largest cross-section of any cave anywhere on the planet.

It is large enough to house the 40-floor skyscrapers of an entire New York City block, according to adventure tour company Oxalis, which guides visitors into the caves.

When Son Doong was opened to tourists four years later, the lives of hundreds of locals changed forever, it said, adding that they soon became porters and guides and opened their homes to guests wanting a bed for the night.

With only one company given permission to operate in each of the key caves, there is an incentive to protect them, with numbers of visitors limited and prices kept high.

The article said as the COVID-19 swept the globe, locals catering to international travellers have struggled. But Son Doong has weathered the crisis fairly well overall, thanks to a boost in visitors among Vietnam's fast-growing middle class.

The high-end tourism model of the caves – which provides around 500 jobs for the local community – has begun to attract interest in other areas, it quoted Oxalis as saying./.

VAVA praised for efforts to care for AO victims

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid a visit to the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) on January 20, during which he praised the efforts, activeness and creativity of the association at all levels in protecting the legitimate rights of Agent Orange/dioxin (AO) victims as well as caring and supporting them.

In order to speed up the settlement of consequences of chemicals left by the war and improve the living conditions for AO victims, the PM suggested that the association continue showing strong performance in implementing the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat Directive 43 on the strengthening of the Party leadership over settling chemicals’ consequences and the national action programme in the field.

The association should actively implement the resolution released at its fourth National Congress, while coordinating with media agencies to raise public awareness of dioxin disaster in Vietnam and call for the society’s support to the struggle to claim justice for AO victims, he said.

He asked the association to continue reforming its operational methods, with focus on improving capacity to its officials, while giving consultations and criticism against policies regarding AO victims.

Along with caring for AO victims, the association should work harder to encourage the whole society to join hands in easing dioxin pains for victims, including giving a warm Lunar New Year (Tet) festival to them.

So far, more than 2.6 trillion VND (112.68 million USD), including 370 billion VND raised in 2020, has been given to AO victims and their family to ease their difficulties.

Particularly, activities to gain justice for AO victims have been implemented in various forms, attracting domestic and international attention. 

On the occasion, the PM presented 50 charity houses to AO victims and 500 million VND to the centre for nursing and providing vocational training for AO victims./.

Medical staff trained to serve upcoming 13th National Party Congress

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Giving COVID-19 testing to reporters covering the 13th National Party Congress (Illustrative image. Photo: VNA)

More than 300 medical staff serving the 13th National Party Congress joined a training course in Hanoi on January 20, thus becoming ready for any emergency circumstances during the event.

Addressing the event, Assocociate Professor Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Health Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, spoke highly of preparations and the successful organisation of a drill on January 7 of medical groups serving.

He underlined the significance of preventive measures against COVID-19 throughout the 13th National Party Congress – an important political event of the country.

Also at the training course, the Ministry of Health announced a decision to set up a professional council for consulting and supporting medical groups in taking care of the health of delegates attending the 13th National Party Congress.

The council comprises 20 members led by Prof. Dr Nguyen Gia Binh, Chairman of Vietnam Association of Critical Care Medicine, Emergency and Clinical Toxicology.

It will give professional directions in activities related to first-aid, check-up and treatment of medical groups serving the congress, while providing medical consultations on severe cases and keeping attendance throughout the congress.

The ministry also made public a list of medicines and medical equipment for emergency cases./.

Over 5,300sq.m of dioxin polluted land in Dong Nai airport's Ho Cong 2 area treated

More than 5,300sq.m of dioxin-contaminated land in Ho Cong 2 area at Bien Hoa airport in the southern province of Dong Nai was detoxified and recovered, according to the National Steering Committee on the settlement of post-war unexploded ordnance and toxic chemical consequences in Vietnam (Steering Committee 701).

The treated area met the requirements of dioxin contaminated level to Vietnamese standards, ensuring safety to people and the environment.

The project to settle dioxin pollution in Bien Hoa airport was launched in December 2019. The committee reported that despite difficulties from COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, the project dug nearly 1,200cu.m of polluted sediment for treatment in next phases.

The dioxin treatment outcome in Ho Cong 2 area is a foundation for the handing over of land to Dong Nai in the coming time. Another 7.2 hectares in Bien Hoa airport has been handed over to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for treatment and recovery to give land for projects in 2021.

Bien Hoa airport, the former military base of the US in the war, is the the largest dioxin hotspot in Vietnam.

At the ceremony to announce the project’s results on January 20, the US Government, through the USAID in Vietnam, and Vietnamese partners launched a new cooperation project to support disabled people in Vietnam in eight prioritised provinces.

The USAID committed 65 million USD for the project in the next five years, ensuring that people with disability access opportunities to integrate into the society in a comprehensive manner, thus improving their living conditions.

On the occasion, the Office of the Steering Committee 701 and the USAID in Vietnam signed cooperation agreements on communications on efforts of all parties in dioxin decontamination and encouraging individuals and organisations to support the overcoming of post-war bomb and mine and dioxin consequences in Vietnam./.

Four imported COVID-19 cases recorded on January 20

Vietnam recorded four new imported cases of COVID-19 during the past 24 hours to 6pm on January 20, all of them are Vietnamese citizens returning from abroad and being quarantined upon their arrival, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The new cases brought the national tally to 1,544.

The number of recovered patients reached 1,406 after four were given the all-clear on January 20, while fatalities remain at 35.

Among patients under treatment, 14 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 10 twice and eight thrice.

A total of 18,168 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-affected regions are staying in quarantine nationwide./.


Friendship association helps boost ties between Vietnamese, Cambodian localities

The Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Association in Dak Nong has well performed its role in connecting the Central Highlands province with Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province in politic, economic and social matters, as heard the association’s congress held on January 20.   

Participated by 135 delegates, the congress elected 25 members of the executive board for the 2021 – 2026 tenure, with Vo Mich voted to become Chairman of the association.

In the tenure, the association will continue cooperating with the local authorities, armed forces and other relevant competent agencies in educating people, particularly those living near the border, on the Vietnam – Cambodia as well as Dak Nong – Mundulkiri solidarity and friendship tradition.

It will give advice to the Dak Nong authorities at all levels on calling for businesses and philanthropists to offer spiritual and financial support for needy Vietnamese expatriates in Mundulkiri.

Meanwhile, it will work with the border guard force to run communications campaigns and implement prevention and control measures targeting COVID-19, diphtheria, and other infectious diseases./.

Vietnam advised to invest more in vocational training

Vietnam needs to develop dedicated technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes to enable its transition to the fourth Industrial Revolution, increasing worker productivity and the country’s competitiveness, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in a new study.

The study named “Reaping the Benefits of Industry 4.0 through Skills Development in Vietnam” examines the logistics and agro-processing industries in the country which are both important for growth, employment, international competitiveness, and the fourth industrial revolution.

ADB Country Director for Vietnam Andrew Jeffries suggested Vietnam consider new approaches to ensure inclusion and social protection for entry level workers, especially those at risk of job displacement, and those who need upskilling, while applying the fourth industrial revolution technologies.

Adequate and timely investments in skills development can help the country not only to harness the potential of the fourth Industrial Revolution to increase productivity but also ensure the revolution will benefit workers at large, he added./.

Hanoi’s police begin task of ensuring security for National Party Congress

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Hanoi’s police begin the task of ensuring security for the 13th National Party Congress

Hanoi’s police held a conference on January 20 to start the implementation of plans to ensure security and order during the 13th National Party Congress, which will start next week.

Addressing the conference, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh asked the police force to strictly implement directions from the Party Central Committee, the Government, the Ministry of Public Security, and the sub-committee for ensuring security, order, and safety for the congress.

He suggested Hanoi police further intensify inspections and urge those on duty to fully perform their tasks.

Synchronous measures for ensuring security must be implemented to guarantee the congress is a success, he emphasised.

According to Deputy Minister of Public Security Bui Van Nam, Hanoi’s police force should pay special attention to understanding the ongoing situation to promptly detect, prevent, and disable any and all conspiracies and activities by hostile and reactionary forces and other crimes during the congress.

Hanoi’s police have already set up a command committee for protecting the 13th National Party Congress and security working groups to serve the command over and management of security work.

It has also worked closely with units under the Ministry of Public Security in assigning specific responsibilities, positions, and tasks to each unit./.

Vietnam-Laos relations even more special amid COVID-19: Ambassador

The Vietnam-Laos relationship has remained pure and faithful and become even more special amid COVID-19, a diplomat has said.

Vietnam and Laos are among very few countries to have maintained in-person meetings and visits at the highest level given the pandemic, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung told the media.

Last year, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith visited Vietnam three times, in June, August and December, while Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid a visit to the neighbouring country in May, he went on.

The inter-governmental committee convened two meetings within a year for the first time, demonstrating the two governments’ promptness in reviewing and promoting bilateral ties before Laos’ 11th National Party Congress and Vietnam’s 13th National Party Congress, he said.

Hung emphasised the two countries’ mutual support in pandemic-related issues, saying PM Phuc vowed to help Laos with medical supplies during phone talks with his Lao counterpart two days after the first COVID-19 case was detected in the country.

Two weeks later, Vietnam sent experts to Laos to share experience in combating the pandemic, while Vietnamese ministries, agencies, and localities also played a part in this regard.

Of particular note, the two countries have facilitated cross-border travel by citizens as well as trade in goods in line with COVID-19 prevention and control measures, with two-way trade estimated at nearly 1 billion USD last year.

The ambassador said Vietnam and Laos will further deepen their political ties in 2021 while enhancing cooperation in national defence, security, and external affairs.

They will also raise the efficiency of cooperation in economy, culture, education, health care, and science-technology, and expand exchanges between citizens as well as localities.

He suggested intensifying mutual support in dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 in order to quickly resume economic growth.

According to the ambassador, Laos is the largest recipient of Vietnam’s overseas investment, amounting to 4.22 billion USD to date in 414 projects.

Apart from citizen protection, which is considered a top priority in the face of the pandemic, the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos has paid attention to facilitating Vietnamese investment in the country through various activities, he said./.

People urged to continue pandemic prevention to ensure peaceful Tet

The COVID-19 pandemic has been well controlled in Vietnam, but risks of an outbreak are still present, especially with the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday approaching, leading experts to warn that people need to strictly abide by preventive regulations.

Associate professor Tran Dac Phu, senior advisor to the Vietnam Emergency Operations Centre, told Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi) newspaper that the current risk of infection was mainly due to a lack of strict control of entry and lax quarantining.

Each ministry, branch and locality must continue to seriously implement pandemic prevention and control measures, he said, adding that along with the strict control and prevention of illegal entry, local authorities and police need to closely monitor border areas, especially land borders.

Along calling on provincial and municipal health departments to strictly implement COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control measures, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long urged the entire health sector to consider pandemic prevention an immediate and long-term central task.

"To celebrate Tet in a healthy and safe manner, people should implement the pandemic prevention and control measures set by the health sector. Border provinces need to implement strong measures to prevent illegal entry, raise vigilance and fight signs of neglect," he said.

There are only about 20 days until Tet, so more people are out and about shopping. To ensure safety, Tran Van Chung, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Health, said that inspectors would focus on checking food businesses’ COVID-19 prevention and control in supermarkets, restaurants, shopping malls and markets. Those that fail to comply with pandemic preventive measures would be penalised.

Chung told food producers and traders to increase hygiene and disinfection, measure body temperatures, put antiseptic hand sanitiser in a convenient location, guide customers to wear masks, wash hands with antiseptic and refuse to serve customers who do not wear masks.

People working in customer contact positions should wear masks properly, limit handshakes and keep a distance of about one metre when in contact with customers. People should not enter service areas if they show signs of fever or cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue or are in home quarantine following the request of health authorities.

Nguyen Khac Hien, Director of the Hanoi Department of Health, said the number of people travelling during Tet was very large, so at bus stations managers must strengthen measures to fight the pandemic.

Officers, employees and passengers entering and leaving stations must conduct sterilisation and wear masks to ensure safety. Bus stations must also arrange security forces to closely monitor regulation implementation.

At medical examination and treatment establishments, it is necessary to review the entire medical examination and treatment process and strictly comply with the health ministry's pandemic prevention regulations.

“The simple but most effective ‘weapon’ to fight the pandemic is the people’s awareness, for their family, for the community and the society," said Hien./.

HCM City opens Japanese-standard dialysis centre

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At the opening ceremony of the centre

A dialysis centre meeting Japanese standards in Ho Chi Minh City was put into operation at the local Nguyen Tri Phuong hospital on January 20.

The establishment is an outcome of cooperation between the hospital and Nipro Corporation, a Japanese medical equipment manufacturing conglomerate. As the centre employs dialysis membranes that can be reused, it offers high quality treatment at more affordable prices.

According to Director of the hospital Vo Duc Chien, it has already run a high-quality dialysis centre since 2016 to serve demand from locals and foreign experts. However, the treatment cost is high compared to local incomes due to the use of single-use membranes.

Capable of serving about 100 patients a week, the new centre is expected to ease treatment pressures for the hospital’s dialysis department, which is currently treating 250 cases a week but still falling short of demand.

At the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Hoa Binh lauded the effort made by the 115-year-old hospital in improving medical services quality and expected the facility to press ahead with its innovation and modernisation.

The hospital has been assigned by the municipal Health Department to offer dialysis services to patients and foreign experts entering Vietnam during the COVID-19 period./.

Remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers repatriated from Laos

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A ceremony was held in the northern border province of Dien Bien on January 20 to repatriate the remains of 13 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos.

A ceremony was held in the northern border province of Dien Bien on January 20 to repatriate the remains of 13 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos.

The remains were collected by a team of Military Zone 2, with support from all-level Party committees, authorities, agencies, and people in Laos.

In his remarks, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vu A Bang lauded the sacrifice of the soldiers in the struggles of the two countries and the friendship and solidarity between Vietnam and Laos.

Dien Bien’s leaders thanked the Lao Party, State, and people for their warm sentiments towards Vietnamese volunteer soldiers during wartime./.

Vietnamese in Australia looks forward to 13th National Party Congress

The Vietnamese community in Australia expects the upcoming 13th National Party Congress to judiciously select competent leaders to lead the country over the course of the next five years, Tran Ba Phuc, President of the Vietnam Business Association in Australia, has said.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s reporter in Sydney, Phuc, who is also a member of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, said that Vietnamese people living overseas have made substantial contributions to the country’s socio-economic development and culture.

He expressed his hope that the Party and State will issue policies enabling representatives of Vietnamese communities abroad to participate in powerful State agencies and have their voices heard.

Phuc proposed that the Party and State create the most favourable conditions possible for Vietnamese overseas who wish to keep their Vietnamese nationality or be re-naturalised in Vietnam.

He also expected that the Party and State will direct the implementation of a resolution recognising the role of the private sector, to be able to assess and support the sector and make it an important driver in the country’s economic development.

Vietnam has recorded important achievements and breakthroughs in the five years of implementing the resolution of the 12th National Party Congress, improving the country’s prestige, role, and position in the international arena, he said.

A Vietnamese passport has never been as valuable and meaningful to Vietnamese people living abroad as it is now, Phuc stressed./.

Increasing illegal border crossings fuel risk of COVID-19 transmission: Minister

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned on January 20 about the “very high” risk of COVID-19 transmission caused by the “extremely complicated” incidence of illegal border crossings as the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet) nears.

At a teleconference with all 63 cities and provinces nationwide, he pointed out the complex developments of the pandemic, adding that most countries and territories have witnessed an upwards trend in the number of infections, which will soon stand at 100 million worldwide.

Vietnam hasn’t recorded any community transmission of COVID-19 for a long period of time, Long said, but the risk remains “very high”.

As proposed by the Ministry of Health, the Prime Minister has demanded inbound flights be minimised to ensure a safe and happy Tet for all.

Noting the complexity of illegal border crossings despite more exhaustive border patrols by authorities, the minister said some countries in the region are still conducting commercial flights so many Vietnamese who are overseas have flown to these countries and attempted to reach Vietnam over land.

More than 100 illegal entries are discovered every day on average and as many as 500 on some days, he added, urging relevant agencies and police in border localities to take stronger action to identify and strictly deal with all cases.

Facing a surge of illegal entries ahead of Tet, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has ordered localities to call on residents to report anyone illegally entering the country or violating quarantine rules.

Long underlined the need to gear up for COVID-19 infections found in the community, asking for speedy zoning and quarantining of infections, if any, so as to eradicate the virus from the community as quickly as possible.

He also told healthcare facilities to be on the highest alert to prevent transmission within their walls.

In regard to the upcoming 13th National Party Congress, the minister said maximum disease prevention and control measures are in place for its safest possible organisation.

All samples collected from central-level delegates at the congress have tested negative, he added.

As of January 19, Vietnam had reported 1,540 COVID-19 cases, including 880 imported cases, with 35 fatalities.

There were 75 imported cases in the first 20 days of January, accounting for 8.4 percent of the total imported so far and up by 11 cases against the first 20 days of December./.

Indonesian researcher hails Vietnam’s economic development

With its progressive and reformist government and under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), Vietnam has achieved enormous progress in economic development, Veeramalla Anjaiah, a Senior Research Fellow at the Jakarta-based Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) has said.

Vietnam’s socialist-oriented market economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, said Anjaiah, who is also a senior journalist at the Jakarta Post, adding that last year, it grew 2.91 percent, one of the highest in the world, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is expected to grow again around 7 percent this year because Vietnam signed recently several free trade agreements such as the European Union -Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and the newly-concluded United Kingdom-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA),” he told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s reporter in Jakarta.

The Indonesian researcher went on to highlight Vietnam’s successful ASEAN chairmanship in 2020 with the theme of “Cohesive and Responsive” despite huge challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said as ASEAN Chair, Vietnam emphasised on the need for ASEAN unity and centrality. The country promoted dialogue and cooperation, made efforts to prevent conflicts, built confidence and tried to form a regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based.

Under the chairmanship of Vietnam, ASEAN leaders agreed to adopt the Mid-term Review of the ASEAN Community Blueprints 2025 last year. Vietnam has also prepared a regional action plan to mitigate impacts from COVID-19.

The Hanoi Declaration on the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision adopted at the 37th ASEAN Summit aims to create a solid foundation for the road ahead for the ASEAN community.

He stressed that the biggest outcome of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings in 2020 during the Vietnam’s chairmanship was the signing of the RCEP Agreement by 15 countries, which creates the world’s largest trade bloc.

Vietnam has achieved a huge success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued, through early quick response, proactive and preventive measures resulted in a low number of COVID-19 cases and deaths./.

Officials pay pre-Tet visits to cancer patients, poor people

A delegation led by State Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh visited the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital on January 20, ahead of the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

The delegation presented Tet gifts and 1 million VND (43 USD) in cash each to 100 cancer patients receiving treatment at the hospital.

It was part of activities initiated by the Supportive Fund for Cancer Patients - Bright Future in the lead up to the country’s largest traditional festival.

Director of the Bach Mai Hospital, Professor Dr Nguyen Quang Tuan, told the delegation that the hospital treated nearly 1.3 million patients last year, 123,000 of whom were inpatients.

It detected the first COVID-19 case on March 18 and went into lockdown 10 days later. More than 2,130 hospital staff were placed in quarantine, where they cared for 758 patients.

In her remarks, Thinh spoke highly of the hospital’s achievements in the recent past, especially in medical examinations and treatment, training and technology transfer, scientific research, and international cooperation.

She also lauded the development of the supportive fund for cancer patients over the last nine years, as its network has expanded to 72 hospitals, health centres, and departments of oncology nationwide.

The fund has to date offered assistance of more than 50 billion VND to over 28,000 cancer patients and provided cancer medicine worth 800 billion VND. It also arranged cancer screenings for over 72,000 people along with various measures to tackle and treat the disease.

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung presented Tet gifts to poor households, policy beneficiaries, disadvantaged workers, and children at the SOS Village in the northern province of Phu Tho.

He underlined that despite the difficulties of 2020, Vietnam was still able to meet most of its targets, adding that the Party and State always pay attention to people’s lives and ensure that no one is left behind.

Dung appreciated Phu Tho’s endeavours in ensuring social welfare, as its rate of poor families fell 1.52 percent against 2019.

He called on the province to further create a favourable investment climate and uphold local traditional values together with healthcare and education to improve people’s lives.

Meanwhile, a programme was held in Hanoi on January 20 to support local workers prior to Tet.

Handing over 50 gift sets to disadvantaged workers in the capital’s construction sector, General Director of the Vietnam News Agency Nguyen Duc Loi said he highly regarded the policies and initiatives adopted to ease the difficulties facing local workers and help them enjoy Tet.

President of the Hanoi Federation of Labour Nguyen Phi Thuong said the federation offered assistance of more than 37 billion VND to some 67,970 workers during the pandemic./.