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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (middle) at the event


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 19 called for close control over entry into Vietnam at all border gates so the country can fulfil the twin goals of fighting COVID-19 and posting socio-economic development.

During an online meeting with the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the PM asked ministries, agencies, and localities to remain vigilant and strictly comply with prevention measures to avert a new outbreak.

They were also directed to properly manage quarantine facilities, especially those providing paid services.

Heads of localities and establishments were held responsible to the PM and authorities for the COVID-19 fight and will be strictly punished for any local transmission.

Relevant units were assigned to ask short-term visitors to limit their use of public services such as karaoke and bars, and refrain from festivals.

The Health Ministry must regularly monitor efforts at hospitals and medical establishments, propose immigration management models, and offer periodic COVID-19 testing to staff at border gates and airports and others in regular contact with foreigners.

The sector has been tasked with expanding remote health check-up services, improving the capacity of medical staff and preventive medicine, cooperating in vaccine research, speeding up rapid testing, and staying ready to instruct residents on how to protect themselves.

Leaders of localities from the central to grassroots level must be ready with scenarios when contingencies happen, as winter is coming.

People in Hanoi and HCM City were also urged to wear masks when outdoors or on public vehicles.

The Ministries of Transport, Health, and Foreign Affairs are responsible for creating favourable conditions for welcoming overseas Vietnamese home, while the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Government Office will tackle difficulties in providing relief aid to those hit by the pandemic.

Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long reported that Vietnam has gone 47 consecutive days without any local COVID-19 transmission. It has so far confirmed 1,134 infections.

Since April, 221 flights have brought 46,058 Vietnamese citizens home, with 212 of them, on 43 flights, testing positive./.

Drug suppliers bid for standards recognition

The race in drug tenders is further intensifying as more international pharma groups continue to aim for sought-after Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) recognition for their manufacturing sites.

In late September, the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced Dispatch No.15336/QLD-CL on the list of manufacturing sites that multinational corporations (MNC) need to make further clarifications in order to be recognised with a GMP qualification, with Zuellig Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline Pte Ltd (GSK), Besin Healthcare, and Pfizer being among the most well-known names.

Thai-based Besin Healthcare Company, which proposes the manufacturing site Laboratoires Besins International, has been requested to supplement some documents that clarify the printed factory diagram showing each production area as well as a diagram of the facility’s water treatment system.

Similarly, the Ho Chi Minh City office of Zuellig Pharma, which seeks GMP recognition for the manufacturing site Cenexi-Osny, has been asked to further explain why there is no information on biologic production areas, as well as to provide diagrams of the factory and its water treatment system.

Merck Sharp & Dohme’s site Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, is urged to add documents about the list of inspections in recent three years, its water treatment system, the list of products, and equipment, among others. Reckitt Benckiser Ltd. from Thailand, GSK, Pfizer, Diethelm & Co., Ltd, and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. are also among the competitors in drug tenders in Vietnam.

While it is not easy for MNCs to attain the valuable GMP acknowledgement and clarify several aspects of their manufacturing sites on the way, most of them seem eager to boost their presence in the lucrative local pharmaceutical market, signalling a hotter market in the months to come.

As shown in the Drug Administration of Vietnam’s statistics, drugs from MNCs make up an average of 26 per cent of total health insurance spending, with 47 per cent spent at central hospitals, and 26 per cent at provincial ones.

However, possible cuts of drug prices may worry some MNCs, as Vietnam’s new tender rules have taken effect from last week.

Under the newly-issued Circular No.15/2020/TT-BYT on promulgating list of drugs procured through bidding, the drugs for procurement through bidding, for concentrated procurement, and for procurement through price negotiation see some changes from October 6, aiming to lower the prices of brand-name drugs. Circular 15 is in line with the government’s direction to reduce medicine prices and increase locals’ access to quality medicines, focusing on branded drugs.

Replacing Circular No.09/2016/TT-BYT issued four years ago, the new rules have been well-received thus far by MNCs as they advocate price negotiation. With the new issuance, however, they may have to reduce prices to compete with other generic drugs, meaning that future profits may be reduced. Industry insiders said that the GMP recognition is a good solution for MNCs to gain advantages and shelter from the disadvantages of the new rules.

No new COVID-19 cases in community for 47 straight days in Vietnam

Vietnam has gone through the 47th straight day without any COVID-19 infections in the community, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced on October 19 afternoon.

The tally stayed at 1,140 as six new imported cases were reported and quarantined right after their arrivals. Of the total, 1,046 have been treated successfully as 15 were given the all-clear on October 19.

Among the patients under treatment, 10 tested negative once to SARS-CoV-2 that causes the pandemic, three twice and five thrice. The country currently records no cases in critical conditions, and the number of fatalities stands at 35.

As many as 12,379 people nationwide who had close contact with patients or entered from pandemic-hit areas are under quarantine.

The pandemic continues developing complicatedly in many countries. Many organisations have forecast the pandemic will linger on until 2021./.

Nearly 360 citizens brought home from Taiwan

Nearly 360 Vietnamese citizens were brought home from Taiwan (China) on two flights on October 19.

The flights were arranged by Vietnamese authorities, the Vietnamese economic – cultural office in Taipei, the Vietnam Airlines and Taiwanese authorities.

The passengers were the elderly, the ill, pregnant women, workers with expired contracts, and students who have finished their education.

The Vietnamese office in Taipei had helped the citizens with boarding procedures.

Strict security, safety and epidemiological measures were implemented during the flights to ensure passengers’ health and prevent the spread of diseases.

After landing Cam Ranh airport, the passengers and crew members had their health checked and were sent to quarantine in line with regulations.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with citizens’ wishes, the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine capacity in the country./.

US diplomatic mission sends condolences over flood-caused losses

The US diplomatic mission in Vietnam on October 19 sent deep condolences to the Vietnamese Government and people over the great losses at Economic-Defence Army 337 of Military Region 4 in the central province of Quang Tri.

The condolences were also offered over the deaths of soldiers and officers who sacrificed their lives doing rescue work in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue, and dozens of others killed by floods and landslides in the central region of Vietnam.

In the message, the mission expressed its readiness to help Vietnam overcome the aftermath of the tragic floods, and its deep sympathies to all those affected by the natural disaster.

Torrential rains caused by successive storms have, since the beginning of this month, affected the life of more than 7 million in the region. More are forecast to continue in the coming days./.

Fundraisers to aid victims of historic floods in central Vietnam

Historic floods have wreaked havoc in Vietnam’s central provinces over the last week or so, prompting the launch of a number of fundraising events on October 19 to help those affected.

The Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) co-hosted a meeting with members of the Disaster Risk Reduction Partnership (DRRP) to call for international assistance to ease the devastation. 

The meeting was chaired by MARD Deputy Minister Nguyen Hoang Hiep and Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Vietnam Andrew Jeffries, both of whom co-chair the DRRP.

DRRP members said they are committed to supporting Vietnam in surveying disasters and delivering necessities to people in the central region. 

The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, the Embassy of the US and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have so far pledged to provide relief to flood-hit provinces.

According to Jeffries, three expert groups from the DRRP will tour the five cities and provinces of Da Nang, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Nam from October 20 to 23 to survey and assess damage and then develop plans to help those affected.

Meanwhile, the Government Office organised a fundraising event for flood victims that was attended by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Deputy Prime Ministers Truong Hoa Binh, Pham Binh Minh, Vu Duc Dam, and Trinh Dinh Dung.

In his remarks, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung said the record floods, triggered by heavy rainfall of up to 3,000 mm, in some locations have taken a heavy toll on central provinces, particularly Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri. 

The flooding has isolated many communities and affected the lives of more than 135,000 households.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Fatherland Front of northern Bac Giang province, and the Military High Command of the Mekong Delta’s Soc Trang province also launched appeals to raise funds which will be sent to those in need to help them overcome the difficulties and quickly resume production. 

The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control reported that, as of 6 am on October 19, the floods had forced the four hardest-hit provinces, from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue, to evacuate 37,490 households, or 121,280 people, while close to 121,700 homes in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri have been inundated by floodwaters.

The disaster has so far claimed 90 lives and left 34 missing; destroyed 12 highways and 17.4 km of local roads; damaged 924 ha of rice and 106,616 ha of other crops; and killed or washed away more than half a million heads of cattle and poultry.

The devastating flooding, which has lasted for more than 10 days, was caused by 30-year record rainfall.

On October 18, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc decided to aid Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Nam with 4,000 tonnes of rice from the national reserve, with each receiving 1,000 tonnes./.

Japanese gov’t helps Thua Thien – Hue flood victims

Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government is assisting flood victims in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue with 50 water purifiers and 250 plastic mattresses, helping ease difficulties the victims are suffering, the JICA said on October 19.

On behalf of the Vietnamese Government, the central steering committee on the prevention of natural disasters will receive the assistance and deliver it to Thua Thien – Hue people.

The assistance will arrive at Da Nang airport in the central region in two batches, with the first being handed over on October 19 afternoon.

Torrential rains caused by successive storms have, since the beginning of this month, affected the life of more than 7 million in the region. More are forecast to continue in the coming days./.

300 delegates to attend 13th Party Congress of Central Agencies’ Bloc

The 13th Congress of the Party Organisation of the Central Agencies’ Bloc for the 2020-2025 tenure will take place from October 27 to 29 in Hanoi, a press briefing in the city on October 19 heard.

The participation of 300 official delegates representing over 8,200 Party members in nearly 6,000 Party cells of 61 Party Organisations is expected.

It will focus on evaluating the performance of the Party Organisation of the Central Agencies’ Bloc in the 2015-2020 tenure, defining the orientations, targets, tasks, and solutions for the 2020-2025 tenure and providing opinions on documents to be submitted to the 13th National Party Congress.

 

A new Executive Committee of the Party Organisation of the Central Agencies’ Bloc will be elected, along with a delegation to the 13th National Party Congress.

According to a draft Political Report to be submitted to the 13th Congress of the Party Organisation of the Central Agencies’ Bloc, over the past five years, despite difficulties and challenges, the Party Organisation has directed the implementation of all tasks, with all targets completed.

In the new tenure, the Party Organisation will focus on building a strong and pure Party Organisation, enhancing the political mettle and revolutionary morality of Party members as well as the leadership capacity and combativeness strength of the Party Organisation.

It will also complete its organisational and operational mechanisms towards greater efficiency./.

Embassy seeks to enhance Vietnam-Romania economic, cultural links

A delegation led by Vietnamese Ambassador to Romania Dang Tran Phong visited Neamt county, the capital of Romania’s northeastern region, from October 14 to 17 to promote economic cooperation and cultural exchange between the two countries.

During the trip, part of activities marking 70 years of bilateral diplomatic ties, Ambassador Phong had a working session on October 15 with Prefect of Neamt George Lazar, Vice President of the county’s council Laurentiu Dulama, and many other local officials to discuss the Vietnam-Romania friendship and cooperation, along with plans on economic partnership and cultural exchange between the two countries, including the twinning of Neamt with Thai Nguyen province of Vietnam.

Phong also attended the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition on the latest events in the countries’ relations and Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements, landscapes, people and culture.

On this occasion, he also presented the library of Neamt with many books, including famous literature works like “Truyen Kieu” (Tale of Kieu) by Nguyen Du and “Nhat ky trong tu” (Prison Diary) by Ho Chi Minh translated into Romanian, love poems by Mihai Eminescu translated into Vietnamese, as well as books in English and audio visual products introducing the land, people, and culture of Vietnam.

On October 16, the Vietnamese Embassy and the Neamt Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a roundtable workshop with the participation of over 20 businesses representing outstanding industries of the county like textile, wood, steel, chemical, fertiliser, agriculture, and tourism.

Participants looked into the Vietnam-Romania traditional friendship and cooperation, new prospects for economic, trade, investment, tourism and labour relations, and connections in manufacturing and selling products in each other’s markets and their respective regions after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect.

Neamt businesses voiced their hope that they can visit Vietnam to attend the Vietnam Expo 2020 and come to Thai Nguyen province to set up cooperative ties between the two localities and the countries’ enterprises./.

State Audit Office respected as prestigious public audit agency

The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) is highly regarded by members of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) for its prestige in public auditing.

Twenty-five years since its foundation, the SAV has posted numerous important achievements in public property asset management and financial management, contributing to the country’s development. It was elected ASOSAI Chair for the 2018-2024 tenure at the 14th ASOSAI Assembly (ASOSAI 14) it hosted two years ago, affirming its position on the international stage.

ASOSAI 14 adopted the Hanoi Declaration, which demonstrates SAV’s commitment towards ASOSAI’s mission to promote knowledge sharing and capacity building among members, with a focus on environmental auditing for the sustainable development of countries and the region.

During its over two decades as an ASOSAI member, the SAV has constantly taken steps to strengthen its role in the organisation’s development while making considerable contributions to international cooperation and capacity building among members. Joint audit operations within ASOSAI have also played a crucial role in reinforcing the friendship and mutual understanding between Vietnam and other regional members.

Over the past many years, the SAV has provided the State with timely and reliable information regarding the current state of governing mechanisms and institutions through its audit services. This creates an important basis for the Government, ministries, and other governmental bodies to make necessary amendments to the national legal framework, improve policy making, bolster the effectiveness of budget allocations, and enhance transparency in public financial management. Public assets under the management of ministries, governmental bodies, and local administrations have also been audited by the SAV, so as to “close loopholes” in State budget governance.

From 2013 to 2017, the SAV detected violations involved 195 trillion VND (8.4 billion USD), sent dozens of cases of suspected violations of regulations in public property and financial management to the police for criminal investigation, and provided information and documents to competent authorities to support their inspections and legal proceedings.

It has also proposed revising, amending, and cancelling hundreds of financial statements and documents issued in breach of rules or no longer corresponding with actual circumstances, to prevent losses and waste.

Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has spoken highly of the SAV, saying that after two decades of development, it has established itself as an important agency in Vietnam’s political system that helps the legislature effectively supervise the national finances.

She also praised the SAV for learning from international experience relevant to Vietnam’s context to build capacity among its team of auditors and advance the efficiency of new audit areas, such as operational audit, information technology audit, public debt audit, and environmental audit. Its proposals for amending, cancelling, and replacing legal documents that are no longer relevant have actively contributed to improving the State’s legal institutions and policies, the top legislator said.

ASOSAI was founded in 1979 and pursues a mission common among working groups of International Organisations of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), that “Professional supreme audit institutions promote good State governance”, and with the core values of “Professionalism, Cooperation, Equality, Creativity”.

ASOSAI’s goal is to promote mutual understanding and cooperation among member SAIs through the exchange of ideas and experience in public auditing, creating favourable conditions for the training of State auditors to improve working quality and efficiency.

The SAV became a member in 1997. In the initial period of membership, the SAV primarily sent auditors to attend training courses and workshops sponsored by ASOSAI, to enhance professional capacity. Since 2010, the SAV has undertaken a more active role in the professional activities of ASOSAI./.

Vietnamese in Czech, Poland raise fund to help flood victims

The Vietnamese people community in the Czech Republic on October 19 held a ceremony to raise fund for flood victims back in Vietnam’s central region.

At the event, Chairman of the community Nguyen Duy Nhien said that overseas Vietnamese (OVs), including those in the Czech Republic, always turn their hearts to the homeland.

Thanks to enthusiastic response from the Vietnamese people, more than 300,000 Kč (12,900 USD) was mobilised within one day, he said, adding the OVs hope the money will contribute to help flood-hit people overcome challenges soon.

The fundraising programme will continue to be held to mobilise more support for the homeland, he stressed.

Meanlhile, the Vietnamese people community in Poland organised a similar event on October 19, calling on individuals and organisations to help central localities quickly recover from flooding.

The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control reported that as of 6 am on October 19, the floods had forced the four hardest-hit provinces from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue to evacuate 37,490 households, or 121,280 people, while close to 121,700 homes in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri have been inundated by floodwaters.

The disaster has so far claimed 90 lives and left 34 missing; destroyed 12 highway sections and 17.4 km of local roads; damaged 924 ha of rice and 106,616 ha of other crops; and killed or washed away more than half a million heads of cattle and poultry.

The devastating flooding, which has lasted for more than 10 days, was caused by 30-year record rainfall./.

Hanoi voters propose continued drastic actions against COVID-19

Hanoi voters and residents have proposed the National Assembly and the Government to continue drastic actions against the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Chairwoman of the Hanoi Fatherland Front Committee Nguyen Lan Huong.

Huong was reporting at a meeting between the delegation of Hanoi’s NA deputies and agencies ahead of the 10th session of the 14th legislature on October 19.

The voters also called for more mechanisms and policies to help people, businesses and labourers overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic, restore and boost socio-economic development, and stabilise their lives.

Violations in the purchase of medical supplies in service of the combat should be strictly handled, they said, proposing intensifying inspections over loss-making projects and areas that would see corruption.

The voters also expressed their concern over such issues as urban railway projects, component projects of the North-South Expressway and the North-South Express Railway project, along with the personnel work.

Speaking at the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Van Suu presented a report on the capital city’s socio-economic development over the past time, with the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanding 3.27 percent in the first nine months of this year, a 1.54-fold higher than the national average.

Secretary of the municipal Party Committee and head of the delegation Vuong Dinh Hue said the issues raised by local voters and residents are being settled by departments, agencies and localities.

Reviewing major activities recently held by Hanoi, the official said the events, particularly the municipal Party Congress, have been highly valued by local voters and residents.

The 10th session of the 14th-tenure NA is scheduled to open on October 20 and last for 19 days, with both online and face-to-face meetings, NA Secretary General and Chairman of the NA Office Nguyen Hanh Phuc has said.

He told a press conference on October 19 that legislators will convene meetings via videoconference from October 20 to 27 and gather in Hanoi for face-to-face discussions from November 2 to 17.

During the seven days to be spent on law-making, they will vote on seven draft laws and three draft resolutions and give comment on four bills.

The NA is set to look into the implementation outcomes of socio-economic development and State budget plans for 2020; NA resolutions on socio-economic development, economic restructuring, and financial and medium-term public investment plans for 2015-2020; and the NA’s Resolution 100/2015/QH13 that approved investment policies for national target programmes for 2016-2020.

Phuc noted that lawmakers will also scrutinise socio-economic development, State budget, and central budget allocation plans for 2021; socio-economic development targets, tasks, and solutions for 2021-2025; and the financial and medium-term public investment plans for the next five years./.

PM urges greater rescue efforts amidst historic flooding

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 19 urged competent forces to make greater efforts in rescue operations while ensuring safety, as the central region has been ravaged by historic floods.

Speaking at a meeting of standing Cabinet members, PM Phuc asked the natural resources and environment sector, particularly the hydrometeorology agency, to better the forecasting work in order to put forth flexible response scenarios.

He called for the involvement of the entire political system, especially youths, women, relevant forces, donors and residents who are not affected by the natural disasters to join hands in these efforts.

The leader also ordered ensuring the safety of dams and reservoirs, saying suitable response plans and necessary equipment should be ready to save people and handle emerging issues.

He agreed with the proposal by ministries and agencies to initially provide each of the affected provinces with 1,000 tonnes of rice.

Notably, Quang Nam, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces that have been hardest hit by the natural disasters each will receive 100 billion VND (4.31 million USD).

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong reported at the meeting that between October 6-12, central cities and provinces from Nghe An to Quang Ngai suffered from three storms and two tropical depressions, along with a cold spell that have triggered prolonged rains and floods.

The total common rainfall has exceeded 1,000mm, even reaching 2,000-2,500mm in Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, surpassing the record level in 1999.

On October 12 and 18, six provinces from Quang Binh to Quang Nam were submerged, affecting more than 260,000 households, with many areas 2-3m under water. Currently, inundation is hitting about 154,000 households in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

As of 5pm on October 19, the natural disasters left 102 people dead and 25 others missing, and damaged many local agriculture, irrigation and transport infrastructure, the minister said./.

PM decides to provide 5,000 tonnes of rice for flood victims in central region

The Prime Minister has decided to entrust the Ministry of Finance to allocate 5,000 tonnes of rice from the national reserve for five central provinces which are hardest hit by natural disasters.

Accordingly, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Nam and Ha Tinh each will receive 1,000 tonnes of rice.

The PM asked the People’s Committees of the provinces to promptly receive and distribute the allocated rice to the right people in line with regulations.

Between October 6-12, central cities and provinces from Nghe An to Quang Ngai suffered from three storms and two tropical depressions, along with a cold spell that have triggered prolonged rains and floods.

The total common rainfall has exceeded 1,000mm, even reaching 2,000-2,500mm in Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, surpassing the record level in 1999.

On October 12 and 18, six provinces from Quang Binh to Quang Nam were submerged, affecting more than 260,000 households, with many areas 2-3m under water. Currently, inundation is hitting about 154,000 households in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

As of 5pm on October 19, the natural disasters left 102 people dead and 25 others missing, and damaged many local agriculture, irrigation and transport infrastructure./.