VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES FEBRUARY 22

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The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau plans to convert this year nearly 2,000ha of unproductive rice paddies into fields where rice and aquatic species are rotated or perennial crops are grown.

Ca Mau to grow other crops on 2,000ha of rice fields hinh anh 1

Contaminated Abbott milk products recalled in Vietnam

The Vietnam Food Administration has requested that the local distributor of Abbott products urgently recall some powdered baby formulas after receiving warnings from the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) about bacterial infections in infants who consumed these products.

The Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) is also alerting Vietnamese consumers on the need to avoid purchasing or using certain powdered infant formula products, encouraging them to immediately notify local authorities when detecting the products on the market.

As a result of this, Abbott Nutrition, a popular baby food manufacturer, has announced that it was voluntarily recalling three types of infant formula after four babies became sick with bacterial infections after consuming the products.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recall includes select lots of Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare formulas that had been manufactured at an Abbott facility in Sturgis based in Michigan.

The FDA said three of the complaints concerned Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacterium that can cause severe or life-threatening infections, or inflammation of the membranes that protects the brain and spine. In addition, Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

Affected products have a code beginning with first two digits of 22 through 37 and containing K8, SH, or Z2. They also have an expiration date of April 1, 2022, or later.

However, liquid baby formula and all other products produced by Abbott Nutrition are not affected.

Health Ministry reports 46,880 new infections, 104 fatalities

The Health Ministry announced the detection of 46,880 new COVID-19 infections across 62 cities and provinces on February 21, marking a fall of 331 cases from the previous day.

Hanoi continues to lead the way in terms of the number of infections with 5,477 cases, followed by the northern provinces Bac Ninh with 2,582 and Phu Tho with 1,908.

The Ministry of Health also confirmed 104 COVID-19 deaths on the same day, duly raising the national death toll to 39,605.

The same day also saw 13,235 patients recover from the virus to take the number of recoveries to over 2.294 million.

Close to 191.7 million doses of vaccine have been vaccinated as of February 21, of which more than 75.4 million people have been fully inoculated.

Do Thi Ha receives most likes on fanpage of Miss World

An introductory post about Do Thi Ha, the nation’s representative at Miss World, has received the most likes and shares on the beauty pageant’s official Facebook page. So far, the post has reached a total of 45,000 likes, 5,800 comments, and 7,600 shares on the social media site.

In the post, Miss World said Do Thi Ha, who is currently a student at the National Economics University, has dreams of one day becoming a successful entrepreneur with her own health care and range of beauty products.

The Facebook page stressed that after a period of extreme weather in October, 2020, caused devastating damage, Ha decided to launch Peaceful Houses as a means of helping the community of Tra Don rebuild their homes.

She was able to successfully secure funding to reconstruct a total of 18 houses that had been damaged during the natural disaster, whilst she also provided food and supplies desperately needed by the community.

Furthermore, the Miss World fanpage also called on fans to help the Vietnamese beauty reach the Top 12 of the 70th Miss World by supporting her in the Miss World Digital Media Challenge.

To engage with Do Thi Ha and promote her stories, fans can visit her individual website at https://www.missworld.com/2021/vietnam/do-thi-ha/.

Quang Binh attracts tourists through exploration tours

The central province of Quang Binh has welcomed over 33,000 visitors in the opening days of the New Year, attracting a large number of tourists by offering exploration tours, according to Phong Nha – Ke Bang Tourism Centre.

One of the main activities is to allow tourists to explore the mysterious Phong Nha cave by kayaking.

Hoang Trung Thanh, deputy head of the Sales Department under the Phong Nha – Ke Bang Tourism Center, revealed that the new tours contribute to diversifying different types of tourism to help visitors explore the cave at night.

Dang Dong Ha, deputy director of the provincial Tourism Department, emphasized that the locality aims to welcome approximately two million visitors this year, including 10,000 international visitors.

German film festival 2022 available online

The German film festival 2022 is available online from February 20 to March 31, with an expectation that it will bring the best of German cinema to audiences based in the Southeast Asian region, including Vietnam.

This comes after a total of eight Goethe-Institutes in Southeast Asia have come together to jointly organise an online film festival called KinoFest for the first time.

German films of various genres are screened online, including Freies Land, Undine, The Cleaners, and Curveball.

The films will be available for free of charge at https://kinofest22.goethe-on-demand.de/, with each of them have Indonesian, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, or English subtitles.

The festival aims to help audiences in the region to gain a greater insight into Germany’s people and landscape while also ensuring COVID-19 prevention measures.

Gia Han crowned Miss Teen International Vietnam 2021

Ngo Ngoc Gia Han, 16, surpassed 35 other contestants to become winner of the Miss Teen International Vietnam 2021 as the pageant concluded on February 20 in Ho Chi Minh City.

In the grand final of the competition, the Top 35 contestants aged between 13 and 19 participated in an Ao Dai (traditional long dress), evening gown, and presentation competition.

Moving forward, the Ho Chi Minh City native will go on to compete at the Miss Teen International 2022 pageant which is set to be held in the Philippines in July.

Furthermore, organisers also awarded the Miss United Nations Pageants Vietnam title to Nguyen Trang Nguyet Minh.

She will now represent the country by competing in the Miss United Nations Pageants 2022 hosted by Vietnam.

Quarantine for fully vaccinated COVID-19 contacts shortened to five days

People who get at least two shots of COVID-19 vaccines and have close contact with COVID-19 patients will be quarantined for five days instead of seven days as previously, according to the Ministry of Health.

In a document sent to localities and agencies on February 21, the ministry said the people should receive the final dose at least 14 days before or recover from the disease within three months. They will be quarantined at home, lodging facilities or qualified establishments, the document said.

Those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated will be quarantined for seven days at home, lodging facilities and other establishments, and test for COVID-19 on the seventh day of the quarantine. They would be under medical self-monitoring for the next three days if the result is negative.

For COVID-19 patients, their home quarantine and treatment will be removed after seven days and their antigen test result is negative.

If the test result is positive, the quarantine will be extended for another 10 days for patients fully vaccinated and 14 days for patients partially vaccinated.

Tourism product launched to preserve historical values

The northern mountainous province of Ha Giang has recently rolled out a new tourism product to preserve historical values and also pay tribute to soldiers who laid down their lives while fighting to protect the Vi Xuyen border.

On the “Theo buoc chan anh” (Following their footsteps) tour with a military outfit, visitors pass through a 20-kilometre marshy path, down which food and weapons were transported to the frontlines of the Vi Xuyen battlefield.

They can discover a wide range of historical sites, such as the combat area in Pinh village, Am Phu (Hell) Waterfall, border marker 261, and Lo village cave, make incense offerings to fallen soldiers, and visit ethnic minority villages.

More than 4,000 soldiers laid down their lives in Ha Giang in the battle to protect Vietnam’s border. The tour is designed to pay tribute to their contribution to the country.

Buddhist dignitaries appointed as heads of pagodas in Truong Sa island district

The standing board of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) executive committee in the central province of Khanh Hoa on February 21 announced decisions to appoint three monks as heads of pagodas in Truong Sa island district.

They consist of Venerables Thich Nhuan Hieu, Thich Tam Thanh, and Thich Dinh Thong, who will respectively oversee Da Tay A pagoda, Sinh Ton pagoda, and Son Ca pagoda for two years, starting from their date of departure.

As heard at the announcement ceremony, the standing committee considers the appointment of the monks as heads of the pagodas in the district as an important action in the development of the Dharma in the border and maritime areas. A Buddhist monk, first of all a Vietnamese citizen, when starting to receive missions in remote islands, realises that each pagoda in Truong Sa island district is not only a spiritual place but also a landmark marking the sacred sovereignty of the Fatherland.

Futsal team prepare for Southeast Asian and Asian tournaments

The Vietnamese futsal team gathered in Ho Chi Minh City on February 21 for training to prepare for the 2022 AFF Futsal Championship and AFC Futsal Asian Cup Qualifier, according to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).

A total of 22 players have been called up, including those who have recovered from injury and young players.

Head coach Pham Minh Giang and his players will station at Thai Son Nam Gymnasium until March 21, and then will travel to Thailand for further training and competing at the AFF Futsal Championship, which is also the 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup Qualifier.

During the training period, the team are scheduled to play three friendly matches to review the force before finalise the list of 16 players.

The AFF Futsal Championship will take place from April 2-11 in Bangkok. The top four teams at the AFF Futsal Championship will win tickets to the AFC Futsal Asian Cup, scheduled to be organied in Kuwait from September 25 to October 20./

NA Chairman asks People’s Councils to improve operational effectiveness

Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue has urged for greater efforts to further reform and improve the operational effectiveness of People’s Councils.

The plan on further reforming and improving the operational effectiveness of People’s Councils must be constantly reviewed and perfected in order to ensure the full observation of the Constitution and regulations; better conduct the appointment of key personnel; supervise the implementation of resolutions issued by provincial People’s Councils and the performance of permanent members of the People’s Councils, People’s Committees, People’s Courts, and People’s Procuracies at the same level; and agencies of the People’s Councils.

The People’s Councils were tasked to promptly implement and supervise the implementation of the State’s policies as well as the NA and Government’s resolutions on socio-economic development, finance and State budget, public investment disbursement, and national target programmes, particularly those on fighting COVID-19 and promoting socio-economic recovery from 2022 – 2023.

Meeting looks to improve health care resources in HCM City

Human resources in the health sector of Ho Chi Minh City have undergone many changes in terms of quantity, quality and structure, said Tang Chi Thuong, director of the municipal Department of Health.

Speaking at a meeting of outstanding doctors in the training of medical human resources held on February 21, he said that there were 20 doctors per 10,000 people in 2020, compared with just 16 doctors in 2016.

According to Thuong, although HCM City has the highest number of doctors in the country, this figure is still low in comparison with that of developed countries such as Australia (38), New Zealand (34), the Republic of Korea and Japan (25). Thus, the health sector is facing challenges with the training of medical human resources in the current period, in order to meet the needs of the people, he said.

Pointing out the paradox that exists in the training of medical personnel, Thuong said that the number of specialist doctors is always much higher than that of general practitioners. He attributed it to the fact that newly graduated doctors tend to become specialists.

Search, repatriation of volunteer Vietnamese soldiers’ remains in Cambodia resumed

The Steering Committee on Search and Repatriation of Remains of Fallen Soldiers (Steering Committee 515) of Military Zone 7, and those of Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc and Long An provinces on February 21 re-started the operation of teams for searching and repatriating remains of Vietnamese fallen soldiers in Cambodia during wartime, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, in the 2021-2022 dry season, members of the four search teams of Military Zone 7 planned to gather and repatriate remains of 640 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts in Cambodian provinces of Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Svayrieng, Battambang, and Pailin.

Over the last two decades, search teams of Military Zone 7 founded and repatriated over 9,900 sets of remains of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts who died in Cambodia during wartime.

Cuc Phuong named Asia’s leading national park

Cuc Phuong National Park, a popular trekking destination near Hanoi, was named Asia’s leading national park at the 2021 World Travel Awards. This marks three consecutive years the park has won the award.

UN highly appreciates Vietnam’s contribution to peacekeeping operations

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix on February 21 thanked Vietnam for its strong support for UN peacekeeping operations, as well as its personnel contributions to the United Nations.

According to Lacroix, Vietnam started sending troops to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in 2014 and it has since made positive contributions to this field.

The country first deployed a level 2 field hospital for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in October 2018. It has so far sent 75 troops to UN peacekeeping operations, ranking 62nd among UN member countries. It has planned to soon send troops to join the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, a disputed area between Sudan and South Sudan.

Currently, Vietnamese soldiers are on duty at the United Nations missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Vietnam’s level 2 field hospital in South Sudan has played an important role in the overall success of the UN mission in this African country, ensuring the health and medical conditions for its staff, especially during the raging COVID-19 pandemic, said Lacroix.

Long An plans major road projects to boost regional connectivity

The Mekong Delta province of Long An will start work on five key transport infrastructure projects worth VNĐ1.6 trillion (US$70 million), aimed at enhancing connectivity in the region.

Nguyễn Hoài Trung, deputy director of the provincial Department of Transport, said necessary procedures were being finalised for beginning project construction.

The projects are expected to boost the province’s socio-economic development by improving connectivity with neighbouring HCM City and other provinces in the southern region, he added.

A new road connecting provincial road No 830 with HCM City’s Hóc Môn District and a new provincial road No 822B in Đức Huệ District will be built. Another project will upgrade and expand existing provincial roads No 824 and 825 in the province’s Đức Hòa District. Three new bridges: Kênh 79 Bridge in Tân Hưng District; and Tắc Cạn and Đông An bridges in Cần Giuộc District are among the projects that will begin implementation this year.

Output, supplies, pricing of Vietnamese-produced molnupiravir to be decided this week

The health ministry is set to meet this week with three Vietnamese producers of molnupiravir pills on the supplies, usage, quality and pricing of the antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19.

Earlier on February 17, three products – Molravir 400mg produced by Boston Việt Nam Pharma (based in Bình Dương Province), Movinavir 200mg manufactured by Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical (based in HCM City), and Molnupiravir Stella 400mg produced by Stellapharm J.V Co., Ltd (Bình Dương Province) – were the first to be approved for conditional use in Việt Nam by the country’s drug administration.

The news was received positively as this was assumed to mean the drugs would be more readily accessible to the general public when the COVID-19 caseload in Việt Nam is climbing to new records in recent days, even with a high vaccination rate among the population aged 12 years and above.

This week, the three companies will declare their cost structure and pricing calculation method to the Drug Administration of Việt Nam, an important step for the drugs to be included in bidding procedures at medical facilities.

According to many sources from drug manufacturing companies, the expected selling price is just about VNĐ300,000 (US$13) per box of 20 400mg pills or 40 200mg pills, which is the equivalent of one course of treatment. The price is lower than the recommended pricing for the drugs in developing countries at $19.90.

Traditional cultural beauty of Thai ethnic minority weddings

The Thai ethnic minority group in Vietnam’s northwest region in general and the Black Thai group in Son La province in particular are rich in cultural identity, especially when it comes to weddings. Let’s join us to a traditional wedding of local Thai people!

Runway at Tân Sơn Nhất Int’l Airport closes for maintenance

A runway at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport will be closed for maintenance from Monday, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV).

The service on Runway 25R/07L is expected to last 25 days, until March 15.

In accordance with this schedule, the CAAV has reduced the number of flights to 30 per hour from February 21 to April 30.

Airlines are requested to utilise flight slots to ensure their effectiveness and push up the operation of night flights.

Reinforcements called up to strengthen U23 team at AFF Championship

Coach Đinh Thế Nam has been forced to call up six additional players to strengthen his squad at the AFF U23 Championship, which is ongoing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The players will join their teammates today, the same day that Việt Nam faces archrivals Thailand in a Group C clash at the Prince Stadium.

The reinforcements are needed after 11 players and two coaching assistants returned positive COVID-19 tests, causing a selection headache for coach Nam.

The six players called up are: Phan Tuấn Tài of Viettel, Đinh Quý from Quảng Nam, Vũ Đình Hai from Phù Đổng, and Huỳnh Tiến Đạt, Nguyễn Thành Nhân and Trần Bảo Toàn, all from Hoàng Anh Gia Lai. All of them performed well in the recent national U21 championships.

Hanoians flock to buy quick test kits amid rocketing Covid-19 infections

Many people in Hanoi are rushing to buy quick test kits and face masks amid the city’s rapid Covid-19 infections.

Vietnam’s total Covid-19 cases have reached over 40,000 per day with the capital city of Hanoi securing the highest number of patients.

Currently, the retail sale of each test kit ranges VND53,000-100,000, depending on different kinds.

According to Mai Thi Ngoc, a drugstore owner in Nam Tu Liem District, most of her customers buy cartons of face masks, not boxes as before the Lunar New Year or Tet holiday. Recently, both masks for children and adults have seen higher prices.

Pham Anh Thu, who works at a pharmacy in Hai Ba Trung District, said that besides masks and quick test kits, vitamins, saline and medicines such as fever reducers have been sold very well.

Cu Chi proposed to be developed into city

Many scientists and experts at a recent seminar on the development orientations and potential and the improvement of the investment environment in HCMC’s outlying district of Cu Chi have proposed developing the district into a city under the jurisdiction of HCMC.

At the seminar, the Cu Chi authorities also introduced nine projects covering nearly 6,000 hectares of land for investment attraction.

Cu Chi will also develop the Tan Phu Trung, Tay Bac and Dong Nam industrial parks, an auto mechanical industrial park, agricultural production areas, hi-tech agricultural areas and garden residential areas.

Cu Chi must be developed into a green urban area. To reach the target, the connectivity of rural and urban areas should be tightened, existing trade villages should be stabilized and ecotourism should be developed at the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Ben Duoc Temple.

In addition, an expressway from An Suong to Moc Bai and the Ring Road No. 3 should be accelerated to link Cu Chi and Hoc Mon with the east of HCMC and Dong Nai Province. Roads along the Dong Nai River to Cu Chi and Tay Ninh should be studied to shorten the travel time and develop ecotourism.

Experts also suggested HCMC issue policies for Cu Chi to attract large investors and talents and reform administrative procedures.

Hydropower plant in Kon Tum causing floods fined VND160 million

Gia Nghi Co., Ltd, the investor of the Dak Po Ne 2AB hydropower plant in Kon Tum Province, which had earlier stored and then released water without an announcement, inundating a large area of crops belonging to local residents, has been fined VND160 million.

The Kon Tum government issued a decision fining Gia Nghi Co., Ltd for exploiting and using the water resource at the Dak Po Ne 2AB hydropower plant without a license, Lao Dong newspaper reported.

The hydropower plant with a capacity of 5.1 megawatts in March 2021 discharged water without an announcement, inundating many pepper and coffee farms, causing heavy losses for local farmers. These farmers later proposed the Kon Tum government and the provincial delegation of National Assembly deputies handle Gia Nghi Co., Ltd’s violation.

However, these farmers have yet to be compensated, although the provincial Departments of Natural Resources-Environment and Industry-Trade have repeatedly inspected the hydropower plant.

Tunnel connecting Lai Chau, Lao Cai provinces proposed

The government of the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau has proposed the government develop the 8.8-kilometer Hoang Lien tunnel between the province’s Tam Duong District and Lao Cai Province’s Sa Pa Town to replace a 22-kilometer road section passing through the Hoang Lien Pass on National Highway 4D.

The project will include a 2.5-kilometer tunnel and an approach road and a bridge totaling 6.3 kilometers. The project was planned to start at National Highway 4D and end at O Quy Ho Ward, Sa Pa Town.

The project requires an estimated investment of VND3.3 trillion, including VND2.5 trillion sourced from the State budget in the mid-term public investment allocated to Lai Chau Province and VND800 billion from the budgets of localities, and was expected to be completed before 2025.

According to the Lai Chau government, the Hoang Lien Tunnel, once in place, will help shorten the travel time through the Hoang Lien Pass from 52-120 minutes to 11 minutes.

Vietnam prepares for safe resumption of tourism

Along with the policy of safe and effective control of the pandemic, Việt Nam’s tourism sector continues to prepare solutions to recover and adapt to the new normal.

Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has sent the Government a proposal to completely open international tourism, including welcoming foreign tourists to Việt Nam and allowing Vietnamese tourists to travel abroad from March 31.

From now until March 30, Vietnam will continue to implement phase 2 of a pilot programme to welcome international tourists, but it is proposed to expand to localities in which residents have received the 3rd dose of the vaccine and low-risk areas.

90-ton truck crushes pick-up in Quang Ninh, killing two

A 90-ton truck crushed a pick-up truck in Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha City on February 20, killing two people inside the truck.

The accident happened at about 9 p.m. last night on a road used to transport soil and rocks from an open-cast mine of Cao Son Coal JSC. It was raining heavily at the time, accompanied by thick fog and a temperature of below eight degrees Celsius, Lao Dong newspaper reported.

The pick-up was reportedly owned by Trung Nghia Transport Services and Investment JSC, a contractor responsible for shoveling and loading soil and rocks at the coal mine.

After the accident, workers of Cao Son Coal JSC quickly pulled the victims out of the cabin of the truck.

However, the two victims, who have yet to be identified, died.

Over 1,000 Vietnamese athletes to compete at 31st SEA Games

Vietnam, the host country of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), will participate with the most numerous athletes of over 1000 ones.

At the 31st SEA Games, the host country of Vietnam registered the competition of 1,104 athletes, Thailand with 1,036 ones, Singapore with 706, Indonesia with 1,001, the Philippines with 603, Malaysia with 815, Myanmar with 754, Cambodia with 494, Laos with 363, Brunei with 41 and Timor Leste with 54.

The organizing board of the 31st SEA Games has completed the sports regulations and sent them to each international sports federation to verify in accordance with the process.

The Vietnam Sports Administration required the teams and the boards of directors of the National Sports Training Centers to strictly follow the Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control measures, including travel regulations to ensure the health of staff, coaches and athletes.

Ministry requested to promptly develop COVID-19 vaccination plan for children aged 5-12

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged the Ministry of Health to promptly develop a plan to vaccinate children aged 5-12 against COVID-19.

The move was made to ensure safety for children when localities nationwide have gradually reopened schools.

The Government had ordered 22 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer for this age group as part of the Government’s efforts to further increase the already high vaccination coverage.

In a bid to step up the ordered vaccine delivery, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had a phone conversation with Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla last Tuesday, during which the former asked Pfizer to deliver 22 million vaccine doses for children from 5 to under 12 years of age at the earliest and try to complete the contract no later than May this year. Pham also asked Pfizer to regularly share information on development of its new vaccines with Viet Nam, affirming the Government stands ready to create most favorable conditions for Pfizer to cooperate with the Southeast Asian country in pharmacy sector.

Source: VNA/VNN/SGGP/ND/VNS/VOV

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