Vietnam News Today (Jan. 27): Center For Digital Transformation Takes Shape in HCM City

Vietnam News Today (Jan. 27): Health official warns of risk of COVID-19 spread during Tet; Tay Ninh, Cambodian provinces boost traditional relations; Da Nang to offer multiple tourist activities during Tet holiday; Center for digital transformation takes shape in HCM City.
January 27, 2024 | 06:09

Vietnam News Today (Jan. 27) notable headlines

Health official warns of risk of COVID-19 spread during Tet

Tay Ninh, Cambodian provinces boost traditional relations

Da Nang to offer multiple tourist activities during Tet holiday

Center for digital transformation takes shape in HCM City

Vietnam needs big push for private investment in transport

Traditional Tet activities recreated at Thang Long imperial citadel

Dengue fever cases in Hanoi higher than Ho Chi Minh City

Chinese cruise ship brings 700 foreign visitors to Da Nang

Numerous major investors keen on Vietnamese semiconductor chips

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)
Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Health official warns of risk of COVID-19 spread during Tet

The surge in travel demand during Tet (Lunar New Year) is a favorable condition for diseases to spread, including COVID-19, a health official of Ho Chi Minh City has said.

Ho Chi Minh City's infectious disease surveillance system has detected the emergence of sub-variant JN.1 of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in hospitalized patients in December last year in the locality, Deputy Director of the municipal Center for Disease Control (HCDC) Le Hong Nga said at a press briefing held on January 25.

JN.1 is a sub-variant from the BA.2.86 variant of Omicron classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a "variant of Interest” (VOI).

According to Nga, the surge of the JN.1 sub-variant in some countries shows that it is either more transmissible or better at evading the immune system. However, there is no evidence that JN.1 poses greater risk to public health compared to other variants, she said, citing WHO's conclusion. In general, when it comes to COVID-19, symptoms tend to be similar across variants, she said, adding that symptoms and severity of COVID-19 often depend largely on each person's immunity and health status, cited VNA.

To prevent the pandemic and protect public health, the city Department of Health has assigned the HCDC to closely monitor the development of COVID-19 including number of hospital admissions, number of severe cases and deaths, maintain activities to protect people in risk groups in the context of the emergence of the JN.1 sub-variant.

Residents are urged to take measures to protect themselves, such as regularly washing their hands, keeping fit and wearing face masks in crowded places.

People, especially those in at-risk groups, are recommended to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and other vaccines such as Pneumococcus and respiratory infection.

Tay Ninh, Cambodian provinces boost traditional relations

Leaders from Cambodia, specifically the provinces of Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Cham and Tboung Khmum, gathered to extend greetings and present gifts to the authorities of Vietnam's southern province of Tay Ninh on January 25, just ahead of the Lunar New Year festival.

Leaders of Cambodia present a gift to Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Thanh Tam (fourth from left).
Leaders of Cambodia present a gift to Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Thanh Tam (fourth from left).

Nguyen Thanh Ngoc, chairman of the Tay Ninh provincial People’s Committee, expressed confidence in the continued collaboration between Vietnam and Cambodia to achieve new milestones in the construction and development of each country, contributing to the greater cause of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

The Cambodian provinces bordering Tay Ninh are set to engage in a thorough review of the implementation of their cooperation agreements and sign new ones to bring the traditional friendship to a greater height, he revealed.

Governor of Svay Rieng province Peang Po Sa, for his part, praised the collective achievements in various sectors such as economy, trade, border security and order, in alignment with the signed agreements, according to VOV.

He wished that under the sound leadership of the Vietnamese and Cambodian Governments, the border provinces would persistently uphold the neighborliness and traditional friendship and deepen the solid and effective comprehensive cooperation. This, he believed, will bring mutual benefits for the citizens of both countries.

Da Nang to offer multiple tourist activities during Tet holiday

Visitors to the central city of Da Nang and its Son Tra Peninsula in particular on the occasion of the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival will have a chance to participate in a range of cultural and entertainment activities.

Nguyen Duc Vu, head of the Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang tourist beach management board, said there will be check-in models at Bien Dong, Lang Ong and Nguyen Van Thoai parks, My An beach in Ngu Hanh Son district, and other places.

My An beach will also host a surfing tournament on January 27-28, and the Xuan Yeu Thuong (Beloved Spring) programme from January 26-28, featuring a menu of activities to promote Vietnamese cuisines in the Tet festival.

Besides, holiday-makers can participate in various folk games and street activities such as nhay sap (dance between bamboo poles), dap nieu (hitting hanging clay pots), and painting masks.

A view of Son Tra Peninsula. (Photo: VNA)
A view of Son Tra Peninsula. (Photo: VNA)

Currently, many hotels and beach resorts in Da Nang are decorated with colorful flags, vibrant lights, and charming decorative scenes to attract local residents and tourists, VNA reported.

The total number of visitors to the central beach city in 2023 was estimated at over 7.4 million, doubling the figure in 2022 and equivalent to 93% of the 2019 pre-pandemic figure, the municipal Department of Tourism reported.

Of them, the total number of international visitors topped 2 million, a four-fold increase year-on-year and equivalent to 62% of the 2019 number.

Total revenue from accommodation, catering and travel services was VND28 trillion (US$1.2 billion), up 67% year-on-year.

Center for digital transformation takes shape in HCM City

A center for digital transformation (DXCenter) was recently established in Ho Chi Minh City with the aim of supporting agencies, organizations, and enterprises in going digital whilst studying, piloting, and transferring digital technology products.

DXCenter will take full advantage of digital and data technologies, expand cooperation, mobilize resources in order to provide digital services to serve the people and enterprises, and develop digital government as a way of creating motives for the development of the digital economy and data economy.

Along with operating a data center and a data transmission network, the center will provide guidance and technical support for relevant sides to roll out digital platforms whilst also developing digital services and smart urban areas.

It is responsible for ensuring information safety for the southern city’s data center, digital platforms, information system, and shared database.

Furthermore, it will carry out training programs and provide consultations on digital transformation to small and medium businesses.

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the five leading localities in the nation for digital transformation, with most administrative procedures available for use online, cited VOV.

Photo: VOV
Photo: VOV

There are now more than 7,000 ICT businesses working in the southern metropolis with a total e-commerce value of US$7.8 billion, accounting for nearly half of the country's total.

The city has set various targets to achieve in its digital transformation process by 2030. It is poised to become a healthcare center of both the nation and the ASEAN region with a medical ecosystem of 6,000 modern clinics and hospitals that provide medical care, as well as implementing AI in disease diagnosis and treatment.

It is striving to develop a booming digital economy with an expected contribution of 25% and 40% to the city's GRDP in 2025 and 2030, respectively, as part of efforts to maintain the national leading position economically.

Vietnam needs big push for private investment in transport

Despite the latest legal improvement and huge potential, it may yet take some time for Vietnam to become a true transport investment destination.

Private investors were pleased to find that issues related to financial mechanisms for public-private partnership (PPP) projects have been worked on after the National Assembly in late 2023 issued a resolution to pilot the state capital contribution of 70 per cent to PPP projects in certain areas, instead of 50 per cent as in the past.

“The new legal improvement pins high hopes on future opportunities for private investors to join transport infrastructure projects in the upcoming time,” Tran Chung, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Road System Investors (VARSI), told VIR.

“It is expected that in 2024-2025, when the Law on PPP Investment will be amended and more legal barriers are solved, many related projects will be carried out as Vietnam needs huge investment for transport infrastructure development amid state budget constraints,” he added.

Chung cited the Chi Lang-Huu Nghi PPP transport project, which will organize bidding to select a potential investor this year, as an example.

Last year, the disbursement of public investment was also a spotlight in the sector’s performance, when it disbursed over 95 percent of the total. As many as 475 km of expressways were put into use, increasing the total figure in the country to almost 1,900 km during the year. Chung, however, admitted that the private investment picture in the sector was not yet bright, despite strong efforts to make improvements.

Among member companies of VARSI, only Deo Ca Group joined some projects. The company is cooperating with Becamex Binh Duong in investing in the Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Dau Mot, and Chon Thanh expressway project, beltways 3 and 4, and the Suoi Tien station metro line for Binh Duong New City, VIR reported.

Vietnam needs big push for private investment in transport, Photo: Duc Thanh
Vietnam needs big push for private investment in transport. Photo: Duc Thanh

Similar to domestic private investment, foreign investment in transport also has room for growth, despite new ventures coming that involve the likes of Indian multinational Adani Group, International Holdings Company, Hong Kong’s HAECO Group, China Railway Engineering Corporation, and others.

“PPP is the optimal model to pull in investment in transport, as many domestic private and foreign investors show their strong interest. However, it is yet to meet expectations because of legal barriers, including the unfeasible financial mechanism and risk-sharing mechanism,” Chung explained.

At the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam’s (EuroCham) 2024 Whitebook launch last week, PPP-related problems were once again raised.

According to EuroCham, due to difficulties with the evolving PPP regime and the lack of government policy certainty and risk allocation available, sponsors and investors have, in certain sectors, primarily relied on implementing smaller-scale projects under the Law on Investment, without the protection of a long-term PPP contract and related regulations.

This has limited the amount of capital investors are willing to deploy against infrastructure projects in Vietnam, meaning large-scale infrastructure developments remain extremely rare for a country of the scale and growth potential of Vietnam, members said.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on January 1 requested authorities at all levels to speed up the investment progress of transport infrastructure projects. Just over a week later, PM Chinh directed them to focus on removing obstacles related to construction norms and unit prices, along with issues in exploiting and supplying construction materials for key transportation projects.

The prime minister also attended the groundbreaking ceremony of a PPP expressway project, which leads from Dong Dang in Lang Son province to Tra Linh in Cao Bang province.

The 13th Party Congress determined the goal that the whole country will have about 3,000 km of expressways by 2025 and about 5,000 km of expressways by 2030. The period 2021-2025 has focused maximum resources on developing transportation infrastructure, three times more than the 2016-2020 period.

The Ministry of Transport will aim to co-organise investment promotion conferences with localities in transport infrastructure. It will also promote attracting capital through deploying toll collection franchises and auctioning toll collection rights.

The Transport Development and Strategy Institute estimates that the country needs about $87.3 billion for transport infrastructure by 2030, not including infrastructure maintenance costs.

“In the context of population decline and increasing international competition, there is a need for the majority participation and investment of public units in strategic infrastructure such as airports and ports, forming many models of PPP,” said Uehara Atshushi, Vice Minister for International Affairs under Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

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