Vietnam News Today (October 20): Transport Ministry Mulls Letting the Unvaccinated Fly

Vietnam News Today (October 20): Vietnam adds 3,034 Covid-19 cases to national infection tally; HCM City enhances cooperation with China’s Shanghai; Thirty-two localities declare Covid-19 risk levels; Transport ministry mulls letting the unvaccinated fly.
October 19, 2021 | 23:32

Vietnam News Today (October 20) notable headlines

Vietnam adds 3,034 Covid-19 cases to national infection tally

HCM City enhances cooperation with China’s Shanghai

Thirty-two localities declare Covid-19 risk levels

Transport ministry mulls letting the unvaccinated fly

Trade department proposes HCMC resumes on-site dining

Vietnam, Russia boost transport ties

Vietnam wishes to further deepen ties with Romania

HCM City to resume waterway transport

Enterprises urged to strictly follow standards of imported markets

Photo: VOV
Photo: VOV

Vietnam adds 3,034 Covid-19 cases to national infection tally

A further 3,034 people were confirmed to be positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thereby taking the national tally since the pandemic first hit the country back in early 2020 to 870,255, according to Ministry of Health in its October 19 update.

Ho Chi Minh City recorded the highest number of infections with 907, followed by Binh Duong province with 500 and Dong Nai province with 371.

The Health Ministry also reported a total of 1,866 recoveries on the same day, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 794,846.

The national Covid-19 death toll also rose to 21,344 following the confirmation of 75 deaths on October 19.

The average number of new cases nationwide over the past seven days has been 3,272 a day, while the national death rate has averaged at 83 a day.

Since the fourth pandemic wave initially broke out back in late April, the country documented a total of 865,558 new infections, of which 792,029 patients have gone on to fully recover from the disease.

Most notably, two out of 62 provinces and cities have stayed free from the SARS-CoV-2 virus for 14 days, including Bac Ka and Hoa Binh.

As of October 11, the country had inoculated over 64.9 million doses of vaccines, with more than 18.4 million people now being fully vaccinated, cited VOV.

With the nation switching from a zero-Covid-19 strategy to a policy of living with the virus, the nation has issued a pandemic level evaluation directive in each locality that consists of two criteria. This include the proportion of people aged 18 and more getting vaccinated, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in a week.

According to the evaluation, the Government will designate infected areas into red, orange, yellow, and green, meaning 'very high risk’, 'high risk', 'medium risk', and 'low risk.' Localities can therefore decide to relax restrictions based on their relevant risk levels.

HCM City enhances cooperation with China’s Shanghai

Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc and Vice Mayor of China’s Shanghai Zong Ming discussed cooperation orientations between the two cities during virtual talks held on October 19.

Duc affirmed that the organization of the online meeting demonstrates determination and hope to maintain friendship and cooperation of the two cities, especially during pandemic period, according to VNA.

He added that HCM City hopes the two sides will increase the exchanges of delegations once Covid-19 is brought under control so as to foster solidarity and mutual understanding, thereby deepening their friendship.

Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc at the meeting. Photo: VNA
Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc at the meeting. Photo: VNA

Informing the Chinese official of HCM City's orientation to build a financial hub in Thu Duc city, Duc voiced a hope to learn from the experience of successful models across the world, including the one in Shanghai’s Pudong district.

He asked Shanghai to introduce experts in the field so that HCM City can study the global financial centre model in the Chinese city in the coming time.

For her part, Zong Ming said since the two cities set up partnership, they have rolled out numerous economic and cultural exchanges, adding that Shanghai always hopes to strengthen cooperation with HCM City.

The Chinese city is willing to share experience in Covid-19 prevention and control and further collaborate with HCM City in fields of common interest, especially in digital transformation and cooperation in trade, economy and finance.

She confirmed that Shanghai stands ready to send experts to help the two sides work together in the time to come, thus strengthening the Shanghai-HCM City cooperation and contributing to the development of each city./.

Thirty-two localities declare Covid-19 risk levels

Thirty-two cities and provinces across the country have declared their Covid-19 risk levels by October 18, following the Government’s new guidelines on safe adaption to the pandemic outlined in Resolution 128/NQ-CP.

The guidelines set out three indicators to assess the level of pandemic risk – the number of new community infections, the coverage of vaccinations, and the ability to receive and treat patients at all levels.

Accordingly, 18 provinces have been at Level 1. They are Lai Chau, Cao Bang, Lao Cai, Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Quang Ninh, Quang Ngai, Phu Yen, Dong Nai, Ben Tre, Binh Thuan, and Soc Trang.

Fourteen cities and provinces at Level 2 include Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Son La, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Ha Tinh, Da Nang, Quang Tri, Dak Lak, Can Tho, Long An, Tien Giang, Bac Lieu and Vinh Long.

Photo: VNA
Photo: VNA

Though the capital city of Hanoi has yet to declare its risk level, the municipal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Hanoi) has assessed the city’s first and second indicators (the number of new community infections and vaccine coverage) as Level 1, according to VNA.

Many other localities also have not officially announced their status but they have issued instructions and taken measures to safely live with the pandemic so as to revive socio-economic development.

Under Resolution 128, four levels of pandemic risk are introduced as follows: Level 1: Low-risk (new normal) – labeled green; Level 2: Medium-risk – labeled yellow; Level 3: High-risk – labeled orange and Level 4: Very high-risk – labeled red.

Based on instructions of the Ministry of Health, cities and provinces shall decide to raise or lower their Covid-19 risk levels. In case of raising the pandemic assessment risk, local authorities shall have to inform citizens and businesses at least 48 hours in advance.

Localities, based on the pandemic situation and vaccination rate, shall specify the limit on the number of participants and the scope of activities. Priority will be given to those who have been given the full two doses of vaccines and those who have recovered from Covid-19.

For example, indoor gatherings will not be allowed to take place or only with a limited number of participants in red and orange zones, while in green zones, there’s no limit on the number of participants.

Road, inland waterway and sea passenger transport will have to stop or limit operations in red and orange zones. The frequency of such activities must be reduced in yellow zones.

Interprovincial and intra-provincial transportation of goods are allowed to operate at all four levels, with strict adherence to pandemic prevention and control measures.

Transport ministry mulls letting the unvaccinated fly

As proposed by the Ministry of Transport, unvaccinated people can fly if they test negative for the coronavirus while the fully-jabbed, from low-risk areas, simply board their flights.

In a proposal submitted to the government, the ministry said passengers from very high- and high-risk areas, including Ho Chi Minh City, would have to show a negative test result before boarding a flight.

Passengers from areas with lower Covid-19 risk levels only need to fulfill one of the three following requests to be eligible to fly: having been fully vaccinated for over 14 days and less than 12 months from the flight departure time, recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or tested negative within 72 hours before departure, VnExpress reported.

A passenger (R) has her body temperature checked at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, October 2021. Photo: VnExpress
A passenger (R) has her body temperature checked at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, October 2021. Photo: VnExpress

The ministry’s proposal followed previous suggestions by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

The proposal is for the second phase of domestic flight resumption from Oct. 21 and once approved, more specific guidelines would be issued, a ministry representative said Tuesday.

After two months of suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, flight services were resumed across 19 domestic routes on Oct. 10, with two more added three days later.

Yet in order to fly, all passengers must be fully immunized at least 14 days before travel or have recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months aside from providing Covid negative results obtained within 72 hours of departure.

Aside from the conditions for passengers, the ministry also proposed the government add more flights on several routes in the second phase, including Hanoi – HCMC, Hanoi – Da Nang, and Da Nang – HCMC.

It wants to raise flights on those routes to six return flights per day at most from Oct. 21 to Nov. 14 and seven return flights per day at most from Nov. 15 to 30.

For other routes, there would be no more than four return flights per day.

For now, airlines have been operating only one daily return flight on each route.

Trade department proposes HCMC resumes on-site dining

The HCMC trade department suggested Tuesday that the administration allows eateries to serve customers on their premises apart from providing takeaways.

The on-site service should not include alcoholic drinks, the Department of Industry and Trade said.

It proposed that eateries that meet Covid safety criteria are allowed to open until 9 p.m. and serve people at not more than half their maximum capacity and not more than two people at one table, with tables placed at least two meters apart.

Shippers wait outside a coffee shop for their customers' takeaway drinks in downtown HCMC, October 2021. Photo: VnExpress
Shippers wait outside a coffee shop for their customers' takeaway drinks in downtown HCMC, October 2021. Photo: VnExpress

HCMC has allowed eateries to resume delivery services from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day, starting Sept. 8, after suspending them for nearly two months, cited VnExpress.

The trade department said the city should allow more activities to resume, given its high vaccination rate. Around 5.5 million people in HCMC, or more than 75 percent of its adult population, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, it noted.

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