Vietnam News Today (October 24): Hanoi Launches First Safety Tour in New Normal

Vietnam News Today (October 24): Vietnam records 3,361 new Covid cases; Hanoi launches first safety tour in new normal; Foreign trade likely to exceed US$600 billion this year; Vietnamese ports among top 50 effective container seaports.
October 23, 2021 | 23:17

Vietnam News Today (October 24) notable headlines

Vietnam records 3,361 new Covid cases

Hanoi launches first safety tour in new normal

Foreign trade likely to exceed US$600 billion this year

Vietnamese ports among top 50 effective container seaports

Fishery sector committed to combating IUU fishing

Economic growth from Covid-19 depends on vaccine rollout

Vietnam seeks new cooperation opportunities with Austria

Ministry of Construction proposes credit package to build homes for workers

Real estate industry has hard time getting back on its feet post-pandemic

Vietnam records 3,361 new Covid cases

The Ministry of Health reported 3,361 local Covid-19 patients in 47 cities and provinces Saturday, down 616 from the previous day, bringing the infection tally in the fourth wave to 880,150.

The three localities with the highest numbers of cases are Ho Chi Minh City with 749; Dong Nai with 605 and Binh Duong with 517.

While infection number has dropped in the three industrial hubs, the worst hit in the fourth wave, new clusters have reported in many other provinces.

The northern provinces of Ha Nam, Nam Dinh and Phu Tho have recorded dozens of new cases with unclear sources of transmissions in recent days. The northern province of Bac Ninh, the central province of Binh Thuan and the Mekong Delta's Ca Mau, Long An, and Soc Trang Provinces have also recorded infections among the wave of migrant workers returning home from the epicenter HCMC and its neighbors in recent weeks.

A woman does morning exercise at a park in HCMC, October 1, 2021. Photo: VnExpress
A woman does morning exercise at a park in HCMC, October 1, 2021. Photo: VnExpress

Health authorities also announced 77 Covid deaths on Saturday, with 42 in HCMC, 12 in Binh Duong, five in Dong Nai, three in Soc Trang, two each in Tien Giang, An Giang, Ninh Thuan and one each in Binh Phuoc, Dak Nong, Can Tho, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu and Thanh Hoa, cited VnExpress.

A total of 1,338 patients recovered on Saturday, pushing the total number of recoveries to 804,664.

Around 51.2 million people have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot and 20.7 million people have been fully vaccinated.

A government directive on assessing the pandemic level in each locality comprises two primary criteria: the proportion of people aged 18 and more that have been vaccinated, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in a week. Based on these, areas are classified into zones with very high, high, medium and low risks.

All 63 cities and provinces in the country have announced their risk levels. Hanoi is a low-risk area while HCMC and Da Nang are of medium risk.

Hanoi launches first safety tour in new normal

A safety tour with a combination of automatic audio guides and traditional sightseeing was launched on October 23 at the Vietnam National Museum of History.

The event was organized by the museum in collaboration with the Hanoitourist Corporation (Hanoitourist) to adapt to the current Covid-19 pandemic and adjust the museum's operations in the new normal.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Nguyen Thi Thu Hoan, deputy director of the museum, said the "French architecture in the heart of Hanoi" tour is a product that makes a difference for visitors to the capital due to a connection between the museum with related monuments in Hanoi as well as a connection in terms of architecture and history.

This tour combines traditional sightseeing with the application of automatic narration technology through scanning a QR code to ensure the safety of visitors in the new normal, she said.

In particular, visitors can also admire and learn about three among many rare and precious treasures only at the Vietnam National Museum of History. They are "Ngoc Lu bronze drum" and the golden books and seals - the treasures symbolizing the supreme power of the kings of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam, Hoan said.

The Hanoi Opera House, one of the architectural landmarks of the capital city. Photo: VNA
The Hanoi Opera House, one of the architectural landmarks of the capital city. Photo: VNA

Phung Quang Thang, Director of Hanoitourist, said that after the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, all tourism activities have changed to a new form, operating in the context of living with Covid-19, flexible and safety adaptation which required travel firms to have safe tourism programs and activities. Therefore, Hanoitourist and the Vietnam National Museum of History collaborated to set up a safe tour that last about one hour and a half, he said.

The unique feature of the tour is the connection of three attractions, helping visitors to have an overview, identification and comparison to see the outstanding value of architectural works and styles, and interactions between Vietnamese culture with Western culture in the early 20th century, according to VNP.

It connects events and artifacts displayed in the Vietnam National Museum of History with the Hanoi Opera House and the historical relic of the Bac Bo Phu (now became the Government Guest House) from the perspective of architecture and historical events, thereby helping visitors understand more deeply as well as having new experiences in the tour.

To ensure safety, each tour group will have no more than 10 members and they have to keep a distance and do not contact with each other.

The "French architecture in the heart of Hanoi" tour will be held every Saturday and Sunday, starting on October 23.

Foreign trade likely to exceed US$600 billion this year

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has predicted Vietnam’s total import-export turnover is likely to expand by 10% this year to US$600 billion, beating the 4% growth target set previously by the Government.

MoIT statistics show the country’s foreign trade hit more than US$26 billion in the first half of October, including US$13.16 billion from exports.

Four groups of commodities with an export turnover of US$1 billion or more each were phones and components, computers, electronic products and components, and garment.

Overall, the national total import-export turnover had reached more than US$510 billion from the beginning of the year until October 15. Of the total figure, Vietnam earned US$254 billion from exports and spent US$256.45 billion on imports, resulting in a trade deficit of US$2.45 billion, VOV reported.

Manufacturing mobile phones at a Samsung Vietnam production line. Photo: VOV
Manufacturing mobile phones at a Samsung Vietnam production line. Photo: VOV

The MoIT pointed out the monthly trade balance has gradually shifted to a trade deficit since the beginning of the second quarter, and this trend is showing signs of decreasing, with just US$100 million worth of trade deficit recorded in August.

With the current trade growth rate, the import-export turnover for the whole year is expected to exceed US$600 billion, forecast the MoIT.

According to the MoIT, the trade balance will heavily depend on the results of the ongoing fight against Covid-19. The ministry said it would continue to implement a range of solutions to support businesses and promote exports.

To gradually reduce the trade deficit, ministries, sectors and localities focus on measures to keep the pandemic in check, and at the same time remove difficulties for production and circulation of goods, suggested the MoIT.

The fourth quarter of the year is an important period of time when businesses enhance production capacity to meet the yearly target. With the Covid-19 outbreak showing signs of abating, most of businesses have resumed production since the beginning of October. If businesses pick up steam again, Vietnam may enjoy a trade surplus this year, the MoIT forecast.

Vietnamese ports among top 50 effective container seaports

Three Vietnamese seaports have been named among the top 50 of the Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) launched by the World Bank and IHS Markit.

Cai Lan International Container Terminal in the northern province of Quang Ninh ranked at 46th while Hai Phong Port and Cai Mep International Terminal in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau ranked at 47th and 49th, respectively, cited VNA.

Yokohama port in Japan has been ranked as the most efficient port in the world, followed by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Port. Other ports in the top five are Chiwan, part of Shenzhen's port in Guangdong province, Guangzhou port of China and Taiwan's Kaoshiung port.

Ports in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa dominated the top 50 spots, while four US ports cracked the top 100 - Philadelphia (83rd), the Port of Virginia (85th), New York & New Jersey (89th) and Charleston, South Carolina (95th).

The Cai Lan International Container Terminal in the northern province of Quang Ninh ranked at 46th in the Container Port Performance Index launched by World Bank and IHS Markit. Photo: VNA
The Cai Lan International Container Terminal in the northern province of Quang Ninh ranked at 46th in the Container Port Performance Index launched by World Bank and IHS Markit. Photo: VNA

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted trade around the globe, snarling trade and exposing the frailty of a supply chain of goods. The US is the world's biggest consumer, importing goods valued at roughly US$2.5 trillion a year.

Southern California's Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle the most ocean cargo of any ports in the US, but are some of the least efficient in the world, according to the ranking which reviews 351 container ports around the globe.

Los Angeles was ranked 328th, behind Tanzania's Dar es Salaam and Alaska's Dutch Harbor while the port of Long Beach was at 333rd, behind Turkey's Nemrut Bay and Kenya's Mombasa.

The CPPI is based on the total port hours per ship call, with this being defined as the elapsed time between when a ship reaches a port to its departure from the berth after completing its cargo exchange.

Fishery sector committed to combating IUU fishing

Over the past four years, the Vietnamese Government, associations and businesses in the fishery sector have made efforts to carry out recommendations of the European Commission (EC) and have its "yellow card" warning against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing lifted, heard a conference on October 23.

Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and head of the VASEP Marine Product Committee, said Vietnam’s aquatic product exports reach nearly US$9 billion a year.

She, however, pointed out limitations in the management and exploitation of aquatic resources, which have yet to fully meet relevant legal regulations.

Border guards in Quang Binh province examine a fishing boat and disseminate legal regulations to fishermen. Photo: VNA
Border guards in Quang Binh province examine a fishing boat and disseminate legal regulations to fishermen. Photo: VNA

Violations in fishing regulations should be quickly handled to remove the “yellow card” issued by the EC in 2017, Sac said, adding that such violations would be threats to the fishery sector’s sustainable and responsible development.

She also warned that once the EC imposes a “red card”, Vietnamese seafood will not be allowed to enter the EU market, and the sector would loose around US$387 million each year.

VASEP Deputy Secretary General Nguyen Hoai Nam said VASEP's IUU control board will work to maintain results recorded over the past four years, and deal with the limitations, VNA reported.

The communication work will be stepped up to raise public awareness of fishing regulations, he said, stressing the aim of ending violations in foreign waters at the end of this year, and have the “yellow card” removed in 2022.

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