By Thanh An – Translated by Kim Khanh
By Thanh An – Translated by Kim Khanh
By P.Nam – Translated by Kim Khanh
“Patients 2422, 2423, 2425 and 2426” from Hai Duong were already in quarantine. They are being treated at field hospitals in the northern province.
“Patient 2424” is a 24-year-old woman from Thoi Lai District, Can Tho City, who entered Vietnam illegally through the border at Hong Ngu District, Dong Thap Province on February 23 and was quarantined soon after. Her test results returned positive for the novel coronavirus on February 25.
In the past 29 days, Vietnam has recorded 831 community transmissions in 13 localities. Hai Duong is the biggest hotspot with 647 cases, following by Quang Ninh with 61 and HCMC with 36. Ten of these localities haven’t recorded new community transmissions for the past 14 days.
With the latest cases, the nation’s Covid-19 tally has increased to 2,426 with 1,839 recoveries and 35 deaths.
Oxalis, the only private company licensed to explore and conduct adventure tours in the central province, welcomed 6,000 Vietnamese nationals last year, increasing thrice against the previous years.
The total number of cavers, however, was down 50 percent from the previous year to 7,000 as inbound tourism plunged due to travel restrictions.
Of the 7,000 visitors, 1,000 were foreign cavers who had entered Vietnam prior to the government halting international flights in late March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Nguyen Chau A, CEO of Oxalis, said the company, with about 500 employees, focuses exclusively on adventure tours to explore caves in Quang Binh, including Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, and Tu Lan.
With international flights and foreigner entry remaining suspended except for special cases , local businesses are focusing on boosting domestic tourism.
Currently, around 185 slots remain available to tour Son Doong in 2021, and 287 Tu Lan tours are up for grabs, according to Oxalis.
Son Doong opened to tourists in 2013. It comprises at least 150 individual caves, a dense subterranean jungle and several underground rivers. British magazine Conde Nast Traveler named Son Doong one of seven must-explore wonders of 2020.
Tu Lan, a popular setting for film shoots, was discovered in 2010, with two entrances stretching 2.2 kilometers. Tourists usually explore Tu Lan along with other caves in the system, including Chuot, Hung Ton, Ken, and Kim.
To ensure safety, the company does not receive visitors from pandemic-hit areas as recommended by the Ministry of Health. Cavers joining the tour are required to submit medical declarations.
Vietnam has recorded 831 Covid-19 community transmission cases in 13 localities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, since Jan. 28 when its latest outbreak began after a 55-day clean streak.
* China and India should firmly follow the right path of mutual trust and cooperation between neighboring major countries, and not go astray with suspicion and distrust nor fall back on a road of negative retrogression, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday. Wang made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, stressing that the two sides should maintain the strategic consensuses reached by their leaders.
* As COVID-19 transmission rates seemingly decline across the European Region, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge expressed health concerns over “long-COVID” or “post-COVID” symptoms at a virtual press conference on Thursday.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Armenia in a telephone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday, the Kremlin said.
* The Pentagon confirmed on Thursday that the US military had conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria. The Pentagon called the operation a “proportionate military response” carried out after consultations with coalition partners.
* China approved two more vaccines for public use, raising the number of domestically produced vaccines that can be used in China to four.
* Japan on Friday is preparing to lift the state of emergency over COVID-19 for five prefectures where the situation has improved, although the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area will likely be kept under the emergency period for the time being, according to government sources.
* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Friday 2,651 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily increase since Oct. 17 last year, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 571,327.
* Leaders of the European Union (EU) called for an accelerated production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines late on Thursday as the bloc is struggling with supply shortfalls.
* Brazil surpassed 250,000 COVID-19 deaths, while France and Germany said COVID-19 is here to stay after European Union leaders discussed ways to fight new variants of the virus, step up inoculations and save Europe’s tourism industry from another ruinous summer.
* Europe’s medicines regulator issued new guidance for drug makers that modify their vaccines to protect against variants of the virus to speed up the approval process.
* France will bring in new restrictions for the Moselle area around its common border with Germany, and impose measures including weekend lockdowns in Paris and 19 other regions from the start of March if signs of the coronavirus accelerating persist.
* Australia’s Victoria state will start easing restrictions from Friday night.
* Republic of Korea launched its inoculation campaign, with shots to be administered in some 200 nursing homes.
* US President Joe Biden’s administration plans to launch a campaign to educate Americans about vaccines in anticipation of a period later this year where supply may outstrip demand because of vaccine hesitancy.
* Brazil will purchase 20 million doses of the vaccine made by India’s Bharat Biotech for delivery between March and May.
* Canada’s vaccination campaign is ramping up after earlier supply disruptions and the number of inoculations last week hit a five-week high.
* Pfizer and BioNTech said they are testing a third dose of their vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus.
* Mexico’s economy grew quicker than first estimated during the fourth quarter as the country recovered from its sharpest economic contraction in nearly nine decades.
* Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to the lowest level since 1995 as coronavirus restrictions limited travel. Data released by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources on Friday revealed that emissions fell by 4.4 percent in the 12 months to September 2020.
* Security personnel of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) rescued more than 80 Rohingya refugees who had been onboard a boat drifting in the waters of Andaman Sea for 10 days, and retrieved eight dead bodies.
* Republic of Korea’s quarantine authorities said Friday that it will extend the country’s five-tier social-distancing rules at the third-highest level in the Seoul metropolitan area for two weeks.
* US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he would work to make US-Saudi relations “as strong and transparent as possible.” Biden made the remarks in the first phone conversation with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud since Biden’s inauguration.
* Germany’s Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure said on Wednesday that more than EUR5 billion (US$6.1 billion) would be invested in the modernization of over 3,000 railway stations across the country.
* Colombian President Ivan Duque announced a decision Thursday night to extend a declared national health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic by three more months, as the vaccination drive entered its eighth day.
* AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said he hoped to meet the EU’s expectations on the number of vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter.
* The Czech prime minister said people’s movement needed to be “radically” limited over at least the next three weeks.
* Portugal extended until at least mid-March a nationwide lockdown.
* The African Union is backing calls for drugmakers to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines.
* Israel has frozen its programme to send vaccines abroad to buy international goodwill, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said, after the initiative came under legal scrutiny.
* Bahrain has approved Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine for emergency use.
Many offers to sell coastal hotels in Da Nang have appeared on real estate forums these days. Most of them are located in districts Son Tra and Ngu Hanh Son.
A hotel put up on sale
On just one real estate website on February 22 many ads were listed.
A 4-star hotel on Vo Nguyen Giap street, 600 square meters, with 19 stories, 125 rooms and 2 conference rooms is offered at VND440 billion.
Hotels on the major streets of Ha Bong, Tran Bach Dang, Ho Nghinh, Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Xuan Huong are offered at tens or hundreds of billions of dong.
Hoang Lam, the owner of a hotel on Tran Bach Dang street, said accommodation service providers have been hit hard by Covid-19.
“We have been struggling to survive by cutting costs. However, as capital is getting exhausted, hotel owners have to liquidate assets to pay bank debts,” he said.
“Selling hotels is unavoidable as there is no source of revenue, and the operation cost is high,” he said.
Do Van Hien from Dana Hotel, a broker, said a lot of hotels in Da Nang have been put up for sale since the second Covid-19 outbreak.
“The hotels for sale are 2-4-star. The prices have fallen by 20 percent and buyers are mostly from northern provinces,” Hien said.
According to Hien, 3-star hotels are priced at VND20-100 billion, while 4-star hotels are at least VND280 billion. The value of hotels depends on the locations, area, quality, numbers of rooms and brands.
The transactions of 4-5-star hotels, which have strong brands, are confidential. Hotel owners only work with prestigious brokers, and buyers have to prove their financial capability.
Hien said no one wanted to sell hotels in 2016-2019 because they could make a high profit from the business. But since 2020, guests are coming in dribs and drabs, and operation costs and loan interest rates are high.
Cao Tri Dung, chair of the Da Nang Tourism Association, admitted that tourism services have become nearly frozen and many hotels have been put up on sale.
“The pandemic resurgence before Tet blocked sources of guests. Ninety percent of clients cancelled or postponed plans to come to Da Nang,” he said.
He said this is common in a market economy, and that it is time to restructure the accommodation segment.
According to Da Nang People’s Committee, the total number of guests staying at accommodation facilities in the city in January 2021 was 251,094, a 65.6 percent decrease compared with the same period last year.