By Thanh An – Translated by Kim Khanh
By Thanh An – Translated by Kim Khanh
The MOET allows the heads of the people’s committees of cities and provinces to decide on whether to resume classes from March 2.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has decided to extend the time frame for the 2019-2020 school year due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, Zing.vn reported on February 22, quoting Nguyen Xuan Thanh, deputy director of the Department of Secondary Education under the MoET.
Specifically, the school year will end by June 30, around one month later than the normal schedule. Evalutions for primary and secondary school graduation will take place by July 15 at the latest, enrollment for 10th grade will be due on August 15 and national senior high school exam will be held from July 23 to July 26.
Besides, the MOET lets the heads of the people’s committees of cities and provinces decide whether to resume classes from March 2.
In case they decide to let the students return to school later in March, the authorities must rely on the above-mentioned schedule to create a compensatory study plan and ensure the program, finish the school year and organize the national senior high school exam.
Thus, the national high school exam in 2020 will take place nearly one month later than usual to offset the time of school break that was aimed to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic.
There remain 2,500 vacancies in Phap Van – Tu Hiep residential quarter in Hoang Mai district.
Due to complicated evolution of Covid-19 pandemic, Hanoi’s government has recently worked with educational institutions to prepare some 20,000 beds in total in the city for isolation to effectively prevent Covid-19 spread, local media reported.
|The premises of Hanoi High Technology Vocational College. Photo: HNM|
The isolation establishments are set up to accomodate people, both Vietnamese and foreigners, who come from abroad.
Noi Bai International Airport reported that on March 22, 2,348 passengers (including 2,146 Vietnamese and 202 international visitors) came to Vietnam from Hong Kong and Taiwan (China), Germany, Russia, Singapore, UAE, Japan, India, among others.
Currently, there are 14 concentrated isolation centers in Hanoi city with a total of 12,629 beds, according to a report of the municipal Department of Health.
Of the 14 centers, besides some military barracks and schools under the Capital High Command and the Ministry of Defense, the Hanoi People’s Committee has decided to set up three more in urban districts.
Specifically, there are 4,800 beds at the student dorms in My Dinh II (Nam Tu Liem district), another 4,000 in student dorms in Phap Van – Tu Hiep residential quarter (Hoang Mai district) and 800 at the premises of Hanoi High Technology Vocational College (Nam Tu Liem district), respectively.
Among the three planned mass quarantine centers, only the student dorms in Phap Van – Tu Hiep residential quarter have been mobilized, and there remain 2,500 vacancies.
Besides, the Ministry of Education and Training has made a written request to the leaders of educational institutions to cooperate with the locality in making dormitories available for mass isolation.
Training institutions that require class attendance are asked to follow the guidance of epidemic prevention and make plans suitable to the pandemic evolution.
The Ministry of Education and Training has also required the institutions to encourage officials, lecturers and students to join local epidemic prevention activities.
As of March 23, Hanoi keeps taking the lead in the number of Covid-19 patients, 38 out of 118 nationwide.
As a means of strengthening control of isolation sites in line with regulations set out by the Ministry of Health, municipal leaders paid a visit to sites on April 30 in order to inspect hotels based in metropolitan areas that are being used for COVID-19 isolation.
Ho Chi Minh City now has 41 hotels which are being used as fee-based concentrated medical isolation, with a total capacity of 3,929 people. Of the total, there are 38 isolation hotels specifically for foreign experts and Vietnamese citizens in need, along with three isolation hotels for international flight crews.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Ho Chi Minh City, hotels are required to meet requirements relating to the arrangement of isolation service areas at hotels, whilst also ensuring the facilities have cleaning services for rooms, dining, laundry, and are disinfected to serve the needs of quarantined people. In addition, all hotel staff working in these locations must be trained and should fully grasp medical isolation regulations.
In line with the threat of the epidemic, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has decided to suspend all non-essential services as of April 30 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Under the decision made on April 30 by Ho Chi Minh City Mayor Nguyen Thanh Phong, karaoke venues, nightclubs, and bars, will be temporarily closed until further notice.
According to Mayor Phong, the southern city is at high risk, although it is not a locality which borders pandemic-hit nations, therefore it must launch the entire anti-pandemic system at the highest level possible, with restrictions being stricter than those in the provinces along the nation’s southwestern border.
Other catering and entertainment services will be permitted to operate as normal, but must fully comply with regulations on pandemic prevention and control.
Mayor Phong has moved to direct departments and branches to boost co-ordination in an effort to prevent cross-infection in concentrated isolated areas. People who have completed their quarantine period must fully comply with post-isolation regulations at their places of residence or at home, he emphasised.
Furthermore, he also asked competent agencies to strictly monitor individuals who have to continued to undergo quarantine at home after an earlier period of isolation, whilst strictly punishing violators who do not wear masks in public areas.
In the face of the complicated developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chairman of the Can Tho City People’s Committee issued an official dispatch aimed at strengthening COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the city. Indeed, there is a particular focus on strictly complying with 5K regulations, especially wearing mandatory masks in public places and at events with large crowds.
In order to prevent potential outbreaks of COVID-19, the Tien Giang Provincial Party Committee and the People’s Committee have requested that cadres, civil servants, public employees, and locals continue to follow the Health Ministry’s 5K message, including khau trang (face mask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration). This should be done alongside mandatory mask wearing in public and no organization of unnecessary activities involving the gathering of large numbers of people.
Local authorities have also urged all citizens to minimise their travel for sightseeing and tourism purposes, whilst not arranging parties, gatherings, and recreational activities during the public holidays, along with strictly handling violations according to regulations.
This move has seen localities boost epidemic prevention measures in an effort to ensure safety for both residents and tourists during the long break. People are required to fully abide by the Ministry of Health’s 5K message, including khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration).
The Hanoi People’s Committee has requested that the cultural, sport, and tourism agencies ans local administrations devise plans to tighten control of cultural and relic sites, cinemas, museums, and festivals in order to nip in a bud a possible coronavirus outbreak in the community.
Nguyen Van Phuc, deputy director of the Thua Thien-Hue Tourism Department in central Vietnam, revealed that his agency has informed travel firms, especially hotels and restaurants in the region, to strengthen the deployment of epidemic prevention regulations. This should be done whilst sending inspection teams to provide further guidance to local firms.
Trinh Hang, director of the Ba Ria Vung Tau Department of Tourism in southern Vietnam, noted that the locality has not prohibited tourism activities, but has instead tried to swiftly deploy the 5K message alongside other anti-epidemic measures under the guidance of the Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, Bui The Nhan, director of the Binh Thuan Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the province has asked tourist destinations and accommodation establishments to enforce a strict policy of guests wearing face masks, and to conduct mandatory medical declaration for visitors.
HCM City’s industrial production grew by 3.8 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, and retail sales went up by 12 per cent. It suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has been well controlled and enterprises feel secure about doing business again, according to the city Department of Industry and Trade.
Its director, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, speaks to Viet Nam News about the manufacturing situation in the first quarter and measures needed in the second to sustain it.
How was the retail sector’s performance in the first quarter of the year and what will the department do to stimulate consumption and boost the sector’s growth during the rest of the year?
Total retail sales and services in HCM City in the first quarter of the year were estimated at VND279.04 trillion (US$12.1 billion), an increase of 6.2 per cent over the same period last year. Of this, retail sales were worth VND156.5 trillion ($6.79 billion), a year-on-year increase of 12 per cent.
We enjoyed some growth in Q1. To maintain the momentum we have to do a lot of work to promote trade and production activities. To be specific, we continue to deepen our linkages with provinces and cities in the supply chains for goods and services through agreements we have signed. We will continue to join hands with localities to organise programmes that enable enterprises from other cities and provinces to meet directly with enterprises and traders at wholesale markets in the city so that they can together make market forecasts and prepare goods for the former to meet the city’s demand and vice versa.
In addition, we facilitate businesses’ promotional activities by solving administrative procedures related to promotion activities quickly and conveniently.
Every year the department receives 500,000 applications to carry out promotion programmes from businesses. This year, with an increase in IT use, the number is expected to rise by 10-15 per cent.
We have got the green light from the city People’s Committee to organise consumer promotion fairs and a concentrated promotion programme along with the tourism sector, airlines, transport companies, accommodation establishments, and shopping centres to offer big sales promotions for local and foreign tourists as well as city residents.
We will start organising the concentrated promotion programme this year. Other cities in the region such as Singapore and Bangkok have impressive sales seasons and HCM City will gradually learn from them to become a shopping hub of the country and region.
We will also take steps to stimulate investment, expand land availability for production establishments and improve the quality of human resources for the industrial, trading and import-export sectors.
We are still both fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and intensifying economic activities. Therefore, the first priority is to continue to ensure epidemic prevention at all production and trading facilities.
What do you think about the retail industry’s prospects this year?
With a network of nearly 240 supermarkets and shopping malls, 237 traditional markets and three large wholesale markets, and an increase in digital application in commercial activities, we expect the city’s retail industry to achieve double-digit growth this year.
In this, e-commerce will continue to be the bright spot and could reach a growth rate of 20 per cent.
Many consumers still complain about sales of fake goods on e-commerce platforms. How will your department deal with this issue to make shoppers feel secure when shopping online?
There are certain people who always operate in contravention of the provisions of the law. They sell knock-offs of famous brands or sell products with unclear origins. We have an agency associated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Market Surveillance Agency to strengthen inspection and strictly deal with violations like selling of counterfeit goods and products with unclear origins.
The department’s inspectorate has collaborated with the city Department of Information and Communications’ Inspectorate to gather information about online frauds. We work actively and have prevented a number of cases involving companies taking advantage of the online environment to sell illegal goods.
As for industrial production, what will the department do to sustain growth this year?
The city’s industrial production sector has recovered quarter after quarter, with the index of industrial production in the first quarter of 2021 going up by 3.8 per cent over the same period last year (it was down by 0.99 per cent in Q1 2020), with the four key sectors (electronics, mechanical engineering, food processing, and pharmaceutical chemicals-rubber-plastic) growing by 7.5 per cent.
This was thanks to enterprises being proactive in production and trading amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the assistance from the municipal government in addressing administrative issues rapidly and creating favourable conditions for businesses.
We have adopted many comprehensive solutions for improving the investment environment and making it easy for businesses to get land and capital and enhance the use of IT.
In the near future the city will announce policies to help firms operating in the industrial sector operate in a methodical way. We will continue to carry out the investment stimulation programme to enable more firms to get free loans to invest in new technologies and equipment and improve their competitiveness. — VNS