By Thanh An – Translated by Kim Khanh
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HCM CITY— Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Nguyễn Thành Phong ordered the temporary closure of massage parlours, saunas, cinemas, theatres and gaming facilities from 6pm on May 3 amid continuing COVID-19 transmission in several areas in the country.
Organisers of conferences and workshops that had been scheduled for this week should reduce the number of attendees, he said.
Đầm Sen Water Park in District 11 has been closed for seven days from May 3.
Gyms will remain open, but people should comply with the Ministry of Health’s 5K message to wear masks, frequently disinfect hands, maintain a safe distance, refrain from gatherings, and make health declarations.
Religious events and activities should reduce the number of attendees by 50 per cent.
Last week, the city temporarily closed bars, discos and karaoke parlours.
The risk of another COVID-19 outbreak in the city was high as people from provinces and cities had begun to return to the city after a four-day holiday celebrating Reunification Day on April 30 and Labour Day on May 1, Phong said at a meeting on May 3.
Many foreign experts were also entering the city to work, he added.
City authorities and people should be on high alert and maintain strict compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures, he said.
Community-based controls showed that the highest risks were from illegal entrants to the country and from violations at quarantine areas, so “we should focus on controlling these risks,” Phong said.
Offices and schools should instruct their staff, teachers and students to fill out health declaration forms when they return to the city after the holidays. Violators would be fined.
On May 3, Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, and an inspection team checked the Binh Điền wholesale market and a bus station in District 8, as well as a quarantine area in District 7.
HCM City health officials on April 30 also began taking samples for free COVID-19 tests from people working at or visiting certain sites in the city.
On May 2, health workers at the Bến Nghé Ward health centre in District 1 took random samples from tourists and staff at Sài Gòn Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
All of the samples were sent to the HCM City Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (HCDC). The results will be returned two days later to the people who were tested.
A 23-year-old tourist from the neighbouring province of Bình Dương visiting the Sài Gòn Zoo & Botanical Gardens told local media that she was surprised that samples were being taken for COVID-19 tests. She said that she usually wears a mask when going outside and keeps a safe distance when contacting other people.
On May 1, the District 1 health centre staff took 50 samples from people visiting Nguyễn Huệ pedestrian street.
Earlier, the HCDC took 1,537 samples of people at high-risk areas such as hospitals, tourism areas, cinemas, and commercial centres, among others. All of the test results were negative for coronavirus.
The city said that people entering the city from lockdown areas in the country would be quarantined for 14 days and tested. The lockdown areas include Lý Nhân District’s Đạo Lý commune in Hà Nam Province, the villages Hoàng Xá, Hoàng Các and Nại Khê in Hưng Yên Province’s Phù Cừ District, and the Trung area in Đông Anh District’s Việt Hùng Commune in Hà Nội.
On April 30, Colonel Nguyễn Quốc Hùng, deputy commander of the HCM City Border Guard Command and head of the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control at HCM City’s Border Gate, said the maritime border force had set up five checkpoints equipped with devices and border guard command forces to ensure COVID-19 prevention and control on sea waters to prevent illegal entrants.
The HCM City Border Guard Command force is strengthening inspections on the Cần Giờ sea in a 23-kilometre long area and in sea areas surrounding Vũng Tàu and Tiền Giang provinces.
At ports, vessels are allowed to dock to pick up and deliver goods, but their crew members are banned from entering the city.
Border guard forces at ports have set up 24 teams to work with agencies to prevent ships’ crew members from entering the city. Surveillance cameras at ports are set up around the clock. VNS
HCM City is looking for breakthrough models and solutions to realize the goal of becoming a smart, dynamic, creative, regional- and international class metropolis, the city’s Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said.
Income per capita of $37,000 by 2045
HCM City’s Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said at a recent seminar on HCM City’s development orientation to 2045 that, for more than 45 years, Ho Chi Minh City has been the largest city in the country in terms of population and economic scale. The economic sectors are moving towards modernity, with an increase in services and industry.
Based on the current situation and the country’s goal to become a developed, high-income country by 2045, the city has set medium and long-term goals.
Specifically, by 2025, it will be a smart, modern-oriented industrial and service city, maintaining the leading role of the economy and the growth engine of the Southern key economic region and the whole country, being a pioneer in innovation, and a civilized, modern city with good quality of life and per capita GRDP reaching $8,500.
By 2030, HCM City will be a city of services, with a modern industry, a cultural city, a leader in digital economy and digital society, with per capita GRDP of about $13,000; and an economic, financial, commercial, scientific, technological and cultural center of Southeast Asia.
HCM City’s Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong
By 2045, the city will become the economic and financial center of Asia, a city of sustainable development, high quality of life, and GRDP per capita of about $37,000, an attractive destination for the world.
To implement these orientations, according to experts, the city must analyze, evaluate and forecast specific development factors and conditions, arousing its own potential and strengths; and search for breakthrough models and solutions to develop in the new and specify models and solutions.
Mr. Tran Hoang Ngan, Director of the Institute for HCM City Development Research, said that the city’s development should follow the direction of a sustainable, developed and smart city. In particular, it is necessary to focus on speeding up digital government and digital society, and improving the quality of public services.
Experts said that the city needed to improve productivity, join global value chains, and apply artificial intelligence (AI) in economic-financial forecasting and simulation by developing quantum computing or applying sci-tech in smart cities and digital society. These can all help the city realize its development goals from now to 2045.
Turning Thu Duc City into center of Eastern region urban chain
The city of Thu Duc.
Many experts said that HCM City needs a strategic direction for the development of Thu Duc City to be worthy of a new city within a city connected with urban areas in the Southeast. At the same time, the city must move towards a circular economy, towards the goal of sustainable development.
Economist Tran Du Lich said that under a plan approved by the Prime Minister in 2013, Ho Chi Minh City has 17 urban areas from grade 3 to grade 1.
In the region’s urban centers, such towns as Bien Hoa City (Dong Nai province); Di An town (Binh Duong province); Nhon Trach City (Dong Nai); Long Thanh airport urban area; Phu My Town (Ba Ria-Vung Tau province), and others together with Thu Duc City, will form a chain of urban areas.
Once traffic infrastructure connects the areas, such as ring roads 2 and 3 and bridges over Dong Nai river link Thu Duc city with Bien Hoa city, Thu Duc City will help speed up the development of urban areas in eastern Ho Chi Minh City.
At the same time, developing Ho Chi Minh City in the direction of a multi-center will reduce the pressure of economic activities and population in the inner city. This is the main development direction to solve traffic jams and environmental pollution.
“It can be said that Thu Duc city is the driving force to develop the urban area of Ho Chi Minh City to the East,” Dr. Tran Du Lich said.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, on Friday ordered karaoke venues, discos and bars to close until further notice following a new community – based COVID-19 case found on Thursday.
Deputy Chairmanof the People’s Committee Dương Anh Đức inspectsconcentrated quarantine conditions at Norfolk Hotel in HCM City’s District 1 on Friday yesterday.
Speaking at a meeting on Friday, Phong said the man, patient number 2910, is from the northern province of Hà Nam and had been visiting a relative in HCM City’s Bình Tân District.
The man decided to visit a health clinic in HCM City after learning that a person with whom he had previous contact (patient number 2899) had tested positive two days upon the completion of a two-week quarantine period after returning from Japan to his hometown in Hà Nam Province.
Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the HCM City Department of Health, said the department has traced 60 contacts of patient 2910: seven F1 (direct contacts) and 52 F2 (direct contacts with F1) cases, and one taxi driver.
Results of the first test of all of the F1 and F2 cases have been negative.
Phong said that all city districts, departments and sectors should review concentrated quarantine sites to ensure that no cross – infections occur at these facilities. People staying in these quarantine sites should not be allowed to leave early if they do not meet requirements.
All staff at concentrated quarantine facilities should ensure they are sufficiently protected, he added.
All eateries, restaurants and entertainment venues should strictly follow disease-prevention measures, including disinfection, face mask wearing, and social distancing from others.
People who do not wear a face mask in public places will be fined, and anyone who avoids making health declarations or makes false health declarations will be severely penalised, he said.
All local authorities must control and limit public gatherings, especially in crowded areas.
Dương Anh Đức, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, accompanied the city’s COVID – 19 prevention and control inspection team on Friday to check concentrated quarantine sites at various hotels in the city.
Đức said the Department of Health must strengthen inspections of people who are self – isolating at home after completing their required concentrated quarantine period.
People entering the city from high – risk areas will be required to make a health declaration when they return to the city from their vacations after the public holidays of April 30 and May 1, he said. – VNS
HCM City is tightening surveillance to detect illegal entrants from other countries, its People’s Committee chairman, Nguyen Thanh Phong, said at a meeting of the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on April 26.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long checks COVID-19 prevention equipment at the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy on April 26.
“Violators have to be fined strictly. If not, the consequences will be severe.”
He also urged the public to comply with the Ministry of Health’s 5K message to wear masks, frequently disinfect hands, maintaining a safe distance, refrain from gatherings, and make health declarations.
People need to wear masks in public, entertainment areas and health facilities, or face a fine, he said.
Art events should strictly comply with COVID control measures, he said.
He called on offices, schools, health facilities, and others to provide hand sanitisers.
He instructed the Department of Health and the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to tighten preventive measures at voting booths during the upcoming elections.
During the four-day holiday for Reunification Day on April 30 and Labour Day on May 1, hospitals should arrange staff for COVID-19 prevention and control, he said.
There would be no fireworks shows to celebrate Reunification Day and Labour Day this year, he said.
The head of the Department of Health, Nguyen Tan Binh, said the city had not recorded new cases of COVID for a while, but the risk of transmission remains high.
More than 7,800 medical workers in the city have got vaccinated, and starting this week personnel at Tan Son Nhat Airport will get their shots.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has instructed authorities in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to set up a field hospital.
Can Tho Central General Hospital, Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Can Tho City General Hospital are working together to set up the 800-bed facility.
The Ministry of Health has instructed Cho Ray Hospital in HCM City to help set up an ICU at the field hospital.
It will treat COVID-19 patients, especially severe cases, in the Mekong Delta instead of transferring them to Cho Ray as is currently done.
Another field hospital is under construction in Ha Tien City in Kien Giang Province and will open soon.
Important aviation gateway
Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) Dinh Viet Thang said that in the near future, the aviation market of Vietnam and ASEAN will become bustling and full of competition. The deregulation of fare regulations and charter flight restrictions have had a strong impact on the structure of air transport prices. Airlines can be flexible in setting rates, offering competitive rates, suitable for passenger segments, thereby improving operational capacity and boosting air transport growth in the region in general and in Vietnam in particular.With a market and a population of nearly 100 million with increasingly improved incomes, Vietnam continues to be a destination for investment, business and tourism for both foreign investors and tourists. Along with the deep integration of the Vietnamese economy with the regional and international economies, the Vietnamese aviation industry has seen many opportunities for growth and development.
In mid-December, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) gathered a range of statistics, the results showing that the Hanoi-HCMC route is the world’s second busiest in November after the Republic of Korea’s Jeju-Seoul. In the VNA flight network, the route was exploited right from the start of the airline, playing a particularly important role in the business of the VNA Group (including VNA and Pacific Airlines) as well as in serving the political, economic, cultural and tourist duties of Vietnam. With the strategic role and great demand for the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh route, the VNA has constantly improved and continuously launched products and services on this route to increase its attractions and offer the best guest experience to passengers.
The airline has invested in developing a fleet of wide-body aircraft Asia-Pacific, the second largest in Southeast Asia with its two main aircraft lines Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. Of which, there are 14 Airbus A350s-900, 11 Boeing 787-9, three Boeing 787-10 ,serving the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh city route and international routes to Europe and Australia. In addition, the airline also operates this route according to the strategy of developing a “dual-brand” to meet the diverse demands of customers with a wide range of diversified products, flexible flight schedules and types of services suitable to the requirements of all types of passengers. “This combination has contributed to consolidating the market share of the VNA Group, which has always beenmaintained at more than 50% onthis route as well as in the domestic market”, according to the VNA representative.
Raising service levels
By 2020, VNA’s passenger volume on the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh city route accounted for 25% of the total number of domestic passengers (on average, one out of every four VNA passengers took the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh route). In April, 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic became very complicated, the number of passengers flying between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City decreased by only 15% over the same period; but in May, when the pandemic was brought under control, the number of passengers was restored to 100%. Currently, the VNA Group provides about 104,000 seats per week, transporting 92,000 passengers between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, equivalent to 98% of the same period last year and accounting for a 57% share of the total market.
In order to elevate the route to a core product in the domestic market, from July this year, VNA launched the identifier and the name “VNAXPRESS – Ho Chi Minh route” creating outstanding advantages. Accordingly, on average, VNA and Pacific Airlines make nearly 40 flights per day between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City route with a frequency of 30 minutes to one hour, meeting the travel demands of passengers at all times. The departure times of the flights are arranged inround time frames (5 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock, etc.) spreadfrom 6 to 21 hours daily, making it easy for passengers to to plan their tickets.
The flights are enhanced with wide body aircraft with a journey time of 2 hours per flight, giving passengers the opportunity to regularly experience the most modern aircraft in the world. In the event of an early arrival at the airport, passengers may be invited to fly at an earlier departure time, if the flight has room, within 120 minutes of departure, even after passing the security screening area. Passengers are allowed to use the passenger boarding bridge, with their own check-in counters and boarding gates. The check-in counters are located near the security entrance to help passengers save time and enhancel convenience.
In addition, passengers also enjoy the full range of VNA’sservices at a 4-star international standard from ground to air. For the first time on this route, Economy Class passengers can enjoy a variety of new dishes, while Business Class passengers can choose from a variety of dishes from traditional to European flavors in three time frames: Breakfast, noon and evening. Passengers also experience the reading space of E-reader covering various topics in both the Vietnamese and English language.
Publications are regularly updated and supplemented to bring the latest information to passengers. “Putting into operation the electronic publication is part of VNA’s overall strategy to keep pace with global trends and become a digital airline while improving the quality of in-flight reading services, ensuring the health of passengers by limiting their exposure and contributing to reducing the amount of paper to protect the environment”, said the VNA’s leader.