Sep 13, 2021 / 21:39

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam to receive 1.5 million vaccine doses from France, Italy

For many EU member states, Vietnam is the largest trade partner in ASEAN.

Nearly 1.5 million vaccine doses donated by France (670,080) and Italy (812,060) via the COVAX Facility will arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam tonight as part of the EU’s support to the country’s fight against Covid-19.

 A batch of EU-donated vaccines. Photo: the EU Delegation in Vietnam

The doses belong to the donation program called #TEAMEUROPE #StrongTogether that dozens of EU member states have presented Covid relief to support Vietnam in the fight against Covid-19.

Germany is the largest donor with 2.5 million doses, 600,000 rapid test kits, 135,000 masks, 4,400 bodysuits, and 212 specialized refrigerators.

Poland donated 501,600 doses, medical equipment worth nearly US$4 million, and non-profit reselling of 3 million doses.

Other donors include Romania with 300,000 doses, Czech with 250,000 doses and shifting 500,000 excess doses for purchase, Belgium 100,000 doses and medical equipment, Hungary 100,000 doses and 100,000 rapid antigen test kits, and Slovakia 100,000 doses.

Last weekend, Poland’s donation of medical equipment worth US$4million arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra attributed the EU’s significant Covid relief to Vietnam for different reasons.

Prof. Thayer told The Hanoi Times that: “Vietnam is a special case because it has a free trade agreement with the EU and it is widely perceived as an important state in contributing to regional security and stability in Southeast Asia.

European states already have good relations with the Vietnamese government. Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and France all have strategic partnerships with Vietnam. Denmark and Hungary are comprehensive partners. No doubt diplomatic channels were activated on both sides to discuss Vietnam’s needs.”

“In addition, many European states, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, are home to ethnic Vietnamese communities who can be expected to lobby for assistance to their homeland.

European states likely have a different mix of motivations that combine national interest and altruism. Providing donations of Covid vaccines to Vietnam is a logical response to these drivers – national interest and humanitarianism,” the professor said.

COVAX’s vaccine deliveries to Vietnam have been over nine million doses.

Vietnam seeks ways for a long-term pandemic fight

Today [September 13], Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long worked with health professionals and scientists to find the best strategies for the fight against Covid-19 in 2022 with a focus on the vaccine, testing, treatment, and better national healthcare system’s response capacity.

On the same day, the ministry required medical facilities treating Covid-19 patients to upgrade facilities to equip more oxygen to prepare for the worse scenario.

Nguyen Minh Tuan from the ministry said the country’s liquid oxygen supply reaches 1,200 tons/day and production capacity could be from 50% to 100% higher when needed.

 Vaccinating in Hanoi. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi

HCMC will maintain lockdown for two more weeks from September 15, the news was released at the press conference chaired by Chairman of the city People’s Committee Phan Van Mai.

As of September 13, HCMC has undergone 22 days of shelter-in-place ruling and 105 days of social distancing.

“The city decided to continue implementing social distancing throughout the area under Directive 16 for a while longer, expected to be until the end of September,” Mai said.

Directive 16 mandates the closure of non-essential sectors and stay-at-home orders except for emergencies and the purchase of necessities.

The city will launch the third supporting package that offers food and necessities to vulnerable groups, including the unemployed. Beneficiaries are both residents and non-residents. The city’s statistics show that it has about one million poor people and one million unemployed. The past two packages cost about VND6 trillion (US$260 million) not to mention food donations.

In another move, HCMC today asked the Ministry of National Defence to send more military medics to work in more than 100 mobile medical stations, totaling more than 500, to give better care to F0 at home.

More than 14,500 health workers and thousands of military medics mostly from Hanoi have come to support the pandemic fight in the largest city.

Regarding vaccines, the city recommended intervals between AstraZeneca doses to at least six weeks instead of 8 to 12 weeks. The move is aimed to boost the city’s vaccination coverage as soon as possible.

According to the national vaccination database, the city has finished inoculating the first jabs to all adults aged above 18 and speeds up the second shots. It has 7.2 million adults above 18 years of age.

Hanoi has inoculated nearly 600,000 people in one day on Sep 12, the record high since its inoculation campaign in March 2021.

The city targets to vaccinate 100% of its adult population with the first jabs by September 15.

 Coronavirus cases in Vietnam. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu