MANILA, Philippines – Vietnam officially accepted the Southeast Asian Games Federation flag on Wednesday (December 11) as the Philippines formally handed over the hosting of the 31st South East Asian Games (SEA Games) for the year 2021.
In November, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced that the tournaments will be hosted in the capital city Hanoi and adjacent localities.
The 31st SEA Games will feature 36 events and expected to draw participations from 11 countries across the region.
Vietnam last hosted the biennial meet in 2003 when it was hailed the overall champion.
Meanwhile, the recently concluded 30th SEA Games named the host country the Philippines as the champion with a total of 387 medals (149 gold; 117 silver; and 121 bronze), an impressive comeback from only 120 medals in 2017.
Vietnam landed second with 99 less medals than the Philippines bagging 98 gold; 85 silver; and 105 bronze, a total of 288.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.
Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.
Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.
Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.
Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)
Kindergartens and primary schools in Vietnam took children’s temperatures at the gates when they re-opened on Monday (May 11) after a months-long closure over the coronavirus pandemic, following last week’s partial re-opening of other schools.
With just 288 infections and no deaths, the Southeast Asian nation has seen no community infections for nearly a month, putting it on course to resume activities sooner than most others in the region.
Medical staff could be seen taking the body temperatures of students and having them wash hands with sanitiser at the entrances to several kindergartens in Hanoi. Staff enforced safe distancing for student’ seating arrangements during class.
“The kids were being kept at home for three months and it stressed the adults out. It felt weird, very difficult to describe, because the kids were just doing everything in the house, while the adults were in the same situation, as everybody stayed in the same house…so we were looking forward to putting them back in school,” said Nguyen Thi Kim Dung, just after dropping off her granddaughter at a Hanoi kindergarten.
The school re-opening is Vietnam’s latest step in lifting virus curbs, although international commercial flights and dance clubs and karaoke bars remain banned.
Schools for older children reopened partially last week. (Reuters)
Vietnamese authorities lifted quarantine in a rural commune in Hanoi on Tuesday (5 May), 28 days after placing the area under isolation.
The Ha Loi commune, a floral and vegetable farming area, some 20 kilometres from downtown Hanoi, recorded Vietnam’s 243rd coronavirus patient on April 6, and was put in lockdown 2 days later.
As soon as barriers were removed at midnight, hundreds of residents in the area came out, chanting, cheering and waving flags to celebrate what they described a “victory and liberation over the Covid-19 outbreak”.
At a ceremony taking place at midnight on Wednesday (May 6), officials announced that all 2,700 households, with a population of 11,500, in the commune are free of the virus.
Khong Minh Tuan, Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Centre for Disease Control, hailed it “a great success”.
Despite ending the quarantine, Hanoi authorities still identified Ha Loi commune as a high-risk area. Residents have been asked to limit their movements until May 11, as well as practice social distancing, and wear face masks.
Even though Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s poorer nations, its efforts against the virus, praised at home, have ensured its tally of infections is lower than those of many neighbours.
Vietnam has registered a total of 271 coronavirus cases and has reported no deaths. Its proven infection rate is lower than any regional nations except Myanmar and Laos, where testing has been limited. Over 30,500 people have been quarantined, and 261,000 tests have been carried out so far. (Reuters)
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