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.
Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from the central tourism hot spot of Danang on Monday (July 27) after three residents tested positive for the coronavirus on the weekend, the government said.
The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after the government on Saturday (July 25) confirmed its first community infections since April, and another three cases on Sunday (July 26), all in and around Danang.
The evacuation will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities, the government said in a statement.
Vietnam has imposed strict quarantine measures and carried out an aggressive and widespread testing programme during the pandemic, keeping its total tally of reported infections to just 420, with no deaths. =
Vietnam is still closed to foreign tourism, but saw a surge in domestic travellers looking to take advantage of discounted flights and holiday packages for local hotels and resorts. Those arriving from Danang to other parts of the country would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days, the health ministry said. Following the discovery of the new cases, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered police to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration to the country.
State media on Sunday said police in Danang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man it said was the head of a criminal group which helps people illegally enter Vietnam from China.
Authorities have not officially linked the new cases in Danang to illegal immigration. The government said in a separate statement on Monday that authorities in Ha Giang province, which borders China, had caught more than 1,500 people illegally crossing into the province since May. Most of those caught were Vietnamese citizens, the statement said, and were quarantined. (Reuters)
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)
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