Is there a way out of Southeast Asia’s COVID-19 disaster?

eastasiaforum.org

21 July 2021

Author: Swee Kheng Khor, Kuala Lumpur

The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to Southeast Asian countries. The region is experiencing accelerated national-level tragedies played out in accelerated speed.

People wearing protective masks queue to refill oxygen tanks as Indonesia experiences an oxygen supply shortage amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, at a filling station in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 5, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

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What Vietnam needs to produce Covid vaccines under license

By Viet Anh    May 29, 2021 | 09:00 am GMT+7Vietnam should standardize manufacturing facilities and get expertise if it wants to make Covid-19 vaccines, experts have said.

Professor Thomas Preiss of the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, said the production of mRNA vaccines is a new technology and involves several distinct steps.

Preiss said mRNA is the basis for certain Covid vaccines like those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, while AstraZeneca uses the viral vector technology.

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Huy động mọi nguồn lực mua vắc xin

30/05/2021 09:06 GMT+7100Lưu

TTO – Phải vận dụng mọi biện pháp để tiếp cận, huy động nguồn lực hợp pháp mua vắc xin. Người dân, doanh nghiệp, các cơ quan, tổ chức và địa phương có thể đóng góp ý kiến, phương pháp, tiền của và phát huy các mối quan hệ để mua vắc xin.

Huy động mọi nguồn lực mua vắc xin - Ảnh 1.

Thủ tướng Phạm Minh Chính yêu cầu các bộ ngành kịp thời tháo gỡ khó khăn cho các địa phương, nhất là các địa phương trọng điểm, với phương châm “ba không” – không nói thiếu tiền, không nói thiếu nguồn nhân lực và không nói thiếu thể chế – Ảnh: VGP

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Three keys to fight against Covid-19 in Vietnam

21/05/2021    06:00 GMT+7 Vietnamnet

Along with the 5K message, Vietnam is strictly implementing three counterattacks: large-scale testing; implementation of a vaccine strategy; and application of technology for Covid-19 tracing.

On May 5, 2021, the new Government, headed by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, had a regular but special meeting after one month of operation.

Cabinet members spent most of the time discussing a huge challenge that Vietnam was facing: the new Covid-19 outbreak. At that time the pandemic was wreaking havoc in the neighboring countries. Thanks to effective solutions that were proven in the previous three waves of Covid, Vietnam was like an ‘oasis’ among surrounding countries that were being fiercely attacked by the epidemic.

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Taiwan manufacturers close factories in northern Vietnam due to COVID

Foxconn, Luxshare ordered to shut down production facilities after COVID outbreak

  By Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer2021/05/19 16:43

Foxconn logo (Reuters photo)

Foxconn logo (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese electronics manufacturers Foxconn and Luxshare Precision have been forced to temporarily shut down their factories in northern Vietnam due to rising coronavirus cases in the region.

According to Bloomberg, the Vietnamese government has instructed the two Apple suppliers to close down their production facilities in the northern province of Bac Giang due to a local COVID-19 outbreak. Le Anh Duong, chairman of Bac Giang People’s Committee, said Tuesday (May 18) that the measure will be in place for two weeks with the possibility of an extension.

Foxconn confirmed the report on Wednesday and stressed that the safety of employees remains its top priority. It added that enhanced epidemic preventive measures have been implemented at other factories in Vietnam, which will continue normal operations.

As of press time, Luuxshare has yet to respond publicly to the closures.

On Sunday, Bac Giang reported 187 new local COVID-19 infections, the highest single-day number registered since the start of the pandemic. The new cases included two workers at Luxshare’s plant in Van Trung Industrial Park. The total number of local cases in the province as of Tuesday afternoon is 474.

Thủ tướng chỉ ra 7 nguyên nhân bùng phát dịch bệnh

Thứ năm, 20/5/2021, 01:00 (GMT+7) vnexpress

Một số địa phương chưa từng xảy ra dịch bệnh nên chưa có kinh nghiệm, còn chậm trễ, lúng túng ứng phó khi dịch bùng phát.

Đây là một trong 7 nguyên nhân làm bùng phát đợt Covid-19 thứ tư tại Việt Nam, theo kết luận của Thủ tướng Phạm Minh Chính tại cuộc họp Thường trực Chính phủ về phòng chống dịch bệnh, ngày 19/5.

Đợt dịch lần này do nguồn bệnh xâm nhập từ bên ngoài qua đường nhập cảnh. Trong khi đó công tác quản lý nhập cảnh, đấu tranh ngăn chặn nhập cảnh trái phép, kiểm soát và xử lý cư trú trái phép chưa chặt chẽ, còn sơ hở. Việc quản lý cách ly người nhập cảnh, theo dõi y tế sau cách ly thiếu chặt chẽ.

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Scepticism about vaccines clouds outlook for defeating coronavirus


 John CarterSenior Editor, Political Economy

23 January 2021

Hello again, 

Having overcome the challenges of developing coronavirus vaccines and begun the process of distributing them worldwide, a crucial question has cropped up: will people in high-risk areas voluntarily take the jab? In this issue of Global Impact, we explore the resistance to vaccinations amid concerns about quality, effectiveness and possible side effects. 

Bhavan Jaipragas, Senior Correspondent, Asia Desk

You can bring the vaccine to the people, but will they take the jab?
 
In the span of a year, Singapore has gone from being hailed as the gold standard in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic to suffering an embarrassing surge of cases among migrant workers to once again reasserting itself as a success story.What lies ahead for the wealthy Southeast Asian city state in its fight against the virus may well be a harbinger of what’s to come for the rest of Asia – and the world. One big problem on the horizon is “vaccine hesitancy” among sceptical Singaporeans who argue they don’t need to be inoculated since the country has done such a good job keeping the numbers down.
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Vietnam Airlines staff apologize in chorus after Covid-19 community transmissions

Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong Newspaper.
Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Tien Phong Newspaper.

By Long Nguyen   December 3, 2020 | 06:44 pm GMT+7 vnexpress

Since December 2, a host of Vietnam Airlines flight attendants have posted the #WeApologize hashtag, saying sorry on behalf of their colleague, “patient 1342,” who violated quarantine rules and spread the novel coronavirus to the community.

“What happened was unexpected, our colleague was wrong, and we apologize on his behalf,” a female flight attendant said on her Facebook page.

Promising to strictly follow the rules and not cause any similar incidents in future, many also expressed the hope people will stop criticizing and even abusing them on social networks and in real life.

“We have been worried at work as some of our colleagues have been discriminated against and abused. I want to repeat we are sorry for what happened,” another flight attendant wrote on Facebook.

A flight attendant posts on her Facebook, using the #WeApologize hashtag on December 2, 2020.
A flight attendant posts on his Facebook page, using the #WeApologize hashtag on December 2, 2020.

Previously, local news said verbal abuse and ostracism were reported by Vietnam Airlines staff. On December 3, a stranger attacked an attendant with a burning cigarette while the uniformed victim was waiting at a red light.

These posts from Vietnam Airlines flight attendants have attracted attention from netizens, who have shown encouragement and support, hoping the staff would overcome the upheaval soon.

The soured image of Vietnam Airlines attendants in the public eye was by

Under Covid-19 prevention protocols, flight crews must isolate themselves on returning to Vietnam. But the flight attendant, “patient 1342,” who returned to Vietnam from Japan on November 14 and entered quarantined for four days at a facility managed by Vietnam Airlines in HCMC’s Tan Binh District, went to another quarantine area and contracted the virus from a crew member who had returned from Romania.

Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong Newspaper.
Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Tien Phong Newspaper.

After two tests showed he was negative for the coronavirus, he was let go but told to isolate himself at home.

But he came into contact with his mother and two friends, including an English language teacher who stayed with him for a few days.

On November 29, 15 days after he returned from Japan, he tested positive for the virus, and the next day the teacher did too. The latter had meanwhile spread the virus to a nephew and a student of his.

On December 3, local police said the flight attendant could be charged with “spreading dangerous infectious diseases to humans.”

Vietnam has recorded 1,358 Covid-19 cases so far, 119 still active. Thirty-five have succumbed to the disease, many of them elderly with underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.Related News:

Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull

Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 09:16 GMT+7 tuoitrenews

Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull
FILE PHOTO: Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via Reuters

CHICAGO — More than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said.

Global health officials are eying the animals as a potential risk for people after Denmark last week embarked on a plan to eliminate all of its 17 million mink, saying a mutated coronavirus strain could move to humans and evade future COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.S. states of Utah, Wisconsin and Michigan – where the coronavirus has killed mink – said they do not plan to cull animals and are monitoring the situation in Denmark.

“We believe that quarantining affected mink farms in addition to implementing stringent biosecurity measures will succeed in controlling SARS-CoV-2 at these locations,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Reuters on Tuesday.

The USDA said it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state officials and the mink industry to test and monitor infected farms.

The United States has 359,850 mink bred to produce babies, known as kits, and produced 2.7 million pelts last year. Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state, followed by Utah.

Sick mink in Wisconsin and Utah were exposed to people with probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases, the USDA said. In Michigan it is still unknown if the mink were infected by humans, according to the agency.

In Utah, the first U.S. state to confirm mink infections in August, about 10,700 mink have died on nine farms, said Dean Taylor, state veterinarian.

“On all nine, everything is still suggesting a one-way travel from people to the minks,” he said.

Coronavirus testing has been done on mink that die and randomly on the affected farms, Taylor said. Like people, some mink are asymptomatic or mildly affected, he said.

The CDC said it was supporting states’ investigations into sick mink, including testing of animals and people.

“These investigations will help us to learn more about the transmission dynamics between mink, other animals around the farms and people,” the CDC said. “Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.”

Coronavirus is thought to have first jumped to humans from animals in China, possibly via bats or another animal at a food market in Wuhan, although many outstanding questions remain.

Monitoring U.S. mink for virus symptoms and quarantining infected farms should limit the disease’s spread if cases are caught early, said Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“I’m fairly confident that as long as they have that surveillance going and it’s strong enough, then they should be able to prevent the spread,” he said.

U.S. authorities are urging farmers to wear protective gear like masks and gloves when handling mink to avoid infecting the animals.

In Wisconsin, about 5,000 mink have died on two farms, State Veterinarian Darlene Konkle said.

One farm is composting the dead mink to dispose of the carcasses without spreading the virus, Konkle said. Authorities are working with the second farm to determine how to dispose of the mink, and dead animals are being kept in a metal container in the meantime, she said.

Michigan declined to disclose how many mink have died, citing privacy rules.

State officials said they are working with the USDA to determine whether farmers can sell the pelts of infected mink. The pelts are used to make fur coats and other items.

The coronavirus has also infected cats, dogs, a lion and a tiger, according to the USDA. Experts say mink appear to be the most susceptible animal so far.

Highlights

Reuters

Linking Air Pollution To Higher Coronavirus Death Rates

Harvard.edu

recent Harvard analysis led by Professor Francesca Dominici along with Doctoral student Xiao Wu and Assistant Professor Rachel Nethery is the first nationwide study to show a statistical link between COVID-19 deaths and other diseases associated with long-term exposure to fine particulate matter. The paper has been submitted for peer review and publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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A drugmaker reports positive results for a potential treatment

New York Times coronavirus brief

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced that a single infusion of its monoclonal antibody treatment was shown to drastically lower levels of the coronavirus in newly infected patients and lower the likelihood of requiring hospitalization.
It is the first potential treatment for patients with mild or moderate Covid-19. (The two other treatments that have proved helpful, the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, are only for the seriously ill.)
Scientists used blood plasma from Covid-19 survivors, isolating and testing their antibodies to find the most powerful ones. They then manufactured vats of antibodies to make the drug. In a trial of more than 450 newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients, Eli Lilly said, only about 1.7 percent of those who received the drug ended up in the hospital, compared with 6 percent who were given a placebo — a 72 percent risk reduction. Those treated with the drug reportedly also had fewer symptoms, and the levels of virus in their bodies plummeted.
Other companies are also working on treatments with monoclonal antibodies, but they are difficult and expensive to make. A single dose could cost thousands of dollars. They offer only a temporary solution, with the antibodies lasting about a month.
But without a vaccine — the only way to elicit a lasting immune response — the treatment could give doctors another weapon in an arsenal with few options.
The study will eventually enroll 800 patients in the U.S. of all ages and risk categories, including people in nursing homes. Eli Lilly has already started manufacturing 10,000 doses in hopes that these interim results, which have not yet been peer reviewed, will bear out.

The company plans to discuss the state of the trial with the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the possibility of emergency use authorization to market the drug.
Here’s our treatment tracker.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 count approaches 1,000

Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 22:04 GMT+7 tuoitrenews

Vietnam’s COVID-19 count approaches 1,000
A health worker handles a piece of equipment at a hospital in Vietnam. Photo: Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam recorded four new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with its total nearing 1,000, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The four patients include two in Da Nang, one in neighboring Quang Nam Province, and one in northern Hai Duong Province.

Patient No. 990 is a 25-year-old medical worker at Da Nang Family Hospital.

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Should violators who illegally take Covid-19 infected people into Vietnam receive the death penalty?

vietnamnet | 17/08/2020    12:50 GMT+7

“The death penalty could be considered for such act in accordance with the Penal Code. In this very urgent situation, when the whole country is trying hard to fight Covid-19, it is necessary to strictly punish such acts for deterrence.”
Có thể xử tử hình kẻ tiếp tay, đưa người nhiễm Covid-19 vào Việt Nam không?
Chinese people who illegally entered Vietnam are detected by traffic police on Noi Bai – Lao Cai expressway. (Photo: Lao Cai newspaper)


This is the opinion of National Assembly (NA) deputy Bui Van Phuong, member of the NA Economic Committee, vice head of the NA delegation of Ninh Binh province in response to the proposal of the HCM City Center for Disease Control (HCDC): “It is necessary to impose heavy sanctions against people who illegally enter the country, to consider imposing special criminal penalties on those who give a hand to illegal entry.”

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Bệnh nhân Covid-19 thứ 16 tử vong

Vietnam in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic - Nhan Dan Online

Thứ ba, 11/8/2020, 18:25 (GMT+7)

Bệnh nhân 832″, 37 tuổi, ở Quảng Trị, chiều nay được xác định tử vong vì suy tim trên nền bệnh lý nặng và mắc Covid-19.

COVID-19: Vietnam reports 29 new cases, another fatality – Total 84 cases

Chia sẻ | FaceBookTwitter Email Copy LinkInterested009/08/2020    18:43 GMT+7

Vietnam has confirmed 29 new coronavirus cases and another fatality of the disease, all closely tied to Da Nang outbreak, the Ministry of Health said in its August 9 update at 18.00hrs.

19 cases aged 7 to 85 were registered in Da Nang City, the epicenter of the outbreak. They include 8 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients, 3 patients given treatment at Da Nang Hospital, three caregivers, a medical worker, a servant, along with three others.

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