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Sunday December 4th, 2022

Vietnam relaxes Coronavirus controls as China threats rise

GETTING BUSY: Traffic builds up on a Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) street after Coronavirus ‘social isolation’ was relaxed on April 23.

ECONOMYNEXT – Vietnam, a global leader in the fight against Coronavirus had relaxed its ‘social isolation’ allowing people to move more freely, restaurants were allowed to open, but the health ministry warned the public to wear masks and wash hands frequently.

Vietnam aggressively traced contacts, with the health ministry and military getting public support with flow diagrams and charts of where index had been and quarantined over 40,000 persons including foreigners.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, except for some districts of Hanoi, Bac Ninh and Ha Giang people in other districts could go out and engage in normal activities subject to wearing masks and exercising car.

One of the last confirmed cases in Vietnam involves a Hmong tribal girl in Ha Giang who apparently got the disease from her brother who had returned from China.

But the brother was not positive for disease leading to the entire area being locked down. Vietnam’s government pays people in locked areas a per diem.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Hanoi;s social isolation was being relaxed despite a proposal by the National Steering Committee for the Prevention of Epidemic to keep controls for another week.

“Relaxing social isolation but should not be an opportunity go to the streets to celebrate,” Prime Minister Phuc said.

“You have to be happy but alert.”

He asked young people in particular not to drink and party or race in the streets and that police would check such activities.

“People can go back to normal but the authorities still strongly advised to go out when there is the need, when you go out should wear masks and keep their distance,” the health ministry said in a statement.

“The transportation activities such as bus, taxi, car technology is active again.”

Overnight there was confusion in Viet Nam whether taxis and public transport would be allowed, showing that there was a debate whether relaxation was coming too soon. In Vietnam, due to free trade and low taxes, most families own not just one motorbike, but several.

Vietnam confirmed and hospitalized 268 Coronavirus cases, with aggressive contact tracing with strong community involvement.

Up to April 23, when controls were relaxed 216 had recovered 52 were in hospital including three serious cases. There have been zero deaths at the time of writing.

Vietnamese doctors had developed a treatment protocol using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (heart-lung type machine) to keep patients alive long enough to fight the virus, when ventilators no longer worked. It is not clear whether any other country has tried it.


Vietnam smashes Coronavirus to save elderly patients, deploys ECMO machines against SARS-Cov-2

How Sri Lanka and Vietnam are smashing Coronavirus, and what will happen next

The relaxation came as China was stepping up threats in the East Sea (South China Sea), declaring two disputed islands as provinces and ramming yet another Vietnamese boat, triggering protests from the Philippines and the US.


US warns China not to ‘exploit’ virus for sea disputes

Beijing names islands in disputed South China Sea

Philippines said it had officially protested to China over pointing of a radar gun at one of their vessels.

Chinese Coast guard vessels had been ramming and sinking fishing boats off the coast of Vietnam for years. The latest sinking occurred in the first week of April.

In the absence of Coronavirus the Chinese actions would have drawn street protests, in Vietnam and elsewhere, commentators familiar with the region said.

In Vietnam bars massage parlours and gyms would still be closed.

Prime Minister Phuc asked people to adapt to a ‘new normal’ wash hands, to use antisceptic on surfaces where the germ can penetrate, maintain distance in activities such as production, business, classroom and restaurant.

Schools were asked to keep 1.5 meter distance but there are complaints that there is not enough space. (Colombo/Apr22/2020)

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Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium on Sri Lanka debt, 15 years of debt restructuring

ECONOMYNEXT — The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis, India’s The Hindustan Times reported.

While the Paris Club has yet to formally reach out to India and China, Colombo has yet to initiate a formal dialogue with the Xi Jinping regime, the newspaper reported on Saturday December 03, inferring that the chances of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approving its 2.9 billion dollar extended fund facility for Sri Lanka in December now ranges from very low to nonexistent.

“This means that Sri Lanka will have to wait for the March IMF meeting of the IMF before any aid is extended by the Bretton Woods institution,” the newspaper reported.

“Fact is that for Sri Lanka to revive, creditors will have to take a huge hair cut with Paris Club clearly hinting that global south should also take the same cut as global north notwithstanding the inequitable distribution of wealth. In the meantime, as Colombo is still to get its act together and initiate a dialogue and debt reconciliation with China, it will need bridge funding to sustain the next three month before the IMF executive board meeting in March 2023. Clearly, things will get much worse for Sri Lanka before they get any better—both economically and politically,” the report said. (Colombo/Dec04/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea prices up amid low volumes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka tea prices picked up at the last auction in November amid low volumes, brokers said.

“Auction offerings continued to record a further decline and totalled 4.2 million Kilograms, of which Ex-Estate offerings comprised of 0.6 million Kilograms. There was good demand,” Forbes and Walker Tea brokers said.

“In the Ex-Estate catalogues, overall quality of teas showed no appreciable change. Here again, there was good demand in the backdrop of extremely low volumes.”

High Growns

BOP Best Westerns were firm to 50 rupees per kg dearer. Below best and plainer types were Rs.50/- per kg easier on last.

Nuwara Eliya’s were firm.

BOPF Best Westerns were firm to selectively dearer. Below best and plainer teas declined by 50 rupees per kg.

Uva/Uda Pussellawas’ were generally firm and price variances were often reflective of quality with the exception of Select Best Uva BOPF’s which were firm and up to 50 rupees per kilogram dearer.

CTC teas, in general, were mostly firm.

“Most regular buyers were active, with perhaps a slightly more forceful trend from the local trade,” brokers said.

Corresponding OP1’s met with improved demand. Well-made OP/OPA’s in general were fully firm, whilst the Below Best varieties and poorer sorts met with improved demand. PEK/PEK1’s, in general, were fully firm to selectively dearer.

In the Tippy catalogues, well-made FBOP/FF1’s sold around last levels, whilst the cleaner Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated. Balance too were dearer to a lesser extent.

In the Premium catalogues, very Tippy teas continued to attract good demand. Best were firm to selectively dearer, whilst the Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated

Low Growns

Low Growns comprised 1.8 million Kilograms. Market met with improved demand, in general.

In the Leafy & Semi Leafy catalogues, select Best BOP1/OP1’s were fully firm, whilst the Below Best/bolder BOP1’s were barely steady.

Low-grown teas, farmed mainly by smallholders and exported to the Middle East and Central Asia, are the most sought-after and expensive Ceylon Teas.

Low-grown CTC prices have gained this week to 982.80 per kilogram this week from 934.76 per kilogram last week.

Few Select best BOP1s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower. Poorer types maintained.

BOPF’s in general, firm market.

FBOPF/FBOPF1’s select best and best increased in value, whilst the below best and bottom held firm.

Selected best BOP1’s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower.Poorer types maintained.

OP1’s selects best together with best and below best were firm to dearer. Poorer sorts were fully firm.

Medium Growns

BOPF’s, select best gained by 50 rupees per kilogram. Others maintained.

BOP1’s select best dearer by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others moved up by 50 rupees per kg.

OP1: select best gained by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others dearer by 100 rupees per kg.

OP/OPA’s in general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg whilst the poorer sorts were firm.

PEK’s Select best gained by 50 rupees per kg whilst all others maintained. PEK1: In general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg. (Colombo/Dec 04/2022)



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Sri Lanka Ports Authority East Terminal contractor paid: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority had paid a deposit for a gantry crane and made the required payment for the contractor to complete building the East Container Terminal, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.

The East Container Terminal, a part of which is already built is being completed as a fully SLPA owned terminal at a cost of 480 million dollars Ports and Shipping Minister de Silva said.

“ECT we are funding with money available in the ports authority,” he said.

“Up to now we have paid an advance for the gantry crane. And for the construction we have paid all the money agreed with the contractor. So that is going on well.”

Sri Lanka is undergoing the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s soft-pegged (flexible exchange rate) central bank which has created difficulties in funding the project.

“Every penny we collect as dollars we are keeping them separately and utilizing that for the Eastern Terminal work,” Minister de Silva said.

“We are confident that the ECT will be completed within the envisaged time. It is a difficult task in view of the dollar problem.

Banks were also not releasing the dollar deposits of the SLPA earlier but are now doing so, he said.

“Our deposits in banks they have utilized for urgent other national purposes,” he said.

“So they are releasing that money slowly. I am happy that they are releasing that money little by little. So with that we will be able to manage that.”

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