Vietnam opens 15th National Assembly at height of Covid outbreak

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jul 20 (EFE).- Vietnam opened the first session of its 15th National Assembly on Tuesday as Hanoi authorities battle to control the worst wave of Covid-19 in the country since the start of the pandemic.

Huong Dinh Hue, the new president of the assembly, stressed in his opening speech that the session was held in the context of the complications of the epidemic in the country, after 4,195 new infections were recorded on Monday, and 80 deaths occurred in the last 10 days.

This first period of sessions will take place until July 31, shortened by five days due to the outbreak, and will mainly serve for deputies to confirm their positions in various government agencies.

Although Vietnam is a one-party regime, it holds legislative elections every five years to elect members of the National Assembly, which also includes some independent candidates.

The opening session began, according to local media, with a meeting of 17 of the 499 deputies to discuss measures to help suppress the current wave of Covid-19, which mainly affects the south of the country and especially its largest city, Ho Chi Minh City, with 13 million residents in its metropolitan area.

Vietnam, which in all of 2020 barely registered 1,500 Covid-19 infections, has one of the slowest vaccination rates in Asia, with 4.3 million people given one dose and only 310,000 fully immunized out of a population of more than 97 million.

The health authorities announced on Tuesday that they have reached agreements for the transfer of technology that allows Vietnam to produce vaccines from the United States and Russia, although they did not specify the names of the pharmaceutical companies.

So far Vietnam has secured a supply of 105 million doses, which it expects to receive between now and the end of the year or early 2022, while a locally produced vaccine has passed its third phase of testing and will begin mass production in September. EFE


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