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Quang Ninh, Vietnam Uses ICT to Fight COVID-19

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

The northern province of Quang Ninh is working to implement new emerging technologies in the fight against COVID-19. The Secretary of the Quang Ninh Party Committee has urged departments of health and public security, along with localities, to standardise data and ensure the smooth connection and integration of information. The region is considering trialling an artificial intelligence (AI) system at the checkpoint on Bach Dang Bridge, which connects the three major northern economic centres of Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, and Hanoi. Authorities will expand this model if it proves effective, a press release explained.

It is also boosting the use of QR codes at agencies, businesses, and stores and requests visitors to scan QR codes to aid contact tracing. Efforts are being made from the provincial to grassroots levels to carry out the integration and application of solutions on the basis of the national population database, which has also been useful in building e-administration capabilities and a digital economy and society.

Set up in September, the Quang Ninh command centre for COVID-19 prevention and control is based at the headquarters of the provincial People’s Committee and uses the existing infrastructure of the local smart city operation centre. It is connected with 13 command centres at the district level and 177 at the communal level. Through a camera system, it can alert authorities if citizens are not following social distancing protocols at several checkpoints.

Many activities of the provincial command centre have been integrated such as reading and submitting reports, issuing directions, managing documents and tasks, convening teleconferences, and receiving and replying to feedback. This has helped maintain precise and continuous updates on the pandemic situation, keep contact with all-level centres around the clock, and make swift decisions to help the COVID-19 fight.

Additionally, the provincial command centre set up two hotlines available in four foreign languages (English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) to receive information about the pandemic. The hotlines handle around 80-100 calls per day, most of which ask for details about conditions for exiting and entering the province, quarantine procedures, and the vaccination policy.

The centre has advised the provincial People’s Committee on anti-pandemic measures when socio-economic activities are resumed, along with COVID-19 vaccinations for foreigners living in Quang Ninh. It has also directed, examined, and promoted the implementation of measures against COVID-19 in the province.

This year, Quảng Ninh is aiming for a growth rate of 10% in the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) and more than VNĐ51 trillion (over US$2.2 billion) in State budget revenue, thereby achieving the twin targets of curbing COVID-19 and boosting socio-economic development. Its GRDP increased 8.6% in the first nine months of this year, higher than the national average.

Vietnam aims to be among the top 50 countries in the ICT Development Index as early as 2025, and its digital economy is hoped to account for one-third of the country’s GDP by the end of the decade, instead of only 5%. Digital transformation is happening in Vietnam and the COVID-19 shock was a big driving factor. Since the pandemic hit, Vietnam witnessed a change in the application of new digitisation tools in both the private and public sectors. It is estimated that in June 2021, about two-thirds of private enterprises in Vietnam had access to technologies related to the digital economy. This is a huge leap from the pre-COVID-19 period.

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