By VNExpress staff reporters December 29, 2022 | 06:15 am GMT+7
The first year after the pandemic, Vietnamese people have moved forward, overcome and stayed resilient. But challenges still loom.
Masked mass: A boy clings to his father at Nguyen Hue Flower Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City during the 2022 Lunar Year Holiday on January 29. Photo by Quynh Tran
The southern metropolis was the epicenter of Vietnam’s latest Covid-19 wave last year and when the flower street opened in January, it was regulated that all visitors must wear face masks all the time, even when they pose for photos. Complete health declarations were required via a mobile app, hands were disinfected and body temperatures were checked, resulting in huge crowds in line for the procedures.
Frozen: Ice and snow cover a tourist area at Mount Mau Son in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son, February 21. Photo by Hoang Lang Huy
The mountain stands about 170 km northeast of Hanoi and about 30 km east of Lang Son Town, which is close to the international border between Vietnam and China. The highest peak of Mount Mau Son reaches about 1,600 m above sea level.
Bouncing back: A group of tourists play in the beach of Vung Tau Town in southern Vietnam on February 4 during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo by Truong Ha
With the pandemic basically under control and most people fully vaccinated, domestic tourism started to recover as Vietnamese people were granted a nine-day break for their biggest holiday of the year.
Grounding: Rollers at the construction site of the Long Thanh airport in Dong Nai Province, which borders Ho Chi Minh City, as the project entered the ground leveling and fencing stage in March. Photo by Phuoc Tuan
Long Thanh will replace HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport as Vietnam’s largest once completed. Work on the project began last January after years of preparation and lengthy land acquisitions.
New icon: Thu Thiem 2 Bridge over the Saigon River has linked District 1 and Thu Duc City since April 28. Photo by Quynh Tran
The 1.5-km-long, six-lane bridge is considered the “new icon” of HCMC, connecting its downtown and the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, designated as the new financial and innovative hub of the city.
It was renamed Ba Son earlier this month.
Normal normalcy: Hanoi gets its vibe back after staying quiet for months due to the pandemic, with a heavy traffic jam on April 29. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
The host: A performance during the opening ceremony of the 2021 Southeast Asian Games, officially known as the 31st Southeast Asian Games, or the SEA Games 31, at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on May 12.
Originally planned to take place from 21 November to December 2 last year, it was eventually rescheduled as a result of the pandemic. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
Pure joy: Strangers high-five as they pass each other along Ton Duc Thang Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on May 22. Photo by Quynh Tran
Football fans nationwide hit the streets in massive numbers, recreating scenes of frenzied pre-pandemic jubilation after Vietnam beat Thailand to claim the SEA Games 31 gold.
Record bridge: Visitors on Bach Long glass bridge in Moc Chau Town, a popular tourist spot in northern Vietnam, in late May. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
After nearly a month of its inauguration, the 632-meter-long bridge was crowned with a Guinness World Record for its length. With the official recognition, Bach Long has unseated a 530-meter glass bridge outside China’s Guangdong Province, which was recognized by Guinness as the world’s longest in 2020.
Dengue floods: Dengue fever in makeshift beds crowd the hallways at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Disease in June when the hospital was overloaded with patients of the mosquito-borne viral disease. Photo by Quynh Tran
In the year to mid-December, Vietnam recorded 247,202 cases of the disease and 100 fatalities, an increase of 4.7 times in number of patients and 80 deaths compared to the same period last year.
Burn to the ground: A blaze lasting over an hour on June 7 destroyed around 300 motorbikes and four other vehicles at a parking lot in Thu Duc City. Photo by Quynh Tran
The parking lot is managed by Ho Chi Minh City’s Traffic Police Department to keep vehicles as evidence for cases under investigation.
Heading back: Foreign tourists enjoy themselves at a pub on Bui Vien Street, Vietnam’s most famous backpacker area, on August 28. Photo by Thanh Tung
Foreign tourists started to return to Vietnam this summer after the country resumed its pre-pandemic visa policy from March 15, reviving vibrancy that was washed away during the two pandemic years.
No more screens: First-grade students attend a ceremony to welcome the new school year at Nguyen Binh Khiem Elementary School in HCMC on September 5. Photo by Quynh Tran
A year ago, more than 20 million Vietnamese students began the 2021-2022 academic year by watching online ceremonies via screens at home. After that, many of them had had to study online for months due to the pandemic.
Deadly fire: Firefighters on a rescue mission at An Phu karaoke bar in Thuan An Town in Binh Duong Province, around 50 km from Ho Chi Minh City, on September 7. Photo by Thanh Tung
The fire resulted in the death of 32 customers and staff members at the parlor, making it the deadliest in Vietnam over the past decades. It is confirmed that a short-circuit in its second-floor ceiling caused the fire at the three-floor facility.
Recycling: A man carries plastic containers in Xa Cau Village in Ung Hoa District, on the outskirts of Hanoi in September. Photo by Giang Huy
Collecting trash, sorting it and selling it to recycling plants has been the main source of income for 180 families in the village for the past 15 years.
Metro’s highlight: The Tan Cang elevated station of HCMC’s Metro Line No.1, seen from above in mid-October. Photo by Quynh Tran
On Dien Bien Phu Street at the foot of the Saigon Bridge, Tan Cang is the largest of all 14 stations of HCMC’s metro line No.1.
Set to be finished by the first quarter next year, the metro station will have a 6,200-sq.m roof made of fiberglass reinforced plastic sheets produced in Japan. It will be the only station with four tracks since it will be connected with metro line No.5 in the future. All other stations will have only two tracks.
Buried alive: Three men dig out a five-seat car buried in thick mud in Ky Son District, Nghe An Province, which was hit by flash floods in October. Photo by Nguyen Hai
The central province was hit by flash floods that killed eight people including a four-month-old infant. The disaster damaged more than 17,400 houses as a side effect of Storm Noru, one of the strongest storms to hit Vietnam in 20 years. It slammed the central region with winds of 133 kph.
No choice left: Le Van Thanh, 39, looks dejected after waiting in line since 3 a.m. along with hundreds of others to withdraw social insurance premiums on December 8. “My savings are all gone, I need this withdrawal to take care of my children,” he said. Photo by Thanh Tung
In Vietnam, workers with labor contracts of at least a year will be subject to compulsory social insurance payments. Their employers will extract fund from their monthly salaries to pay the social insurance. As per existing law, contracted laborers must pay social insurance for 20 years to get a pension when they retire. However, they have the right to withdraw all of it as long as they can prove they have been unemployed for at least one year. Such a withdrawal means they will have nothing left in the future for their retirement pension.
At least 41,500 have lost their jobs in 44 localities since the middle of this year, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.
Military beauty: Su-30MK2 fighter jets conduct air performances at the opening ceremony of the Vietnam International Defense Expo 2022 in Hanoi on December 8. Photo by Giang Huy
The expo saw the participation of over 170 military companies and businesses from 30 countries and territories. It was also attended by over 250 delegations from both inside and outside of Vietnam, who come to the expo to showcase weaponry, equipment and technological solutions for multiple military forces.
Much-anticipated ride: “I’m really glad to be one of the first passengers to ride the new HCMC metro,” firefighter Ly Thanh Phong said as he rode the Ho Chi Minh City’s Metro Line No.1 on its first test run after 10 years of construction and several delays on December 21. Photo by Quynh Tran
The metro line runs 19.7km between Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City. Set to cost over VND43.7 trillion ($1.89 billion), paid for by a Japanese development assistance loan and a counterpart Vietnamese funding, the line is expected to begin service in the fourth quarter next year.