The press briefing was attended by Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung and representatives of the sports delegations from participating countries.

Le Thi Hoang Yen, deputy general director of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, reaffirmed that the opening ceremony of the regional sports event will take place on May 12 at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi and the closing ceremony will be held on May 23. 

About 7,000 athletes have signed up for 526 categories of 40 sports at the tournament, and March 30 is the deadline for registration, she said.

Spectators will not be required to undergo the COVID-19 test if they want to go to the competition venues to watch and cheer for the athletes.

The organizing board will announce the number of seats available for spectators at each venue in May, based on the local COVID-19 situation.

Regarding the athletes, they will have to present proof of negative COVID-19 tests using the RT-PCR method done within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Vietnam.

COVID-19 vaccination or recovery certificates are also mandatory for the arriving athletes.

If competitors are infected with COVID-19 ahead of the competition, they can be replaced.

However, if an infection is detected during an ongoing competition, that athlete will be disqualified, have the results forfeited and cannot be substituted with another player. 

Yen said that the total budget approved for the organization of the 2021 SEA Games is VND750 billion (US$32.8 million), more than VND200 billion ($8.75 million) of which has been disbursed. 

The cost of accommodation for members of the foreign sports delegations attending the Games is $50 per person per day.

About 3,000 Vietnamese and international journalists will cover the event.

Speaking at Friday’s meeting, Minister Hung stated that Vietnam resolves to successfully host the SEA Games with the highest safety standards.

The basic infrastructure serving the event has been completed on schedule, according to the organizing board.

Sports delegations from other countries are scheduled to inspect competition venues on Saturday.

The biennial SEA Games were originally scheduled to be held in Hanoi and 11 other localities from November 21 to December 2, 2021 but were postponed since Vietnam began facing a flare-up in COVID-19 cases in late April the same year.

The previous season was held in the Philippines in 2019.

This is the second time that Vietnam has hosted the SEA Games following the first organization in 2003. 

Vietnam has recorded 7,367,112 patients in total since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the country in early 2020, with 7,359,460 community transmissions registered in all its 63 provinces and cities during the ongoing fourth virus wave that broke out on April 27, 2021.

As many as 3,861,959 of the patients have recovered from the respiratory disease.

The number of daily new cases in the country topped 197,400 on Friday.

The nation has so far administered over 201.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to adults and children from 12 years old among its 98-million population.

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