Delta variant gets the upper hand . . .
On Thursday, Vietnam registered 10,654 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day record to date, bringing the total tally of cases to more than 300,000. These numbers stand in stark contrast to those seen at the beginning of the current fourth wave. Before the Delta variant arrived in Vietnam in April this year, the country had fewer than 3,000 cumulative cases since the pandemic broke. While the inoculation campaign is making slow progress, some are accusing the government of becoming complacent due to its earlier success in containing the pandemic. Betting on domestic production, Vietnam was late in securing vaccines from global markets, which contributed to an initial delay in the immunization process.
Isolation no longer an option . . .
In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the country’s economic hub and current outbreak epicentre, lockdowns have been extended for another month until September 15. Social distancing orders, mass testing, and traffic checkpoints also remain in place. Despite the strict measures, most districts in the city have seen a dramatic rise in community transmissions in the last few days. Experts believe that high population density and people’s defiance of pandemic control measures have contributed to recent surges. However, many of those who go out in the streets have no choice but to do so to work or access essential goods.
Jobs, economic recovery on the line . . .
Prolonged lockdowns have severely impacted the jobs and livelihoods of many Vietnamese. Thousands of migrant workers, many of whom had been jobless for months and ran out of money, left HCMC for their hometowns on August 15, when the city announced a lockdown extension. The city has asked the national government for a relief package to help cover food and other expenses for the poor. However, workers have complained that the requirement to prove their eligibility for financial assistance has prevented them from accessing previous relief packages. Meanwhile, factory closures and other manufacturing disruptions are expected to hurt Vietnam’s export-reliant economy, as major companies struggle to balance workers’ well-being with continuing their operations.
- Nikkei Asia: Vietnam factories rethink ‘sleepover’ approach to stopping COVID
- Reuters: Workers try to flee Vietnam’s biggest city as coronavirus crisis worsens
- Vnexpress: HCMC community transmission surge explained