Second wave under control . . .
In July, Da Nang City, popular as a destination for international and domestic tourists, emerged as the epicentre of Vietnam’s COVID-19 second wave. With no community transmission cases in the city for six days and only one community transmission case in the entire country over the same period, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has declared the second outbreak to be under control. The government has announced plans to reopen commercial flights to China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Laos in mid-September, and Da Nang City authorities have decided to ease social distancing restrictions starting Saturday. Gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed, and restaurants and shops will resume by offering take-out and curbside pick-up. However, all schools in the city, from pre-school to university, will remain closed. As of today, Vietnam has reported a total of 1,049 COVID-19 positive cases and only 35 deaths.
Unemployment jumps, migrant workers left in limbo . . .
While Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country not yet to have slipped into a COVID recession – it reported 0.4 per cent GDP growth in 2020 Q2, down from 3.8 percent in Q1 – the economic reverberations are significant. The country’s textile and garment exports declined by 15.5 percent in the first half of 2020, and many migrant workers who moved from the countryside for factory employment have been left in limbo. Unemployment has jumped to 2.3 per cent, the country’s highest rate for 10 years, from 0.4 per cent a year earlier, with youth accounting for over 30 per cent of the total number of unemployed.
Ho Chi Minh City as an engine for recovery . . .
Hanoi has announced plans to allocate an increased budget to Ho Chi Minh City – an engine of Vietnam’s economy - to entice more foreign investment, spur growth, and cushion the pandemic’s impacts. In 2019, the city contributed 23 per cent to Vietnam's GDP and 27 per cent of national government revenues. Partly in response to the announcement of increased funding, Ho Chi Minh City has proposed a raft of large-scale public infrastructure projects over the next ten years. And city authorities are pushing to establish the city as a financial hub in the Mekong region, hoping to attract investors and service providers leaving Hong Kong.
- Nikkei Asian Review: Ho Chi Minh pitches itself as regional financial hub after COVID
- South China Morning Post: Vietnam dodged the coronavirus bullet, so why are its workers struggling?
- VnExpress International: Vietnam's unemployment rate rises to 2.3 pct in Q2