First country in Southeast Asia to ease up . . .
Vietnam began to ease its nation-wide distancing measures on April 23, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to ease national COVID-19 lockdown measures. Vietnam has reported under 300 COVID-19 cases and no fatalities since the first domestic cases were detected on January 23. The easing of restrictions came ahead of the country’s National Reunification celebrations, a major public holiday that lasts from April 30 to May 3. As part of the easing, schools are set to resume on Monday. Vietnam has been internationally praised for its swift and aggressive containment strategy and high level of transparency during the pandemic, which has increased public trust in the country’s leadership and bolstered Vietnam’s image on the world stage.
Maintaining strict preventive measures . . .
Although the lockdown has been relaxed, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Chair the National Steering Committee on Coronavirus Prevention and Control, has cautioned that the country is still at risk for other outbreaks. Anti-epidemic measures have remained strict during the public holiday and will remain so for the foreseeable future. For example, while public transit services have resumed, public gatherings are limited to 20 people. Public health authorities also remain on full alert as there have been a few relapse cases. When a new outbreak was identified at an apartment building in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City yesterday, the building was immediately put under quarantine for disinfection, and all residents were tested for COVID-19.
Emerging as a post-pandemic winner . . .
The Vietnamese leadership is now faced with the daunting task of reviving the economy, which is forecast to grow in the range of 2.7 to 4.8 per cent this year, down from 6 to 7 per cent growth during the past five years. Nevertheless, pundits have expressed confidence in a strong rebound of the economy due to the “second wave factory relocations” from China to Vietnam, reducing the latter’s dependence on single, foreign-source suppliers. And as the Chair of ASEAN 2020, Vietnam will be striving to not only underscore its importance as a key member of this regional bloc, but also to bolster ASEAN’s relevance and centrality in the post-pandemic era. Vietnam will be looking to enhance engagement with partners like Canada, which has been actively working to increase trade and investment with ASEAN economies and expand its influence in the region.
- Bloomberg: Vietnam looks for economic rebound after mass quarantines
- The Los Angeles Times: Without a single COVID-19 death, Vietnam starts easing its coronavirus lockdown
- Vietnam Insider: Vietnam is fast emerging as a likely post-pandemic winner