How Vietnam Controlled the COVID-19 Pandemic and Reassured Businesses The effective response had reassured business based in the country and Vietnam's economy will be bounce back after Covid19

By Thoi Nguyen

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n January 2020, when the coronavirus began to surface in Vietnam, the country was proactive and took decisive actions to deal with the pandemic. Although Vietnam has a close border with China, where the coronavirus originated, the country has managed the coronavirus pandemic well.

Since Vietnam recorded first few infected cases, the country quickly took a number of bold measures to close schools and universities, institute travel bans on those who have visited the affected areas, along with fining those who spread fake news on their social media account in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Vietnam had performed quite well in discharging all the 16 infected patients from hospitals.

Since the majority of new cases in Vietnam are "imported', the number of infected cases were increasingly fast due to foreign visitors and influx of repatriated Vietnamese who returned home to avoid the rapid coronavirus outbreak spreading in the West.

One of the reasons for succeeding in containing the coronavirus is the country's unity and spirit to fight for the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the country successfully treating the initial patients, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called this "a golden time' for Vietnam to fight with the coronavirus pandemic before it moved to the next stage when the imported coronavirus cases were back. The message was loud and clear, highlighting the important tasks appealing to compatriots, comrades, and soldiers nationwide and overseas Vietnamese to stay united with the country in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam implemented robust responses to curb the spread of the disease. The country decided to close schools and universities in January and told people to work from home. The country's visa waivers program for eight European countries including the UK has been suspended amid the growing cases of infection in the EU. All the diplomatic and business trips aboard were postponed unless approved by the Prime Minister. The authorities have asked local painters to draw slogans and united propaganda, the propaganda like "to stay at home is to love your country' is almost on every street of Vietnam.

The country shut non-essential businesses and imposed restrictions on movement. International flights were ceased in March and domestic flights and train services have been reduced significantly. Vietnam limited public gatherings in big cities. The biggest city in the country, Ho Chi Minh city, ordered all bars, restaurants, and entertainment centres to close. Since 16 March, with the influx of oversea citizens returning home, all new arrivals are required to declare their health conditions, test, and arrive in the compulsory quarantine area in Vietnam. Police officers were urged to ensure national security and social order and deal with anyone escaping quarantine. Vietnam announced a nationwide lockdown on 1 April.

Vietnam also used the contact-tracing process to defeat the coronavirus. As soon as the local authorities recognize the potential people who had contracted with the infected patients, media outlets will announce the suspected cases and police officers will quickly come to trace these people and inform the surrounding neighbors. Officials require the suspected patients to be quarantined at home and focus on tracing links to a known case.

Vietnam is a one-party state and has established itself as one of the most popular investment destinations in Southeast Asia because of its stabilized political system, a strong potential labor market, abundant resources, and a rapidly growing middle class.

When dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the Vietnamese Communist Party has a monopoly power imposing several severe and strict rules for it its citizens to abide by. People will face harsh punishments if they break the rules and it is reported that officials sentenced a Vietnamese man to a nine-month prison term for aggressively refusing masks public. In the case of people infected with COVID-19 deliberately spreading the disease in the community may also be subject to a 12-year prison term. These measures have explained why Vietnam can successfully manage the coronavirus pandemic so well and still control the epidemic situation.

These early actions and contact case tracing associated with the social isolation proved very effective for Vietnam to prevent and fight with the coronavirus. So far, Vietnam has kept the number of infected cases to a few hundred and no one has died because of this deadly virus. With a population of around 97 million people, but as on 18 May 2020 Vietnam reported just 320 cases in total and 260 patients have discharged from the hospital

The effective response had reassured business based in the country and Vietnam's economy will be a bounce back after COVID-19 this year. It is forecasted that Vietnam will be one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia after the coronavirus pandemic, with a 4.8 per cent growth this year and bounce back up to 6.8 per cent in 2021 according to the report of Asian Development Outlook 2020.

Vietnam has controlled the coronavirus pandemic well. The preparedness, progressive measures, and quick responses have been key to Vietnam's success. These measures have reduced economic activity for a period, but help to build the foundations for economic recovery, overall the economy will bounce back.

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