The Vietnamese Covid-19 task force says it plans to maintain its strategy of containing the coronavirus rather than “rush into a vaccine”, even if a successful vaccine becomes available, that could pose a financial burden the country. Vietnam, despite a month-long surge around Da Nang, has been able to largely contain the local outbreak.
Yesterday the world’s Covid numbers reported the continuing surge in the US and parts of Europe and the UK. Vietnam has reported a total of 1,212 Covid cases and 25 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Through months of aggressive mass testing, centralised and controlled quarantines and early border closures, Vietnam has now gone over 2 months without a community transmission of Covid-19. Like Thailand, the vast majority of recent cases have been imported, mostly with repatriated Vietnamese citizens.
Vietnam and Thailand have both been widely praised for their decisive response to quelling outbreaks, despite earlier predictions that the south East Asian countries could have been key hot-spots for the spread of Covid-19.
Vietnam’s deputy PM, Vu Duc Dam, speaking to Channel News Asia, says there are challenges with any possible vaccine, if and when it becomes available.
“Demand is far higher than supply, and we have to pay large deposits to secure our position, which I see as very high risk and a waste of money and time. We will continue to deal with Covid as we are now.”
That “dealing with Covid” would mean Vietnam will keep its borders mostly closed in the short to medium term.
“We have to be prepared for the fact that the pandemic will not end until 2021.”
Vietnam has spent a reported US$776.7 million on containing the virus and its impacts up to date. The measures, government officials claim, place the Vietnamese economy on target for a swifter recovery.
The Vietnamese government has predicted a GDP growth of 2 – 2.5% this year and 6.7% in 2021. Neighbour Thailand projects an economic contraction of 7.1% for 2020.
South east Asia, generally, has fared relatively well in containing its Covid 19 cases, with The Philippines and Indonesia being notable exceptions.
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