COVID-19 outbreak – a big test for Vietnam in 2021

VOV.VN - 2021 represented an especially tough year for the entire world, including Vietnam, following the resurgence of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which dealt a heavy blow to business production and negatively impacted people’s life.

The year saw periods of economic turbulence worldwide due to the emergence of fresh virus variants, many of which were increasingly dangerous and unpredictable. The COVID-19 wave caused by the Delta variant swept across continents in an unexpected way, leading to the deadliest outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. Increasing cases and deaths were even recorded in places with a strong health system and fast vaccinations.

The UK, which was swift in launching its COVID-19 vaccine campaign, has seen more than 90,000 people infected with the virus every day during the final weeks of the year. Previously, it had been the Alpha variant to first emerge in the UK, but was quickly overwhelmed by the Delta variant, and now the Omicron variant threatens hopes of reopening services which have repeatedly been jeopardised.

In India, where the Delta variant was first discovered, the health system endured a collapse as the number of cases reached a peak of 400,000 per day at a time. As a result, more than 200,000 people died, although the actual number is estimated to be closer to one million.

The Delta wave also spread to countries in Southeast Asia, and Vietnam is no exception. A four-day long public holiday for Vietnamese people on April 30 and May 1 turned sour after the first Delta cases were discovered, with the virus quickly spreading to other localities nationwide.

The entire country therefore entered a new battle, with frontline forces such as healthcare workers, soldiers, and policemen working around the clock to protect people’s life. Social distancing measures were put in place and flexibly adjusted to halt the spread of the virus.

Such measures immediately took their toll on business production, partly causing production and supply chain disruptions. In addition, factories at industrial parks either temporarily closed their production lines or were unable to operate at full capacity after workers were infected with the virus. Businesses also failed to meet partners’ export orders due to a lack of human resources.

With business production in the doldrums, the Government adopted several relief aid packages to support ailing businesses and vulnerable groups in society. It also vowed to accompany and assist businesses in terms of getting through the COVID-19 crisis.

As part of efforts to weather the storm, the Government adopted Resolution No. 128 on flexibly and safely adapting to and effectively controlling COVID-19. The resolution, considered as the light at the end of the tunnel, helped to remove business bottlenecks and resume production and supply chains. More importantly, all activities were able to return to normal.

Furthermore, the Government’s global vaccine diplomacy efforts paid off as Vietnam secured more vaccines for local people. Currently, Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest vaccination rate in the world. This high vaccination coverage means businesses are able to retain a steady labour force for maintaining production while citizens can better protect themselves from virus infection.

Given these difficulties, it is a positive piece of news that the country secured a GPD growth rate of 2.58% this year. In line with this, the import-export value hit a record high of more than US$660 billion, thereby making the country in the top 20 leading economies in terms of international trade.

Although the outbreak is anticipated to remain complicated moving forward, 2021’s impressive figures bode well for Vietnam moving into 2022 with new expectations. Difficulties are always an effective test to achieve success. Lessons of the past year will therefore help the country to transform strongly in the new year.