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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Vietnam Shifting COVID-19 Strategy

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Quang Nguyen vinh from Pixabay
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Few countries have had such a severe reversal of fortune when it comes to COVID-19 as Vietnam.

Early in the pandemic, Vietnam was remarkably successful in keeping the virus out and containing it quickly when it did appear, using aggressive contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

The country did not suffer its first COVID death until the end of July 2020.

Even as late as this past April, total cases amounted to only a few thousand.

Today, it’s a very different situation.

Infections have skyrocketed to nearly half a million and deaths have topped 12,000.

This week, Vietnam’s Prime Minister said the country can no longer rely on lockdowns and quarantines, “as it will cause difficulty for the people and the economy.”

The economy’s already been hit. The government says retail sales in August were down by more than a third compared to a year earlier. Industrial output and exports have tumbled.

The Prime Minister says more vaccines are needed.

The online news service VN Express quotes him as saying “applying science to pandemic prevention is the core key to success and the path to beat the pandemic.”

Vietnam’s Health Ministry says the vaccination rate is less than 3% of the country’s population of 98 million.

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