Viet Nam’s Response to COVID-19 and Disaster Risk Reduction
Since the first case was reported on January 23, 2020, Viet Nam has more than one thousand infected cases. The Government established a National Steering Committee and 45 Rapid Response Teams in early February 2020 leading to the declaration of national epidemic that got further enhanced as a nationwide pandemic on March 30,2020. While the nationwide lockdown was lifted on April 23 and social distancing rules have been eased, a local outbreak in Da Nang and Hoi An led to the reintroduction of social isolation measures on July 28 in these areas and few other local provinces later on.
Viet Nam’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first three quarters of 2020 reflected the lowest growth reported in the past two decades, largely as a result of substantial slowdown in manufacturing, and a contraction in the service sector, in particular transport, tourism and hospitality industries. With the tourism industry accounting for approximately US$ 30 billion in annual revenue, Covid-19 has had an immediate negative impact on Viet Nam’s economic development. As a result, the government has introduced a fiscal support package valued at VND 291.7 trillion (3.6 percent of total GDP) to support in economic recovery.
Viet Nam has taken a series of strict public health prevention measures to control COVID-19.
The Government response to the outbreak has been timely and evidence-based based with a central and all-of-overnemtn approach providing critical in implementing policies and practices in COVID-19 response. The responsibilities and coordination among the ministries, government agencies, organizations and local governments in prevention and control were clearly assigned at the beginning of the pandemic.
Viet Nam had also put a long-term plan in place to enable it to cope with public health emergencies, building on its experience dealing with previous disease outbreaks, such as SARS, which it also handled remarkably well. The country demonstrated that preparedness to deal with infectious disease is a key ingredient for protecting people and securing public health emergencies. Key interventions by the Government include improving the capacity of the healthcare systems, widely applying preventative measures, enhancing risk communication, applying information technology and investing in science and research.