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Aug 13, 2021 / 15:25

Switzeland's Covid relief arrives in Vietnam

The donation comes just one week after the visit to Hanoi paid by Swiss Vice President Ignazio Cassis.

A batch of Switzerland-donated medical equipment worth US$5.5 million arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday morning [August 13].

Handover at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City on August 13. Photos: Swiss Embassy in Hanoi 

The donation, including 30 ventilators, 500,000 test kits, and 280,000 surgical masks, comes just a week after the Vietnam visit paid by Swiss Vice President and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis.

The medical equipment was transported by Swiss leisure airline Edelweiss Air and handed over to Vietnam by the Consul General of Switzerland’s Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Martin Maier.

 Consul General of Switzerland’s Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Martin Maier (L), and Vietnam's Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son. 

Ignazio Cassis announced the Covid relief in the three-day visit to Vietnam on August 4-6 when the two countries marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 30th anniversary of the Vietnam-Switzerland Cooperation and Development.

During the visit, the Swiss Government is committed to providing aid of CHF70 million (US$80 million) for Vietnam in the 2021-2024 period with a focus on improving the business environment and boosting the competitiveness of the private sector.

The assistance is within the Vietnam-Switzerland Cooperation Program 2021-2024.

Switzerland has been a donor of the official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam since 1992, with the majority being non-refundable aid. As of 2020, the Swiss Government provided aid worth nearly CFH500 million ($550 million) for poverty reduction and shifting from a centrally planned to a market economy.

Ignazio Cassis’s visit was aimed at strengthening economic ties with efforts to amplify negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA – the intergovernmental organization of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and Vietnam. The two sides are expected to finalize the process this year.

Switzerland is one of the first Western countries to set up diplomatic ties with Vietnam.

 The batch of medical equipment arrives at the airport on August 13.