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Jun 15, 2020 / 15:59

Vietnam urged to declare end of pandemic

Vietnam has passed two months without new coronavirus cases in the community.

A Politburo member and National Assembly deputy has urged the Vietnamese government to declare the end of the pandemic as the country has undergone two months without local transmission.

 Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan speaks at the National Assembly session on June 15. Photo: Zing

At present, Vietnam meets all three indications of the end of a pandemic including the ratio of infected people per one million people, the rate of Covid-19 patient under treatment per one million people, and zero deaths, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said on Monday morning.

Specifically, the ratio of infected cases/one million people does not exceed five people (that in Vietnam is 3.1), the rate of patients under treatment/one million people is no more than one person (Vietnam with 0.2), and zero death, Nhan said.

According to the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, the country can declare the end of a pandemic after 28 days without any new cases in the community.

Business as usual

The pandemic-free declaration will enable Vietnam to step by step reopen its economy entirely with a focus on boosting ties with foreign markets and encouraging foreign inflows into the country, the official said, noting that Vietnam should take advantages of its strengths including culture, politics, and stable economy.

At the time of writing, Vietnam has confirmed 334 coronavirus infections and no deaths.

Nhan pointed out that Vietnam should consider the resumption of economic activities with 17 countries that have been key partners of Vietnam. They account for 90% of foreign direct investment in Vietnam, 80% of external trade and 80% of international arrivals.

From May to August, 10 of those countries, including Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Germany, and Australia would have the ratio of people under treatment/one million people below 10. Meanwhile, the others namely India, the US, Singapore, among others should be connected right after they meet safety requirements, the official said.

Nhan cited forecasts that Vietnam’s FDI is likely to fall 30% on-year, foreign trade down 18%, and tourism revenues plunge by half this year.

Is it safe to open doors to foreigners?

In response to Nhan’s proposal, lawmaker Nguyen Lan Hieu, who director of Hanoi Medical University Hospital, said that reopening borders should be cautious as risks of the second wave outbreak of the coronavirus remains palpable.

In addition, foreign investors are worried about a safe environment in the near future.

For that reason, Vietnam should take actions to prove that pandemic risks in Vietnam are as not severe as in other countries. The measures should be scientific and receive consultation from the health sector, Hieu said.

The measures might include (1) carrying out a study on community immunity to confirm the safety in Vietnam, (2) strict management of the entry of international visitors based on quarantine regulations and coordination with the countries where the visitors are from to ensure the visitors do not bring the virus into Vietnam, (3) and more investment in the public health system.