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Vietnam Struggling to Contain Covid-19 Outbreaks Nationwide

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In the first year of the pandemic, Vietnam was once regarded as a success story for containing Covid-19, reporting only a few cases daily. The country is now at the bottom of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking in December, having replaced the Philippines following a protracted delta outbreak that caused death to spike and clouded the economy’s outlook.

More than 10,000 cases per day have been reported in the country for the past month, countering the trend observed elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Approximately 200 deaths are reported every day from Covid-19.

Vietnamese exporters, which supply global brands like Nike Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch Co, have also been affected by shutdowns to prevent the spread of viruses. Temporary closure of factories and an exodus of workers from virus-hit cities over the third quarter caused major disruptions in the holiday season, which have dimmed the nation’s economic outlook.

According to the government’s economic forecasts, the gross domestic product will grow by 2.5% this year, far below the official target of up to 6.5%, pulling it down in the rankings.

Read: Covid-19 Delta Variant Explodes in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnamese authorities have been working to reopen the economy step-by-step since October, allowing factories to reopen as long as workers have been vaccinated. Currently, more than 60% of the nation’s population has been fully immunized, and the government is ordering more booster shots as Omicron looms. In high-risk localities during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, officials are considering tightening restrictions again due to the continuing rise of cases.

The Philippines, by contrast, has seen cases and deaths plummet and restrictions have been eased, pushing it up to three spots in the December rankings. Following repeated lockdowns, people can now go to indoor restaurants, gyms, and cinemas. Children are now allowed in malls, and domestic flights have increased.

Overall, Southeast Asia lags behind the rest of the world in vaccination levels, which is a major reason why the region has populated the bottom of the Ranking for several months now.

In Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, most of the population has been fully vaccinated, while Indonesia and the Philippines have given one shot to over half of their citizens. These countries, however, lag far behind developed countries, where over 90% of eligible populations have received two shots, with boosters now being rushed out.

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