Vietnam prepares for re-opening and re-establishing new normal with COVID-19

by NDO16 September 2021 Last updated at 13:38 PM

Certificates of vaccination and negative COVID-19 testing have helped control the risk of infection and restore activities including tourism in France. (Photo: NDO)
Certificates of vaccination and negative COVID-19 testing have helped control the risk of infection and restore activities including tourism in France. (Photo: NDO) - Nearly two years since the appearance of COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has experienced many epidemic waves.

However, the fight against the fourth outbreak has been the most difficult as the country facedd one of the most dangerous variants with a faster spreading speed and most severe harm.

The epidemic has been gradually controlled and Vietnam can soon consider a roadmap to resume activities, especially in terms of production and international trade.

The whole country entered the fight against the pandemic with the resilient spirit of a nation that had gone through terribly difficult times of war and fierce destruction. Today, they continue to fight an invisible but dangerous enemy.

However, every pandemic ends as we find a way to control it to reduce the damage as well as seek effective prevention and treatment methods. To get to that point, how to limit human loss and gradually restore the economy is a question many countries have raised. Depending on the actual situation, each country has offered appropriate solutions. However, there has been no perfect solution.

Vietnam has chosen the solution of tracking, tracing and social distancing along with hygiene measures to avoid spread by contact such as wearing face masks, washing hands and keeping a safe distance, to limit and minimise human loss while boosting vaccination towards herd immunity. The difficulty in getting enough vaccines as all countries around the world are in need is also a factor slowing down the re-opening of the country.

Amidst these challenges, the concentration of vaccines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is the right way because the greatest potential for contact and spread is in the major cities that have high population density and movement.

Regarding the economy, Vietnam has integrated and is now fully involved in the global supply chain. Many Vietnamese businesses have been participating in this supply chain along with foreign enterprises based in Vietnam. Obviously, the production capacity of industrial zones is a matter of survival for Vietnam’s economy and this depends on the health of the workers.

On the other hand, the scarcity of consumer goods in the European market has become increasingly evident. It is not clear how long that supply chain disruption will last. That is also the concern of many businesses.

In addition to reopening, Europe has been witnessing an economic recovery and increasing consumer demand. Europe and the US are preparing for an increase in consumption at the end of the year, a decisive stage for the revenue of firms. Most businesses set revenue targets for the year-end period; therefore, the disruption of supply chains will be a disaster for those supplying consumer goods.

The deterioration of these consumption chains will lead to the deterioration of factories and production units located in Vietnam, accompanied by the dangerous consequences of a decrease in confidence, leading to a risk of facilities moving out of the country.

Therefore, the goal of concentrating vaccines in industrial zones is also one of the top priorities, besides establishing and maintaining “green zones” (that have not hit by the epidemic) and green corridors to ensure production while awaiting vaccines.

Accordingly, re-opening should be prioritised for businesses involved in the international supply and production chains.

For service businesses, such as aviation and tourism as well as services for daily consumption, it is crucial to apply the criterion of receiving two vaccine doses along with ensuring all anti-epidemic principles as before towards opening. People who have tested negative for COVID-19 and have a certificate of two vaccine shots should be allowed to move without other permits.

QR codes on vaccination and COVID-19 testing need to be put into the Government's anti-COVID-19 management programme, helping the management become simpler and facilitating social opening.

International flights can be reopened on the basis that passengers have received two full doses of a vaccine (with the second given at least 14 days before the flight) as well as negative rapid and PCR testing certifications. France and many European countries have successfully re-opened with this model.

However, as long as the country has yet to reach herd immunity, the possibility of epidemic spread and the risk of human loss still exist. Therefore, it is essential to learn to live with the epidemic and strengthen the prevention of the epidemic by raising each individual’s awareness.

Protecting yourself means also protecting your families and the whole society. The correct use of masks, frequent and proper hand washing, and the avoidance of touching the nose, eyes and mouth are effective and inexpensive ways to prevent disease.

In addition, children are also a source of disease transmission as much as adults. Therefore, the prevention of the epidemic for children and communication to raise their awareness will make the fight against COVID-19 more effective. Vaccination for the elderly is very important in order to prevent disease and reduce the risk of death. There is no age restriction on vaccination for the elderly. Currently, a campaign of third vaccine doses for the elderly has started in France.

With consensus and joint efforts, Vietnam will definitely defeat the epidemic.


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