With Vietnam in the midst of a fourth-wave Covid-19 outbreak, the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) has asked its members how the private sector can support the government’s vaccination drive and how the pandemic is impacting their business operations.
EuroCham supports the government’s ambitious target to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population. This will be essential to unlock the international trade and investment which is critical to Vietnam’s economic growth.
European business leaders call the government to go further and faster, harnessing the power of private enterprise and allowing companies to vaccinate their own staff out of their own pocket.
Four in five business leaders (79 per cent) agreed that businesses should be able to inoculate their workforce. This would reduce the burden on the state budget while also helping to accelerate the government’s vaccination drive.
EuroCham members also encourage the government to ease quarantine regulations for investors and experts who have been vaccinated in their home countries.
Over two-thirds of business leaders (70 per cent) reported that their companies face obstacles from the current restrictions.
Meanwhile, 79 per cent said that the three-week quarantine would lead to fewer specialists coming to Vietnam. This could hit foreign investment and hurt the business operations of companies who depend on these essential technicians.
More than four in five EuroCham members (81 per cent) believe that the government should now reduce the quarantine regulations for vaccinated foreign experts and their families to one week maximum and simplify the procedure to address this issue.
Alain Cany, chairman of EuroCham, commented that Vietnam has been one of the world leaders in preventing the spread of Covid-19. Swift border closures, strict quarantine measures, and targeted local lockdowns have kept infections low and enabled domestic business activities to resume.
However, this is not a permanent solution, and it cannot continue for much longer without damaging economic growth.
While Vietnam’s borders are closed, other countries are rolling-out vaccinations and re-opening their doors to the world. So there is now a real risk that Vietnam could fall behind unless it implements its own mass vaccination program at scale and pace, Cany said.
The private sector, including foreign enterprise, can help speed-up Vietnam’s vaccination efforts.
“Our companies can provide both the world-leading equipment and the international expertise essential to a successful mass vaccination program. Therefore, Vietnam’s roadmap to recovery should harness the contribution of European business. But the planning needs to begin now so that we can hit the ground running as soon as vaccines are available,” he said.
The challenge for Vietnam now is to match that success with an ambitious and accelerated mass vaccination program. If this can be achieved, there is no doubt that Vietnam will rebound and recover. This would also help to meet the government’s twin goals of protecting the population and boosting economic growth.