Vietnam in the new normal after coronavirus

By Kieu Mai - Jul 03, 2020 | 11:34 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERWhile many countries in the world still have to fight the second coronavirus wave, Vietnam has come back to the normal life thanks to effective containment strategy.

Nicola Norton, a British teacher working at an English centre in Hanoi, plans to visit Phu Quoc island with his friends next week. This is his second trip this summer after he visited Danang last month.

“I want to discover Vietnam’s famous tourist destinations more when my work is still not so busy and there are a lot of discount combo that time,” he said.

“I am so happy to have work again though the outbreak of coronavirus made me so nervous and anxious at the beginning of this year. I wanted to go back to my home country but now, I feel very lucky when decided to stay. Everything has been back to normal in the country,” he added.

Like Nicola Norton, many Vietnamese people have gone travelling around the country after social distancing rules were lifted and domestic transportations were reopened. 

The “Vietnamese people travel Vietnam” programme has been launched with the cooperation of national tourism authorities, airlines, hotels and travel agents who are offering a lot of stimulus packages in a bid to stimulate domestic tourism.

The famous coastal destinations like Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc have been attracting more visitors while airports have been so crowded when all domestic routes are now completely resumed.

The bustling traffic in the busy streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is back and events as festivals and gatherings in public places could be organized. All services and schools are reopened without various protection and distancing measures.

One of the most surprised things in Vietnam is football match at stadiums across the country with crowded spectators, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the world.

Vietnam in new normal life post Covid-19 pandemic
All domestic routes are now completely resumed. Photo: Vietnam Airlines.

Vietnam was among the first countries to be hit by Covid-19 and was regarded as highly vulnerable because of long border and extensive trade with China as well as limited healthcare infrastructure. However, it now becomes one of the first countries successfully combating the epidemic and managing to get the daily life back to normal.

According to newest IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), Vietnam recorded the strongest increase in manufacturing sector during June in ASEAN, although the headline figure (51.1) pointed to only a mild improvement in manufacturing conditions.

Vietnam’s economy unexpectedly grew 0.36 per cent in the second quarter of this year though at the slowest pace in at least a decade. GDP of the country expanded 1.81 per cent in the first half of 2020 while trade surplus reached $500 million in June.

International Monetary Fund said that the economic impact of Covid-19 on Vietnam is expected to be milder than most countries in the region. 

“Prospects for a recovery look bright as lockdown measures have been lifted, businesses resume operations, and consumers flock to restaurants and shops. There are tentative signs of a domestic recovery, with retail sales and industrial production rebounding from low points seen during the lockdown,” it stated.

Vietnam’s economy has been bouncing back faster than most global markets thanks to swift containment measures of the government. Soon after China officially reported to the World Health Organization several cases, Vietnam finalized a health risk assessment and then officially declared a public health emergency as early as February 1 when there were only a few patients.

Vietnam in new normal life post Covid-19 pandemic 1

Other strict measures were imposed quickly like border closure, temporarily ban for foreign visitors and then a three-week nationwide lockdown when daily cases surged in late March. All helped Vietnam become one of the lowest infection rates in Asia and the Covid-19 death toll is still zero.

Staying in Hanoi during recent months due to Vietnam’s lockdown, foreign visitor Tom Hiddleston is so impressed by convivial atmosphere as he goes for a walk around hotel. He feels that there is no social distancing going on here.

“The tables in street food stalls or local café were filled with many people talking and smiling. The smell of ‘Pho’, of coffee mixed with the slurping sounds of happy locals makes me really chill after a long time I was kept in house and I think every people in the street could feel like that,” he said.

Though Nicola Norton did lose some teaching hours, he still works during social distancing time when he is able to teach online. 

“I feel very thankful to have chance to work because I know other people have been more badly affected, for example, some my friends in England or many blue-collar workers in Vietnam,” he said. 

“Vietnamese people are so lucky when living in one of the safest countries during novel pandemic that was created by efforts of both government and local. I feel lucky too with the decision to stay here," added Norton.