Pandemic battle costs Vietnam $176 mln

By Anh Minh, Minh Nga   July 2, 2020 | 05:01 am PT
Pandemic battle costs Vietnam $176 mln
Medical staff take samples from workers at an industrial park in HCMC for Covid-19 testing, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam has spent hundreds of millions of dollars curbing Covid-19 and supporting those suffering from economic impacts posed by the pandemic.

Tasks for preventing and fighting the pandemic has cost the country VND4.1 trillion ($176.84 million), Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung said at an online government meeting Thursday.

Vietnam sprung into action against the pandemic very early, as soon as reports of the outbreak came from China last December.

Almost a month before the World Health Organization came up with the name "Covid-19" for the respiratory disease on February 11, Vietnam began checking the body temperature of all arrivals from China.

It moved fast to expand its restrictions, isolating everyone coming from infected areas in centralized facilities, and quarantining anyone showing the Covid-19 symptoms in hospitals, where they were tested for the virus.

Mass testings were also conducted at industrial parks, wholesale markets and neighborhoods with infections.

14-day quarantine and Covid-19 tests have been offered for free. Foreigners have to pay for treatment while Vietnamese citizens do not.

The country is also developing a vaccine that is expected to complete next October.

Dung said the country has given VND11.3 trillion ($487.36 million) to 11 million businesses and self-employed citizens affected by the pandemic.

The government in April approved a VND62 trillion ($2.67 billion) support package to help those whose livelihoods and businesses were affected by the pandemic. Disbursement of the package has not been all smooth. Many people, especially street vendors and migrant workers who lack legistation, found it hard to benefit from the support. In certain provinces, officials have mishandled the package, asking poor families to give up their aid.

Vietnam has recorded 355 cases of Covid-19 so far, with only 15 active patients left. The country has reported no deaths and there has been no community tranmission of the disease for two and a half months.

While its disease prevention has been a success story, the nation's budget collection in the first six months followed a bumpy road, remaining at VND668 trillion, and meeting only 44.2 percent of the target. This sum dropped 11 percent against the same period last year and is the lowest since 2013.

Vietnam’s GDP growth fell to a decade-low of 1.8 percent in the first half due to coronavirus impacts. A total 7.8 million workers had lost their jobs or had their working hours reduced, with the number of businesses temporarily suspending operations rising 38 percent year-on-year to 29,200 in the period.

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