US adds $5 million to Covid-19 assistance for Vietnam

By Nguyen Quy   May 2, 2020 | 12:31 am PT
US adds $5 million to Covid-19 assistance for Vietnam
Workers at Linh Trung Export Processing Zone in HCMC's Thu Duc District have their body temperature checked before undergoing Covid-19 tests, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The U.S. will provide $5 million to help mitigate Covid-19 impacts on the Vietnamese economy, the State Department said Friday.

It said the Economic Support Fund was in addition to the $4.5-million medical assistance previously announced.

The economic assistance will be utilized to bring much needed resources to bear immediately, including supporting private sector recovery, by mitigating the financial impacts of the pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the department’s statement said.

It would also partner with Vietnamese government stakeholders to bolster the government’s relief interventions, it added.

"Even though the private sector was hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, the additional funds will help lift Vietnam out of this crisis, enabling the country to continue its march towards upper-middle income status. This assistance reinforces our commitment to supporting a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam," U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink said in a statement.

The previously announced $4.5-million medical assistance is aimed at helping the Vietnamese government prepare laboratory systems and activate case-finding and event-based surveillance.

It also covers support for experts hired to help respond to the Covid-19 crisis, community education and engagement, infection prevention for healthcare settings and public health screening at points of entry.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 last December, the U.S. government has pledged $775 million for medical emergency, humanitarian, economic and developmental assistance to help countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations deal with the pandemic.

Earlier, the Vietnamese government had handed over 250,000 antibacterial face masks and other medical supplies to support the U.S.’s Covid-19 fight.  

The U.S. is the worst hit country with over 1.1 million Covid-19 cases and more than 65,700 deaths so far.

In addition to the U.S., some other countries have provided medical and financial aid to help Vietnam deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu said last month that apart from biologicals worth 20 million yen ($184,600) provided for Vietnam in February and March, Japan will offer aid worth at least 200 million yen ($1.84 million) via international organizations to support Vietnam’s Covid-19 fight.

The E.U. announced this week that it was mobilizing €350 million ($378 million) to assist Southeast Asian countries in the battle against Covid-19. No specific figure for Vietnam has been announced.

Saturday morning marked the eighth day in a row that Vietnam confirmed no new Covid-19 patient, keeping its total count at 270 since last Friday. Of the 270, 217 have been discharged and 53 are undergoing treatment, including 14 relapsed patients. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has spread to 212 countries and territories, with almost 240,000 deaths reported so far.

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