Vietnam cancels lockdowns in a bid to let economy recover


The Vietnamese government has decided to cancel lockdowns applied for the past year and a half after the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) slumped in the third quarter.

In a directive posted on the government’s website Wednesday, the government requested that all provincial authorities temporarily suspend strict social distancing measures and cancel lockdowns applied 18 months ago to combat Covid-19.

Should it become necessary to apply lockdowns district-wide or on a province-wide scale, provincial authorities will have to ask the government for approval.

Companies and people are now allowed to travel within Vietnam but still need to comply with Covid regulations.

The government has issued three directives outlining Vietnam’s strongest measures for preventing and controlling the coronavirus, allowing provincial authorities to apply lockdowns in localities.

Those directives mandate strict social distancing throughout the country using the following motto: “Families have to be distanced from families; villages should be distanced from villages … provinces should be distanced from provinces.”

Those directives have seriously affected all sectors of the economy, leading the country’s GDP to shrink by 6.17 per cent in the third quarter of this year – the nation’s sharpest quarterly drop on record since 1986.

This brought the nation’s GDP growth in the first nine month of 2021 to only 1.42 per cent over the same period last year. The Vietnamese government had set a target of 6.5 per cent GDP growth for 2021.

Vietnam has reported nearly 21,000 coronavirus-related deaths during the pandemic. As of October 12, the country had fully vaccinated over 16 million people out of a total population of 98 million, one of the lowest immunization rates in Asia.

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