Vietnam is among the three Asian nations alongside China and Taiwan to see a positive economic growth rate in 2020 – in the middle of a pandemic.
Many Asian countries are at risk of seeing -4% to -7% contractions this year. Vietnam is on track for a 3% expansion.
The main catalyst of Vietnam’s economic upsurge in 2020 is its handling of the pandemic.
Vietnam went hard and early, aggressively tracing cases and conducting large-scale tests.
The result of the meticulous approach has been a total number of 652 virus cases to date. In comparison, other Southeast Asian nations are struggling to achieve a peak in the pandemic.
Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore reportedly recorded 115,056, 112,593, and 53,346 cases, respectively.
A common theme among countries that successfully combated the pandemic is an early execution of an aggressive plan.
Watch: Vietnam’s Sucess in Containing the Coronavirus Explained
New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have been able to keep cases under five digits. As of August, 25 countries now exceed 100,000 virus cases.
Some described Vietnam’s initial response to the pandemic as an overreaction. Described as “intrusive” and “labor-intensive,” the country pushed hard to reach a peak early on.
But over time, it allowed the nation to open up its economy relatively fast. With under a thousand virus cases, factories started to reopen, and the workforce reignited.
Todd Pollack from Harvard’s Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam said:
When you’re dealing with these kinds of unknown novel potentially dangerous pathogens, it’s better to overreact.
Prof Guy Thwaites, an Oxford University Clinical Research Unit director in Vietnam, said the authorities acted “very, very quickly.” At times, Thwaites said it almost seemed “extreme.”
Prior to the pandemic, Vietnam was one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.
The momentum of the economy was vulnerable when the virus first hit, mainly because tourism plays a large part.
Until Asian countries open travel routes with one another, the tourism sector expects to remain slow.
Yet, the strong performance of Vietnam’s economy relative to other countries in Asia triggered optimism among analysts.
Describing Vietnam as the “new start” in Asia, Holger Zschaepitz, a market analyst at Welt, said :
Vietnam is new star in Asia. It’s among only 3 economies across Asia which are expected to see growth this year, according to Bloomberg survey. Vietnam is forecast to perform best w/2.4% bump, followed by China and Taiwan, while the rest of region is likely to suffer full-year contractions.
When nations begin to reopen travel routes, countries that have handled the pandemic well will likely benefit first.
The prospect of mass-producing vaccines by the end of the year remains contested. As such, countries with low cases could establish travel routes among themselves.