For most of 2020 and early 2021, Vietnam remained virtually free of Covid-19. This was because the country was quick to impose border restrictions and quarantines, deploying intensive contact tracing teams where needed, and imposing localised lockdowns to keep the virus at bay.
With consistently low cases and a speedy response to new infections, the country was ranked in the top three out of almost 100 countries graded by the official Lowy Institute Covid Performance Index, which assesses the overall success and efficiency of each nation’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, Vietnam was one of only a handful of countries worldwide to register economic growth (2.9%).
However, the emergence of the Delta virus in May 2021 has since pushed the country’s capabilities to their limit. In response to the latest outbreak, the government has issued strict stay-at-home orders in major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Vietnam’s aviation authorities recently requested local airlines stop selling tickets for domestic flights until further notice, in a bid to curb the rising number of cases nationwide.
As of 1 September 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has confirmed a total of 462,096 cases of Covid-19. From this group, a total of 238,860 have already recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Vietnam has also recorded a total of 11,064 deaths due to the pandemic.
The most recent cases of community transmission cases have been reported mainly in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, and Tien Giang. In response, six southern provinces have extended their social distancing measures until mid-September. Da Nang authorities are operating a strict ‘stay where you are’ policy, which will remain in place at least until 5 September. Hanoi has also extended its social distancing measures until 6 September.
To combat the spread of the virus, Vietnam is stepping up its vaccination efforts. This inoculation drive was helped recently by the arrival of an additional 250,800 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, sent by the government of the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Health has approved Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, Sinopharm, Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen.
During an official visit to Hanoi in August, US Vice-President Kamala Harris pledged to donate an additional 1 million Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam and help the country boost its inoculation rates. The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots arrived the following day, bringing the total of doses donated by the USA to 6 million.
Since vaccinations officially began on 8 March, more than 11 million doses have been administered, with 2.6 million people (2.7% of the population) now fully vaccinated. It is expected that a total of 150 million doses will be available by the end of 2021, by which time Vietnam expects to have inoculated 70% of its 96 million population.
For the time being, Vietnam is sticking to its Covid-zero strategy, aimed at reducing the spread of the disease by locking down sectors and imposing travel restrictions. At some point in the future, the government may have to adapt to ‘living with the virus’ as some of its regional neighbours have done. For now, the focus is on lockdowns and vaccinations.
The Panorama Destination Vietnam office has been put into ‘hibernation’ until further notice, or until the global Covid-19 situation has stabilised. We are working to ensure the safety of Panorama Destination clients when the country, and our operations, reopen. We have already introduced a set of health and safety protocols based on a dedicated Covid-19 policy and continue to work alongside the Government and with other DMCs in Southeast Asia, to ensure safe and standardised services for all returning visitors. Our offices in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia remain open. Panorama Destination will continue to provide the latest breaking news regarding Covid-19 and its impact on tourism via our social media channels:
(Please note that the Covid-19 situation continues to develop on an almost daily basis. All information above is accurate at the time of writing – for the latest updates, please refer to our social media channels, or get in touch directly)