Highlights of PM Phuc’s report on COVID-19 containment, solutions to restart economy
09:43 | 20/05/2020
VGP – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered a report on COVID-19 prevention and control and solutions to restart the economy, at the opening ceremony of the 14th National Assembly’s 9th working session.

We summarize the key points of the report:

Severity of COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to 213 countries and territories with nearly five million infection cases, including around 330,000 fatalities.

As an open economy, Viet Nam faces high transmission risks  and the containment of the pandemic is unprecendented, thus requiring fast, drastic, synchronous and active response measures.

Viet Nam’s approach

The Government has consistently pursued the stance: “Fighting the epidemic is like fighting the enemy” with the invovlement of the whole political system and citizens.

Preventive measures have beeen deployed early at higher levels than recommedations of the World Health Organization.

To strictly prevent external transmission sources, more than 1,600 checkpoints were set up along land borderlines with involvement of 11,000 military and police.

Grassroots authorities and competent forces have gone to every house to timely identify those with high infection risks and isolate them properly.

The nation has been proactive in manufacturing test kits recognized by the World Health Organization and constantly improved treatment for COVID-19 patients, including elderly patients.

The nation became one of the first four countries to have successfully isolated and cultured the coronavirus. 

A number of apps and platforms have been deployed to help citizens declare their health status and assist the health sector to track suspected cases. These platforms have also been used to help top doctors provide useful medical instructions to grassroots-level doctors in treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The pandemic communication has played an important role in helping citizens to get right information in a transparent and timely manner, contributing to consolidate social consensus and improve public awareness about the pandemic prevention and control work.

The positive outcomes of the COVID-19 fight resulted from right and early understanding [of the pandemic severity] as well as drastic and effective implementation of the responsive measures. International organizations, foreign press outlets and prestigious experts highly valued Viet Nam’s proper, efective and low-cost model of the pandemic containment.

The above-mentioned success was also attributed to high political determination and public cooperation, including valuable financial contributions from various organizations, individuals and businesses.

Active diplomacy

As Chair of the 41st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan sent a letter to AIPA heads calling on the organization’s members to joins hands in the COVID-19 fight.

As the ASEAN Chair, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued ASEAN Chair’s Statement on ASEAN’s joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic, presided over a Special ASEAN Summit and Special ASEAN+3 Summit, attended G20 Summit and 18th Non-aligned Movement Summit, and delivered remarks at the 73rd session of the World Health Organization Assembly. The Government chief also held phone talks with leaders of 12 countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affiars, the Ministry of Health, the Communist Party of Viet Nam Commission for External Afairs, the National Assembly’s Committee for External Affairs have actively cooperated with foreign countries. Leaders of a number of countries have extended thanks to Viet Nam for its assistance and treatment for their citizens, highly valued the capacity of our country’s healthcare sector, as well as our experience in detecting, quarantining, and curing COVID-19 patients, etc. Viet Nam’s representative agencies abroad have effectively carried out citizen protection and timely provided information for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the spirit of solidarity and active integration, Viet Nam has provided assitance to and cooperated with 20 countries, international organizations and donated made-in-Viet Nam medical supplies to 19 countries, which were highly appreciated by the international community.

Lessons learnt

There have been many lessons learnt throughout our COVID-19 fight:

- First, there must be right, drastic and timely leadership of the Party and the State together with high determination and strong action of the whole political system as well as close and effective cooperation among sectors, levels, localities and competent agencies in realizing adopted measures.

- Second, it is neccesary to inspire solidarity and kindness of all citizens and business community to join hands  in this fight.

- Third, a part from fostering international integration process, it is vital to build an independent and self-reliant economy and promote the role of science-technology and innovation as well as activeness of all sectors and levels, especially local authorities and people in curbing the pandemic and rebooting the economy.

- Fourth, it is necessary to do well in communication work to help the public get the right infformation.

- Fifth, stay active in puting forwards initiatives and participate responsibly in the common efforts of the international community in prevention and control of the pandemic in order to contribute to accelerating the international integration processs and improving the nation’s global position and prestige.

On the occasion the Government extends sincere thanks to the countrymen and authorities at all levels for having tried to overcome difficulties and join hands in the fight against the COVID-19.

The Government also appreciates close cooperatio and valuable support and assistance of foreign countries, international organizations and friends around the world for Viet Nam’s COVID-19 fight.

Still stay vigilant against COVID-19

Despite the encouraging signals, the Government pledges to continue staying vigilant as the pandemic is evolving complicatedly and swiftly.

The country will continue strict border control, quarantine all incoming travellers, early detect suspected cases in order to prevent community infections.

The development of drugs and vaccines needs to be accelerated while the capacity of the health system will continue to be enhanced to stay prepared for possible oubreak of other epidemics in the future.

The Government will mull over a strategy for epidemic prevention and control that can allow the country to achieve the dual goal of fighting epidemic and ensuring economic sustainability.

Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced extremely serious impacts on our economy, which have been further exacerbated by climate change, saltwater intrusion, and African swine fever, etc, while the situation in the East Sea has been complicated.

Agriculture sector only expanded 0.08% while industrial production grew 1.8% and may key export products witnessed sharp export falls.

The number of newly-established businesses dipped 13.3% and the number of businesses suspending operation rose 33.6%. More than five million workers have been affected, with 98% of them working in service, tourism and aviation sectors.

Restarting economy in "new normal"

In the new context, we need to work together to innovate development thoughts and gradually build up capacity that can allow us to effectively cope with external shocks.

We need to precisely evaluate the situation to design feasible scenarios and solutions to reboot the economy as it is forecast that our major partners, who account for 70% of the country's export volume, and most of the ASEAN nations are expected to record negative growth.

The Government requests the National Assembly to allow the Government to adjust the 2020 public investment plan and to shift investment model of the Eastern North-South Expressway and My Thuan-Can Tho Expressway projects from public-private partnership to using State budget as it is difficult to mobilize credit loans for these projects.

The Government asks the Legislature to consider defering basic salary increase for civil servants, public employees and those working in the armed forces, that was set to be applicable since July 1, 2020, in order to have more resources for urgent tasks.

The Government also asks the legislative body to consider a new stimulus package and other policies, mechanisms and solutions to beef up economic recovery amid prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

Speeding progress of public investment disbursement is considered the top solution to forge growth in the current context.

Other solutions include interest rate reduction, acceleration of non-cash transacitons and digital transformation, removal of institutional bottlenecks, and enhanced transparency and accountability./.

 By Quang Minh

 

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