Vietnam must capitalize on its COVID-19 success to “elevate the country’s profile” on the world stage, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.
Dam, who is also the chair of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, made the remark at the National Assembly plenary session on June 13, as lawmakers deliberate Vietnam’s socio-economic performance in the first months of 2020.
“The return to normal life of Vietnamese people is the dream of many countries in the world,” Deputy PM Dam said, adding that so far Vietnam remains among the 30 countries without any COVID-19 deaths.
The country is nearing 60 days with no local community infections and just a few cases due to infections on repatriation flights bringing back stranded Vietnamese from overseas, while in the same timeframe, the world’s confirmed cases jumped from about 2 million to nearly 8 million with more than 430,000 deaths.
After a strict nationwide social distancing period implemented in early April, Vietnam has started to ease restrictions and so far, socio-economic activities have all resumed, while its border remains shut against most foreign entries.
When information about the pneumonia-like disease in China first emerged, the Government directed the health sector in late 2019 to immediately discuss with international organizations and develop an anti-epidemic plan based on past experiences, Dam said.
Vietnam implemented measures “earlier and at a higher level” than recommended by international organizations, including the World Health Organization, Deputy PM Đam said, adding that Vietnam’s approach has been proved to be right, effective and timely, all at a significant lower costs compared to many other countries, earning international praise and appreciation.
The Deputy PM attributed the success to the Party and State leadership and the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.
“We have great doctors, people’s armed forces, public security forces and many agencies, but I want to stress on the amazing Vietnamese people,” he said, thanking the tireless work of all people and agencies day and night in the fight against the pandemic.
“The encouragement and support from the people is the source of motivation for all frontline anti-epidemic forces to continue maintaining the success we have achieved,” he said.
While the domestic situation is largely under control for now but the regional and global situation remains quite grim, Vietnam “cannot just shut its doors in an extremist manner,” Deputy PM Dam said, adding that the country must find ways to accomplish the double goals of developing the economy and safeguarding public health.
The great fighting spirit of Vietnamese people against COVID-19 should be evoked in the “new normal”, he urged.
Robust application of information technology in the Industry 4.0 era should continue similar to the previous periods when the coronavirus situation remained complicated in the country, Dam said.
During social distancing, the Government and the National Assembly’s works continued undisrupted thanks to technology, while online administrative procedures were given a significant boost, he said, adding that remote health examination was another activity that should be expanded in the future.
The spirit of “leaving no one behind” should also be promoted, in order to foster socio-economic and cultural development in remote and ethnic minority areas, Dam said.
Praising all-out efforts by medical personnel to treat and save foreign COVID-19 patients, including Vietnam’s most critically ill patient, a British pilot, Deputy PM Dam said this demonstrated not only the ethics of physicians but also the beautiful tradition and values of the Vietnamese people.
“These values need to be fostered and promoted in order to earn higher degrees of confidence and fondness from international friends,” Dam said.
NA deputies at the meeting agreed that while the country’s economy suffered a huge blow by the pandemic, Vietnam still recorded GDP growth of 3.82 percent in the first quarter in 2020, making it among the rare countries in the world still posting such high growth, while inflation, consumer price, energy security and food safety were ensured.
Regarding the tasks for the remaining months of the year, NA deputies asked that the Government continue to follow through with its commitments to promoting growth, maintaining stable macroeconomic foundations, enhancing anti-corruption efforts, training highly skilled workforce, and stimulating domestic tourism post-COVID-19.- (VNS/VLLF)