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Vietnam's COVID-19 containment efforts
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on 24 May ordered ministries and local governments to accelerate efforts to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus in more than 300 industrial parks nationwide as Vietnam faces its most severe COVID-19 outbreak so far. The number of local transmission cases has continued to rise since 27 April, the beginning of the latest outbreak, and reached 2,506 as of midday on 25 May according to the Ministry of Health. The outbreak has brought Vietnam's total number of infections to 5,561, with 44 fatalities.
Although Vietnam has recorded low COVID-19 cases by global standards, its strict containment measures increase the likelihood of supply chain disruptions, notably in manufacturing.
Northern industrial provinces have been the worst hit by the current outbreak, particularly Bac Giang (1,156 cases), Bac Ninh (507), and Hanoi (316). Spikes of infections in industrial zones in Bac Giang province prompted the local authority to temporarily shut down four industrial parks last week, including those hosting suppliers of global electronic companies that operate in Vietnam, such as Foxconn and Samsung. In Bac Ninh province, a small number of cases have been identified in factories owned by global corporations, however, these facilities and industrial zones remain open. Despite efforts by authorities to minimize disruption to the supply chains of major global corporations, more temporary closures of factories are likely if clusters of infections are found in industrial zones, especially as there is no sign that the peak of the latest outbreak has been reached.
Vietnam will continue to rely on government containment measures such as movement restrictions and factory shutdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 due to a slow vaccine rollout, at least until the end of 2021.
Vietnam lags behind its neighbors in terms of the ratio of vaccination per capita. As of 18 May, official figures show only 1.01 million frontline workers have been vaccinated and public vaccination of its 97-million-strong population is unlikely to begin until the end of 2021. According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam has so far received only around 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines under the WHO's COVAX facility, although the total number contracted for delivery in 2021 is far higher: 39 million doses from the COVAX facility, 30 million doses from AstraZeneca, and 31 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech. The government is expediting the procurement of a diverse portfolio of vaccines with the aim to have 150 million doses; sufficient to inoculate 75% of the population and achieve herd immunity.
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