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Vietnam COVID-19 Updates (Jan 24): WHO Representative praises Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

January 24, 2021 | 09:28

Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to Vietnam Kidong Park praised Vietnam’s achievements in COVID-19 prevention and control in an interview given to the Vietnam News Agency.

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Photo: VNA

No new COVID-19 cases reported

Vietnam recorded no new COVID-19 cases on January 23, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control. Vietnam has so far reported 1,548 infections, including 693 locally-transmitted cases and 553 new cases from July 25, 2020, when the pandemic broke out in the central city of Da Nang.

As many as 1,411 patients were given the all-clear from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 while the number of deaths related to the disease was kept at 35. Among patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments across the country, nine tested negative for the virus once, 15 others twice, and seven thrice.

Up to 19,412 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit areas are under quarantine, 125 of them are in hospitals, 18,103 others in state-designated establishments, and 1,184 at their homes.

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Photo: VNA

German media commends Vietnam’s COVID-19 prevention, economic development

German newswire Deutsche Welle (DW) recently ran an article hailing Vietnam’s successes in combating the COVID-19 pandemic as well as economic development on the threshold of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

The article lauded Vietnam among few countries in the world that have been successful in preventing the outbreak, saying soon after the onset of the health emergency, authorities put in place strict measures to control the spread of the virus, which helped keep infection number under control throughout the year.

Regarding the country’s challenges, Carl Thayer, a political scientist emeritus at the Australian University of New South Wales, said Vietnam’s energy security is the most pressing problem for the next five years. Besides, the country needs to resolve numerous longstanding tariff and trade issues with the US - the largest export market of Vietnam. He also expressed his optimism that Vietnam will reach an agreement with the US on many issues, and the country is likely to resume double-digit economic growth within the next five years, particularly if it makes clever use of the signed new-generation free trade pacts.

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Photo: Zing News

Banks to make provisions for COVID-19 affected loans this year

Banks will have to set aside money for potentially unrecoverable COVID-19 affected loans from this year, according to an amended circular drafted by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). Last year, the central bank issued Circular 01/2020/TT-NHNN, allowing banks to avoid making the provisions in 2020 to support banks and borrowers affected by the pandemic.

According to SBV Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu, the amended circular, which is expected to be issued this month, will support businesses and people with loans, creating conditions for businesses to recover quickly. According to Can Van Luc, the profit growth of banks this year might be only about 10 percent against 20-25 percent in recent years mainly due to the requirement to make provisions for COVID-19 affected loans.

Banks restructured loans worth about 350 trillion VND (15.2 billion USD) for COVID-19 affected borrowers by the end of 2020, Luc said, adding if half of the loans became bad loans, the bad debt ratio of the banking system would increase to more than 3 percent by the end of 2021. To control the risk of bad loans, banking expert Nguyen Tri Hieu recommended besides actively recovering bad loans, banks must set aside provisions for bad loans and risky loans. Some banks have already increased provisions for their risky loans.

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Photo: Reuters

WHO Representative praises Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight

The representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to Vietnam Kidong Park praised Vietnam’s achievements in COVID-19 prevention and control in an interview given to the Vietnam News Agency on January 22.

“Although Vietnam is a country with a large, aging population and lower-middle-income economy, and close to China with land crossing borders with multiple countries, it has been managing the COVID-19 outbreaks effectively, keeping the number of cases, including deaths, relatively lower than those of other countries,” he said

Though Vietnam has been enjoying a period in “peace” with no reported cases of community transmission, he noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating its resurgence in many countries and imported cases are being reported almost every day. New community transmission cases in the country can happen anytime at any place, he warned. In this context, Vietnam needs to set dual objectives of disease control and economic development, the so-called “a safe co-existence with COVID-19”.

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Valerie Mai