Vietnam’s response to COVID-19 has highlighted its competence as a country. It has unequivocally won the peace.
In Hanoi in the early 80s, the small group of representatives from non-communist countries frequently asked itself whether, having won the war, Vietnam would win the peace.
On May 21, the international magazine, Politico, taking account of both public health and economic factors, ranked Vietnam the global leader on COVID-19 responses.
Vietnam had 334 reported cases and no deaths as of June 17. These figures are credible, not least because the Centres for Disease Control has a hundred-strong team in the country.
Vietnam’s success on public health can be attributed to its experience with the SARS epidemic, rapid responses with quarantine, innate Confucian discipline and, a tad less attractively, the controls available to a Marxist-Leninist surveillance state.
The Vietnamese economy, particularly impacted by COVID-19-driven supply chain interruptions and blows to transport and tourism, is unlikely to reach the government’s current target of 5 per cent growth for 2020. But it may well reach the IMF forecast of 2.7 per cent, a much rosier picture than for comparable countries.
Vietnam’s rise has been remarkable.