Connecting Regions of Asia.

Vietnam Diary : Rise Of A New Asian Tiger

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Vietnam has effectively controlled the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic and maintained a safe environment for production and trade. With many natural advantages, Vietnam is a promising place for foreign investors to expand their supply chains.

The Ministry of Education and Training has issued  a 15 point plan to ensure COVID-19 safety in schools, from infrastructure, facilities, food safety, hygiene precautions, to special support for the disabled. Ha Huu Thach, Rector of Le Quy Don High School in HCM city, said: “We have asked parents to remind their children to follow disease prevention guidelines. We have also distributed posters and produced slides on disease prevention.”
Most local schools took advantage of the recent National Reunification Day and May Day holiday to disinfect classrooms and campuses, stockpile face masks for students, and install extra basins for handwashing. Many schools placed desks farther apart or divided large classes into smaller ones.
The Hanoi Department of Education and Training has instructed that windows and doors in classrooms should remain open, and a safe distance should be maintained between students during lessons and breaks. Pham Xuan Tien, Deputy Director of the Department, said: “Break times for classes will alternate. Teachers and school staff will monitor students and prevent them from gathering in large groups before and after school.”
A number of schools have altered class schedules and will continue to provide lessons via the internet and television.
Quang Binh province asked schools to disinfect classrooms, campuses, and teaching equipment, and provided each school with clean water, soap, and sanitizer.
Many schools in Thua Thien Hue province have prepared an isolation room.
Nearly 800 schools and other educational establishments in Quang Ngai province have been disinfected. They have revised their curriculum, divided classes, and rearranged desks to ensure a safe distance between students.
The current school year is scheduled to end on July 15, one and a half months later than usual.
Global Media Praise 
International media has praised Vietnam’s effective Covid-19 response. Economists say Vietnam’s small number of Covid-19 infections and no deaths will enable it to recover its economy before most other countries.Vietnam has become very attractive for investors , especially those keen to relocate their manufacturing units from China.
Frederick Burke, Managing Partner of the international law firm Baker McKenzie, said Vietnam’s response to the epidemic has made foreign enterprises feel safer doing business in Vietnam.
Michael Sieburg, a partner at Asia-focused consultancy firm YCP Solidiance, said there is a sense in many of his discussions that Vietnam, relative to many other countries, will move on the investors’ radar.
A representative of the Kizuna Joint Development Corp, which builds factories in Vietnam, said that given its fast response to the virus, they expect foreign investment to pour in to Vietnam after the pandemic. The company is speeding up plans to finish a 100,000-square-metre factory in southern Vietnam in July in anticipation of an increase in post-pandemic demand.
Before the epidemic, many businesses with factories in China had eyed Vietnam and other ASEAN countries.
Nguyen Anh Van, an official of the Van Trung 2 Industrial Park in Bac Giang province, said they have heard from a growing number of foreign investors wishing to invest in the industrial park.
“The first thing foreign investors ask about is the provincial investment policies, whether they’re favorable or not. Second, is the location and infrastructure of the industrial park. Third, they want to know about labour quality and availability,” Van said.
Taking advantage of opportunities
Successful containment of the Covid-19 epidemic has confirmed Vietnam’s ability to ensure a stable, safe environment.
Nikkei Asian Review said shifting of investment is inevitable after the Covid-19 pandemic and ASEAN countries like Vietnam will be favored destinations. The IMF’s World Economic Outlook report for 2020 said Vietnam has the best growth prospect in ASEAN. The World Bank said Vietnam’s economy was resilient to external shocks in the first few months of this year and its economy will rebound.
Director of the American Chamber of Commerce Adam Sitkoff said Vietnam is a lucrative investment destination in Asia.
According to Hirai Shinji, Chief Representative of Japan’s External Trade Organization in HCMC, Vietnam has successfully contained the epidemic and will now receive more foreign direct investment.
ChosunBiz, an economic newspaper published by South Korea’s Chosun Group, said the Vietnamese government’s determination to fight the epidemic received strong support from foreign investors. It gave as example Samsung’s closure of factories elsewhere in the world, but not in Vietnam.
Bloomberg predicted the Vietnamese economy will bounce back because Vietnam is a favored destination for foreign investors. It said 12 billion USD was registered in Vietnam in the first 4 months of this year.
The Vietnamese government has set a GDP growth target of 5%. Fitch Ratings has kept the outlook for Vietnam at “stable” as they expect a strong recovery in 2021, with growth forecast at 7.3%.
The SARS epidemic in 2003 shocked Vietnam. Several Vietnamese and foreign doctors and medical workers were killed by the virus. Now Vietnam has used Kovir, a vitamin supplement branded by Sao Thai Duong Company, which strengthens immune systems to aid in the treatment and prevention of disease. 
The product was developed following the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in 2003. 
During an interview with VOV’s Hoang Huong , pharmacist Nguyen Thi Huong Lien, Deputy General Director of the Sao Thai Duong Company, said about Kovir :.

“At that time, I was pregnant. As a mother, I was very concerned about what to do to protect my family, colleagues, and community. I came up with an idea for a product which would be good for everyone, especially for women.
After researching traditional experiences and medicinal plants, conducting preclinical tests with mice, and extensive clinical testing, in 2014 we registered Kovir as a vitamin supplement.”
What are the main characteristics of the product?
Our product offers an extra option for pregnant women and children. We all know that pregnant women are limited in using antibiotics to prevent disease. Kovir is made from medicinal herbs which were used by our ancestors to prevent disease. Kovir is in the form of a pleasant-tasting soft capsule, very easy for both adults and children to consume.
Let me give you an example. Suppose an office has 50 people. If one becomes infected with a virus, the others will normally contract the viral disease. But if the other people in the office are taking Kovir as a preventive medicine, they will probably not get the disease from their infected co-worker.
Vietnam has so far controlled the COVID-19 pandemic well. But many other countries  like France, Germany, the UK, and the US have struggled to control its spread.
How has Kovir contributed to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic?
Many consumers have gotten to know Kovir since its introduction to the market 4 years ago. In February this year when Vietnam quarantined several COVID-19 areas, we donated 24,000 units of Kovir products, including mouthwash and sanitizer to doctors, medical staff, border guards, the Hanoi Capital High Command, and reporters on the frontline. This was our token of gratitude to frontline volunteers at the highest risk of infection.
For all western and Asian investors relocating or keen to relocate their industries away from China, next-door Vietnam, growth-driven and self-reliant, confident  to fight any enemy including the virus and determined to make investors comfortable , has emerged as the world’s favourite investment destination.
If you invade Vietnam, you get hell. If you come here as tourist or invest in Vietnam, you come close to heaven. 
Reporting by Thu Hoa and Hoang Huong / Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City 

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