How Vietnam lost its pandemic-beating edge

Vietnam has justifiably been praised as one of the world’s best performers during the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of 2020, the country of 96 million people had recorded fewer than 1,400 cases, less than two dozen deaths and was one of the few Asian states to notch positive economic growth in 2020. 

But infection rates have spiked since early May and Vietnam now ranks behind most other Southeast Asian nations in vaccinating its population. Its laxity earlier this year means it may not be able to inoculate more than half its population until at least next year, if not later. 

Between the beginning of the pandemic and May 7 this year, Vietnam recorded only 3,137 Covid-19 cases, with the majority diagnosed in 2021. However, since May 7, infection numbers had climbed to 11,635 as of June 16, with 61 confirmed deaths. 

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