Ahead of Vietnam tourism opening, daily Omicron toll nears 100,000 – The Diplomat

ASEAN beat | Society | South East Asia

On March 15, the government wants to fully reopen the country to international tourists.

Vietnam is currently seeing nearly 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day as the highly transmissible omicron variant sparks an unprecedented outbreak nationwide. The country’s health authorities registered 98,864 new infections on Saturday marks another one-day high in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic, followed by another 86,990 yesterday.

The spike, which began in January before picking up seriously in the second week of February, has pushed up Vietnam’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases more than 3.3 millionthe fourth highest in Southeast Asia, both in absolute and relative terms.

The near-vertical spike in infections, more than five times the peak Vietnam experienced during last year’s delta-variant outbreak, comes as the country, like many of its Southeast Asian neighbors, prepares to reopen its borders to international visitors to open .

Two weeks ago the Vietnamese government announced that it would fully reopen international tourism and lift all COVID-19 travel restrictions from March 15 after two years of effective isolation from the outside world. To qualify, tourists must be fully vaccinated and present a negative COVID-19 test before departure and on arrival, AFP reported. Each visitor is also required to purchase at least $10,000 worth of COVID-19 insurance.

Over the past two decades, Vietnam’s tourism industry has grown by leaps and bounds in line with its dynamic economy. Before the pandemic, it was worth quite a bit $32 billion a yearmore than 10 percent of GDP, making its revival a matter of vital importance in the government’s broader plan to revive the economy, which despite its relative resilience during the pandemic has posted some of its worst quarterly performances since 2000.

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The current surge in cases is unlikely to derail the government’s reopening plans. After a delayed start, Vietnam now has one of the highest vaccination rates in Southeast Asia more than 78 percent of adults have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and the government plans to provide booster shots to its entire adult population until the end of March. The government is also considering vaccinating young people.

In addition, given the relatively low number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with the Omicron variant, there is a reasonable likelihood that the surge will subside within a reasonable timeframe with prudent management. This week, epidemiologists said there are cases in the capital, Hanoi are in full swing Mid-March, after which they should start to fall. In the case of the Philippines, where the country surpassed last year’s delta rise just after the New Year’s holiday, so was the downturn fast as a peak, from more than 30,000 cases per day in mid-January to around 1,000 currently.

For similar reasons, Thailand last week announced its own easing of COVID-19 restrictions in a bid to resume tourism, although it is in the midst of a similar surge in some cases. As spokeswoman for the Thai Ministry of Health written downThe fatality rate is currently about 0.19 percent — about a tenth of the rate during last year’s delta eruption.

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