With scientists now having found vaccines to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the pandemic still raging globally, claiming millions of lives in the process, no one can answer the question of when the epidemic will be brought under control and when life can return to normal.
Whilst people are usually uncertain about the future, we tend to get more anxious about the future when considering the pandemic has not yet been put in check. In these unusual times, we appreciate normal days, but the path to return back to a normal state requires both great and extraordinary efforts.
Vietnam stands out as success story
As the world went through a chaotic year full of fears and losses due to the epidemic, the impact of COVID-19 saw many patients die in solitude, streets left strangely deserted, cremators overwhelmed, and cemeteries filled with new graves all over the world. Indeed, division, suspicion, and even conflicts broke out in many places. A feeling of impotence, insecurity, and fear is still running high in some countries, despite many of them possessing overwhelming economic, scientific, and technological powers.
Reality therefore shows that countries with the right leadership, a quick response, strong determination, and a united consensus among society, successfully brought the situation under control and achieved an important victory. Vietnam was among those countries. Never before since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 has a national blueprint like the one devised by the country to combat COVID-19 grabbed international headlines.
It is therefore not a coincidence that Vietnam has written its own success story. In order to return the country to its normal state, Vietnamese leaders made notable decisions that could be perceived as being “unusual” compared to the methods used elsewhere in the world. Drastic measures such as border closures, quick contact tracing, quarantine, and testing were all swiftly discussed and adopted at a time when the epidemic was not even acknowledged by many countries worldwide.
These “unusual” decisions served to yield a range of extraordinary results. By the end of 2020, Vietnam was one of the 10 countries in the world to record positive economic growth. While most production lines came to a grinding halt, plenty of factories remained in operation in Vietnam. with Saigon New Port, one of the 20 biggest ports in the world, maintaining its flow of container ships.
Upon reviewing national socio-economic achievements recorded last year, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong described 2020 as the most successful year during the previous tenure, especially in a challenging period amid global uncertainties and fluctuations.
It can be viewed as a successful year because Vietnam continued its development in peace, with people’s lives remaining secure despite facing some daily changes that saw once-bustling streets left deserted for several months. Ultimately, calmness and confidence overwhelmed anxiety and insecurity.
Due to this success, ordinary citizens can be proud because the country has brought the virus under control. The initial triumphs serve to testify the Government’s firm performing capacity whilst simultaneously building up people’s trust in the Party’s leadership. It is therefore not by chance that the UN General Assembly approved a Vietnamese initiative with a resolution proclaiming December 27 as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.
Thorough preparations made for a better future
Most notably, 2020 was a special year as Vietnam was able to mobilise resources for the COVID-19 fight, in addition to also preparing for the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, an important event that is held every five years to charts a new course for national development over the coming years.
Back when the Communist Party of Vietnam adopted the Doi Moi (Renewal) process during its 6th congress in 1986, it had a primary focus on pursuing an open-door policy featuring international integration alongside developing a socialist-oriented market economy. This policy has gradually been supplemented and completed through the Party’s various congresses. Local socio-economic development achievements and its increasing status globally were testimony to the goals met thanks to the policy line. Such success can largely be attributable to contributions made by competent people who aspire to develop and help the nation to progress.
Never before has the Party building and rectification drive received such attention as it did during its previous two tenures. Indeed, the 12th tenure from 2016 to 2021 saw a certain number of high-ranking officials, including Politburo and Party Central Committee members, disciplined for their involvement in notorious graft scandals.
Although it can be painful to discipline ranking officials, the Party firmly believes that it is a necessary action aimed at cleansing the apparatus and restoring Party members and people’s trust in the Party. Alongside rectification, the Party has gradually completed mechanisms aimed at enhancing oversight of ranking officials, nipping opportunism in the bud, and opening the door to virtuous and competent officials who are entirely devoted to the nation.
Vietnam has persisted with an international integration policy amidst a widespread rise in protectionism and populism. Joining numerous bilateral and multilateral trade agreements has allowed big changes to be made to country’s political, economic, and social landscape.
Through these policies, the ultimate result has been prosperity. But more importantly, the state, the business community, and people have all greatly benefitted from coming together for the sake of progress and to benefit the values of humanity. The current COVID-19 pandemic proves that the world can only overcome its most terrible challenges through actions involving sharing and co-operation.
These recent gains therefore enable the country to enter into the year with calmness, confidence, and hope moving forward. Vietnamese people fully believe that Vietnam, a nation that cherishes peace, shares difficulties, and remains ready to integrate into the world, will cultivate new successes in the coming years under the leadership of the Party.