Asian Development Bank (ADB) Deputy Country Director for Viet Nam Keiju Mitsuhashi - Photo: VGP/Huy Thang
Regarding the impacts of the pandemic on his work and life in Viet Nam, Mitsuhashi said that the pandemic limited international travels–foreign expert mobilization has become difficult, adding that it also limited domestic travel, restricting site surveys and face-to-face meetings in provinces.
“In response to the challenges, we swiftly shifted to online meetings and cloud-based data management. We also had to step-up the role of our office in Ha Noi. At the same time, we have prioritized staff and their family’s safety and health, and introduced flexible work from home arrangement”, told the ADB Deputy Country Director.
The ADB also engaged in research on COVID-19 impact, provided emergency support, and our staff took part in donation activities, he said.
On his personal life, Mitsuhashi admitted that it has been an interesting experience. He learnt to do more exercise at home and started to learn the Vietnamese language, although now it’s on an online basis.
“Overall, I was very lucky to move to Viet Nam in March last year because Viet Nam is one of the few countries that have successfully managed and contained the pandemic”, he stated.
Three key success factors in COVID-19 fight in Viet Nam
Mitsuhashi said that policies and strategic measures of the Government on COVID-19 prevention and control in Viet Nam are very commendable.
The Government knew its limited capacity, and took a swift decision and action at the very beginning to identify, trace, and contain the COVID-19.
The people of Viet Nam played a significant role. Almost all followed the Government’s recommendations and instructions seriously. Most people are conscious of the potential risks and have taken precautionary measures with social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands, the ADB Deputy Country Director stressed.
This may have a lot to do with the trust that the people have with the government and the whole-of-the government approach to effectively communication with the people and its successful awareness program.
On the economic front, Viet Nam achieved 2.9 percent growth last year. But more could have been done to accelerate disbursement for public investments, and to fast-track the implementation of policies and measures to support the poor and the vulnerable people, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Now the government needs to focus on containing the recent cluster outbreaks. This is why it is very important that the Government accelerate its vaccination program, he added.
Vaccination allows for full return to economic activity, recovery
Mitsuhashi supposed that the Government and the Vietnamese people have proven that containing the pandemic and economic growth are not a trade-off relationship.
Last year, Viet Nam achieved 2.9 percent economic growth when most countries in the world experienced a negative growth largely because Viet Nam was successful in containing the pandemic.
It would be critical to contain the recent outbreaks and accelerate the vaccination program. Vaccination will help contain the virus and allow for a full return to economic activity and recovery, maintaining the growth momentum, the ADB Deputy Country Director said.
“The first three waves of outbreaks were very well managed. I am optimistic and confident that based on the experience and lessons from the past waves, the government, together with the Vietnamese people, can contain the pandemic and achieve economic growth towards its target”, he affirmed.
By Thuy Dung