Venkatachalam Anbumozhi The upcoming 36th ASEAN Summit will take place against the backdrop of severely damaged business and investor confidence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Containing and mitigating the spread of the pandemic is the current priority of all ASEAN member states, with concerted efforts to shore up public health systems. As countries around the world debate how quickly they should reopen their economies from the lockdown, some ASEAN countries like Vietnam are largely ahead of the curve. A nationwide social distancing campaign that shut down non-essential businesses ended on April 22 in Vietnam, and life has returned to striking normalcy within a month, with reported coronavirus infections in that period. Domestic tourism is slowly picking up, as authorities ease social distancing regulations on planes, trains, and buses. As a result of decisive actions on timely travel bans, cluster testing, and prolonged quarantines, Vietnam has only seen a tiny number of confirmed infections. In early April, the Vietnamese government also announced a $2.6 billion relief package aimed at 20 million people, which included cash transfers to those considered poor and vulnerable. Similar containment and recovery strategies are being followed by other ASEAN member countries, as they are unveiling economic stimulus… Read full this story
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