Vietnam’s Ministry of Health reported 9,521 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. The last time the country recorded a four-digit one-day tally was on August 18, 17 days ago. The national patient tally is now at 511,170.
The latest patients were recorded in 39 cities and provinces. Ho Chi Minh City is still leading the count with 4,104, followed by Binh Duong with 2,485, and Dong Nai with 922. Other cases were detected in Long An (544), Tien Giang (148), Tay Ninh (137), Kien Giang (125), Dong Thap (120), Quang Binh (110), Binh Thuan (99), Can Tho (76), Dak Lak (73), Binh Phuoc (62), Ha Noi (52), Khanh Hoa (51), Da Nang (47), Ba Ria-Vung Tau (39), An Giang (35), Nghe An (32), Phu Yen (29), Quang Ngai (23), Thua Thien-Hue (22), Soc Trang (21), Bac Lieu (15), Tra Vinh (14), Gia Lai (12), Son La (9), Thanh Hoa (8), Binh Dinh (7), Vinh Long (7), Ca Mau (6), Lam Dong (5), Ninh Thuan (3), Bac Ninh (3), Ben Tre (2), Ha Tinh (1), Thai Binh (1), Lang Son (1), and Dak Nong (1). Of these, 4,734 cases were detected in the community. Among the current positive cases, 6,572 are in critical conditions.
The good news is, ten other localities have gone 14 days without any new cases. These are Quang Ninh, Bac Kan, Tuyen Quang, Lai Chau, Hoa Binh, Yen Bai, Ha Giang, Thai Nguyen, Dien Bien, and Vinh Phuc.
The MoH also confirmed 11,848 new recoveries, taking the total number of recovered cases to 282,516.
However, 347 new fatalities were also recorded, taking the country's COVID death toll to 12,793 or 2.5% of the national caseload.
As of latest, the country has administered 21,046,279 COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 3,047,525 people having been fully vaccinated or 3.1% of the 98 million population.
Vietnam at the bottom
Nikkei Asia just released its updated COVID-19 Recovery Index which assesses more than 120 countries and regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts, and social mobility. The higher the ranking, the closer a place is to recovery — with low infection numbers, higher inoculation rates and/or less strict social distancing measures.
While the majority of Southeast Asian countries are going all out in seeking ways to escape the COVID-19 situation, they are still struggling to overcome the fast-spreading delta variant and low vaccination rate that left them more exposed.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Thailand occupy the last four spots on the latest list, Nikkei's updated COVID-19 Recovery Index shows.
Although strict public health and social distancing measures remain in place across major cities, including a stay-at-home order and mass testing operations, Vietnam remains at the bottom, and it’s not the first time.
“For the second time, Vietnam is stuck at the bottom. The country was a superstar of pandemic containment until June but now continues to suffer record infections and deaths. More than 87,000 new cases were reported during the last week of August — nearly 40% of them in Ho Chi Minh City, which also accounted for about 80% of the national death toll,” reads the report.
Despite the deployment of military troops to support logistics and food deliveries in hot spots, including HCMC and the major manufacturing hub of Binh Duong province, the daily cases don’t seem to decrease considering the efforts done.
China was on top of the list, followed by Hungary then Saudi Arabia.
The Nikkei report also reveals the two ASEAN states that have shown significant improvement in coping with the pandemic — Cambodia and Indonesia.
“Cambodia jumped 30 places to 52nd, with case numbers declining and the vaccination drive progressing. The country has the second-highest inoculation rate in the region, only after Singapore. As of Tuesday, over half its population was fully vaccinated, according to the statistics website Our World in Data. Indonesia rose to 92nd from 114th, though its recovery is uneven geographically. The capital, Jakarta, is set to remove restrictions over the coming weeks as cases continue to decline and half of the residents are fully vaccinated. But concerns remain across the rest of the sprawling archipelago, especially in remote regions where infections are surging and jabs are scarce.”
Nikkei’s COVID-19 Recovery Index data sources include Our World in Data; Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports; Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker by Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; Cirium, an aviation data and analytics company; and Orbital Insight, which analyzes satellite data.
The index also calculated a score between 0 and 90 for each country or region. The score is the sum of three constituent categories, including infection management and vaccine rollout.
According to the same data presented by Nikkei Asia, the Economist Intelligence Unit recently brought forward its timelines for Asia's vaccination rollouts, saying many countries are now vaccinating faster than expected. However, it added that because the majority of Asian economies are using vaccines with relatively low efficacy, greater coverage is needed to achieve herd immunity and booster shots will also be necessary.