Vietnam’s effective response to COVID-19 has attracted widespread global acclaim. Eight months into the pandemic – after an early lockdown, border closures and an aggressive contact tracing strategy – Vietnam has recorded just 1,215 cases and 35 deaths. Vietnam’s economy is expected to be one of very few in Asia to expand despite the tumultuous events of 2020, with the government projecting annual GDP growth of 2–2.5%. This target was revised down from the 5% predicted before a second wave of COVID-19 emerged in the central city of Da Nang in July, compounding damage to the virus-hit tourism and hospitality sectors.

Although borders remain closed to most visitors, Vietnam has regained control of COVID-19 since the Da Nang scare, with no community transmission reported in 70 days. While pledging that containment of the virus remains its main priority, the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party is cautiously looking to the future. Last month, it announced a new five-year economic plan, aiming for average growth of 6.5–7% between 2021–2025. Yet to meet this target, a strong domestic revival must be aided by a boost in FDI and exports, which is likely if existing trade tensions between the US and China persist under President-elect Joe Biden.