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World Vietnam delays reopening resort island over low vaccination rate

08:05  24 september  2021
08:05  24 september  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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Vietnam has pushed back a plan to re - open the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists until November, after failing to meet targets for inoculating residents due to insufficient vaccine supplies, state media reported. Overall, 7.3% of Vietnam 's 98 million people are fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in the region. Phu Quoc on Monday detected a new COVID-19 cluster after months with no local cases, though provincial authorities said it was under control and would not affect the reopening plan.

Vietnam plans to reopen the beach-fringed island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists from next month, authorities said, as the country looks at ways to revive an economy suffering from extended lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. Vietnam , which is currently shut to all visitors apart from returning citizens Vietnam will fully vaccinate all residents on Phu Quoc before opening , the tourism ministry said, adding that the island had not reported any community infections and had sufficient COVID-19 quarantine and treatment facilities. Neighbouring Thailand has already partially reopened to foreign

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam has pushed back a plan to re-open the resort island of Phu Quoc to foreign tourists until November, after failing to meet targets for inoculating residents due to insufficient vaccine supplies, state media reported.

FILE PHOTO: Views from a beachside restaurant are seen at the Mango Bay resort in Phu Quoc island © Reuters/Nguyen Huy Kham FILE PHOTO: Views from a beachside restaurant are seen at the Mango Bay resort in Phu Quoc island

The Southeast Asian nation, which is currently shut to all visitors apart from returning citizens and investors, has been struggling to speed up inoculations to help contain a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant in recent months.

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Priority in vaccine allocation should be given to nations with a low vaccination rate , the Vietnamese leader continued, adding that developing countries should be enabled to engage in vaccine production and supply chains. The president stated that the key solution to contain the pandemic and foster economic recovery lies in each nation’s ability to strengthen its resilience. “ Vietnam will work with countries and people around the world so that together we can prevail over the pandemic, and build a world of peace, prosperity and happiness for all," Phuc said.

The number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people in Vietnam rose to 23 as of Sep 8 2021. This page includes a chart with historical data for Vietnam Coronavirus Vaccination Rate . Vietnam Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccination RateSeptember 2021 Data. Summary. Download.

Authorities had initially planned to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to start returning to Phu Quoc in October https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/vietnam-reopen-resort-island-foreign-tourists-boost-economy-2021-09-10 to revive the tourism sector and prop up the economy.

"We have to inoculate residents here for herd immunity but vaccine supplies are falling short," the state-run VTC newspaper quoted Huynh Quang Hung, the chairman of Phu Quoc City's People's Committee, as saying.

Last week, the island's authorities said an additional 250,000-300,000 doses were needed to achieve herd immunity.

So far only 2.9% of residents in Kien Giang, the province that hosts Phu Quoc, had received two doses, official data showed.

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However, experts warn that low vaccination rates in parts of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, will make reopening more risky than in the West. Many Western countries have vaccinated most of their populations – including 65% in the United Kingdom and about 70% in Canada. And although they are still seeing cases, with many reporting brief spikes after reopening , the number of COVID deaths and hospitalizations in these Western countries has been low , indicating the benefits of the vaccine .

Some have enviable vaccination rates ; others have decided that the costs of continued economic and social restrictions outweigh the benefits. Here are five nations to watch closely for how their new strategies play out. Denmark: The country that declared precautions over . The island of Phuket reopened to vaccinated foreign visitors on July 1 without quarantine requirements. On July 15, the country launched a similar program on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, dubbed "Samui Plus."

Overall, 7.3% of Vietnam's 98 million people are fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in the region.

Phu Quoc on Monday detected a new COVID-19 cluster after months with no local cases, though provincial authorities said it was under control and would not affect the reopening plan.

Authorities said Phu Quoc would have a phased reopening over six months starting on Nov. 20, with up to three chartered flights touching down per week.

Under the plan, the island expects to welcome 3,000-5,000 visitors over the trial period, with compulsory COVID-19 tests conducted by authorities, VTC said in Thursday's report.

It remained unclear if visitors will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine period as requested by Vietnam's health ministry.

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam slumped from 18 million in 2019, when tourism revenue was $31 billion, or nearly 12% of gross domestic product, to 3.8 million last year.

The plans to welcome back tourists come as Malaysia last week reopened its Langkawi island https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/malaysians-enjoy-taste-travel-after-lockdown-tourism-restart-2021-09-16 to domestic visitors, while Thailand has opened Phuket and Samui islands to vaccinated foreign tourists.

(Editing by Ed Davies)

Vietnam's lockdown ensnares world's clothing giants .
From shoes and sweaters to car parts and coffee, Vietnam's strict and lengthy coronavirus lockdown has sparked product shortages among worldwide brands such as Nike and Gap which have grown increasingly dependent on the Southeast Asian nation's manufacturers. In a letter to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, leading business associations representing the United States, the European Union, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations sounded the alarm over production shifting away from Vietnam, warning 20 percent of its manufacturing members had already left.

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