At an online monthly Government meeting on April 1, the PM said the Government would continue to discuss and issue solutions to resolve difficulties facing businesses, boost public investment, ensure public security and order, and in particular guarantee social welfare.
In the context of the complicated developments surrounding COVID-19, especially in the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia, PM Phuc said Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong has appealed to the Party, the armed forces, and the people to remain united in the fight against the virus.
Touching on social distancing measures contained in his Directive No.16, the PM said these are aimed at protecting public health and include members of the public consciously keeping a safe distance apart from each other.
Social distancing, he pointed out, does not mean introducing a lockdown or halting traffic. At the same time, the distribution of goods and production, especially of essential goods, medical equipment, and exports, must be maintained, along with normal export-import activities via sea and road as well as home routines.
The policy of 15-day social distancing is to prevent the transmission of the virus within the community, he explained, adding that each person, household, enterprise, residential area, ward, village, commune, district, and city or province must be its own “fortress” in fighting the pandemic. Each and every Vietnamese citizen is a soldier in the fight.
PM Phuc also lauded local medical staff for successfully treating infected patients. The Vietnam Fatherland Front has so far raised over VND 600 billion (US$26 million) to fund anti-epidemic efforts. The army and public security forces and all localities have strictly followed Party and State guidelines on epidemic prevention and control.
The PM asked Cabinet members to discuss and publicize support packages available for workers to ensure social welfare.
Vietnam has already announced financial and monetary packages to support production and daily life, he explained, which have been introduced by the banking, finance, industry, trade, and agriculture sectors.
Looking back the socio-economic situation in the first quarter, the PM said the country faced various difficulties including severe drought and saline intrusion in the south, the after-effects of the African swine fever on the livestock industry, and now the particularly serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the World Bank has remarked that Vietnam's economy has stayed resilient despite external shocks over the past few months, the disruption in supply and distribution chains and declining production have had a negative effect on growth, he said.
A report delivered at the meeting revealed that Vietnam’s GDP growth stood at 3.82% in the first quarter; the lowest since the first quarter of 2009.
Growth in industry, agriculture, and services was also low.
The only positive sign was seen in the trade sector, which posted an increase of 8.7% in export turnover.
Inflation is under control, with the consumer price index (CPI) in March down 0.72% month-on-month and up just 0.34% from December. The CPI in the first quarter rose 5.56% year-on-year.
Of particular note, exports rose 8.7% while imports fell 3.4%, resulting in a trade surplus of US$ 2.8 billion.
PM Phuc called for the re-organisation of domestic production and business, reform of working methods and the application of scientific and technological advances to cope with the problems to overcome the pandemic.