nCoV fight should not affect national development: PM

Drastic actions must be taken to fight the acute respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV), but they must not affect the country’s socio-economic development, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on February 5.

At the Government’s regular meeting for January in Hanoi, he repeated that some economic growth could be “sacrificed” to protect people’s health and lives.

Although Vietnam shares a long borderline and has a great trading volume with China, where the nCoV is raging, the country has so far kept the epidemic under control. The country has recorded 10 infected cases so far, with three of whom having fully recovered, and none of them are in life threatening condition, according to him.

In the spirit of fighting the disease like “fighting an enemy”, PM Phuc stressed the need for strong measures to concurrently ensure growth and combat the nCoV.

He noted the nCoV outbreak has strongly affected economic growth in Vietnam and other countries around the world, especially in the fields of aviation, agriculture, securities, tourism, and export. Besides, the Lunar New Year holiday in January was long. As a result, gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter could be influenced considerably, he said, estimating that the growth rate for Q1 could reduce by 1 percent.

Though difficulties appeared right from the onset of 2020, the Government leader emphasised that the revision of the growth target for this year hasn’t been put on the table.

As quick response teams have been set up to cope with the nCoV, similar teams in terms of economy, finance and production should also be established to respond to economic growth slowdown, he said, calling for strong efforts to overcome difficulties to drive the Vietnamese economy forward to meet the people’s aspirations.

The PM requested sectors and localities to keep working to ensure macro-stability and major economic balances and promote production and production activities.

During the one-day meeting, Government members will discuss ways to combat the nCoV and achieve socio-economic development targets at the same time.

They will listen to the Ministry of Health reporting on the nCoV prevention and control, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment reporting on growth scenario updates and proposing solutions to carry out development tasks amid the nCoV outbreak. They will also discuss some draft laws, resolutions and the law making programmes for 2020 and 2021.

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