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What needs to be done now is to ensure the stable supply of foods even the government can encourage foreign sellers entering the market to bring the current price of basic supplies down.

Economist Suggests Ways for Vietnam to Deal with Economic Downturn because of Covid-19
On March 31, 2020, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued Directive No. 16/CT-TTg, which mandates strict social distancing throughout the country for 15 days, only factories, production facilities and  business related to essential goods and services are allowed to open.
First of all, it is necessary to reaffirm that public healthis at the forefront of at this time. Like many countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Iran, etc. social distancing even lockdown is essential and urgent to preserve human resources. 
However, how long mankind has to fight against Covid is not known yet, so social distancing needs to implemented at a certain time andin parallel with a series of economic appropriate policies so that the economy is not a trade-off for the health, and the nation always maintains essential economic resources to fight a pandemic.
So what government should do in long term? The right thing politicians should seriously consider is to maintainthe regular trade and free capital movement while grouping and quarantining a number of people at risks of Covid-19, which means that operating economy and health care system need to be done at the same time. Economic growth will be a buffer to facilitate good health care services, otherwise all national budget might be burned just for subsiding and paying long bills for ventilators. 
If we have to fight against Covid-19 longer, we seem to have no choice except for accepting the participation of all economic entities especially 5 million business household to join our battle, their shutdown will cost us a huge loss in long term. So, turning back to solutions for now, governments should take more actions rather than supporting cash of around 1 million VND to remain their survival. 
Referring to goods and services, despite ensuring food security in domestic markets, policy makers should encourage the export of agricultural and aquatic products which underwent an increase in output in the last three months such as vegetables, coffee, pepper, etc. especially whensome competitors from Brazil, China are having problems due to Covid-19 pandemic. 
This is a way to directly support farmers, the most vulnerable group during a pandemic, to manage their living costs. In the capital market, the current credit support packages are prudent, but most are directed towardsSMEs or larger scale business, the economy needs another credit package aiming at household businesses. 
Because letting business households borrow is a risky option, the credit should come with requirements on formalizing business activities. This is an opportunity to encourage 3.4 million unregistered business households to formalize their economic activities to be subsided through difficulties.
Controlling inflation is an ultimately important goal at this time
Similar to other countries, a series of support packages have been launched by the government, such as VND 250 trillion credit support package, VND 30 trillion fiscal package for businesses and more than VND 61.5 trillion for citizenin loss due to Covid-19 launched on 1st April. However, for stablelives in the pandemic and more effective support packages, the inflation need to be curbed at a low level for at least the next three months. Assuming that inflation increases, the nation's support packages immediately decrease in real value because people have to pay more to survive and businesses suffer from higher costs while the operation stops.
In Quarter 1/2020, the average CPI increased by 5.56% over the same period last year, of which some essential commodities sharply went up such as food increased by 13.21%, meat increased by 58.81%, vegetables increased by 4.14%, prices of medical drugs, electricity and water increased by 1.43%, 9.89% and 4.75% respectively. If the situation continues, all efforts to maintain the welfare of the people will be in vain.
Social distancing, although, is an obstacle for goods transport, the current situation is still favorable to curb inflation when world gasoline and oil prices are low, and the state holds thepower in electric prices.
What needs to be done now is to ensure the stable supply of foods even the government can encourage foreign sellers entering the market to bring the current price of basic supplies down, for example, in meat price. Secondly, the local authorities should be required to create favorable conditions for transporting goods and supporting the logistic industry to lower shipping fee.
Reaffirming that social distancing in pandemic is essential, but the government needs to carry it out in tandem with a number of appropriate policies to ensure the economy was traded off for health goals. Encouraging free trade and promoting the flow of goods that move inside and beyond borders are essential now to maintain the survival of the production chain and to help the economy from falling off. That is also what the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Vietnamalong with our partners always aim at, regardless of any circumstances.
Short bio
Ms. Ha Linh is currently Project Officer cum Economic Researcher in Friedrich Naumann Foundation. After graduating Master of Science in Development Economics at the University of Manchester with distinction, she used to be researcher in Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research  and takes part in independent research projects. 
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is a Germany's liberal NGO, working in Vietnam from 2012 with the mission of promoting the market economy in Vietnam through cooperation projects, exchanges and training programs.

HA LINH