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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.

Economist Urges Vietnam Not to Let Economic Stability be a Pay Off in Social Distancing
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. That will be the key points in our discussion today. 
Signs of recession are warning us about not-so-bright future 
Currently, some signs of recession have appeared in the world. According to Standard & Poor's forecast, global growth will drop to only 0.4% this year, the lowest level ever in nearly four decades. The US economy is absolutely on the verge of recession: unemployment reached 3.2 million people which is five times higher than the record number in October 1982, economic growth is forecasted to decrease by 2% (according to Moody) and 3.8% (according to Goldman Sachs).
The European economy, in general, will also witness a downward acceleration; Germany,in particular, reckoned to decline to 7.2 – 11.2% or even more according to the German Think Tank named CESifo.
In Vietnam, although growth in the first quarter of 2020 was at the brightest level in the region at 3.82%, some signs of instability appeared. In particular, export and import growth dropped sharply compared to the same period in 2019; the trade surplus from the both FDI and domestic sectors was the lowest in the past 2 years;and the stock market fluctuated unexpectedly, foreign net sell consecutively.
Social distancing is necessary but the optimal duration of the Directive should be considered
Social distancing in the major cities of an economy such as New York, Berlin or Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City is sanding the economic wheel and probably to freeze a number of commercial and production activities. Human interaction is the driving force to push flows of goods, services and capital. Although digital platforms haveplayeda significant role on encouragingthe free movement of goods, humanis still the main and irreplaceable entityin service sector. 
It has been almost a week since Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City officially shut down part of businesses, and it will be another 15 days until the request for social distancing ends. For an economy containing up to 5 million business households (according to the General Statistics Office) which accountfor roughly 30% of GDP, the shutdown in at least three weeks leaves a severe effect on each individual. 
This is because no opening means no profits, no buying intermediate products and no supporting items as well. Most production chains are at the edge of broken. The limited national supports by cash or interest-free loans only ensure that households can survive at the most basic level in few months, not strengthen then to fight instability in Covid-19 or at least getting small savings for worse scenarios. So handing cash free while requiring shutdown as the way US did is just a temporary solution at this time to ease the severe shocks of Covid-19 but should not a wise choice for long term. 
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