Reopening Vietnam: How the country’s improving governance helped it weather the COVID-19 pandemic

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By Trang (Mae) Nguyen, Edmund Malesky

Vietnam discovered its first COVID-19 infection in early May. Now, this country of 96 million people has reported a mere 324 confirmed total cases and zero deaths. Having earned high praise for its effectiveness in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam is now one of the first countries to ease social distancing measures and reopen its society.

Vietnam’s effective response is enabled by the country’s ongoing efforts to improve governance and central-local government policy coordination. Vietnam’s state capacity was not born overnight but resulted from decades-long efforts to improve governance and responsiveness at local levels.

The

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