Vietnam reported its first known case of COVID-19 on 23 January 2020. As of 19 May, the country had 324 confirmed cases, with 263 recoveries and no deaths.
In Vietnam, COVID-19 presents a range of contextual challenges including high numbers of migrant workers, high numbers of employees in the garment industry, many people working in the informal sector, and linguistically and culturally diverse ethnic minorities. The impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups, such as migrant workers, informal workers, garment factory workers, and ethnic minorities are further marginalising these groups, exacerbating poverty and inequality and increasing their exposure to other social, economic and protection risks.
Women in Vietnam have historically been underrepresented in public decision-making processes, a trend that is reflected in high-level decision-making structures on COVID-19. This means that even as women are disproportionately affected by the crisis, they have less say in how their country should respond to it.
Recommendation 1: Ensure availability of sex and age disaggregated data, including on differing rates of infection, differential economic impacts, differential care burden, and incidence of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Recommendation 2: Ensure targeting of humanitarian support based on clear and relevant vulnerability criteria.
Recommendation 3: Ensure COVID-19 public information campaigns are inclusive and accessible, and do not reinforce harmful gender stereotypes.
Recommendation 4: Explore new opportunities and creative ways to ensure crisis-affected communities remain at the centre of response activities. This is especially important in situations where social distancing measures make the existing approaches to participation, accountability, and communicating with affected communities unfeasible or ineffective.
Recommendation 5: Prioritise cash assistance over in-kind support for both rural and urban families, as long as it is safe and effective to do so.
Recommendation 6: Regularly update GBV response service mapping and referral pathways, to strengthen local survivor-centred referral systems and services.
Recommendation 7: Ensure livelihoods support for vulnerable households is a key focus of the emergency response to COVID-19. This could include introducing alternative income generation activities, and supporting and expanding VSLAs.
Recommendation 8: COVID-19 response programming should be designed, funded and implemented in ways that maximise flexibility, to allow programming to adapt quickly to new circumstances, (including new outbreaks and additional rounds of movement restrictions), and the changing needs and priorities of affected communities.
School closures have increased the care burden on women, who take on the majority of the additional childcare work.
The garment and textile sector (whose workforce is more than 80% female) is one of the hardest hit sectors.
In the informal sector, almost 13 million workers are facing the largest economic shock, especially individuals near the poverty line, such as waste recyclers, street vendors and domestic workers (of whom nearly 95% are women and migrants).
In ethnic minority areas, movement restrictions meant farmers were not able to sell agricultural products, or work as daily hired labour. This significantly reduced incomes, at a time when some rural communities were still recovering from the impact of a natural disaster and a livestock disease epidemic.
With consumers moving away from shopping in the streets and towards online shopping, some street vendors have started to use Facebook and Zalo to sell their products, including agricultural products. This changing context means that people who are not comfortable with online marketplaces and/or smart phones are being left behind.