Vietnam Country Report
The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV)'s leadership was last renewed in January 2016. Since then, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has consolidated his power and is unlikely to face any serious challenge for the remainder of his term. Successive governments have maintained policy aimed at increasing foreign investment and boosting Vietnam's competitiveness regionally. The economy is growing at 6–7%. Industrial unrest in the light manufacturing sector has become increasingly common but remains generally peaceful and localised. Vietnam has competing territorial claims with China in the South China Sea, but such disputes are unlikely to escalate into armed conflict.
Stringent legal restrictions on officially sanctioned work stoppages have spurred an increasing number of wildcat strikes at domestic and foreign companies in the southern industrial zones. Industrial action is generally peaceful and mainly affects the low-end manufacturing sector, such as textiles, garments, and footwear. Corruption is a major risk, especially in government procurement, with officials being likely to demand a percentage of the bidding amount for contracts. The current high-profile corruption crackdown will probably reduce petty bureaucratic corruption temporarily, but foreign investment projects also face elevated risks of disruptions if their local partners become embroiled in corruption scandals.
Terrorist incidents are extremely rare. Any possible incidents are most probably linked to overseas anti-communist opposition groups such as the California-based Vietnam Reform Party or the operationally dormant Government of Free Vietnam. In December 2017, a Vietnamese court sentenced 15 people to prison terms totalling over 100 years for an alleged plot to detonate two improvised explosive devices at Ho Chi Minh City's International Airport, supposedly at the instigation of an overseas opposition group. However, IHS Markit believes this to be an isolated incident, and none of the overseas Vietnamese opposition groups to pose any credible terrorist threat.
Relations with China can become strained over the countries' disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea and have triggered large and violent protests in Vietnam. Nevertheless, a full-scale conflict between China and Vietnam is unlikely. Although Vietnam is militarily weaker than China, China desires to avoid the negative geopolitical and economic consequences that a conflict would bring.
Environmental protests are increasingly frequent, spurred by organisation over social media and are occasionally attended by thousands. Such protests can lead to minor property damage at the factories concerned. Protests over inadequately compensated land acquisition normally occur at local government offices and can lead to fighting between protesters and the police. However, large-scale violent protests are rare; a notable exception was the attack against Chinese-owned and China-associated factories in May 2014 following an escalation in the South China Sea territorial dispute between China and Vietnam.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication for travel to the south of the country (provinces of Dac Lac, Gia Lai, Khanh Hoa, Kon Tum, Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan, Song Be, and Tay Ninh) - proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin); for all other areas except for the Mekong Delta - proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron), doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin), or mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam); in Mekong Delta - Mosquito avoidance only.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Travelers to Vietnam should note a few other risks as well. First, typhoon season lasts from June to December. The country sees an average of ten storms per year, particularly the northern and central regions.
In November 2009, Typhoon Mirinae, after battering the Philippines, left 50 dead in Vietnam; the majority of the deaths were due to the severe flooding that struck the provinces of Phu Yen, Binh Dinh, and Gia Lai (center). Typhoon Sarika hit in mid-October 2016, leading to 30 missing people and flooding in over 120,000 homes in Quang Binh province.
The summer monsoon season regularly results in significant flooding (Red River basin in the north and the Mekong delta in the south).
Drought, heatwaves, and floods are also natural risks in Vietnam, which counts among the five countries most affected by the climate imbalance.
Vietnam has a tropical, hot, and humid climate. There is a significant difference between climatic conditions in the south (very hot in March and April: 35°C) and the north (cooler). The country's central regions receive high levels of rainfall between July and January as do the southern regions between July and November. The rainy season lasts from May until October in the north and during this period temperatures are high (30°C to 40°C). Torrential rains are common in July and August and the country is often hit with typhoons between September and November. The dry season (December to April) is pleasant with mild temperatures.
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