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A mostly maskless crowd celebrates the new year countdown in the city of Hanoi, Vietnam.    © Getty Images
The Big Story

Asia's COVID recovery: Vietnam's breakout moment

A once-in-a-generation opportunity for the country that got it right

LIEN HOANG, Nikkei staff writer | Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY -- On a recent Friday in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, friends kissed hello as they entered the Racha Room, a tunnel-shaped bar lit by warm, ochre lamps. Inside, patrons shouted over booming classic rock and sipped from each other's Old-Fashioneds. 

It was a scene to strike a chill into the hearts of the COVID-conscious. A standing-room-only venue, windows clamped shut against the night air, and not a mask in sight. It might have been a glimpse into an eerie alternative reality -- a 2021 that could have existed had the coronavirus never broken out.

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