By Khanh Vu
HANOI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Vietnam's economic growth is expected to slow to 2%-3% this year afterexpanding 7.02% in 2019 due to the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Tuesday.
"The coronavirus pandemic has left a huge impact on socio-economic conditions, reducing people's income," Phuc told a meeting of the National Assembly, the country's lawmaking body.
The Southeast Asian country has performed better than many other countries combatting the coronavirus, recording only 1,140 infections, with 35 deaths. It has not reported any locally transmitted cases for 47 days.
Phuc said Vietnam's first priority was to continue containing COVID-19.
"We have done a good job in containing the virus, paving the way for reviving economic activities," Phuc said.
The Southeast Asian country has, however, faced a series of recent natural disasters. Floods and mudslides in October have killed 105 people and left 27 others missing in the country’s central provinces, with more heavy rain due in coming days.
Vietnam is targetting economic growth of 6% next year, and an average annual growth of 6.5%-7.0% for the next five years, he said.
"The impact of the pandemic may last for a longer time, and therefore the targets are difficult," Phuc said, referring to growth during the 2021-2025 period.
(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Ed Davies)
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