Vietnam has recorded slightly more than 360 Covid-19 cases and 0 death until July 2020. Despite a long border with China which is the source of the virus and a population of 97 million, ranking 15th in the world.
Unlike many countries now experiencing large-scale outbreaks and fatalities, Vietnam acts early and unified to fight the epidemic. That’s the proof why we have passed in two months after the last transmission to the Vietnamese population, Vietnam has reopened locally. Vietnamese people sometimes forgot that there is Corona Virus out there.
Experts say that it may be too late for most other countries to learn from Vietnam’s success but still a lesson worthwhile to learn. The slogan “Vietnam is determined to win the pandemic” is placed in front of a trade center in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: HOANG GIANG
Vietnam acted early and on a massive scale
Dr. Todd Pollack of Harvard’s Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam in Hanoi said: “When you’re dealing with these kinds of unknown novel potentially dangerous pathogens, it’s better to overreact,”
A cluster of cases of viral pneumonia of unknown causes in Wuhan, was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by health authorities in China on 31 December 2019 and an investigation was launched early in January 2020.
The first death from the virus occurred in Wuhan on January 9. The second person, a 69-year-old man, died on Wednesday (January 16) in Wuhan. Two other cases have been detected – in Thailand and Japan – with health authorities in both countries saying the patients had visited Wuhan before their hospitalizations.
The epidemic was proclaimed a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the WHO on January 30th—7,818 cases reported worldwide, impacting 19 countries in five WHO areas.
On 17th January 2020, in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam ordered ministries and relevant agencies to take drastic measures to prevent acute pneumonia, caused by nCoV in China, from spreading into Vietnam.
He instructed agencies to closely track disease development in China, and enforce medical quarantine at border checkpoints, airports, and seaports. Following current regulations and recommendations of the World Health Organization, Vu Duc Dam added that the ministry needed to maintain sufficient equipment and medical supplies as well as ensure that people are well educated about the Coronavirus. The Ministry of Information and Communication was expected to work with the Ministry of Health to provide timely and reliable knowledge to people.
The Vietnamese government recognized that its medical system would soon be overwhelmed by even a mild spread of the virus, and therefore acted early and on a massive scale for prevention.
On January 23rd, when the first case of the virus was confirmed – a man who had traveled from Wuhan to visit his son in Ho Chi Minh City – the emergency plan for Vietnam was in action.
It reacted rather aggressively in ways that at the moment appeared rather excessive but were later seen to be quite reasonable.
Vietnam’s enforced policies such as imposing travel bans, track closely and finally close the frontier with China, raise frontier and other sensitive areas safety inspections.
A massive and complex touch tracking activity has been initiated. Schools were closed at the end of January for the Lunar New Year break, then remained closed until mid-May.
The government and community are used to dealing with infectious diseases and are mindful of them, probably far more so than wealthier countries. Vietnam is a country that has dealt with a lot of outbreaks in the past, from SARS in 2003 to avian influenza in 2010 and large outbreaks of measles and dengue. Therefore, Vietnam knows how to respond to such a pandemic.
Since early March 2020, Vietnam has provided fourteen-day quarantine centers to those who entered the country — including those outside the country who had a confirmed case with them. Costs were covered mostly by the government, although the accommodation was not necessarily luxurious.
Image copyright LAN ANH Image caption “Facilities were not always luxurious but kept potentially infected people away from the general public”
Asymptomatic protection strategy of Vietnam
In such a large scale, isolation is crucial because data grow that as much as half of all those affected are asymptomatic.
Everybody was tested under isolation, infected or not, 40 percent of suspected patients under Vietnam would have had no indication they had the virus if they have not been tested.
Because most of the Vietnamese who returned were teachers, visitors, or business travelers, they appeared to be younger and healthier. They had a greater chance of battling the infection themselves and should rarely threaten, for example, vulnerable families as they were in quarantine camp for 14 days which ensured that the hospital community should focus its attention on the very crucial cases.
In February after a handful of cases in Sonloi, north of Hanoi, more than 10,000 people living in the surrounding area were sealed off. The same would happen to 11,000 people in the Haloi commune near the capital, and the staff and patients of a hospital.
No-one would be allowed in or out until two weeks had passed with no confirmed cases.
Vietnam had a total national lockdown, 100% social quarantine from mid-March until mid-May 2020. The government also has an official website for all Vietnamese people to follow all the newest updates: https://moh.gov.vn/. All the information channel was used by the government, banners, TV, Website, Fan page… to help the people all agree and follow the instruction with trust and support.
From the mid of May 2020 until now, Vietnamese people trust and follow the government guidelines. Seeing the optimistic statistic, they have a safe and normal life with strong protection and social awareness.
Speaking to the National Assembly on June 13, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that the Vietnamese population was large, but the country recorded 333 cases, there were no deaths, only 10 people are being treated. For the last 58 days, Vietnam has no known case of COVID-19 in the community.
During the 58-day period, the number of COVID-19 infections in the world increased from about 2 million to 7.7 million; the number of deaths from 135,000 to 428,000. This means that in 58 days Vietnam had no cases in the community, the world added 5.6 million cases and nearly 300,000 deaths.
“All life of Vietnamese people today is the dream of many countries around the world. We have this success thanks to the leadership, the participation of the entire political system. We have a team of physicians, the people’s army, the people’s police and many other functional forces, but especially the Vietnamese people are amazing! ” – Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam emphasized.
Source: Getty Images
The Vietnamese government also have beautiful act on the pandemic
“Vietnam condemned the discrimination act and directed the Ministry of Public Security to strictly punish, including criminally handling, people who spread rumors on social media about the COVID-19 epidemic.“ Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized this during the meeting with the Chief Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Vietnam, Ph.D. Kidong Park on the morning of March 14, 2020.
In the March 16th 2020 meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also stressed against discrimination against people infected with COVID-19; condemn and strictly handle those who provide untruthful and dishonest information in the declaration.
March 18th 2020, Vu Duc Dam said: “If Vietnamese in overseas need to go back to their home country, although there are many difficulties, the Party, State and people in the country always make every effort to take necessary measures to take care of them in the best way possible. That is the meaning of the people”.
To promptly rectifying and preserving the image of the country, people and tourism destinations in Vietnam in a safe, friendly and hospitable manner, the Prime Minister requests People’s Committees of provinces and cities to urgently supervising the situation of foreign tourists in the area. Direct organizations and individuals providing tourism services and accommodation establishments, especially in tourist resorts and areas to strictly implement the provisions of the Tourism Law on non-discrimination and treatment against tourists; rectify and strictly handle all acts of discrimination and refusal to serve foreign tourists.
Vietnam is also the first country in the world to apply mandatory medical declarations to all people who enter the region. International organizations and friends later assessed that Vietnam’s measures are very true, very early, very resolute and one of the highest economic efficiency because the total cost for fighting the epidemic we have until today is very lower than many countries in the world.
The Deputy Prime Minister emphasized that over the past time, we have made it clear that every time the country faces great challenges, patriotism, national pride and the best values of thousands of years civilization is on the rise again and helped Vietnam win many wars and now is the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
Jones, A. (2020, May 15). Coronavirus: How ‘overreaction’ made Vietnam a virus success. BBC News.
Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-52628283
Hai, D., & Linh, D. (n.d.). Tại sao Việt Nam chiến thắng dịch COVID-19? [Why Vietnam
successfully fight against Coronavirus pandemic?]. https://ncov.moh.gov.vn/