Vietnam successfully controls the Covid-19 pandemic, and starts to lift the restrictions on social activities

Since the sudden outbreak in Wuhan, China back in December 2019, the coronavirus epidemic has shaken up the whole world with its unprecedentedly fast spread. As of May 7, 3,822,989 people have been confirmed infected with the novel virus and 265,084 of them have died. When many governments around the world are struggling to handle the crisis caused by Covid-19, Vietnam has emerged as one of the most successful countries in containing the spread and is aiming to resume all socio-economic activities from this week on.

232 out of 271 Covid-19 patients have been released from hospitals in Vietnam (Source: baoquocte)

Vietnam quickly responded from the very early stage of the Covid-19 pandemic

Upon the news of the first cases of a strange virus in Wuhan, the Government of Vietnam immediately activated the national preventive system against infective diseases, actively collecting information about the virus while closely monitoring its spread. Since the first infected cases of coronavirus were found in Vietnam in January 2020, people have been constantly updated with necessary information and provided detailed instructions on the preventive measures.

A billboard illustrating preventive measures against Covid-19 in Hanoi (Source: Vnexpress)

Sharing a 1,400km border with China, right after the discovery of the first cases in Wuhan, Vietnam quickly responded by limiting the movement of people coming from the neighboring country. Many localities stopped welcoming Chinese tourists as early as February 1. On February 3, all schools and universities have been ordered to temporarily closed. Since March 18, the country has stopped issuing visas for foreigners and shortly after banned all incoming international flights.

During the peak of the epidemic in Vietnam, the Prime Minister issued an order to practice social distancing in the whole country over a two-week period from April 1-15. People were asked not to leave their homes except in an emergency or for foods or essential services. Public transportation, shops, store departments, companies and other non-essential industries and service suppliers were closed, leaving only supermarkets, banks, drugstores, and essential-industry factories remain open.

A deserted street in Ho Chi Minh City during social distancing period (Source: Vnexpress)

After April 15, only Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and 10 other localities where it was more likely for the coronavirus to spread in the communities continue to practice social distancing for one more week before the bans have been gradually lifted all over the country. Vietnam was the first country in Southeast Asia to lift the control measures in prevention of Covid-19 spread.

A local market during social distancing period in Hanoi (Source: NTD Vietnam)

Vietnam effectively implements mass testing and quarantine measures

Right from the start, Vietnam consistently and thoroughly applies the principle of epidemic prevention: identifying infected people, isolating them, and quarantining every single person likely exposed to the infected during the previous 14 days. In many cases, a whole block or building was quarantined as a result of a positive case. Strict quarantine measures are also implemented with all Vietnamese and international immigrants. Meanwhile, the testing of the virus is also an essential activity implemented widely with hundreds of quick-testing stations set up all over the country. As of May 3, more than 186,000 people have been quarantined, and 261,004 tested for Covid-19.

A quick-testing station in Hanoi (Source: Vnexpress)

So far, the strict measures applied in Vietnam have been proved to be effective. As of May 7, only 271 coronavirus-positive cases have been found, of whom 232 have been recovered and none died. The country has recorded no new cases of domestic transmission of coronavirus in the past 21 days. These impressive achievements allow the social distancing to be loosen only after two-three weeks, which is considered a good result of Vietnam's radical epidemic prevention methods.

Truc Bach street in Hanoi was blocked and disinfected after a positive case identified here (Source: VOV)

International media impressed with the current results against Covid-19 in Vietnam

On April 30, 2020, when Vietnam was celebrating the 45th anniversary of the country’s unification, Adam Taylor emphasized on the success of Vietnam against the novel coronavirus outbreak on Washington Post. He writes “despite its border with China, relatively low income, and population of 95 million, Vietnam is an outlier success story in the pandemic.” He mentions the three key reasons for the success including the government’s policies for “temperature screening and testing, targeted lockdowns and constant communication.”

On the same day, Reuters published an article focusing on the situation of Covid-19 in Vietnam. It presents impressive data on Vietnam's testing and quarantine programme and cites many interviews with Vietnam-based international public health experts to explain the country’s success in containing the outbreak. The interviewed experts who come from World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other prestigious heath agencies all confirm their “great confidence” in the Vietnamese government’s response to the crisis and the accuracy of the data the government provides.

Vietnam has performed more Covid-19 tests per confirmed cases than any other countries in the world (Source: Reuters)

The Financial Times praises Vietnam’s model in containing the disease with “limited resources but determined leadership”. It observes that “Vietnam’s success in containing Covid-19 depends in part on the mobilisation of medical and military personnel, surveillance and intrusion, and on the state’s network of informants” and also highlights the high rate of Vietnamese people who are aware of the disease sympstoms, according to a Nielson Vietnam’s survey, thanks to the instructive massages constantly sent out by Ministry of Health over the past few months.

JoongAng Daily, one of the prestigious Korean newspapers, refers to Vietnam as a role model in the fight against Covid-19, saying Vietnam is the first Southeast Asian country to loosen restrictive orders - a clear achievement thanks to the strict anti-epidemic measures.

Hundreds of millions of students have been back to school all over the country (Source: baophapluat)

On May 6, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced that Vietnam has basically contained the Covid-19 outbreak and is ready to resume all socio-economic activities all over the country. Accordingly, all schools and universities are allowed to welcome their students back after an over three-month shutdown from the national Tet holiday in late January.

Bich Ha