Written by Chris Humphrey and Bac Pham of the Australian Associated Press, the article states that with only a few hundred cases of infection confirmed, the country’s response to the pandemic has been widely praised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The pair cite the nation’s official statistics which indicate that there are currently more than 75,000 people in isolation, with over 121,000 tests already being conducted, from which over 260 positive cases of the virus have been confirmed.
So far there have been no virus-related deaths, whilst infection rates remain significantly lower than in other Asian countries such as the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and even Taiwan, all of which have gone on to earn global plaudits for their effective responses to the pandemic.
The article also quotes Kidong Park, the WHO’s representative to Vietnam, who states that the nation’s early response to the crisis was crucial in achieving strong results. Its first risk assessment exercise was conducted in early January, almost immediately after cases in China started to be reported.
Following this, the country rapidly set up a National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control under the guidance of the Deputy Prime Minister which immediately created and implemented a national response plan.
Despite recording a low number of cases, the nation still went ahead and applied national social distancing starting from April 1, a far faster and more decisive response than seen in European nations such as Britain and Italy where cases were into the thousands before public life was affected by a lockdown.
The article puts forward the notion that much of the country’s success can be put down to a strong sense of social unity. This has even led to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to describe Vietnamese efforts to contain the virus as the “spring general offensive of 2020”.
Some of the efforts initiated by the country have seen local schools closed since January and mass quarantining beginning from March 16, with tens of thousands of people entering the country from nations affected by the COVID-19 being put into compulsory quarantine in vast military-style camps. Following this international flights were halted altogether from March 25.
With there currently being no easing of restrictions in sight, the vast majority of domestic flights, trains, and buses have been halted. Moreover, anyone trying to leave Hanoi, which has the largest number of infection cases nationwide, will be quarantined upon arrival when visiting other provinces.
At times the Vietnamese response to the crisis has been severe, the article adds, stating that official signs placed around Ho Chi Minh City warn that those who fail to wear a face mask and are found to have infected other people with the dangerous disease could face up to 12 years in prison.
Despite this, these strict measures have so far translated into a delivering a successful outcome for the nation, although it remains to be seen whether or not Vietnam and other nations with similar responses will be able to contain the spread of the virus in the long run.