|Health workers at the Hanoi-based National Hospital of Tropic Diseases (Photo: VNA)
In an article entitled “No deaths: the world can learn from Vietnam's coronavirus response”, the author noted that despite sharing a long border line with China, Vietnam has, with a combination of early decisive action, extensive testing, vigorous quarantining and social unity, so far avoided the devastation seen in many other places worldwide.
With the number of infections of over 200, Vietnam's response to the crisis has earned praise from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Official statistics show that as of April 13, there had been more than 75,000 people in quarantine. The country has so far conducted more than 121,000 tests.
As yet, there have been no virus-related deaths, and infection rates remain significantly lower than in many other countries and territories, wrote the article.
The DPA quoted WHO Representative to Vietnam Kidong Park as saying that Vietnam responded to this outbreak proactively and at an early date. Its first risk assessment exercise was conducted in early January – soon after cases in China started being reported.
The country quickly established a national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control under the auspices of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, which “immediately" implemented a national response plan, Park added.
Despite having a low number of confirmed cases, Vietnam started a nationwide social distancing policy on April 1, a far faster and more decisive response than that seen in where cases ran into the many thousands.
Vietnamese schools have been closed since January, and mass quarantining began on March 16. Since then, tens of thousands of people entering the country from badly hit nations have gone into mandatory quarantine. From March 25, international flights ceased altogether, while domestic transport has been reduced.
Vietnam was the first nation outside of China to confirm a case of SARS back in 2003, yet it was also the first country confirmed by the WHO to have contained the outbreak.
Although the country's strict measures have so far translated into a relatively successful outcome, it remains to be seen whether Vietnam or other nations with similar responses are able to contain the spread of the virus in the long run, the author noted.
"We cannot make predictions, but we can say that the course of the pandemic will be determined by the actions that countries, including Vietnam, are taking now," said Park.