Associate Professor, MD. PhD. Nguyen Viet Nhung, Director of Hanoi-based National Lung Hospital made an exclusive interview with VOV, giving an in-depth analysis of the fight against the COVID-19 in Vietnam.
VOV: What do you think when Vietnam reported no new cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the morning of April 5?
Dr Nhung: Well, I think this is a clear, positive signal that all the combined prevention measures, including social distancing and contact restrictions, have first proved effective.
We have done a good job when controlling the total tally at 240 without no new infections for more than 10 hours.
VOV: While the number of infections and fatalities are increasing on a daily basis in many countries in the world, this does not happen in Vietnam, why so?
|MD. PhD. Nguyen Viet Nhung, Director of Hanoi-based National Lung Hospital
Dr Nhung: This is a combination of all measures adopted, as I mentioned above. It is safe to say that Vietnam took strong, swift actions to deal with the disease at the beginning.
I still remember Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc showed his strong determination to combat the epidemic when he said “Vietnam is ready to sacrifice its economic interests to protect people’s health.”
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam also said, “We have to anticipate bad scenarios to come up with appropriate solutions, and we have to be well prepared for the worst-case scenarios.”
This motto for action has been fully observed since the fight against the epidemic began, and what we have done so far proved its effectiveness.
Given the complex developments of the epidemic, I can say Vietnam has still kept the coronavirus in check. Many people are still worried about the possibility of a high infection risk in Hanoi. But until now intervention efforts the city has made have paid off.
To make the fight against the epidemic a success, I think it is a must for Vietnam to both locate and stop outside and inside sources of infection.
It seems as if we have lost track of virus transmission in the community following the recent discovery of the Swedish infection case in Hanoi for instance. We do not know how he had contracted the virus. Without locating the source, it is hard.
VOV: How do you predict the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam? What are the effective solutions you think to control sources of infection in the country?
Dr Nhung: I think the COVID-19 fight is feasible in Vietnam. Hopefully, we will control the epidemic in mid-May, so will the world.
The search for pathogens in the community relies greatly on epidemiological interventions, and quick testing is an option. Hanoi has set up a number of quick COVID-19 testing stations, but several test results proved incorrect due to antigens.
As far as I know Vietnam is one of the countries that can purchase Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 from US company Cepheid that develops an automated molecular test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2. The machines have been used for an anti-tuberculosis program in Vietnam since 2012.
Vietnam currently has 175 such machines and will receive a further 30. The machines produce results almost equivalent to those of real-time RT-PCR tests which are officially used to confirm the infection.
If we invest in purchasing these machines, it will be a viable option. We are lobbying for support from overseas in this endeavor.
VOV: Thank you very much.