|Takeshi Kasai warns Vietnam should be cautious about relaxing social distancing (Photo: WHO)
Vietnam has shown strong government leadership in implementing containment measures, said Takeshi Kasai, director of the WHO Western Pacific, at a regular press briefing in the Philippines on April 21.
He appreciated the Vietnamese people’s active participation in the battle, saying public discipline in following social rules to reduce infection has also made a contribution to the success.
According to the official, social distancing measures have proved effective, keeping its infection rate very low. However, he warned Vietnam should be cautious about relaxing restrictions, taking into account factors such as actual data on the COVID-19 epidemic, residents’ knowledge and the healthcare system’s responding capacity, as well as people's access to healthcare services.
Vietnam announced in its April 21morning update that no new cases had been reported in the country during the past five days, keeping its cumulative tally at 268 cases, with no deaths. As many as 216 patients had recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Elsewhere, Singapore has emerged as the biggest hotspot in Southeast Asia, with more than 9,000 cases confirmed. However, Takeshi Kasai hoped the state would contain the epidemic thanks to its well-organised healthcare system, high risk management capability and past experience in eradicating outbreaks.
COVID-19 has attacked 210 countries and territories worldwide, with nearly 2.5 million infections and more than 170,000 deaths. Europe and the US are the hardest hit.