Standing out as a shining example

15:00 | 14/04/2020

The story of how Vietnam is facing the pandemic that is ravaging most countries has been praised by global organisations, proving to the world how a nation with limited resources can cope with one of the most threatening outbreaks in the last hundred years.

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A medical worker sprays disinfectant in Ha Loi village, Me Linh district, Hanoi, after a resident tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo: VNA)

To date, Vietnam has recorded just over 250 infections, with about half of these people already recovered and no fatalities as yet. Meanwhile, healthcare systems in large and powerful economies suffer and are on the brink of being overloaded. Unlike other, wealthier Asian nations, Vietnam is not in the position to afford mass testing. For example, South Korea had tested 395,000 people by the end of March. In Vietnam, that number stood at just over 106,000 as of April 8. However, by focusing on preventive measures within the country’s control, Vietnam has so far managed to keep the amount of infections at a minimum.

Accordingly, Vietnam has carried out aggressive contact tracing combined with rigorous quarantine policies to make sure that the virus cannot spread throughout entire communities. The Vietnamese government also announced that all people must wear face masks in public places such as supermarkets, bus stations, airports, and on all means of public transport. In addition, all travellers on domestic and international flights must wear face masks during the flight and while at the airport.

These measures are being hailed by foreign news agencies and magazines such as German Deutsche Welle, which published an article claiming that Vietnam “is winning its war on coronavirus”.

Elsewhere, French magazine L’Obs posted an interview with a Frenchman who just returned home from Vietnam, declaring, “France is the developing country”, referring to the fact that he was highly impressed by what the Southeast Asian nation did so far.

While the number of new infections is almost stagnating in Vietnam, the country has started to support other nations with medical equipment and protective gear. As such, the United States last week received 450,000 DuPont hazmat suits made by Vietnam.

Furthermore, the country initiated donating more than half a million face masks to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The UK Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward tweeted that Vietnam’s gift is “a real sign of friendship”, thanking Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung and all Vietnamese healthcare workers.

The Germany embassy in Hanoi used the popular phrase “a friend in need is a friend indeed” to describe its appreciation for the donation by the “true friend” Vietnam.

In order to prevent any further spread of the disease in the country, Hanoi’s authorities stated they would intensify social distancing rules and issued fines for people who were out for non-essential reasons or fail to wear face masks. In addition, the ride-hailing motorbike services have also been temporarily suspended in Hanoi.

Etienne Mahler

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