Vietnam’s Success Story of COVID-19 « Khabarhub
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Vietnam’s Success Story of COVID-19


23 June 2020  

Time taken to read : 7 Minute


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As the COVID-19 cases surge across the world, many models have emerged to contain the virus successfully. Vietnam’s success story is one among those that earned praise across the world.

As of now, Vietnam has reported only 349 cases and not a single death, despite sharing 1,400 km long border with China, where the first COVID-19 case originated.

How a country with extremely dense population and weak health system has managed to contain COVID-19 successfully while countries like Italy, Germany and the UK with far better health infrastructure failed to contain the spread of coronavirus has been sketched forward in the article.

Early Preparedness and Smart Action Plan

Vietnam model is a successful low-cost model. Countries like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea can afford mass testing, while, Vietnam with its limited resources was not able to afford it and therefore, the nation instead opted for proactive measures.

When Vietnam recorded its first COVID-19 case, the schools were declared closed till 1 February 2020, because of the Lunar New Year holidays.

On 23 January 2020, Vietnam recorded its first COVID-19 case in Ho Chi Minh City, two days before the Lunar New Year but Vietnam was already prepared for the outbreak.

Taking proactive measures, the Health Ministry of Vietnam issued quick guidelines on outbreak prevention to concerned government agencies on 16 January 2020 and to all hospitals and clinics by 21 January.

The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc declared a national epidemic on 1 February 2020, when Vietnam registered only six confirmed cases.

During a meeting of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, Vietnamese Prime Minister said “Fighting this epidemic, means fighting the enemy”.

As most of the cases were coming from Northern Province Vinh Phuc of Vietnam, the govt had decided to identify the hotspot and isolate the region in an early stage. That strategy helped Vietnam to stop the spread of COVID-19 in other parts of the country.

Another example of government proactive measure was the closing of schools. When Vietnam recorded its first COVID-19 case, the schools were declared closed till 1 February 2020, because of the Lunar New Year holidays.

The social unity of Vietnam can also be described as a success story as Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc described Vietnam’s commitment to contain the virus as the ‘Spring General Offensive of 2020’, a deliberate reference to the 1968 Tet Offensive by ‘Viet Cong’ guerrillas during the Vietnam war.

Nevertheless, the government had decided to extend the holiday season on a case by case and region basis. On 14 February of the same year, the Ministry of Health proposed nationwide closure of schools until the end of February.

Historical Experience and People’s Cooperation

Past experience with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which hit South East Asia, Hong Kong and China in 2003, made Vietnam learn that it has to take proactive measures and it is not possible without people’s participation.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Xuan asked people to consider the virus as an enemy and talked about the importance of uniting to fight the COVID-19 battle.

The population which has witnessed the SARS 2003 horror was well aware of the danger of the virus and this was one among the key reasons that helped the government to convey their message to masses easily.

Soon, the citizens of Vietnam understood that the virus is really dangerous and it can spread and infect rapidly. Many experts believe that the combination of authoritarian leadership and open market economy also helped people to cooperate with the government.

The social unity of Vietnam can also be described as a success story as Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc described Vietnam’s commitment to contain the virus as the ‘Spring General Offensive of 2020’, a deliberate reference to the 1968 Tet Offensive by ‘Viet Cong’ guerrillas during the Vietnam war.

Transparency and Smart Testing

By providing information with transparency, the government has positioned itself as an effective source of leadership during the epidemic.

The government not only launched a website and a mobile application that helped in easing the medical process but provided accurate information instantly.

With transparency and effective communication with the public, the government was able to boost public confidence and gained trust among its citizens.

A survey conducted by Dalia Research stated that out of 45 countries asking the public for a government response to the COVID-19, about 62 percent of Vietnamese participants think the government can handle the crisis effectively and doing ‘right’, compared to a global average of approximately 40 percent.

An early action plan, transparency, effective use of technology, and cooperation between government and citizens are the core reasons behind Vietnam’s success story to contain COVID-19 effectively.

Within a month, Vietnam developed an affordable, fast and effective test kit. Adding to it, the country focused on isolating the infected patients and tracking down their primary and secondary contacts in order to trace and test those more likely to be infected rather than mass testing that other wealthier countries like South Korea and Singapore’s response were.

Till now, Vietnam has nearly tested 300,000 people. The number looks small compared to the millions tested in the European countries, but it’s a major number looking at how many people were tested per confirmed cases.

Lessons Learnt

The First World countries like the USA, Italy, the UK, having a giant health infrastructure failed to contain COVID-19 so far.

However, Vietnam’s success model shows the world that a small nation among the third world country with a dense population and less equipped health infrastructure can also successfully win over a pandemic through their strong desire and determination.

An early action plan, transparency, effective use of technology, and cooperation between government and citizens are the core reasons behind Vietnam’s success story to contain COVID-19 effectively.

The Vietnamese success model is not only helping the world to fight this current pandemic but it will be helpful in the future as well.

(The writer is a Research Fellow in Russian and Central Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

(Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE), Nepal’s independent think tank, and Khabarhub — Nepal’s popular news portal — have joined hands to disseminate NIICE research articles from Nepal)

Publish Date : 23 June 2020 08:43 AM

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