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18/05/2020 - 17:13

Vietnam praised for swift response and successes in COVID-19 combat

Vietnam has continued winning plaudits from the international community for its response to and results in containing COVID-19 being less wealthy than other nations and territories were seen as relatively successful in the fight against the pandemic.

Motorbikes drive past a billboard warning against the coronavirus disease after the government eased nationwide lockdown during the outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Photo: Reuters)

Motorbikes drive past a billboard warning against the coronavirus disease after the government eased nationwide lockdown during the outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Photo: Reuters) 

“Like its Asian allies, Vietnam’s swift response was based on a robust pandemic response plan that was forged after recent deadly brushes with other high-risk infectious diseases, including SARS and H5N1,” wrote Nicola Smith, Asia correspondent of The Telegraph.

Last week, Dr. John MacArthur, Thailand Country Director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), praised Vietnam’s response and attributed it to “strong public health systems, the whole-of-government approach” and a huge team of “disease detectives” to carry out contact tracing, she wrote.

Shashank Bengali, a staff writer of the Los Angeles Times quoted Huong Le Thu, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as saying: “It’s pretty amazing. I’m cautious about calling Vietnam a success story. It’s too early to be out of the woods. But the measures have been quite effective so far.”

In the article entitled “Vietnam may have the most effective response to COVID-19” posted on The Nations, George Black wrote: “Yet its handling of the pandemic has been strikingly transparent. It also has an enormous capacity for mass mobilization (not to mention a long history of it). It’s no coincidence that the government calls its campaign against Covid-19 the Spring General Offensive of 2020 - an obvious echo of the General Offensive, General Uprising of 1968 - the Tet Offensive.”

He also cited Todd Pollack, a professor at Harvard Medical School who directs the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam in Hanoi as saying that: “I see no reason to mistrust the information coming out of the government at this time. Vietnam’s response was swift and decisive. If the epidemic were much larger than is being officially reported, we would see the evidence in increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions - and we’re not seeing it.”

“Nonetheless, what Vietnam has accomplished in these first three months is to buy precious time, and it has used it well,” Black wrote. “So when the second wave comes, as it surely will, Vietnam has a fighting chance of controlling it as well as it controlled the first. There are many lessons to be learned from its extraordinary success, although sadly it is much too late now for the United States to learn them.”

A farmer rides a bicycle past a poster warning about the coronavirus disease outbreak in Hanoi on April 22 (Photo: Reuters)
A farmer rides a bicycle past a poster warning about the coronavirus disease outbreak in Hanoi on April 22 (Photo: Reuters)

Reuters also run an article commending Vietnam’s successes in the fight against the pandemic. “The steps are easy to describe but difficult to implement, yet they’ve been very successful at implementing them over and over again,” it quoted Matthew Moore, a Hanoi-based official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has been liaising with Vietnam’s government on the outbreak since early January. He added that the CDC has “great confidence” in the Vietnamese government’s response to the crisis. 

“It is organized, it can make country-wide policy decisions that get enacted quickly and efficiently and without too much controversy,” Guy Thwaites, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City was cited as saying.

In the article entitled “Iron will: How Vietnam caged the coronavirus,” The Times of India also hailed Vietnam’s achievements in curbing the pandemic.

“How did this nation of 96 million with a common border with China manage this? It appears that Vietnam threw everything including the kitchen sink at COVID-19. It was quick to recognize the danger and geared up to tackle the outbreak in January itself - much before concern of the disease spread outside China,” it wrote.

“It then approached COVID-19 like a war, declaring that fighting the disease was akin to fighting an enemy. It mobilized all arms of the state including the army and started strict quarantine and contact tracing procedures even when the number of positive cases in Vietnam was low.”

“These measures were complemented by clear communication from the Vietnamese government and much publicity.”

“But the key to Vietnam’s success was the patriotic mobilization of its people to fight Covid-19. As a nation that defeated two powerful countries in the not so distant past, the Vietnamese government could count on the Vietnamese people to fight the disease on a war footing. True, Vietnam’s measures to tackle the virus were tough. But the Vietnamese people accepted them and cooperated with the authorities for the larger good.”

“To be honest, most countries won’t be able to do what Vietnam did. Vietnam has specific political, social and historical conditions that allowed Hanoi to mobilize and undertake intensive measures. Nonetheless, Vietnam’s success holds out hope that Covid-19 can be contained and defeated. It is not something insurmountable. But the approach one chooses will certainly determine the time it will take. Vietnam has the socio-political means to shorten that time.”/.

VNA

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