Vietnam: How this country of 95 million kept coronavirus death rate zero

According to skeptics, the official figures of Vietnam may seem too good to be true. However, Guy Thwaites, an infectious disease doctor working at one of the main hospitals designated by the Vietnamese government to treat Covid-19 patients, said the numbers fit the ground with the facts.

“I go to the wards every day, I know cases, I know there is no death,” said Thwaites, who heads the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City.

“If you have undeclared or uncontrolled community contamination, then we will see cases in our hospital, perhaps people with chest infections were not diagnosed – this never happened,” he said.

So how did Vietnam achieve the seemingly global trend and largely escaped the coronavirus scourge? According to public health experts, the answer is a rapid factor, from preventing the spread of government, early intervention to rigorous contact tracking and quarantine and effective public communication.

Moving early

Vietnam started preparing for a coronavirus outbreak weeks before its first case was detected.

At that time, the Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization had argued that there was no “clear evidence” for human to human transmission, but Vietnam did not take any chance.

“We did not just expect WHO’s guides. We decided to take action (the country) we collected from outside and inside,” said Deputy Head of the National Institute’s Infection Control Department. Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi.

A woman applies social distance while shopping for groceries behind a line in a wet market in Hanoi.
At the beginning of January, temperature scan It was already available to passengers from Wuhan at Hanoi’s international airport. Travelers found by fire, the national broadcaster of the country were isolated and closely watched report on time.
In mid-January, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam order government agencies will take “drastic measures” to prevent the spread of the disease to Vietnam and to strengthen the medical quarantine at border gates, airports and ports.
On January 23, Vietnam, first two cases of coronavirus – A Chinese living in Vietnam and his father traveled from Wuhan to visit his son. The next day, Vietnam’s aviation officials It is cancelled All flights to and from Wuhan.
While celebrating the Lunar New Year holiday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc declared war on the coronavirus. “Fighting this epidemic is like fighting the enemy” I said Three days later, he set up a national steering committee on the control of the outbreak – WHO on the same day statement coronavirus is an international alarming public health emergency.
Vietnam on February 1 statement a national epidemic – with six confirmed cases across the country. All flights between Vietnam and China were stopped, then the visa was suspended the following day for Chinese citizens.
Travel restrictions, arrival quarantines and visa suspensions throughout the month extended because the coronavirus has spread beyond China to countries such as South Korea, Iran, and Italy. At the end of Vietnam suspended Entry to all foreigners in late March.
The Vietnamese People's Army officer stands next to the crash warning on the Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on February 20.
Vietnam was also quick to take proactive locking measures. On February 12 locked A rural community of 10,000 people in the north of Hanoi for 20 days during seven coronavirus cases – the first large-scale deadlock known outside China. Schools and universities planned to reopen in February after the Lunar New Year holiday tidy stay off and reopen only in May.

Infectious disease specialist Thwaites in Ho Chi Minh City said the pace of Vietnam’s reaction was the main reason behind its success.

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“Their actions in late January and early February were much earlier than in many other countries. This helped them … keep them in control.” Said.

Rigorous contact monitoring

Decisive early actions effectively stopped community transmission and kept Vietnam-confirmed cases at only 16 until 13 February. For three weeks, there was no new infection in March until the second wave of Vietnam returned from abroad.

The authorities meticulously followed up the contacts of confirmed coronavirus patients and placed them in a mandatory two-week quarantine.

“We have a very strong system: 63 provincial CDCs (disease control centers), more than 700 regional level CDCs and more than 11,000 communal health centers. All are connected to contact monitoring,” said the National Institute and doctor Pham. Hygiene and Epidemiology.

A verified coronavirus patient has to give the health authorities a comprehensive list of all the people he has met in the past 14 days. Pham, the announcements are placed in newspapers and published to inform the public about where and when a coronavirus patient is, and urges people to go to health officials to test if they are there at the same time.

A woman stands in line to give an example at a makeshift test center near Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi on March 31.

When the Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi, one of Vietnam’s largest hospitals, became a coronavirus hotspot with dozens of cases in March, officials were locked into the facility, and medics, patients, visitors and close contacts, according to Pham.

“Using contact tracking, we found almost everyone and asked them to take their own quarantines at home and (and if they have any symptoms, they can visit health centers for a free test,” he said.

The authorities also tested More than 15,000 people have been linked to hospitals, including 1,000 healthcare professionals.

The contact tracking effort of Vietnam was so rigorous that it goes not only through the direct contacts of an infected person, but also through indirect contacts. “This is one of the unique parts of their reaction. I don’t think any country has quarantined this level,” Thwaites said. Said.

All direct contacts were put into government quarantine in health centers, hotels or military camps. Some indirect contacts were ordered to isolate themselves at home. study Vietnam’s Covid-19 control measures taken by nearly 20 public health experts in the country.
A roadside barber wearing a face mask gives a haircut to a customer in Hanoi.

The study said that as of May 1, around 70,000 people were quarantined at Vietnamese government facilities, while about 140,000 were isolated at home or in hotels.

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The study also noted that 43 percent of the country’s first 270 Covid-19 patients are asymptomatic cases, emphasizing tight contact monitoring and quarantine value. If the authorities had not proactively searched for people at risk of infection, the virus may have been spread quietly in communities days before the virus was detected.

Public communication and propaganda

The Vietnamese government has been openly communicating with the public about the outbreak since the beginning.

Special websites, telephone lines and telephone apps have been set up to update the public in the latest situations of epidemic and medical advice. The Ministry of Health regularly sent reminders to citizens via SMS messages.

Pham said that on a busy day, only the national helplines could receive 20,000 calls to avoid counting hundreds of provincial and district level helplines.

A propaganda poster on preventing the spread of the coronavirus appears on a wall as a man smokes along a street in Hanoi.
The country’s great propaganda device was also mobilized, raise awareness The outbreak through speakers, street posters, press and social media. In late February, the health ministry released an appealing Vietnamese pop hit-based music video to teach people how to properly wash their hands and other hygiene measures during the epidemic. This work, known as “hand washing song”, immediately became viral. 48 million Youtube views.

Thwaites said that Vietnam’s rich experience in dealing with infectious disease outbreaks, such as the SARS outbreak between 2002-2003, and subsequent bird flu, helped the government and the public better prepare for the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The population is much more respectful of infectious diseases, perhaps than many wealthier countries or countries that have not seen infectious diseases – eg Europe, the UK and the USA,” he said.

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“The country understands that these things should be taken seriously and complies with government guidance on how to prevent the spread of the infection.”

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