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Vietnam has managed the Covid-19 pandemic flawlessly

On March 24, the Financial Times said, in an article by its correspondents in Bangkok and Hanoi, that Vietnam has become a model for the containment of Covid-19, in a country with limited resources, but with political will. By analyzing the approach to the pandemic, the Hanoi government is surprisingly managing a virus that has already brought much of the world to its knees.

The Berlin-based Dalia Research investigation center says that according to a survey conducted from 24 to 26 March in 45 countries and territories, Vietnam appears to have the highest number of citizens who trust their government’s response to the pandemic.

For more than a month, through Vietnam Military Medical University and the private company Viet A, Vietnam has developed a kit for the rapid diagnosis of coronavirus that has allowed to test over 30,000 people in total. At the time, Vietnam had been the fifth country in the world after China, Japan, the United States and Germany to acquire this type of test.

Vietnam, mindful of the Sars experience of 2003, has adopted an “aggressive” strategy against the virus, closing entry to foreigners from 22 March, also canceling entry visas already granted and forcing every person arriving to undergo a mandatory quarantine at controlled facilities. Currently 21,000 people are hosted in these centers, while another 30,000 are in compulsory isolation in the home. Bach Mai hospital, the largest in Hanoi, was also put into solitary confinement due to a large outbreak among its patients.

On March 31, the Prime Minister issued a directive setting strict social distance rules for a period from April 1st to April 15th. In these two weeks of isolation between families, villages, municipalities, districts and provinces, it is recommended to leave the house only for food or medicine, to avoid meetings with more than 2 people and to keep a distance of at least 2 meters to communicate. While many countries have taken similar measures after the cases have occurred, Vietnam is being taken on a preventive basis. In this phase it is a question of closing outwards and isolating oneself inside.

The Hanoi government has ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, shops and all recreational centers. The blocking of all tourism activities is bringing serious repercussions on employment; also the traditional festivals typical of the post-New Year period are celebrated in a reduced or canceled way. School lessons in Ho Chi Minh City have been suspended since before Tet holidays; materials and assignments are sent by teachers through social networks.

Only factories that produce essential goods and services continue to operate in compliance with the sanitation measures indicated by local authorities. Their noises cannot disturb the quiet of a country absorbed by telework.

According to a directive by the Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Social Security suspended contributions to the pension and subsidies fund from June until December 2020 to support people affected by COVID-19. The Premier proposed to establish a monthly allocation of 1.8 million VND (Vietnamese Dong) ($ 77 million) for people with job problems. The proposal would cover contract employees, part-time workers and workers on unpaid or low-income leave due to coronavirus. For its part, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has presented a $ 2.6 billion aid package, through which beneficiaries of social policies and monthly subsidies for providing services to the state during the revolution and wars, will receive $ 21.8 additional per month during April, May and June.

In a country with nearly 24% of the population under the age of 15, caring for children and young people has been a priority since the first outbreak and coincided with the start of the holidays for the lunar new year. Starting from January 23, the pupils stayed at home and various forms were adopted to continue teaching, both through assigning homework and video lessons.

In order to contain the spread of the virus among the inhabitants, Vietnam is proving to be very active in the diffusion of content through social networks, which are very popular in the country. The first big hit was the video, literally, “viral” about hand washing that got over 27 million views in a month.

Another campaign has been launched these days on Tik Tok, to encourage people to stay indoors. The song “Why don’t you come home” is sung by the popular pop star Amee and encourages people, in addition to staying at home, to send videos of themselves grappling with some of the “challenges” from home: while cooking (#onhanoitro), while doing gymnastics (## onhakhoemanh), while dancing (#onhagiatri) or dressing up (#onhalamdep).

The national inventiveness made headlines at the time of Covid-19 in a media spectrum where news about IT applications, industry 4.0 and electronic government is already common.

The technological breakthrough that Vietnam has implemented in recent years is impressive. However, how technology is used even in particular situations is more impressive. The Ministry of Health has created an online portal for communication between the best epidemiology experts and doctors who treat cases in the field. This institution regularly sends text and voice messages to cell phones to reiterate virus prevention measures and alert people to stay at home.

With Hanoi Smart City’s debut, the capital has provided its citizens with an application that provides authorities with information about infected and quarantined people in hospitals and homes, in order to identify cases that violate regulations.

In the center of the country, researchers from Danang University designed a remote body temperature measurement system, which reduces the risk of infection for healthcare professionals during the visit. Young scientists from the city of Ho Chi Minh have successfully created mobile cabins that disinfect the body in just 30 seconds and that can already be seen working at the entrances of some public buildings.

Although Vietnam is focused – like the rest of the world – on action against the virus, Hanoi has not ceased to show solidarity with other countries. On the night of April 17, for example, a new shipment of over 3 tons of medical aid from Vietnam arrived in Milan. Like Italy, other countries have been joined by Vietnamese generosity.

With this premises, Vietnam advances in 2020 with political and economic challenges, in which it establishes itself as the driving economy in the region, while consolidating its international activism at the helm of ASEAN and in the Security Council as a non-permanent member.

By: Domenico Greco

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