How Does Vietnam Have 0 Coronavirus Deaths?
Vietnam is located in one of the trickiest corners of the world. It was in real danger of having a massive Coronavirus outbreak since it’s located just south of China. Yet, more than 4 months after it’s first confirmed case, it has only 270 Coronavirus cases, with 0 deaths! Yes, you read that right. So, what’s going on in Vietnam?
It seems like Vietnam went completely under the radar in the Coronavirus (officially called SARS-CoV2) pandemic. We have heard tons of praises for South Korea and New Zealand with how they treated the virus, but very little of Vietnam. When, in fact, what they did is far more impressive, considering that Vietnam is 12 to 16 times poorer than the two mentioned countries. It gets even more impressive when you learn that Vietnam has a population of over 95 million people. That’s more than double of both South Korea and New Zealand combined! So, what did they do right to have 0 Coronavirus deaths, 4 months after their first case?
Here’s what Vietnam did right!
Even if we consider these Coronavirus related numbers with a pinch of salt, no one can deny that Vietnam has actually taken some very good steps. Here are some of the most prominent ones:
They imposed quarantine and a lockdown way before any other country
Countries like China, the United States, and the whole of Europe imposed lockdowns only as a last resort. On the other hand, Vietnam imposed lockdowns and some serious quarantine policies much sooner than others.
For example, a town near Hanoi, located near the Chinese border, was put under quarantine for 3 weeks on February 12th. And on that date, there were only 10 COVID-19 cases, not in the city, but in the entire country! Moreover, anyone who arrived in Vietnam from a high-risk country would be kept in quarantine for two weeks, without exceptions. And schools and universities were closed down at the start of February. That’s how quick Vietnam’s response was. And it played a big role in them having zero Coronavirus deaths.
Vietnam’s incredible surveillance came in handy
Moreover, they were also doing rigorous contact tracing to find anyone who was in contact with a Coronavirus patient. Countries like Germany only traced the patients and their direct contacts. Whereas, Vietnam was tracing third and fourth levels of contact and putting them in quarantine.
Furthermore, they put their state security and surveillance apparatus to great use with the help of the military. I mean, they are a communist state. So, spies and soldiers were put into full use. Anyone who evaded quarantine was dealt with strictly. However, it did result in some ostracism. For example, the 17th Coronavirus case in Vietnam was responsible for spreading the disease in the country. When her name got out, she received a lot of stick on social media.
But, it wasn’t just paranoia that drove Vietnam to do this. They knew they had an inadequate public healthcare system.
They were swift because they knew of their weak healthcare system
Healthcare in Vietnam is not up to par with many developed countries. For example, they only have 8 doctors for every 10,000 people, whereas China has 18 and the US has 26. And they didn’t have the mass testing capacity of South Korea, who did over 350,000 tests every day. In fact, they can only do 15,000 as of today.
For example, Ho Chi Minh City, a city of 8 million people, only has 900 intensive care beds. If an outbreak had taken place over there, the coronavirus deaths would have been catastrophic. The hospitals would have easily been overwhelmed. But, thanks to these swift and strict measures, the entire country still reports 0 Coronavirus deaths.
Vietnam treated COVID-19 like a war
Simply put, Vietnam waged a literal war against Coronavirus, even before the disease entered its borders. Back when the outbreak was limited to China, the Premier of Vietnam, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said:
Every business, every citizen, every residential area must be a fortress to prevent the epidemic.
And that is exactly how they treated it. The entire country flocked together in comradery in the midst of this crisis. And the Vietnamese people have been accepting towards the economic consequences of the lockdown too. Almost 3000 businesses have closed in the first two months of 2020. And big conglomerates have taken a hit too. Tourism is one of its major industries, and it has taken a severe hit in this crisis.
To counter this, the Vietnamese government has promised to pump $1.1 billion into the economy. But, the people largely trust the government and its measures in this crisis. Therefore, it’s quite clear that Vietnam and its people deserve a lot of praise for holding steady!
Related: Why Is Coronavirus Called COVID-19?