How did Vietnam, a country without wealth or an advanced healthcare system, avoid even one coronavirus death among its 97 million people?
Simple, say medical authorities, it acted early and swiftly. Vietnam ignored China and the World Health Organization’s initial insistence that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission and deployed rapid measures like strict quarantining, and contact tracing before its first case was even detected, CNN reported.
“We were not only waiting for guidelines from WHO. We used the data we gathered from outside and inside (the country to) decide to take action early,” said Pham Quang Thai, deputy head of the Infection Control Department at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi.
Temperature screenings were enacted at the airports in early January for passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, the virus epicenter. Just a week or so later, government officials put more stringent medical quarantine regulations in place at border gates, seaports and airports.
Vietnam’s first coronavirus cases were not reported until Jan. 23, but by that time the country was prepared.
Vietnam declared a national epidemic on Feb. 1 though it had just six confirmed cases in the country. All flights between Vietnam and China were halted, followed by the suspension of visas to Chinese citizens the next day.
Vietnam lifted social distancing rules in late April after a three-week shutdown but hasn’t reported any local infections for more than 40 days. Businesses and schools have reopened, and life is slowly resuming a normal pace.
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