Lessons from the Covid-19 'tsunami' in India
Proactively protecting yourself, going out only when absolutely necessary, fulfilling medical declarations, strictly following the 5K message, and installing the Covid-19 tracking app Bluezone are the best ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
That is the lesson learned from other countries, particularly India.
In early February, India appeared to have taken control of the pandemic. The number of infections per day was more than 10,000, which was considered low for a country of more than 1.3 billion people. But after the Ganges river festival a month ago, which attracted 3.5 million Indians, a new outbreak occurred. This event became a super infectious cluster with more than 2,000 cases a day.
Analysts around the world believe that crowded festivals, and cultural and spiritual activities have pushed India into the abyss of the pandemic. In addition, the loss of vigilance and the early proud success about controlling the epidemic and the low death rate contributed partly to the outbreak.
The second, third and fourth wave of the pandemic is taking place in many other countries. This is a fierce warning to the rest of the world.
In Vietnam, the four-day holiday of April 30 and May 1 has just ended. The pictures showing crowds of tourists in the beach cities of Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Sam Son, Cua Lo and the highlands city of Da Lat surprised many people.
Vung Tau beach in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau hosted about 70,000 people on April 30, many of whom did not wear facial masks. At the same time, thousands of visitors flocked to Nha Trang beach in the central province of Khanh Hoa, most not wearing masks.
Covid-19 cases are not ocurring daily in India since the new outbreak, according to data from John Hopkins University.
At the regular cabinet meeting in April, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said: "We should shift state of epidemic prevention from a defense to active attack, but there must be harmony between defense and attack to ensure best efficiency."
The two new strategies to move from defense to attack include promoting the use of advanced technology and strong measures; and large-scale vaccination, with priority given to frontline forces who face high risk of infection.
Chart of infection rates in Asia. Vietnam is in the group of countries of light red color, with a low number of infections, as of May 5. Photo: Our World in Data
Vietnam aims to implement mass vaccination for the community. It id not only importing vaccines but is also striving to produce a homemade vaccine.
However, the Government and the Ministry of Health have always emphasized that even if vaccines are available, Vietnamese people must still fully implement the disease prevention guidelines of the health sector. The first thing is to install the Made-in-Vietnam Covid-19 tracking app named Bluezone on their phones. This is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to find suspected Covid-19 patients in the community, thereby limiting the spread of the disease.
The new outbreak is more serious than the previous ones, so the response should also be changed to suit the situation. The lesson from India is a wake-up call for many countries. India never expected a second wave would hit it so violently in just a few months, resulting in unpredictable shortages of medicines, medical supplies and hospital beds.
Vietnamese need to put aside their normal habits that are no longer suitable in the new context: first of all, limit gatherings, strictly implement the 5K message, and install Bluezone app.
Vietnam has controlled Covid-19 well and has been praised by the world. But this battle is long and Vietnam should prepare well for it.
The Ministry of Health has encouraged people to follow its 5K message in Vietnamese, namely Khau Trang (face mask), Khu khuan (Disinfection), Khoang cach (Distance). Khong tap trung (No gathering), and Khai bao y te (Health declaration).