American news-based television channel CNN has recently hailed success story of Viet Nam in the fight against COVID-19 with no fatalities.
When the world looked to Asia for successful examples in handling the novel coronavirus outbreak, much attention and plaudits were paid to the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The country of 97 million people has not reported a single coronavirus-related death and on Saturday had just 328 confirmed cases, despite its long border with China and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year.
This is all the more remarkable considering Viet Nam is a low-middle income country with a much less-advanced healthcare system than others in the region. It only has 8 doctors for every 10,000 people, a third of the ratio in the RoK, according to the World Bank.
After a three-week nationwide lockdown, Viet Nam lifted social distancing rules in late April. It hasn't reported any local infections for more than 40 days. Businesses and schools have reopened, and life is gradually returning to normal.
To skeptics, Viet Nam's official numbers may seem too good to be true. But Guy Thwaites, an infectious disease doctor who works in one of the main hospitals designated by the Vietnamese government to treat Covid-19 patients, said the numbers matched the reality on the ground.
CNN quoted Thwaites who also heads the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City as saying that "I go to the wards every day, I know the cases, I know there has been no death."
Acting early, meticulous contact-tracing, public communication and propaganda were mentioned as Viet Nam’s successful lesson against the virus./. VGP