As the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly and causing devastating impacts in the world, Vietnam has emerged as an example in the fight against the disease and earned praise from the international community for its efforts.
As of April 23 afternoon, Vietnam has reported no new COVID-19 cases for a whole week. Since the first case was detected three months ago, just 268 people have contracted the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, with 223 patients making full recovery and no deaths recorded.
In an article posted on the Asia Times, David Hutt, a freelance political journalist and analyst, wrote that the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam has earned local and foreign plaudits for its firm if not heavy-handed COVID-19 containment measures.
“Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party is leveraging the COVID-19 crisis to win hearts and minds by touting its quick, effective and uncharacteristically transparent management of the viral outbreak,” he wrote.
Indeed, Vietnam responded quicker than most Asian nations by shutting down travel to and from China in January, even as the virus outbreak coincided with Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year period when many people travel home to visit family and friends, according to the article.
Meanwhile, Le Thu Huong, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), wrote in an article run on “The Strategist” that: “Not many from the developed world are easily convinced that a populous, still relatively poor and unequally developed one-party state like Vietnam can have responded so well to a pandemic that is tormenting the wealthiest and most technologically advanced countries. But few remember that Vietnam was the first country to contain the SARS outbreak - in just 20 days.”
Huong’sview was shared by journalist Joshua Hanks who wrote in article posted on thewebsite “worker.org” that: “The Socialist Republicof Vietnam has also mounted a highly successful response, perhaps more so thananywhere else in the world.”
Poster in Vietnam to raise awareness of COVID-19 fight (Photo: www.workers.org)
“Vietnam sets an example for both developing and wealthy countries fighting COVID-19,” he stressed.
Amy Searight, Senior Adviser and Director for Southeast Asia Programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also commended Vietnam’s efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19 though it shares a long border with China where the pandemic first broke out.
“Vietnam, a fast-growing but still developing country with far fewer resources than Singapore, also launched a rapid and aggressive response to the coronavirus outbreak that so far has been highly successful, with zero reported deaths so far. Vietnam’s shared border with China and bustling cross-border trade made it highly vulnerable to the spreading of the virus, but its leaders quickly halted flights from China and closed schools nationwide. Vietnam also became the first country outside of China to quarantine a large residential area when it sealed off part of a province north of Hanoi in mid-February after an outbreak was traced to workers returning from Wuhan. The ability of the Communist Party of Vietnam to mobilize society has been on full display through clear public messaging, the ability to isolate individuals with symptoms and track their second- and third-hand contacts, the quarantining of incoming travelers, and the enlistment of the services of medical students, retired doctors, and nurses,” she wrote.
In an article titled “Vietnam’s exemplary response to COVID-19” published on “The ASEAN Post”, journalist Athira Nortajuddin cited a report of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada as saying that: “Vietnam has successfully conducted tracing via the quick identification of infectious contacts based on the Ministry of Health’s classifications of infected, suspected, and exposed cases of COVID-19 and the rapid mobilisation of health professionals, public security personnel, the military, and civil servants to implement the tracing.”
The World Economic Forum (WEF) also applauded Vietnam for its swift response in handling the new coronavirus. The WEF noted that Vietnam “being a single-party state, with a large and well-organised military and security services… has been able to make decisions quickly and enact them promptly”.
Perhaps, other nations in ASEAN and the rest of the world can learn from Vietnam’s swift response in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, it stressed.
The Deutsche Welle newswire of Germany also ran a story entitled “How Vietnam is winning its ‘war’ on coronavirus” in which it said “one thing is clear: Vietnam has a done a good job thus far in fighting the coronavirus.”
“Although there are no studies to prove it, the mood on social media and conversations with Vietnamese indicate that the majority of the public agrees with the government measures. They are proud that Vietnam is faring comparatively well in meeting the crisis,” it noted.
Some foreign experts attributed Vietnam’s successes in the fight against the pandemic to the determination of the Vietnamese Party’s and Government’s leaders.
"They had political commitment early on at the highest level. And that political commitment went from central level all the way down to the hamlet level," said John MacArthur, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's country representative in Thailand.
Professor Carl Thayer from Australia’s University of New South Wales said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc “has been proactive in taking action,” and “he has established a task force to oversee national, provincial and local levels.”
Meanwhile, the UK’s Financial Times also wrote: “Vietnam has proved a model in containing the disease in a country with limited resources but determined leadership.”/.VNA