How Vietnam successfully contained COVID-19
Despite being one of 14 countries sharing a border with China, Vietnam has recorded less than 300 cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and zero deaths.
How did Vietnam, a developing country with limited health care system, prevent a COVID-19 outbreak?
According to a GMA Digital Specials episode, the Vietnamese government had been quick to take action.
When Chinese authorities announced that there was a SARS-like coronavirus in their country on January 8, Vietnam already declared war on the virus.
Even before China reported its first death and declared it an outbreak, Vietnam tightened its border security. The Vietnamese government banned flights to and from mainland China and suspended tourist visas of Chinese nationals and other foreigners coming from China.
It also put hospitals and local health departments on high alert for new pneumonia cases.
And after the Chinese New Year celebration on January 25, they immediately ordered the closure of schools.
Second, despite its limited healthcare resources, Vietnam conducted mass testing.
180,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the country as of April 23.
According to the World in Data, for each of its confirmed case, Vietnam was able to test 400 individuals.
Third reason: Vietnam placed affected towns under quarantine.
On February 3, Son Loi, a village with a population of 10,000, was placed under quarantine for 20 days. At the time, Vietnam only had six confirmed cases.
Its government also imposed a 14-day mandatory quarantine for travelers entering the country.
The fourth reason is that Vietnam, a one-Communist Party state, imposed a strict monitoring system on its citizens using technology.
It developed an online reporting system to identify suspected and confirmed infections, which the government can monitor real-time.
It also mandated COVID-19 patients to install a mobile app that sends alerts to the government whenever they move 20 to 30 kilometers away from their respective quarantined areas.
The Vietnamese government also arrested COVID-19 fake news purveyors. As of March 30, around 800 citizens were made to pay fines because of fake news charges.
And amid data privacy and surveillance issues, a March 30 Dalia Research survey showed that 62 percent of the Vietnamese are satisfied with their government's response to the pandemic.
As of May 8, the country has recorded only 288 confirmed COVID-19 cases and no casualties.
But this does not mean Vietnam should stop being vigilant.
Japan and Singapore saw early success against COVID-19, but positive cases have started increasing again in those countries.
On April 18, Singapore recorded 942 new cases, bringing their total COVID-19 cases to 6,000, while Japan recorded 181 new cases, bringing their total to 10,000.
Meanwhile, South Korea, which was able to control the outbreak through mass testing, recorded 91 relapsed patients as of April 10.
And just recently, South Korean health authorities detected a small but growing coronavirus outbreak centered in a handful of Seoul nightclubs. This is after the country eased some social distancing restrictions.
—JCB, GMA News