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The curious case of Vietnam: the poor country that defeated Covid-19

by ace
The curious case of Vietnam: the poor country that defeated Covid-19

While Brazil has accumulated 270,000 confirmed cases and more than 17,000 deaths from Covid-19, and developed nations like the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy have lost control over the epidemic, a poor nation in Southeast Asia has been surprising the world.

This is Vietnam.

With 1,100 kilometers of border with China, origin of the pandemic, the country registered only 324 infected and no deaths. That's right, there were no fatalities. The strategy was so successful that the country should be one of the few in the world this year to not have a recession. According to an analysis by Asia economist Sian Fenner, from the University of Oxford, in England, GDP should expand at around 2%.

An astonishing result, which puts Vietnam in the restricted club of those who managed to quell the outbreak before it spread. They are South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Iceland and China.

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However, there is an important difference in relation to peers. Vietnam is poor, has a population of 95 million, extremely dense cities and poor infrastructure. In addition, he was devastated by a war against the United States less than 40 years ago, which still has consequences.

How did Vietnam do it? The secret is in the seriousness: few took the threat of the epidemic as seriously as the Vietnamese.

Also in January, during the lunar New Year celebrations, the federal government said it was "declaring war" on the coronavirus. That was when the outbreak was still restricted to the city of Wuhan, China. At a Communist Party meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the problem would soon reach the territory.

"Fighting this epidemic means fighting the enemy," he said. The prime minister then suspended all flights to China, issued visa restrictions on foreigners and reinforced the border crossing with his neighbors.

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Students campaign for mask use and social isolation Reproduction / Reproduction

The Vietnamese's main weapon against the pathogen was the most rigorous form of quarantine, the lockdown. The measure was enacted early on, even before the virus spread. In Hanoi, the country's second largest city, it came into effect when there were only 10 confirmed cases.

It is the opposite of what Chinese and Italians did, who only resorted to lockdown as a last resort, when infections were already counting by the thousands.

The government also mobilized an army of trackers to go after and isolate all possible infected people. Another contingent of 90,000 doctors was put on standby to take care of the cases.

Vietnam's Herculean effort has prevented the country from suffering from its shortcomings. The government knew it could not count on a robust public health network to contain the infection, as Germans and Chinese did. Ho Chi Mihn, the country's largest city, with 8 million inhabitants, has only 900 emergency beds. That is, in the event of an epidemic, the collapse of the hospital network would happen in the first days.

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Nor does it have cutting edge technology, like the Koreans, who were able to register and track infected people through applications created in a few days.

In this case, they appealed for help from the Armed Forces, the most respected national institution. There are soldiers on standby on just about every corner in major cities to check that social isolation and protection measures are being followed.

The Communist Party, which controls the government and is the country's only political legend, has started to use state media for massive campaigns. Celebrities from the country were invited to star in explanatory videos and posters.

And, in a measure that would provoke great controversy in countries of the West, who is infected by the new coronavirus has its identity disclosed in the official social networks and in the press. The identity violation, defends the government, aims to locate everyone who had contact with the patient.

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Vietnam has also become an example of international solidarity. Since January, it has shipped 500,000 masks to Europe, as well as protective equipment for doctors from Cambodia, Laos and China.

Even the United States, executioners in the harsh war between the 1960s and 1970s, has been helped. The Communist Party dispatched thousands of testing kits to Americans. Each kit costs 25 dollars and presents the result in 90 minutes.

A tremendous irony of fate.

The curious case of Vietnam: the poor country that defeated Covid-19

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One of the posters spread by the government: isolation taken seriously

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