COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam

The COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of 17 May 2021, the Ministry of Health has officially reported 4,212 confirmed cases, 2,668 recoveries, and 37 deaths. Nearly 3.1 million tests have been performed.[3] Hải Dương Province, as of May 2021 is the most-affected locale with 772 confirmed cases and no deaths.[1]

COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam
Da Nang CDC medical workers performs COVID-19 test.jpg
Vietnam VPA chemical troop before disinfecting Bach Mai Hospital.jpg
Vietnam policeman wearing mask for people.png
Vietnamese registered for rapid testing (COVID-19).png
Clockwise, from top: Two Da Nang CDC medical workers performs a COVID-19 test; a policeman putting mask on person in Sóc Trăng City; wholesale market retailers and buyers registering for COVID-19 rapid testing in Lĩnh Nam; PAVN chemical troops start disinfecting Bạch Mai Hospital – the largest cluster in Hanoi.
COVID-19 Pandemic Cases in Vietnam.svg
Map of cities & provinces with confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 17 May 2021):
  Confirmed 1–9
  Confirmed 10–99
  Confirmed 100–249
  Confirmed 250–499
  Confirmed ≥ 500
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationVietnam
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseHo Chi Minh City
Arrival date23 January 2020
(1 year, 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days)
Confirmed casesNegative increase4,359[1]
Active casesNegative increase 1,654[1][a]
RecoveredSteady 2,668[1]
Deaths
Negative increase 37[1]
Fatality ratePositive decrease 0.85%
Government website
ncov.moh.gov.vn
cdc.kcb.vn/covid
(in Vietnamese)

On 31 December 2019, China announced the discovery of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan. The virus was first confirmed to have spread to Vietnam on 23 January 2020, when two Chinese people in Ho Chi Minh City tested positive for the virus.[4][5] Early cases were primarily imported until local transmission began to develop in February and March. Clusters of cases were later detected in Vĩnh Phúc,[6] Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Đà Nẵng and Hải Dương Province, with the first death on 31 July 2020.[7]

Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners from 22 March 2020 until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. The measure will not apply to diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts, and skilled workers. In January 2021, the government announced a stricter quarantine policy to "protect the country" during 2021 Lunar New Year. Everyone entering Vietnam must be isolated for at least 21 days at the government's quarantine facilities, only special diplomats identified as such by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be exempt.[8][9][10]

Vietnam is cited by global media as having one of the best-organized epidemic control programs in the world,[11][12][13] along the lines of other highlights such as Taiwan and South Korea.[14] This success has been attributed to several key factors, including a well-developed public health system, a decisive central government, and a proactive containment strategy based on comprehensive testing, tracing, and quarantining.[15] Despite inferior economic and technological capacity, the country's response to the outbreak has received widespread international acclaim for its immediacy, effectiveness and transparency,[16] in contrast to censorship in China[17] and the poor preparation in the United States and in European countries.[14][18][19][20]

Although the pandemic has heavily disrupted the country's economy,[21] Vietnam's GDP growth rate still remained one of the highest in Asia-Pacific Region, at 2.91% in 2020 and projected growth of 6.6% in 2021.[22][23][24]

Vaccinations commenced on 8 March 2021[25] with a total of 979,238 administered vaccination doses reported by 16 May 2021.[26] So far, the Ministry of Health has approved COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca and Sputnik V for use in emergencies. It expected that a total of 110 million doses would be available by the end of 2021.[27]

BackgroundEdit

New infectious diseases impose a serious threat to the health of the general public. Their origins are often mysterious despite intensive research efforts.[28] Although human coronaviruses (CoVs) had been known as major pathogens to cause the common cold,[29][30] a new species of coronavirus, namely SARS-CoV caused an epidemic involving 29 countries during 2002–03 which infected 8,098 people and killed 774 of them.[30] The evidence shows that the virus might have originated from an animal coronavirus, but somehow entered the human population.[30][31][32] Its outbreak also implies that animal coronaviruses could be a potential danger to humans.[30]

Although it is still unknown exactly where the outbreak first started, many early cases of COVID-19 have been attributed to people who have visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, located in Wuhan, Hubei, China.[33] The earliest known person with symptoms was later discovered to have fallen ill on 1 December 2019, and that person did not have visible connections with the later wet market cluster.[34] However, an earlier case of infection could have occurred on 17 November.[35][36][37] China publicly reported the cluster on 31 December 2019.[38] The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first report on the outbreak on 5 January 2020.[39] On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, which was reported earlier.[40][41] On January 20, the WHO and China both confirmed that human-to-human transmission had occurred.[42] On 30 January, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), after mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus had spread to 18 countries and completion of investigation in Wuhan.[43]

Vietnam has a history of successfully managing pandemics: it was the second country after China to face SARS and, after 63 cases and five deaths, it was the first country declared SARS-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). In the wake of the SARS epidemic, Vietnam increased investments in its public health infrastructure, developing a national public health emergency operations center and a national public health surveillance system, maintaining robust systems to collect and aggregate public data. Since 2016, hospitals are required to report notifiable diseases within 24 hours to a central database, ensuring that the Ministry of Health can track epidemiological developments across the country. In collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vietnam implemented an innovative “event-based” surveillance program in 2018, empowering members of the public, including teachers, pharmacists, religious leaders, and even traditional medicine healers, to report public health events, in order to identify clusters of people who have similar symptoms that might suggest an outbreak is emerging.[15]

With a population of nearly 100 million people, receiving the millions of Chinese visitors each year, having long land border and strong economic ties with China,[44][45] which is Hanoi's largest trading partner,[46][47] the country was initially perceived to be hit hard by the pandemic. When Vietnam recorded its two first confirmed cases on 23 January 2020, it was among the first countries affected by COVID-19.[48] Two weeks later, only 150 cases had been reported outside of mainland China, but ten of these were in Vietnam, placing it in the top ten most affected countries. However, one year later the situation was very different: instead of having a large scale outbreak, Vietnam was one of the countries with the lowest cases and mortality per million inhabitants.[49]

TimelineEdit

COVID-19 cases in Vietnam  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-01-23
2(n.a.) 0(n.a.)
2(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-01-28
2(=) 0(n.a.)
2(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-01-31
5(+150%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-01
6(+20%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-02
7(+17%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-03
8(+14%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-04
10(+25%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-05
10(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-06
12(+20%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-07
13(+8.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-08
13(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-09
14(+7.7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-10
14(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-11
15(+7.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-12
15(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-13
16(+6.7%) 0(n.a.)
16(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-18
16(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-19
16(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-20
16(=) 0(n.a.)
16(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-02-26
16(=) 0(n.a.)
16(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-06
17(+6.2%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-07
20(+18%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-08
30(+50%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-09
31(+3.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-10
34(+9.7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-11
38(+12%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-12
44(+16%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-13
47(+6.8%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-14
53(+13%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-15
57(+7.5%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-16
61(+7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-17
66(+8.2%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-18
76(+15%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-19
85(+12%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-20
91(+7.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-21
94(+3.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-22
113(+20%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-23
123(+8.8%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-24
134(+8.9%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-25
141(+5.2%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-26
153(+8.5%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-27
163(+6.5%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-28
174(+6.7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-29
188(+8%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-30
203(+8%) 0(n.a.)
2020-03-31
207(+2%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-01
218(+5.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-02
227(+4.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-03
237(+4.4%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-04
240(+1.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-05
241(+0.42%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-06
245(+1.7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-07
249(+1.6%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-08
251(+0.8%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-09
255(+1.6%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-10
257(+0.78%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-11
258(+0.39%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-12
260(+0.78%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-13
265(+1.9%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-14
266(+0.38%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-15
267(+0.38%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-16
268(+0.37%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-17
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-18
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-19
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-20
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-21
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-22
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-23
268(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-24
270(+0.75%) 0(n.a.)
2020-04-25
270(=) 0(n.a.)
270(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-03
271(+0.37%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-04
271(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-05
271(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-06
271(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-07
288(+6.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-08
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-09
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-10
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-11
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-12
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-13
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-14
288(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-15
313(+8.7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-16
318(+1.6%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-17
320(+0.63%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-18
324(+1.2%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-19
324(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-20
324(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-21
324(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-22
324(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-23
324(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-24
325(+0.31%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-25
326(+0.31%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-26
327(+0.31%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-27
327(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-28
327(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-29
327(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-30
328(+0.31%) 0(n.a.)
2020-05-31
328(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-01
328(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-02
328(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-03
328(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-04
328(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-05
328(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-06
329(+0.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-07
329(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-08
332(+0.91%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-09
332(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-10
332(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-11
332(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-12
333(+0.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-13
334(+0.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-14
334(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-15
334(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-16
334(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-17
335(+0.3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-18
342(+2.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-19
349(+2%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-20
349(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-21
349(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-22
349(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-23
349(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-24
352(+0.86%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-25
352(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-26
353(+0.28%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-27
355(+0.57%) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-28
355(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-29
355(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-06-30
355(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-01
355(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-02
355(=) 0(n.a.)
355(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-06
369(+3.9%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-07
369(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-08
369(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-09
369(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-10
369(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-11
370(+0.27%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-12
372(+0.54%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-13
372(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-14
373(+0.27%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-15
381(+2.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-16
381(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-17
382(+0.26%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-18
382(=) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-19
383(+0.26%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-20
384(+0.26%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-21
396(+3.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-22
408(+3%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-23
412(+0.98%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-24
413(+0.24%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-25
417(+0.97%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-26
420(+0.72%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-27
431(+2.6%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-28
438(+1.6%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-29
450(+2.7%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-30
464(+3.1%) 0(n.a.)
2020-07-31
546(+18%) 2(n.a.)
2020-08-01
586(+7.3%) 3(+50%)
2020-08-02
620(+5.8%) 6(+100%)
2020-08-03
642(+3.5%) 6(=)
2020-08-04
670(+4.4%) 8(+33%)
2020-08-05
713(+6.4%) 8(=)
2020-08-06
747(+4.8%) 10(+25%)
2020-08-07
784(+5%) 10(=)
2020-08-08
810(+3.3%) 10(=)
2020-08-09
841(+3.8%) 11(+10%)
2020-08-10
847(+0.71%) 15(+36%)
2020-08-11
863(+1.9%) 16(+6.7%)
2020-08-12
880(+2%) 17(+6.2%)
2020-08-13
905(+2.8%) 20(+18%)
2020-08-14
929(+2.7%) 21(+5%)
2020-08-15
950(+2.3%) 23(+9.5%)
2020-08-16
962(+1.3%) 24(+4.3%)
2020-08-17
976(+1.5%) 24(=)
2020-08-18
989(+1.3%) 25(+4.2%)
2020-08-19
993(+0.4%) 25(=)
2020-08-20
1,007(+1.4%) 25(=)
2020-08-21
1,009(+0.2%) 25(=)
2020-08-22
1,014(+0.5%) 26(+4%)
2020-08-23
1,016(+0.2%) 27(+3.8%)
2020-08-24
1,022(+0.59%) 27(=)
2020-08-25
1,029(+0.68%) 27(=)
2020-08-26
1,034(+0.49%) 29(+7.4%)
2020-08-27
1,036(+0.19%) 30(+3.4%)
2020-08-28
1,038(+0.19%) 30(=)
2020-08-29
1,040(+0.19%) 32(+6.7%)
2020-08-30
1,040(=) 32(=)
2020-08-31
1,044(+0.38%) 34(+6.2%)
2020-09-01
1,044(=) 34(=)
2020-09-02
1,046(+0.19%) 34(=)
2020-09-03
1,046(=) 35(+2.9%)
2020-09-04
1,049(+0.29%) 35(=)
2020-09-05
1,049(=) 35(=)
2020-09-06
1,049(=) 35(=)
2020-09-07
1,049(=) 35(=)
2020-09-08
1,054(+0.48%) 35(=)
2020-09-09
1,059(+0.47%) 35(=)
2020-09-10
1,059(=) 35(=)
2020-09-11
1,060(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-09-12
1,060(=) 35(=)
2020-09-13
1,063(+0.28%) 35(=)
2020-09-14
1,063(=) 35(=)
2020-09-15
1,063(=) 35(=)
2020-09-16
1,063(=) 35(=)
2020-09-17
1,066(+0.28%) 35(=)
2020-09-18
1,068(+0.19%) 35(=)
2020-09-19
1,068(=) 35(=)
2020-09-20
1,068(=) 35(=)
2020-09-21
1,068(=) 35(=)
2020-09-22
1,068(=) 35(=)
2020-09-23
1,069(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-09-24
1,069(=) 35(=)
2020-09-25
1,069(=) 35(=)
2020-09-26
1,069(=) 35(=)
2020-09-27
1,074(+0.47%) 35(=)
2020-09-28
1,077(+0.28%) 35(=)
2020-09-29
1,094(+1.6%) 35(=)
2020-09-30
1,094(=) 35(=)
2020-10-01
1,095(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-02
1,096(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-03
1,096(=) 35(=)
2020-10-04
1,096(=) 35(=)
2020-10-05
1,097(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-06
1,098(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-07
1,099(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-08
1,100(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-09
1,105(+0.45%) 35(=)
2020-10-10
1,107(+0.18%) 35(=)
2020-10-11
1,109(+0.18%) 35(=)
2020-10-12
1,110(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-13
1,113(+0.27%) 35(=)
2020-10-14
1,122(+0.81%) 35(=)
2020-10-15
1,124(+0.18%) 35(=)
2020-10-16
1,124(=) 35(=)
2020-10-17
1,126(+0.18%) 35(=)
2020-10-18
1,134(+0.71%) 35(=)
2020-10-19
1,140(+0.53%) 35(=)
2020-10-20
1,141(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-21
1,144(+0.26%) 35(=)
2020-10-22
1,148(+0.35%) 35(=)
2020-10-23
1,148(=) 35(=)
2020-10-24
1,160(+1%) 35(=)
2020-10-25
1,168(+0.69%) 35(=)
2020-10-26
1,169(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-27
1,172(+0.26%) 35(=)
2020-10-28
1,173(+0.09%) 35(=)
2020-10-29
1,177(+0.34%) 35(=)
2020-10-30
1,177(=) 35(=)
2020-10-31
1,180(+0.25%) 35(=)
2020-11-01
1,180(=) 35(=)
2020-11-02
1,192(+1%) 35(=)
2020-11-03
1,202(+0.84%) 35(=)
2020-11-04
1,206(+0.33%) 35(=)
2020-11-05
1,207(+0.08%) 35(=)
2020-11-06
1,212(+0.41%) 35(=)
2020-11-07
1,213(+0.08%) 35(=)
2020-11-08
1,213(=) 35(=)
2020-11-09
1,215(+0.16%) 35(=)
2020-11-10
1,226(+0.91%) 35(=)
2020-11-11
1,252(+2.1%) 35(=)
2020-11-12
1,253(+0.08%) 35(=)
2020-11-13
1,256(+0.24%) 35(=)
2020-11-14
1,256(=) 35(=)
2020-11-15
1,281(+2%) 35(=)
2020-11-16
1,283(+0.16%) 35(=)
2020-11-17
1,288(+0.39%) 35(=)
2020-11-18
1,300(+0.93%) 35(=)
2020-11-19
1,304(+0.31%) 35(=)
2020-11-20
1,305(+0.08%) 35(=)
2020-11-21
1,306(+0.08%) 35(=)
2020-11-22
1,307(+0.08%) 35(=)
2020-11-23
1,312(+0.38%) 35(=)
2020-11-24
1,316(+0.3%) 35(=)
2020-11-25
1,321(+0.38%) 35(=)
2020-11-26
1,331(+0.76%) 35(=)
2020-11-27
1,339(+0.6%) 35(=)
2020-11-28
1,341(+0.15%) 35(=)
2020-11-29
1,343(+0.15%) 35(=)
2020-11-30
1,346(+0.22%) 35(=)
2020-12-01
1,351(+0.37%) 35(=)
2020-12-02
1,358(+0.52%) 35(=)
2020-12-03
1,361(+0.22%) 35(=)
2020-12-04
1,361(=) 35(=)
2020-12-05
1,365(+0.29%) 35(=)
2020-12-06
1,366(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-07
1,367(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-08
1,377(+0.73%) 35(=)
2020-12-09
1,381(+0.29%) 35(=)
2020-12-10
1,385(+0.29%) 35(=)
2020-12-11
1,391(+0.43%) 35(=)
2020-12-12
1,395(+0.29%) 35(=)
2020-12-13
1,397(+0.14%) 35(=)
2020-12-14
1,402(+0.36%) 35(=)
2020-12-15
1,405(+0.21%) 35(=)
2020-12-16
1,405(=) 35(=)
2020-12-17
1,407(+0.14%) 35(=)
2020-12-18
1,410(+0.21%) 35(=)
2020-12-19
1,411(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-20
1,413(+0.14%) 35(=)
2020-12-21
1,414(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-22
1,420(+0.42%) 35(=)
2020-12-23
1,421(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-24
1,433(+0.84%) 35(=)
2020-12-25
1,439(+0.42%) 35(=)
2020-12-26
1,440(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-27
1,441(+0.07%) 35(=)
2020-12-28
1,451(+0.69%) 35(=)
2020-12-29
1,454(+0.21%) 35(=)
2020-12-30
1,456(+0.14%) 35(=)
2020-12-31
1,465(+0.62%) 35(=)
2021-01-01
1,474(+0.61%) 35(=)
2021-01-02
1,482(+0.54%) 35(=)
2021-01-03
1,492(+0.67%) 35(=)
2021-01-04
1,497(+0.34%) 35(=)
2021-01-05
1,504(+0.47%) 35(=)
2021-01-06
1,505(+0.07%) 35(=)
2021-01-07
1,509(+0.27%) 35(=)
2021-01-08
1,512(+0.2%) 35(=)
2021-01-09
1,513(+0.07%) 35(=)
2021-01-10
1,514(+0.07%) 35(=)
2021-01-11
1,515(+0.07%) 35(=)
2021-01-12
1,520(+0.33%) 35(=)
2021-01-13
1,521(+0.07%) 35(=)
2021-01-14
1,531(+0.66%) 35(=)
2021-01-15
1,536(+0.33%) 35(=)
2021-01-16
1,537(+0.07%) 35(=)
2021-01-17
1,537(=) 35(=)
2021-01-18
1,539(+0.13%) 35(=)
2021-01-19
1,540(+0.06%) 35(=)
2021-01-20
1,544(+0.26%) 35(=)
2021-01-21
1,546(+0.13%) 35(=)
2021-01-22
1,548(+0.13%) 35(=)
2021-01-23
1,548(=) 35(=)
2021-01-24
1,548(=) 35(=)
2021-01-25
1,549(+0.06%) 35(=)
2021-01-26
1,551(+0.13%) 35(=)
2021-01-27
1,551(=) 35(=)
2021-01-28
1,642(+5.9%) 35(=)
2021-01-29
1,705(+3.8%) 35(=)
2021-01-30
1,767(+3.6%) 35(=)
2021-01-31
1,817(+2.8%) 35(=)
2021-02-01
1,850(+1.8%) 35(=)
2021-02-02
1,882(+1.7%) 35(=)
2021-02-03
1,911(+1.5%) 35(=)
2021-02-04
1,957(+2.4%) 35(=)
2021-02-05
1,976(+0.97%) 35(=)
2021-02-06
1,981(+0.25%) 35(=)
2021-02-07
2,001(+1%) 35(=)
2021-02-08
2,050(+2.4%) 35(=)
2021-02-09
2,069(+0.93%) 35(=)
2021-02-10
2,091(+1.1%) 35(=)
2021-02-11
2,140(+2.3%) 35(=)
2021-02-12
2,142(+0.09%) 35(=)
2021-02-13
2,195(+2.5%) 35(=)
2021-02-14
2,228(+1.5%) 35(=)
2021-02-15
2,269(+1.8%) 35(=)
2021-02-16
2,311(+1.9%) 35(=)
2021-02-17
2,329(+0.78%) 35(=)
2021-02-18
2,347(+0.77%) 35(=)
2021-02-19
2,362(+0.64%) 35(=)
2021-02-20
2,368(+0.25%) 35(=)
2021-02-21
2,383(+0.63%) 35(=)
2021-02-22
2,392(+0.38%) 35(=)
2021-02-23
2,401(+0.38%) 35(=)
2021-02-24
2,412(+0.46%) 35(=)
2021-02-25
2,420(+0.33%) 35(=)
2021-02-26
2,426(+0.25%) 35(=)
2021-02-27
2,432(+0.25%) 35(=)
2021-02-28
2,448(+0.66%) 35(=)
2021-03-01
2,461(+0.53%) 35(=)
2021-03-02
2,472(+0.45%) 35(=)
2021-03-03
2,482(+0.4%) 35(=)
2021-03-04
2,488(+0.24%) 35(=)
2021-03-05
2,494(+0.24%) 35(=)
2021-03-06
2,507(+0.52%) 35(=)
2021-03-07
2,512(+0.2%) 35(=)
2021-03-08
2,524(+0.48%) 35(=)
2021-03-09
2,526(+0.08%) 35(=)
2021-03-10
2,529(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-11
2,533(+0.16%) 35(=)
2021-03-12
2,550(+0.67%) 35(=)
2021-03-13
2,553(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-14
2,554(+0.04%) 35(=)
2021-03-15
2,557(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-16
2,560(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-17
2,567(+0.27%) 35(=)
2021-03-18
2,570(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-19
2,571(+0.04%) 35(=)
2021-03-20
2,572(+0.04%) 35(=)
2021-03-21
2,572(=) 35(=)
2021-03-22
2,575(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-23
2,576(+0.04%) 35(=)
2021-03-24
2,576(=) 35(=)
2021-03-25
2,579(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-26
2,586(+0.27%) 35(=)
2021-03-27
2,586(=) 35(=)
2021-03-28
2,591(+0.19%) 35(=)
2021-03-29
2,594(+0.12%) 35(=)
2021-03-30
2,594(=) 35(=)
2021-03-31
2,603(+0.35%) 35(=)
2021-04-01
2,617(+0.54%) 35(=)
2021-04-02
2,620(+0.11%) 35(=)
2021-04-03
2,626(+0.23%) 35(=)
2021-04-04
2,631(+0.19%) 35(=)
2021-04-05
2,637(+0.23%) 35(=)
2021-04-06
2,648(+0.42%) 35(=)
2021-04-07
2,659(+0.42%) 35(=)
2021-04-08
2,668(+0.34%) 35(=)
2021-04-09
2,683(+0.56%) 35(=)
2021-04-10
2,692(+0.34%) 35(=)
2021-04-11
2,693(+0.04%) 35(=)
2021-04-12
2,705(+0.45%) 35(=)
2021-04-13
2,714(+0.33%) 35(=)
2021-04-14
2,733(+0.7%) 35(=)
2021-04-15
2,758(+0.91%) 35(=)
2021-04-16
2,772(+0.51%) 35(=)
2021-04-17
2,781(+0.32%) 35(=)
2021-04-18
2,784(+0.11%) 35(=)
2021-04-19
2,791(+0.25%) 35(=)
2021-04-20
2,801(+0.36%) 35(=)
2021-04-21
2,806(+0.18%) 35(=)
2021-04-22
2,816(+0.36%) 35(=)
2021-04-23
2,830(+0.5%) 35(=)
2021-04-24
2,833(+0.11%) 35(=)
2021-04-25
2,843(+0.35%) 35(=)
2021-04-26
2,852(+0.32%) 35(=)
2021-04-27
2,857(+0.18%) 35(=)
2021-04-28
2,865(+0.28%) 35(=)
2021-04-29
2,910(+1.6%) 35(=)
2021-04-30
2,928(+0.62%) 35(=)
2021-05-01
2,942(+0.48%) 35(=)
2021-05-02
2,962(+0.68%) 35(=)
2021-05-03
2,981(+0.64%) 35(=)
2021-05-04
2,996(+0.5%) 35(=)
2021-05-05
3,022(+0.87%) 35(=)
2021-05-06
3,090(+2.3%) 35(=)
2021-05-07
3,137(+1.5%) 35(=)
2021-05-08
3,230(+3%) 35(=)
2021-05-09
3,332(+3.2%) 35(=)
2021-05-10
3,461(+3.9%) 35(=)
2021-05-11
3,537(+2.2%) 35(=)
2021-05-12
3,623(+2.4%) 35(=)
2021-05-13
3,710(+2.4%) 35(=)
2021-05-14
3,816(+2.9%) 35(=)
2021-05-15
3,985(+4.4%) 36(+2.9%)
2021-05-16
4,175(+4.8%) 36(=)
2021-05-17
4,359(+4.4%) 37(+2.8%)
Sources:
Ministry of Health of Vietnam (Chart from Vietnam Ministry of Health)

OverviewEdit

The first two confirmed cases in Vietnam were admitted to Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, on 22 January 2020. They were a Chinese man, born in 1954, and his son; the former had flown to Hanoi from Wuhan to visit his son who was believed to have contracted the virus from his father when they met in Nha Trang on 17 January.[5][50][51] The first cluster also appeared in Son Loi Commune, Bình Xuyên District, Vĩnh Phúc after a few workers returned from a business trip in Wuhan and infected other people in close contact with them.[6] The Vietnamese government immediately locked down Bình Xuyên District until 4 March 2020 to prevent the disease from spreading all over the country.[52] Having known cases early is one of the main reasons why Vietnam was successful in fighting the virus. For the first 16 cases of the disease, the medical staff had to treat different types of patients, including infants, the elderly and people with underlying conditions. This is like "an exercises" for the Vietnamese medical system in order to prepare and study the new virus.[53]

When the pandemic spreads across the globe, the coronavirus cases in the country also surged, and on the evening of 6 March, Hanoi Department of Health confirmed the first case in the capital, a 26-year-old woman who had travelled to Europe. This is the 17th case in Vietnam.[54] On the afternoon of 20 March, the Ministry of Health announced 2 new COVID-19 patients, the 86th and 87th, who were two female nurses at Bạch Mai Hospital with no history of contact with any COVID-19 patients.[55] In March and April 2020, the number of cases increased rapidly due to the large number of people coming from European countries and the appearance of clusters such as Bạch Mai Hospital, Ha Loi Commune in Hanoi and Buddha Bar in Ho Chi Minh City.[56][57][58]

After 21 March 2020, Vietnam suspended entry for all foreigners from midnight of 22 March, and introduced concentrated isolation for 14 days in all cases of entry for Vietnamese citizens.[59] From 1 April, Vietnam implemented nationwide isolation for 15 days.[60] On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc announced the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19.[61] The drastic epidemic control measures had positive results and the country did not confirm any cases of local transmission from mid-April to the end of July.[62] Vietnam began loosening restrictions in May, including resuming domestic travel across the country.[15]

The country entered second wave of infection when the Ministry of Health announced the 416th case in Da Nang, which was the first case with an unknown source of infection in 99 days.[63][64] On 28 July, the Da Nang authorities immediately locked down the city for 15 days.[65] Hundreds of cases across the country with epidemiological factors related to Da Nang were furthermore detected,[66] and the first death was also recorded on 31 July.[7][67][68] After two months, by using the same strategies that have been used in the first outbreak, Vietnam has successfully contained the disease for the second time and has resumed almost all economic activities, including international commercial flights.[69][70] Sporadic community infections continue during November and December, causing public scare and heightened measures.[71][72]

The third wave of infection began on 28 January 2021, when Vietnam recorded an additional 84 community transmission cases within a single day in Hải Dương and Quảng Ninh provinces. Most of these are related to a single Hải Dương migrant worker, who was diagnosed with the UK coronavirus variant by Japanese authorities after arriving in Osaka on 17 January.[73] Initially, the government only quarantine the areas directly related to the infected people to limit the economic impact. But after half a month the number of cases still showed no signs of stopping, so on 15 February, entire province of Hải Dương was locked down for 15 days while Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City stopped all entertainment activities.[74][75] This is the most serious outbreak happened since the beginning of the pandemic due to slow tracing process, mismanagement in quarantine facilities and people starting to ignore lockdown rules after long period of restrictions.[76][77] On 7 March 2021, the situation in northern provinces appears to have been largely brought under control when number of new cases fell to single digits. Along with that, Vietnam started its mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign on the next day.[78][79]

In the end of April and May 2021, Vietnam experienced "a fast-spreading outbreak" of a few hunders cases, mainly related to one patient in Hà Nam who had returned from abroad and a group of Chinese experts who had visited many different places before testing positive for the coronavirus. In addition, the authorities also discovered cases with untraceable source of infection. One of the main reasons for this outbreak is a four-day holiday for Reunification Day and International Workers' Day, which saw many vacation destinations packed with travelers.[80][81][82][83] Clusters have been found in various health care institutions with at least eight hospitals locked down.[84]

Medical responsesEdit

Drug therapy and vaccine developmentEdit

 
SARS-CoV-2 viruses under microscope. These are isolated from a patient in the U.S.
 
Number of vaccine doses by locality (as of 27 April 2021):
  <10,000
  10,000-100,000
  100,001-500,000
  500,001-1 million
  >1 million

On 7 February 2020, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi announced that it had successfully cultured and isolated the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the lab, the fourth country to do so. The achievement would allow quicker test results for nCoV, meaning thousands of samples could be tested a day, said the institute.[85] It would also serve as a basis for the development of a vaccine against the virus. Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Quynh Mai, Deputy Director of National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said the virus causing COVID-19 has evolved into many branches. Three branches have been recorded in the world. Vietnam recorded and isolated two different virus branches, one from patients returning from Wuhan in February and the other from patients returning from Europe in March.[86][87]

In May 2020, Vietnam declared that their COVID-19 vaccine was developed after scientists successfully generated the novel coronavirus antigen in the lab. The vaccine has been developed by collaborating scientists at VABIOTECH in Hanoi and the Bristol University, it will be tested further in animals and evaluated for safety and effectiveness before a manufacturing process is embarked on. According to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, it will take at least 12–18 months to develop vaccine that can work safely on human.[88][89] During the testing phase, researchers experimented by injecting the mice in many ways and administering multiple antigen doses, with some mice injected with one or two doses of 3-10 micrograms each. After 10 days, 50 mice were in good health and being closely monitored for immune responses. After gaining positive results with immune response and antibody production, the trial vaccine would be developed into a complete and stable version qualified to be used on humans. The research team would also develop commercial production procedures for mass-production, including up to tens of millions of units.[90][91] In October 2020, the Vabiotech COVID-19 vaccine has been tested on 12 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in an island off the northern Quang Ninh province.[92] The macaques are aged 3–5, weighing more than three kilograms each, and not infected with contagious diseases like tuberculosis or the HIV virus. Before being injected with the vaccine, they had their body temperatures, blood and swab samples taken and were kept separately in cages. They will be tested in two periods. In each period, they will be divided into two groups, with one being vaccinated and the other not. After that, they will be monitored daily on separate islands, before their blood samples are taken for further analysis. The testing will follow a similar model that maybe later performed on humans. The animals will be injected two shots of the vaccine, 18 to 21 days apart. A month after the second shot, researchers will assess the monkeys' immune response to see the difference between the injected group and the non-injected group.[93] The result of these trials will be presented before the health ministry's ethical board within the following four months if experiments show the vaccine does produce effective immunogenicity and provide effective protection against COVID-19. It will be a foundation for the next stage for testing the vaccine on humans.[94][95]

Vietnam currently has four COVID-19 vaccines produced by Nanogen, Vabiotech, Polyvac and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) currently under research. The health ministry has assessed the Nanocovax vaccine produced by Nanogen is the most promising, having been successfully produced it on a laboratory scale and provoked immunogenicity during animal testing. IVAC and Vabiotech have completed their laboratory-scale production process and are evaluating the safety and immunity of their vaccines on animals.[96] On 7 December, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology announced the Nanocovax test results on hamsters. The hamsters were vaccinated and then exposed to the novel coronavirus for 14 days. They were not infected and results from lung fluid tests also showed they were negative for the virus. Meanwhile, mice that were not vaccinated tested positive for the novel coronavirus and showed signs of fatigue.[97] On 17 December 2020, Nanogen commenced human trials of Nanocovax vaccine.[98][99] On 26 February 2021, the pharmaceutical company began second phase trials in two places, Hanoi and southern Long An province.[100] On 25 March, 26 volunteers receiving the first jabs in phase II between 26 February and 10 March were given the second shots of the Nanocovax vaccine. Some volunteers experienced side effects around the injection site, yet did not require medical intervention.[101] Results of the trial will be issued in May 2021 before preparing for the third-stage trial, giving the vaccine to between 10,000 and 30,000 people to test for efficacy and safety.[102] Nanocovax vaccine may be ready to deliver to the general public in the second half of 2021, if efficacy is shown.[103] If the government goes ahead with the emergency decision, it may be rolled out in May, a Nanogen official told Nikkei Asia.[102] On 26 March, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Phạm Công Tạc and Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam received the second dose of the Nanocovax COVID-19 vaccine.[104][105]

On 21 January, the second Vietnam produced COVID-19 vaccine (COVIVAC) by Institute of Vaccine and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) has entered a human-clinical trial, nearly two months ahead of schedule. COVIVAC vaccine has been studied by IVAC since May 2020, has carried out pre-clinical trials in India, US and Vietnam, the results show safety and efficacy in experiment, fully meeting the conditions for conducting research with humans participants. The vaccine stability evaluation was conducted at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.[106] On 15 March 2021, six volunteers were injected with the COVIVAC vaccine, at the Hà Nội Medical University. The COVIVAC is a liquid vaccine with or without adjuvants, without preservatives, with the production technology of Newcastle vector vaccine, based on production technology on chicken eggs with embryos.[107]

Vaccination programmeEdit


Vietnam vaccinations line chart

Vietnam vaccinations bar graph

Vaccination (as of 17 May 2021)
Doses administered[26] 979,238
+2,206
Total population [108] 97,580,000
At least one dose Per 100 people Fully vaccinated
956,677 1.004

   

22,561


 
The handover ceremony of COVID-19 vaccine for Vietnam from COVAX Facility in 2021.

117,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Ho Chi Minh City on 24 February.[109] On 16 March, Vietnam received 1,000 doses of Sputnik V from Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.[110] The first batch of vaccines sourced via Covax mechanism, containing 811,200 doses, arrived in Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport on 1 April 2021.[111] Vietnam received the second shipment of vaccines sourced via COVAX, containing nearly 1.7 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses on 16 May 2021.[112][113] It expected that a total of 110 million doses would be available by the end of 2021.[27]

Vietnam's COVID-19 vaccination programme began on 8 March 2021, administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to medical workers in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hải Dương province.[25] This is the country's ever-largest immunization campaign with over 110 million doses.[114][27] The country is expected to reach its vaccination coverage target of 80% in June 2022.[115] Although Vietnam is a success story in disease prevention and has kept outbreaks under control, the country's COVID-19 vaccination program is considered to be slower than other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.[116][117] As of 16 May 2021, a total of 979,238 administered vaccination doses have been reported.[26]

On 7 May 2021, Vietnam recorded first death after administered AstraZeneca vaccine. She was a 35-year-old medical staff in An Giang Province.[118][119]

TreatmentEdit

From the experiences gained from the SARS outbreak in 2003, Vietnam has been proactive in treating COVID-19 patients. Accordingly, the key method is to create a well-ventilated environment, do not use air conditioning and regularly disinfect. In addition, the treatment of clinical symptoms combined with physiotherapy and appropriate nutrition and psychological stability also greatly contributes.[120][121]

According to the Vietnam Ministry of Health, specific antiretroviral therapy will also be considered when sufficient evidence of effectiveness is available. To leave the hospital, patients need to have two consecutive negative samples of COVID-19 (both pharyngeal and pharyngeal fluid), taken at least 24 hours/test. After leaving the hospital, the patient must continue to isolate at home for another 14 days. The patient should be in a well-ventilated private room wearing mask, washing hand everyday, limiting contact with other family members and not to go out. Monitor body temperature twice per day, check again immediately if fever or other abnormal signs.[122]

During the second wave in Da Nang, the treatment regimen used in Vietnam underwent many improvements. Compared to the beginning of 2020, patients mainly treated by their symptoms and medical staffs will try to improve their condition, while in the new regimen, antiviral drugs proved more effective for COVID-19 patients. Specifically, Lopinavir, Ritonavir and Interferon have been used effectively by Vietnam, with patients becoming virus free after 7 days of use. The method of extracting plasma from cured people to treat severe cases is also being considered as an alternative to antiviral drugs. The malaria drugs Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine are no longer used for treatment.[123][124]

Doctors have been studying plasma therapy for COVID-19 treatment since April 2020 and the Hanoi National Hospital for Tropical Diseases still continues to select plasma donors. However, no patient in the country has been treated with this method. Dr. Nguyen Trung Cap, deputy director of the Hanoi National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, explained that plasma therapy is based on the principle of using antibodies already in cured individuals to supporting the treatment of newly infected patient. Antibodies can help reduce the amount of virus in the body of the sick person, thereby reducing the severity of the disease. Plasma can be very effective in treating many diseases, but with COVID-19 the benefits are still limited. During the first week of illness, the amount of virus in the patient's body is very high but most of them only experiencing mild symptoms. Therefore, it is not appropriate to administer plasma from the cured to the new patient. Severe symptoms usually occurs from the second week of illness due to an excessive immune response. However, in many patients the amount of virus in their body has decreased, the use of plasma is not much value. In addition, shortly after the patient has recovered from COVID-19, the amount of antibodies in the plasma decreases quite rapidly, so the benefit of the blood plasma is reduced in the treatment of the disease. Plasma transfusion also has a mechanism similar to blood transfusion, this therapy may contain similar side effects like fluid overload, acute hemolytic transfusion reaction or allergic transfusion reaction when transfusing the wrong blood type.[125]

In October 2020, the scientists at the Medical Genetics Institute, the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control (HCDC) and Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University are planning to sequence the genomes of novel coronavirus to understand how it affects people with different genetic makeups and possibly identify genes sensitive to the virus for better treatment method. In the first stage of the research, twenty recovered patients would have their genes sequenced with the help of HCDC.[126]

New virus strainEdit

The newly acquired COVID-19 strain that entered Vietnam in the second wave has a mutation which increases the infection rates, leading to a high number of cases in a second wave. Nguyen Thanh Long, Minister of Health, said that this new strain was imported from outside of Vietnam. The epidemic may already have started in early July. Until August, Da Nang has gone through 4 cycles of infection.[127][128]

The basic reproduction number (R0) in the second wave was 5 to 6, while in April this was only from 1.8 to 2.2. The rate of positive results of people who had indirect contact with COVID-19 patients are also higher than in the previous wave. Scientists point out that this strain of the virus is aggressive and capable of causing a transition to a serious condition more quickly. The health ministry sent the best experts to Da Nang to help the city contain the spread of the infection and to quickly identify the source of the infection. They also submitted the new strain's data to a world gene bank for comparison. On 4 August, the Ministry of Health confirmed that the strain of coronavirus in Vietnam in the second wave is D614G, also the dominant mutation wreaking havoc across the globe.[129] A study published by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico asserts that patients infected by that mutation actually have more virus in their bodies, making them more likely to spread it to others.[130][131][132]

As of 17 May 2021, Vietnam recorded at least seven coronavirus strains: the original Wuhan variant, the UK variant (Lineage B.1.1.7), Indian variant, South African variant, A.23.1 from Rwanda, CAL.20C variant and D614G coronavirus mutation.[133][134][135]

RelapseEdit

 
A Nha Trang CDC's laboratorian taking COVID-19 sample in July 2020.

Many COVID-19 cases in Vietnam have reported positive tests after they were deemed to have recovered from the disease. This also happened in other countries such as United States, South Korea and China. Dr. Oh Myoung-don, head of South Korea Central Clinical Committee for Emerging Disease Control rejected the possibility of "reinfection", assuming that the patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus, most likely due to "the testing kit collected RNA from the dead virus fragments, these may remain in the body for months".[136][137]

Vietnam Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long also agreed with the above opinion, saying that maybe the patient has not fully recovered during the treatment process so the virus has not been completely eliminated and still exists in the body, especially in lung mucous cells.[138]

In April 2021, the Ministry of Health decided to shorten isolation time at home to 7 days because it did not record community infections from relapse cases. Previously, Vietnam forced concentrated quarantine from immigrants for 14 days in the isolation camp and 14 days at home.[139]

TestingEdit

On 30 January 2020, the Ministry of Science and Technology had a meeting with medical experts to propose solutions to contain and mitigate COVID-19.[140] In the meeting, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Phạm Công Tạc urged virologists to accelerate the development of diagnostic tests.[141] Starting in early February, publicly funded institutions in Vietnam developed at least four locally made COVID-19 tests that were validated by the Ministry of Defense and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. Subsequently, private companies including Viet A and Thai Duong offered capacity to manufacture the test kits. Most confirmation laboratories where these tests are analyzed use in-house versions of WHO protocol, allowing tests to be widely administered without long wait times.[15]

Early February 2020, a research team in Institute of Biotechnology and Food Technology (Hanoi University of Science and Technology) just announced they had successful developed test kits utilizing the RT-LAMP technology with testing time of 70 minutes.[142] On 3 March, leader of the research team – Assoc. Prof. Dong Van Quyen, Deputy Director of the Institute of Biotechnology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, announced that they had completed the research and development of a SARS-CoV-2 detection kit, based on RT-PCR and realtime RT-PCR. Two days later, the Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology announced the result of researching and manufacturing a biological kit to detect novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) conducted by Military Medical Academy, commercialized by Viet A Technology JSC.[143]

The kit has been tested for sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and repeatability at the lab of Viet A Technology JSC. and Vietnam Military Medical Academy. The results show that the criteria are equivalent to the kit produced by the CDC and the World Health Organization. Independent testing at the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, evaluating on patient samples, compatible with 5 types of common devices in medical facilities in the country, gave 100% accurate results in all of the tests. The kit detection time is about 2 hours.[144][145] After being licensed by the Ministry of Health, 20 countries have ordered the test kit. The first four countries to receive kits will be Malaysia, Iran, Finland and Ukraine, as of 17 March 2020.[146]

In August 2020, the Ministry of Health approved the use of GeneXpert, a type of test that has been used by the Vietnam tuberculosis prevention network since 2012, for COVID-19 testing. According to Nguyễn Viết Nhung, director of the National Lung Hospital in Hanoi, the test is similar to RT-PCR, gives accurate results within 35–45 minutes for both COVID-19 and tuberculosis and could work automatically.[147] Plans are underway to further expand the use of GeneXpert using 14,000 GeneXpert COVID-19 cartridges in 42-46 lung hospitals around the country.[148] As of April 2021, Vietnam has 169 laboratories capable of testing for COVID-19 using RT-PCR. The maximum capacity in the country remains at 62,593 tests per day. Health officials are currently preparing to extend testing capacity to more hospital laboratories including provincial and military hospitals, with further training ongoing, for preparedness in case of future widespread transmission.[149][150] During the outbreak in Hải Dương, instead of mass testing on every person in the infected area, the authorities using different strategies including targeted testing of higher risk groups as well as random testing of households and inpatients. Testing capacity also can be increased with guidance issued on pooling of lower risk specimens, up to 10 specimens at most.[151]

Government responseEdit

Coronavirus pandemic waves in Vietnam[152]
Wave Time Outbreak length No. of community cases Peak Description
1
23 January–16 April 2020
85 days
100
30 March 2020 The first cases discovered in Ho Chi Minh City from two people from Wuhan (China), the disease then spread in other 13 locality.
2
25 July–1 December 2020
129 days
554
31 July 2020 The epicenter was in Da Nang, the source of infection may from Hospital C in the city.
3
28 January–25 March 2021
57 days
910
31 January 2021 This outbreak started in Hai Duong from a person was found positive after entering Japan, and the true source of the infection is unknown. The epicenter was in Hai Duong, this local accounting for nearly 80% of the total number of cases.
4
27 April 2021–ongoing
Ongoing
458
Unknown Many small outbreaks, most of which unrelated to each other, were discovered in many localities. This epidemic occurred due to viral virus strain from the UK and India. Those strains has the ability to spread faster than the original virus from Wuhan.
From top to bottom: Vũ Đức Đam, head of Vietnam National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control[153] and Dr. Nguyễn Thanh Long, Vietnam's Minister of Health during the pandemic.

Vietnam has prepared for the epidemic as early as the very first case in China emerged, around mid-December 2019. Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ordered measures to prevent and counter the spread of the disease into Vietnam,[154] as well as to warn Vietnamese citizens to avoid visiting areas with outbreaks.[155] Deputy Minister Đỗ Xuân Tuyên said that Vietnam is considering closing the border with China as a necessary countermeasure.[156] According to Kidong Park, World Health Organization representative to Vietnam, the first risk assessment exercise was conducted by the Vietnamese in early January – soon after cases in China started being reported.[12] On 3 January 2020, the day before the WHO said there was a cluster of cases in Wuhan, Vietnam tightened control at the Vietnam-China border.[157][158] On 11 January 2020, after China reported the first coronavirus death, Vietnam implemented health checks at airports.[159][160] All visitors had their body temperatures measured, and those with a fever, cough, chest pain or breathing difficulties were isolated for testing. Confirmed cases, fellow passengers and crew and all their contacts were quarantined for 14 days.[161] The Ministry of Health held a meeting with the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as early as 15 January, weeks before many other countries even started strategizing.[160][162] These combined efforts of quick action and effective testing helped slow the spread of the virus in its earliest stages.[161] Regional COVID-19 prevention task forces were established, and these groups were prepared for deployment by the Ministry of Health to provincial treatment sites. In view of an assumed increased infection risk among medical staff as had been seen during the SARS outbreak, personal protective equipment was stockpiled, and infection control measures were heightened at hospitals. On 16 January, the government issued a diagnostic and management guidelines for COVID-19, providing instructions on contact tracing and 14-day isolation.[163] On 22 January, health authorities began monitoring body temperatures at border gates and started detection and contact tracing, with orders for the mandatory isolation of infected people and anyone they had come into contact with.[164] On 23 January, Vietnam confirmed its first case. Shortly afterward, the Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ramped up Vietnam's response by issuing an urgent document to ministries, provinces, and broadcasting agencies addressing the dangerousness of the virus and the need for measures to prevent local transmission.[165] On 24 January, just one day after the first cases, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam ordered the cancellation of all flights from and to Wuhan.[166][167][44] As Vietnam celebrated the Tết holiday, the Prime Minister declared war on the coronavirus. "Fighting this epidemic is like fighting the enemy", he said at an urgent Communist Party meeting on 27 January.[44] On 31 January, infectious disease expert Nguyễn Thanh Long was appointed as deputy Minister of Health and later as Minister of Health, he served as one of the main government advisors regarding the pandemic.[168] On the same day, Vietnam implemented stricter measures, suspending inbound and outbound flights related to the epicenters in China, restricting tourists, dosing train connection, and suggested people suspend trade and other exchange activities between the two countries. Such a decision to limit cross-border transactions with China indicated the extent of the government's commitment to prioritizing public health.[45] In January, the government also issued the first National Response Plan and assembled the National Steering Committee (NSC). The committee, led by Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam with representation from 14 ministries and sectors, the National Assembly, media, and information technology companies will command and control the country COVID-19 response.[169] Vietnam also has 63 provincial health departments, an approximately 600 district health centers and more than 11,000 primary health stations. While hospitals provide medical care for COVID-19 patients, the primary health stations are responsible for prevention activities and total support for hospitals. In fact, an approximately 97,000 health officers at community level in these sections serve as the workers to provide information, advice, guidance, and isolation facilities if needed.[170]

In February 2020, Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training suspended all school activities across the country until the end of March as part of quarantine measures against the spreading of the virus, and later extended this till the middle of April until further notice.[171] Aggressive measures were also taken to combat possible outbreaks, from 14 days quarantine to restriction of outdoor activities (some sources believe it was more than 20 to 40 days under quarantine),[172] the Vietnam People's Armed Forces also takes part on patrolling and controlling measures.[173] Sixty-eight military camps with a capacity of 40,000 people were set up to receive people ordered into quarantine.[174] On 9 February, the Ministry of Health held a teleconference with the WHO and 700 hospitals at all levels nationwide to disseminate information on nCoV prevention and launched a website to disseminate information to the wider public.[175][176] The first case of mass quarantine in Vietnam took place on February 12 in Sơn Lôi, Vĩnh Phúc, an community of 10,000 people for 20 days over seven coronavirus cases – the first large-scale lockdown known outside China.[44] Aggressive preventive action enabled Vietnam to contain the outbreak, with only 16 cases, all recovered, by the end of February.[176][177]

On the night of 6 March, when the 17th case was reported in Hanoi, the city held an urgent meeting, then coordinated with related ministries — including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of Transportation — to prevent the virus from spreading to the community. Thanks to this effective coordination, public health measures such as aggressive contact tracing, mandatory quarantine, and sterilization of surfaces were taken immediately, which enabled the government to stop community transmission and lift the large-scale lockdown still common in many Southeast Asian nations at that time.[178] On March 7, Hanoi locked down Bach Truc Street, where the patient resided along with 66 households and 189 people. The quarantine was lifted on March 20 after no new cases were reported after testing.[176] Imported cases from Europe motivated the government to intensify its border control measures, reducing international flights, suspending visa waiver for certain European countries.[179][180]

When the Bạch Mai Hospital in Hanoi became a coronavirus hotspot with dozens of cases in late March, the authorities imposed a lockdown on the facility and tracked down nearly 100,000 people related to the hospital, including medics, patients, visitors and their close contacts.[44]

April nationwide isolationEdit

 
After the Vietnamese government ordered a nationwide isolation, many public areas such as schools and restaurants had to be closed until 15 April 2020.[181]

On 31 March 2020, Vietnamese government ordered a nationwide isolation of 15 days from 1 to 15 April.[181] From 16 April, local airlines could raise the number of domestic flights, which were subsequently further increased on 23 April and again on 29 April.[182][183][184]

On 23 April 2020, Vietnamese government lifted social isolation rule, subsequently allowing re-opening of non-essential services including restaurants. On the same day, schools across the country could be re-opened, with dates varying per each province and city case.[185]

Everyone who enters Vietnam from abroad, however, continued to be quarantined upon arrival for 14 days. From 23 April, plans for repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens abroad back to Vietnam were re-newed, with an initial plan for 13 flights.[183] Among the flights conducted was notably the first-ever direct flight in history operated by Vietnam Airlines from Vietnam to the United States on 7 May.[186]

From 9 May, cinemas were reopened.[187] On 11 May, Vietnamese government started a nationwide tourism campaign, named 'Vietnamese travel Vietnam', to increase domestic demand for travelling and promote domestic tourism.[187]

Lockdown of Da NangEdit

 
Two Da Nang medical workers wearing protective suits before performing COVID test.

In late-July, Vietnam was placed on high alert after the government confirmed dozens of community infections, the first since April, all in or around Da Nang.[188]

On 27 July, the government made the drastic decision to begin evacuating 80,000 people from Da Nang, a process it said would take four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Da Nang to 11 cities around the country.[189]

On the same day, the Da Nang Municipal People's Committee announced restrictions applicable for 15 days, starting from 28 July. Six districts in quarantine area include: Hai Chau, Thanh Khe, Son Tra, Ngu Hanh Son, Cam Le, and Lien Chieu District with more than one million people requested to stay at home and only go out in case of extreme necessity such as buying food, medicine,seeking essential goods and services, and medical emergencies. All educational and non-essential services in the city was closed. Face masks were mandated in public and people were ordered to frequently wash their hands with soap or alcoholic sanitisers. Gatherings of more than two people in public are disallowed and maintenance of a minimum distance of 2 meters is required. All types of public transport were halted and personal vehicles were heavily restricted. The Da Nang Department of Health was asked to promptly organize epidemiological investigation, contact-tracing in areas related to the confirmed cases, and massive testing to early detect infection sources and high-risk cases.[190][191]

The rural district of Hoa Vang was the last district to be quarantined, starts from 13:00, 28 July 2020.[192][193] On 31 July, the neighboring city of Hội An were also placed under quarantine for 15 days after at least 4 people tested positive with COVID-19.[194][195]

The authorities also decided to lockdown four hospitals: Da Nang C Hospital, Da Nang Hospital, Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital and Hoan My Hospital where the patients visited just before they were confirmed positive for COVID-19.[196][197]

According to the regulation of the Ministry of Transport issued on 27 July to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic:[198]

After the midnight of 28 July 2020, Da Nang International Airport will be temporarily closed. All public vehicles such as tourist buses, taxis, public buses in the area of Da Nang must stop operating, except for government vehicles, emergency vehicles and any vehicles transporting necessities. Any car traveling through Da Nang cannot stop to pick up passengers in the city.

Vietnam Railways has been instructed to suspend the operation of passenger trains to and from Da Nang station. North–South trains are still operating normally on the route but do not stop when entering the city area. Passenger boats and ferry services originating from Da Nang are also prohibited. Aircraft, ships and vehicles transporting cargo are not affected by this regulation.

On 12 August, Da Nang has decided to continue social distancing for another two weeks when the number of cases in the community still shows no signs of stopping. The local government also issued "shopping coupons" for residents, each family will be given five coupons to use within 15 days, in order to prevent large gatherings at markets.[199]

Da Nang is an example [of the importance] of human resources, medical facility. Despite many efforts but the central government still have to total mobilize to support. If an epidemic occurs in a mountainous province it will be even more difficult. Must be determined that from now on there will be no time of peace, but the readiness for an outbreak.

— Nguyen Thanh Long, the Acting Minister of Health[200]

Field hospitalEdit

 
Tien Son Sport Center before its conversion into COVID field hospital.

On 31 July 2020, the Da Nang Party Committee announced that they will use Tien Son Sport Center in Hải Châu District as a temporary field hospital to help the city's hospitals cope with the rising number of COVID-19 patients in the area. The sport center covers a floor space of 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq ft) with a maximum capacity of 2,000 beds.[201] In the meeting, the committee also agreed to use the sports ground of the Da Nang Military Command to store necessities and medical equipment to support the prevention and control of the epidemic.[202] Mr. Huynh Duc Tho, Chairman of Da Nang People's Committee, stated that the situation of COVID-19 epidemic in the area was very dangerous and that drastic action and strong measures would be required to control the outbreak. The Party Committee tasked the city with urgently buying necessary medical equipment, including ECMO machines, ventilators, protective suits and medical masks.[203]

In January 2021, in response to COVID-19 outbreak in Hải Dương, two field hospitals with a combined capacity of 600 beds have been set up in northern Hải Dương province within 24 hours. The first one was built at the medical centre of Chi Linh city, and staffed by 45 doctors and about 70 nurses who can provide treatment for 200 patients. The second one converted from the Hải Dương Medical Technical University with 210 beds.[204]

Monitoring appsEdit

On 9 March, the health declaration application named NCOVI was officially launched. After installing NCOVI application on smartphones, people enter full personal information as required to start using. Based on the data submitted, the health system will know the cases that need attention to ensure the fastest and most effective medical assistance.[176][205]

In April, Vietnamese cyber security firm Bkav launched Bluezone, an application that uses Bluetooth low energy positioning technology to detect people in close contact with infected people via smartphones quickly, and accurately. Smartphones with Bluezone installed can communicate with each other, record close contact at a distance of 2 meters, when and for how long to help users know and control patient contacts COVID-19. These app has drawn concerns about users information safety and their privacy. Gathering all citizens data in one place will make tracing disease easier and more efficient, but it also means that Bluezone, will know users contacted with whom, for how long, and when. From this information it can find out the social graph of the majority of people in the country.[206][207]

Public communication and propagandaEdit

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has communicated clearly with the public, setting up websites and telephone hotlines to update on the latest situations. The Ministry of Health also regularly sent out reminders to citizens via text messaging and apps during the crisis, as well as publishing extensive amounts of data and information about the outbreak.[17] Messages on preventive measures such as wearing of mask and physical distancing have been reinforced using infographics and audio-visual materials.[151][208] On a busy day, the national hotlines alone could receive 20,000 calls, not to count the hundreds of provincial and district-level hotlines.[44] Wartime loudspeakers are also used to urge people to stay vigilant.[10]

Vietnam is also relying on its propaganda apparatus to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central Propaganda Department is responsible for disseminating the propaganda through mass media.[209] Their efforts usually focus on the nationalism, successful measures by the government to control the pandemic, the steady improvement of the situation across the country and the advantages of the one-party political system in dealing with crisis. On the streets, public art in the style of Cold War-era propaganda posters has flourished, exalting nurses instead of guerrillas.[210] The government and local media outlets have used the phrase Cuộc chiến với Covid-19 (War against COVID-19) to illustrate the efforts and sacrifices required to contain the pandemic.[211][212][213][214][215]

Vaccine diplomacyEdit

While vaccination efforts intensify around the world, Vietnam is one of very few middle-income countries in the process of making its own COVID-19 vaccine. Two Vietnamese vaccines have become the first vaccines to be developed in Southeast Asia to begin clinical trials.

As the majority of vaccine doses go to the United States and Europe, most drug companies are unwilling to share their technology and many countries can't afford to purchase the necessary doses. Like many governments, Vietnam is also wary of becoming over reliant on any single country for its vaccines. But Vietnam's vaccine development is more than ensure health security, this also helps the country's to enhance its geopolitical status. The vaccines may allow Vietnamese government to position itself as a leader among developing countries by supporting their access to the drugs and their recovery as a whole. While drug companies in the US and the UK are firmly attached to their patents and restrict production overseas, Hanoi would offer countries a cheap, reliable and politically neutral vaccine alternative.[216]

Financial supportEdit

On 10 April 2020, Vietnamese government has passed a VND62 trillion ($2.6 billion) financial support package, directly supporting people in difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beneficiaries of this support package include employees who have to postpone labour contracts, part-time workers who are unemployed but have not received unemployment benefits, enterprises have no revenue or no financial source to pay salaries, employers, individual business households and people with meritorious services to the nation. However, the disbursement of the support package still faces many difficulties and delays because many reason.[217]

According to the United Nations, Vietnamese government has issued and is implementing a multi-sectoral response to address the social and economic impact of the crisis. The table below summarizes Government policy in support of affected people and enterprises in response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 financial support packages[218]
Support policy Budget (USD) Description
Fiscal package to support enterprises $7.8 billion Tax deference and delayed payment of land use tax and rent for affected enterprises.
Loans with zero interest rate to pay workers salary $10.2-43.1 million Loans with zero interest rate for affected enterprises.
Social protection package $2.7 billion Cash transfer for 3 months (April, May and June 2020) for people with merit, poor and near poor households, affected workers and household businesses.
Electricity price reduction $475 million 10% reduction of electricity price from April to June 2020; free for all households and businesses, health and quarantine facilities.
Banks reduce interest rates Banks reduced interest rates and exempted or reduced fees for making transactions.
Credit package of Commercial banks $12.3 billion Loans for less/least affected enterprises but need investment capital after COVID-19. Heavily affected enterprises also can borrow if ability to repay can be proven.

According to MOLISA, by 29 June 2020, more than 11 million individuals from an approved list of 15.8 million vulnerable people and 6,196 household businesses had received more than 11 trillion VND ($477 million USD) in the social assistance package. However, MOLISA reports indicated some key challenges in implementing this package, including complicated procedures leading to late delivery of cash and limited local funds (30-50% of total local funds) among poor provinces, such as Bình Định, Hòa Bình, Nghệ An and Thanh Hóa. A rapid assessment in May 2020 conducted by the Department of Social Protection with all provinces on the COVID-19 social assistance package indicated that informal workers, small businesses and families with children faced difficulties accessing this package, due to complex registration and screening procedures. Therefore, innovative methods will need to be introduced to support consumer spending and reduce vulnerability among people who have lost employment and earnings during the pandemic.[219]

Cyberattacks on ChinaEdit

According to Reuters, APT32, a hacker group backed by Vietnamese government, also known as OceanLotus or Cobalt Kitty, has tried to compromise the personal and professional email accounts of staff at China's Ministry of Emergency Management and the local government of Wuhan, the epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic. This group has also been accused of compromising "governments, businesses and health agencies in search of information about the new disease and attempts to combat it."[220]

However, Vietnam says reports that it has supported hacker group APT32 to steal information on COVID-19 from China are ‘baseless’. "This is baseless information. Vietnam strictly forbids cyberattack behavior targeting organizations and individuals in any form", Foreign Affairs Ministry deputy spokesman Ngo Toan Thang said at an online press meet.[221]

Evacuation and repatriationEdit

 
Disinfection upon landing of a Vietnam Airlines repatriation flight

As of January 2021, more than 80,000 Vietnamese people have been flown back to the country on 299 repatriation flights from 60 countries and territories around the world.[222] On 13 July, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc allowed the resumption of commercial flights to and from China after five months of shutdown of international flights to control COVID-19.[223]

On 28 July, Vietnam Airlines repatriation flight VN05 departed from Hanoi to Equatorial Guinea to bring 219 Vietnamese workers back to Vietnam. According to the airline statement, the Airbus A350 will fly directly from Noi Bai International Airport to the city of Bata for more than 12 hours, then stop picking up passengers and refueling for 3 hours, then return to Vietnam. The aircraft is expected to land at Hanoi at 11:20 on 29 July. Of the 219 returning workers, 129 were infected with COVID-19. On the plane, there are 2 doctors and 2 nurses of the Hanoi National Hospital of Tropical Diseases to promptly provide emergency and support to the patients. Health authorities also arrange a variety of medical equipment to support passengers. Medical stretchers are mounted on aircraft, providing emergency aid for serious patients.[224]

Local reactionsEdit

The report issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Mekong Development Research Institute (MDRI), surveyed 1,335 Vietnamese in September for their opinions and experiences of the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents showed strong support for the government's national social distancing order imposed in April, with 88% praising its appropriate timing. A total 39% said they followed the social distancing order, while 12.2% either somewhat followed or disobeyed it. A total 89% of respondents said they supported the government's stance and measures to save as many lives as possible, even if it means the economy might recover more slowly. The percentage is much higher than the global average of 67% agreeing the government should prioritize saving lives over economic recovery.[225]

A survey conducted by Singapore's United Overseas Bank, has found that the Vietnamese are the most optimistic in Southeast Asia about their future despite the economic and social challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 81% of Vietnamese respondents said they expect life to go back to normal by the end of this year, while 72% believed they would be financially better. "Their optimism could be due to Vietnam’s success in handling the COVID-19 crisis, which has set a strong foundation for the recovery of the economy," Harry Loh, CEO of UOB Vietnam said. Another reason why Vietnamese people are most optimistic in times of crisis may be because most of them grew up during the war and the “Subsidy Economy” period.[226]

XenophobiaEdit

The Asia Times reported that "A number of Vietnamese hotels and guesthouses have reportedly hung signs on their doors saying that Chinese guests are not welcome, while many Vietnamese have gone online to demand the closure of all border crossings with China."[227] Signs suggesting that Chinese customers were not welcome were seen in front of a shop in Phú Quốc and a restaurant in Da Nang.[228] South Korean nationals are also reportedly screened due to the rampant outbreak of COVID-19 in South Korea, which has extensive trade relationship with Vietnam.[229][230] When racism started to get more coverage on social media and in the news, the Vietnamese government made a declaration that people could be fined for refusal of service to foreigners. They also provided a hotline for foreigners to call for assistance and to report the situation.[231]

The xenophobic attitudes also occurred in the use of Chinese vaccines in the vaccination program. Nguyen Phuong Linh, lead analyst of Control Risks consultancy firm, said China's vaccine diplomacy had failed with Vietnam mainly because of anti-China sentiments. For successfully managing COVID-19, Vietnamese leaders have gained strong support from the public – which they would not want to lose by using Chinese vaccines for the majority of the population. "From the beginning of the pandemic, the virus has been widely reported in Vietnam as originally coming from China. Since then, the anti-China sentiments, which were already strong, have shown no sign of weakening.", she said.[232][233]

CharityEdit

Not only with the help of the government, many sponsors have provided food and water to the poor with many positive actions such as "rice ATMs" and free supermarkets. This assistance has contributed greatly to helping the society most vulnerable.[234] A number of business people and famous people also contributed to the people and the government to support the fight against COVID-19 epidemic. At a meeting with representatives of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Ho Chi Minh City on the morning of 20 March, billionaire Johnathan Hanh Nguyen made a pledge to donate 30 billion VND, of which 25 billion VND was used to pay for medical equipment. In addition, he also handed over a 5000m2 supermarket for use as an isolation area.[235][236]

According to Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Luong Thanh Nghi, as soon as the epidemic broke out in China and some countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Vietnamese community was living, studying and working in Eastern Europe have donated and transported nearly 80,000 medical masks, hundreds of sterile water bottles, protective clothes and medical gloves to support Son Loi commune, Vĩnh Phúc province and a number of hospitals in Hanoi to prevent and fight epidemics.[237][238]

In August 2020, Vietnamese largest corporation Vingroup handed 3,200 ventilators and enough chemicals to performing 100,000 RT-PCR tests to the Ministry of Health.[239][240]

Labour export and illegal immigrationEdit

Because Vietnam is a country with a huge number of people working in labour export market, many Vietnamese families depend on remittances from their abroad relatives. That figure is around $17 billion USD in 2019, but is expected to drop by 7.6% by 2020 - the first drop in an 11-year chain of growth, according to World Bank statistics, which comes from the fact that few workers leave the country than before the pandemic. According to the Overseas Labor Bureau, about 54,300 workers left Vietnam to work abroad in the first eleven months of 2020 - a sharp decline from 148,000 people in 2019. Dr. Phung Duc Tung - Director of the Mekong Development Research Institute, which specializes in labor and migration issues in Vietnam and other issues - said that the biggest challenge for overseas workers when they returned is losing their jobs and income in the country they are working in, due to lack of official information about the repatriation date and plan from their government. "This led to psychological problems, depression, pessimism, and there was a suicide case when he returned to Vietnam." Tung said, referring to a Vietnamese driver who ended his life in the quarantine facility. He helped a group of undocumented Chinese citizens to enter for $260 USD per passenger and he believed to be facing financial problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.[241]

Strict government measures have left many citizens trapped abroad. To bring them home, since the end of April 2020, Hanoi has organized repatriation flights or charter flights, the flight which passengers have to pay high price for their tickets. According to government data, in the past eight months of 2020, about 65,000 Vietnamese people have been repatriated through 235 such flights. But while the initiative is well-intentioned, it may not be enough to satisfy demand from overseas Vietnamese. This led to many illegal attempts to go home despite facing criminal charges.[242] In some of the cases, illegal entrants tested positive for COVID-19 after living for a long time in the community.[243] The Vietnam Border Guard had detained more than 31,000 illegal entrants in 2020, including 25,000 from China, the rest are from Laos and Cambodia.[244][245]

Disobedience to quarantine rulesEdit

Although the authorities have put in place mandatory measures to prevent the spread of disease, there are some people still escaping the quarantined area or dishonest reporting about their symptoms, these actions caused serious consequences to the public.[246] In March 2020, the first patient in Hanoi (patient #17) did not provide an accurate travel history, which made it difficult for immigration officers to know she had travelled through and so that she could avoid concentrated quarantine. This lack of responsibility has caused many people to be infected, making hundreds of people in the neighborhood and a hospital placed under quarantine, putting stress on the city health system.[247]

Anger was also reported due to the increasing number of the infected cases coming from the Muslim community returning from Malaysia following their attendance of the Tablighi Jamaat festival in Sri Petaling mosque, and two to three patients did not obey the self-quarantine law in Vietnam and still attended Islamic events in Ho Chi Minh City, leading to fury and demands to imprison the Muslim population, even among Vietnamese celebrities.[248]

A 28-years-old Vietnam Airlines attendant known as patient 1342 breached self-isolation protocols when going outside and studying at a university. He infected his friend, a 32-year-old English teacher, breaking Vietnam's 88-day streak without community transmission. The teacher went on to infect at least two others, his one-year-old nephew and a 28-year-old student. The attendant said he left home in Tân Bình District at noon on 21 November to have dinner in Phú Nhuận District then visited HUTECH University in Bình Thạnh District. The university has since been locked down and its students were requested to stay home. According to the director of Ho Chi Minh City health department, patient 1342 not just violated the rules of self-quarantine at home, but also of the Vietnam Airlines quarantine facility. He had intruded into the space of another flight crew and contracted the virus from another attendant who had been confirmed as patient 1325 on 26 November. Under the health ministry's directions, the Vietnam Airlines quarantine facility was closed.[249][250] Ho Chi Minh City police has opened a criminal investigation into the Vietnam Airlines flight attendant's breach of COVID-19 quarantine protocols. He has been suspended from his job and faces possible dismissal, while his company will be inspected for compliance with disease prevention regulations, quarantine processes and supervision at quarantine facilities.[251]

FraudsEdit

On 3 March 2020, a warehouse containing nearly 1 million masks of unknown origin were discovered after the inspection by the police in Tân Phú District, Ho Chi Minh City.[252] Many other cases involving masks of unknown origins, illegally produced, stored and traded have been detected, prevented and charged in time, such as in An Giang,[253] Lạng Sơn,[254] Cao Bằng,[255] and Quảng Ninh,[256] many other cases of production fake mask, illegal transportation of medical supplies abroad, also including collection and sale discarded masks or used masks to the public.[257][258][259]

On 17 April 2020, at the meeting of the Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control of Hanoi, Mr. Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee said that the Investigation Police Department on Economic, Corruption Crimes and Smuggling (C03) of the Ministry of Public Security invited some officials of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (HCDC) to the investigation about the purchase process of the COVID-19 testing machine.[260][261] On 22 April 2020, investigator determined that Mr. Nguyen Nhat Cam, director of the Hanoi CDC, and his accomplices had raised the purchase price for a COVID-19 test kit package using the real-time PCR system by three times.[262] Accordingly, the Investigation Police Department issued a decision to arrest him and six more people on charges of fraudulently buying COVID-19 testing machines. They will be probed on charges of violating bidding regulations causing serious consequences, an offence that can fetch jail terms of up to 20 years.[263][264]

YTN News incidentEdit

On 24 February 2020, a group of 20 South Korean visitors arrived in Da Nang on a flight from Daegu which was South Korea's COVID-19 epicentre.[230][265]

When being informed about the isolation for monitoring by local authorities, some people in the group refused. They were temporarily kept at the Da Nang Lung Disease Hospital before boarding a flight sponsored by the Vietnamese government back to South Korea the following day.[229]

After receiving complaints from few South Korean about the quarantined area, YTN has broadcast a controversial news report that Korean citizens are being "detained" under poor conditions. Accordingly, the people who appeared in the video said that even without any symptoms of coronavirus, they were still "detained" in a locked room, and not provided with adequate meals. Notably, this news also criticised the small isolation room, containing 2-3 people.[229]

Immediately after broadcasting and posting the news video on YouTube, YTN received a backlash from Vietnamese netizens. Some people demanded the news agency to apologise for posting false information. Under pressure from netizens, on 2 March, on their official website, YTN News had to publish an apology about the incident. In the statement, YTN stressed that they would continue to tell the truth and protect South Korean citizens, but at the same time be more careful with broadcasting style to avoid misunderstandings, especially regarding cultural differences.[229][230]

AssessmentEdit

ComplimentsEdit

 
On 16 March 2020, the Vietnamese government required everyone to wear masks when going to public areas to protect themselves and others.[266]
 
A police car with propaganda banner about fighting COVID-19 in Hanoi.

In comparison to other commended examples like South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, Vietnam had experienced a much lower number of cases, and no fatalities for six consecutive months[14][267][268] — an achievement recalling the success in 2003 when Vietnam became the first country to be cleared of the SARS outbreak.[14] Even after dozens of deaths recorded during the second wave, the toll in Vietnam against its population, peaking at the rate of 0.4 deaths per million people, remains lower than most of the world.[269][270] Researcher Martha Lincoln, the San Francisco State medical anthropologist, who has worked in Vietnam extensively, describes Vietnam's public health response as "impeccable and relentless".[271]

Vietnam responded to the pandemic "early and proactively", as complimented by World Health Organization representative Kidong Park, with risk assessment conducted just after first reported cases in China in January.[14] The country is accredited by Professor Mike Toole from the Burnet Institute with acting "probably faster than any country in the world outside China". Toole points out that Vietnam had already developed three COVID-19 test kits by early March, the time when the U.S. had not even acquired an effective one.[12] The Guardian praised Vietnam's propaganda posters reflecting the wartime spirit and Vietnamese nationalism, along with early isolation and tracing objects in contact with the sick helped Vietnam avoid the disaster that Europe is suffering.[272]

Another the reasons Vietnam was able to act so quickly and keep the case count so low is that the country experienced a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003 and human cases of avian influenza between 2004 and 2010. As a result, Vietnam had both the experience and infrastructure to take appropriate action. Vietnam makes many key containment decisions in a matter of days, which may take weeks for governments in other countries to make. Although Vietnam is a highly centralized country, a number of key decisions were made at the local level, which also contributed to the swift response.[15]

One of the unique parts of Vietnam's response is its meticulous contact-tracing effort.[44] Due to its inability to conduct mass testing like South Korea, Vietnam has taken a targeted approach to testing, scaling it up in areas with community transmission, implementing a strict 14-day quarantine policy, and keeping track of second, third and fourth levels of contact to infected persons, who then will be placed under different levels of movement and contact restrictions.[268][15] According to CNN, if authorities had not proactively sought out people with infection risks, the virus could have quietly spread in communities days before being detected.[44] For example, in early April, 45,000 people were ordered to quarantine for only 240 infected people. Whenever a small cluster of infections emerged, the entire village or city was sealed off from the outside world.[273][274] As of 9 May 2021, more than 16 million people have been placed under quarantine.[3] Instead of relying on medicine and technology, the Vietnamese state security apparatus has adopted an widespread of public surveillance system along with a public well-respected military force.[268][275] One-party national mechanism and powerful military-security forces helps the government to make decisions quickly and enact them promptly. Vietnam also has a strong surveillance culture with neighbours who will inform their local police if they suspect any misconduct. "This is not an approach that can be taken in Western societies."[276] Experiences with pandemics have led to the longer-term development not only of institutional preparedness but also of "social memory," which has been shown instrumental in nudging people to adopt protective behaviors and heed official regulations and guidance in other COVID-19 response contexts.[277]

Beyond the political factors, social solidarity and unity also played a substantial role.[278] These sentiments imply an attitude of self-sacrifice on behalf of the broader community, a value that may be explained in part through Vietnam's socialist history and decades-long struggle for sovereignty. It is important, however, not to allow this grander narrative to minimize the practical individual motivation to keep family, friends, and neighbors safe through social distancing and other measures. Reports from the media indicate that, in time of severe crisis, people may be willing and prepared to accept more restrictive actions to save lives.[279] As willingness to embrace social distancing was credited with helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Vietnam, examinations of the underlying motivation should acknowledge nationalism and solidarity as important but not sole determinants of effectiveness.[280]

Analysts indicate transparency as the key difference between pandemic management in Vietnam and in the neighboring China, despite their similar communist institutions. Most international experts present in Vietnam refute skepticism and accord high credibility to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health.[12][275][281][282] According to Professor Guy Thwaites, the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City had conducted 20,000 separate tests, of which the results matched those publicized by the government.[282] An investigation by Reuters correspondents in April on 13 funeral organizers in Hanoi found no abnormal upsurge in the number of deaths, if not even a slight decrease due to reduction of traffic accidents during the lockdown.[281] Huong Le Thu, analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, cites reports of deaths during the second wave as a further demonstration that the zero fatality rate in the previous phase "should have not been questioned in the first place".[283] Trien Vinh Le and Huy Quynh Nguyen from the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City highlight the difference from the censorship policy in China:

As a country with political institutions quite similar to China, Vietnam has long been considered to be a lot more open than China in terms of media censorship and information control. People in Vietnam, for example, can use most of the world's social networks. Facebook is especially widely used and serves as a giant platform for people sharing information as well as expressing criticism, directly or indirectly, of government policies. While China's media was slow to reveal its vulnerabilities and information about the mysterious pneumonia in Wuhan, doubts about the disease statistics from China in the early stages were laid bare to the Vietnamese internet community, enabling a stronger sense of prevention. Anecdotally, some scholars were seriously criticized when they proposed that face masks were unnecessary and coronavirus was not as dangerous as seasonal influenza in the United States.[18]

CriticismEdit

Human rightsEdit

Vietnam also received criticism for its response from anti-communist overseas Vietnamese, who accused the government of not being pro-active enough and censorship.[284] Some critics of the government have been arrested for allegedly spreading false information and political criticism about the government actions on coronavirus pandemic.[285] From January to March 2020, police censored around 300,000 posts on news sites and blogs and 600,000 posts on social media about COVID-19. During those two months, police took action against 654 cases of distributing fake news and sanctioned 146 people.[286] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet criticized that Vietnam using laws governing alleged fake news in other contexts to "deter legitimate speech, especially public debate, criticism of government policy and suppress freedom of expression". She also said: "Arrests for expressing discontent or allegedly spreading false information through the press and social media, have been reported".[287]

Personal informationEdit

The Government has avoided officially publishing unnecessary personal information relating to individuals who are infected or potentially infected with COVID-19. However, in some cases, individuals diagnosed as having COVID-19 or those in quarantine, were reported to have personal and inaccurate data publicised unofficially on social media sites, including photos and personal ID information. Such problems deeply impacted the mental health of the affected individuals, including family members, even when they tested negative.[288] Such situations also risk dissuading persons who may be infected from seeking medical treatment or declaring themselves to health authorities in order to avoid stigma, which in turn would hinder efforts to contain the pandemic.[289]

ImpactEdit

EconomyEdit

 
Vietnam economy growth rate forecast of some international organizations. In the worst scenario, the growth rate of the country is lower than the economic recession in 1986 after a failed monetary policy during Đổi Mới period.
2020 GDP growth rate forecast by Asian Development Bank
(by percentage)

Sources: Asian Development Bank (ADB)[290]

2020Edit

Like most of the world's economy, Vietnam was hit hard by the outbreak because of the slowdown of private and national industries, the downturn of stock exchanges, and the lower number of incoming tourists, making hundreds of thousands people struggling to find jobs and are relying mostly on unemployment benefits to survive.[21] According to government figures, 3,000 businesses have closed in the first two months of 2020.[268] However, Vietnam's economic growth is expected to be higher than the Asia average of 2.2%. Despite the deceleration in economic activity and the downside risks posed by the pandemic, Vietnam's GDP growth rate is still to remain one of the highest in Asia-Pacific Region, according to Asian Development Bank report.[290][291][292] In November the IMF assessed that Vietnam was expected to be the only country in South East Asia that was expected to grow in 2020.[293]

Vietnam Industry Agency says industry manufacturing processing is in short supply of raw materials and components (mostly imported from Japan, China, South Korea) leads to the risk of stopping many factory operation.[294] According to the survey conducted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank with the participation of nearly 10,200 enterprises (nearly 85% from domestic private, the rest are from FDI sector) about the impact of COVID-19. The survey results showed that the biggest difficulties for businesses during the pandemic are accessing customers, cash flow, labor and supply chain. At the announcement of the report on the morning of 12 March 2021, Mr. Dau Anh Tuan, Head of the VCCI Legal Department assessed that the pandemic in general had a very negative impact on Vietnam's businesses.[295]

In total, 87.2% of enterprises participated in the survey said that they are negatively affected, 11% are not and only 2% recorded positive growth rates. Businesses that have been operating for less than 3 years, small and micro-enterprise are struggle the most. In terms of sectors, private enterprises in some industries have the highest rate of negative impacts are garment (97%), information and communication (96%), and electrical equipment manufacturing (94%). Some industries have lower rates of impact but still fluctuate around 80% such as real estate and mining. For the FDI sector, businesses in real estate, information and communication, agriculture and fishery have a large impact, over 95%.

In addition, to withstand the pandemic, 35% of private enterprises and 22% of FDI enterprises have had to lay off their employees. In which, 36% of small and micro private enterprises, 26% of medium-sized enterprises and 32% of large-scale enterprises implemented this measure.[296] The Vietnam General Statistics Office said export turnover reached US$99.36 billion, down 1.7% year-on-year. Meanwhile, import value reached US$97.48 billion, down 3%, Vietnam's exports to the EU and ASEAN fell 12% and 13.4%[297]

The International Monetary Fund is projecting Vietnam's economic growth at 2.4% in 2020 at a time when economies of most countries in the world are shrinking. Vietnam's growth was "among the highest in the world, thanks to its decisive steps to contain the health and economic fallout from COVID-19", IMF mission chief Era Dabla-Norris said. VCCI emphasized that COVID-19, besides the negative effects, it also offers Vietnam an opportunity to develop the economy when major partner countries such as Japan, the US, the EU, Australia, etc., are looking for a place to transfer a part of their supply chain out of China. With a number of new-generation free trade agreements such as CPTPP and EVFTA, those will help the country to diversify its economic and trade relations, also create favorable conditions for Vietnamese businesses and attract investment to the priority industries and sectors.[298]

2021Edit

In the second half of 2020, the economy was somewhat improved by strictly COVID measures. But the new outbreak before the Lunar New Year broke this recovery.

Due to the fear of COVID-19 outbreak in Hải Dương and Quảng Ninh in January 2021, the VN-Index plummeted 6.67%, or 73.23 points, to 1,023 points Thursday, the worst single-session loss since September 11 attacks. The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), on which the VN-Index is based, 478 of its tickers lost and only 20 gained. Out of these, a record 276 tickers hit their floor prices, the lowest they could go in a trading day. In addition, the VN30-Index for the stock market's 30 largest caps sank 6.73%, with 29 stocks losing and one gaining. A total 28 stocks in this basket sank to their floor prices.[299]

According to Vietnam's General Statistics Office, the number of employed workers in the first quarter of 2021 decreased by one million people, down to 49,9 million from 50,9 million in the previous quarter. The country still has 9,1 million workers aged 15 and over that were negatively affected by the pandemic. Of which more than half a million people lose their jobs, 2,8 million people took unpaid leave, 3,1 million workers had their working hours cut, and 6,5 million people reporting reduced incomes. Two-thirds of these people are between the ages of 24 and 54. Severe COVID-19 impacts have seen as many as 40,300 companies shut down in the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 16%.

However, the pandemic has changed working habits, promoting the application of information technology of workers to adapt to new normal conditions. At least 78,000 workers said they have turned to information technology to keep their jobs.[300]

In March 2021, the World Bank published a report that forecast Vietnam to be among the fastest growing economies in the East Asia and Pacific region with a projected growth of 6.6% in 2021.[22]

UnemploymentEdit

According to a report published by the General Statistics Office, as of December 2020, 32.1 million people nationwide have been affected by the pandemic. Of which, 69.2% of people suffer a decrease in their income, 39.9% have to reduce their working hours and about 14.0% have been laid off. The labour force in the service sector suffered heaviest losses with 71.6% affected, followed by industry and construction (64.7%) and agriculture, forestry and fishery (26.4%). The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said the number of people filing for unemployment in May 2020 surged 44% year-on-year to 157,900. In the first five months 26,000 companies suspended their business. In the worst-case scenario, the number of workers affected by the pandemic could rise to 7.2 million in the second quarter, the ministry estimated.[290] Generally, in 2020, Vietnam's workforce decreased by 1.2 million people to 54.6 million. In the 2016–2019 period, the labor force increases by 0.8% per year on average. "If the workforce in 2020 maintained the same growth rate as in 2016–2019 period and not affected by the pandemic, there would be 1.6 million more workers in the economy. In other words, COVID-19 could have taken away the chance of these people participating in the labour market.".[301]

The pandemic also changes the seasonal trend of the labour forces between quarters of the year. In 2016–2019 period, the number of labour forces in the first quarter was always the lowest, then increased gradually in the following quarters and reached the highest level in the fourth quarter. But in 2020, the number of labour started to decline in the first quarter, then continued to decline sharply and hit the bottom in the second quarter and gradually recovered in the third and fourth quarter. "Although the economy are recovering but the workforce in the fourth quarter has not yet reached its pre-pandemic state. The number of labour in fourth quarter was still lower than the first quarter approximately 200,000 people", the General Statistics Office said.[302]

StockpilingEdit

Stores across Vietnam quickly sold out of surgical masks and hand sanitisers after the initial cases of coronavirus were reported. This followed a similar trend in many other Asian countries.[303] Interim Health Minister Vũ Đức Đam urged the public to remain calm during the outbreak and avoid excessive emergency shopping.[304] Vietnamese authorities also arrested people profiteering from the outbreak.[305]

Aviation and tourismEdit

Number of flights from January to November in 2019 and 2020, by Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam

Sources: Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV)[306]

 
Line of grounded Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific aircraft due to the pandemic at Noi Bai International Airport.

Tourism is the most severely affected industry in Vietnam. The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the aviation industry is in the worst situation in the 60 years of its existence. Of the 234 Vietnam registered aircraft, more than 200 were grounded while airlines still have to spend hundreds of millions dollars to maintain operations such as: aircraft leasing costs, employee salaries, aircraft maintenance and apron parking fees.[307] Vietnam Airlines estimated that its 2020 revenues could decline by US$2.1 billion. This has seen as many as 10,000 employees of the national flag carrier, over 50% of its staff strength, taking unpaid leave. Duong Tri Thanh, CEO of Vietnam Airlines, stressed that the carrier was going through the hardest time in its history.[308] However, as COVID-19 was brought under control in 2020, it was predicted that Vietnam's aviation will recover faster than other countries in Southeast Asia. According to a Fitch Ratings forecast, the revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) of Vietnamese airlines would be around 55% of the baseline level in 2020 and will increase to 90% in 2021.[309]

According to the General Statistics Office, in August 2020 only over 16,300 foreigners came to Vietnam, mostly experts coming to work. Since 25 July when the second wave arose, many localities have to closed tourist attractions and deployed measures to curb the spread of infections within the country. The absence of foreign travellers has dealt a severe blow to the tourism sector. The ancient imperial city of Huế – which is popular with foreign visitors – resembled a ghost town during the pandemic, with Thừa Thiên Huế province's tourism department saying that 80% of hotels were closed, while 8,000 people had lost their jobs.[310] In Khánh Hòa Province, where Nha Trang is located, saw the number of tourists fall by over 80% to 1,25 million in 2020. As a result, hundreds of hotels are being sold for cheap in tourism hotspot Nha Trang. Authorities have said that the pandemic has caused major difficulties for more than 1,100 accommodation facilities. Around 100 have suspended operations so far, according to the provincial tourism department.[311]

Revenue from lodging and food & beverage services was US$22.1 billion, down 13%, while revenue from travel agencies' services was US$776 million, a 59.5% drop. The tourism sector served 3.83 million visitors, against a record 18 million in 2019, with the government closing borders and canceling all international flights.[312] The fall was seen in almost all major markets, such as China, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and France.[297] In a recent report by Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, about 90% of travel related businesses in the city had to suspend operations during the second wave.[313]

In 2020, 66 million passengers passed through the country's airports, a 43.5% decrease given the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and unfavorable weather conditions. Twenty two airports across Vietnam accommodated 340,000 flights operated by 68 foreign and five Vietnamese carriers, down 31.9% from 2019, they also handled nearly 1.3 million tons of cargo, down 14.7% year-on-year, according to a report released by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV). National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and two budget carriers VietJet Air and Bamboo Airways have requested government support and refinancing loans. They estimated that under current conditions, the industry would only fully recover by 2023 at the earliest.[314][315][316]

EducationEdit

 
Checking temperature for elementary student in Bắc Giang Province.

On 6 February, under the lead of Phung Xuan Nha, the Minister of Vietnam Education and Training, the Steering Committee for Disease Prevention and Control met and agreed to let the student's stay at home by an additional week after the Tet holiday. On 14 February, the Ministry of Health reported that schools would remain closed until the end of February, after which schools would close nationwide. The nationwide school closure decision was issued together with a nationwide quarantine order on 31 March, which went into effect 1 April. As a matter of fact, Vietnamese students will not to go to school at first semester on 2020–2021 academic year, so schools are slowly adopting online teaching.[317] On 31 March, the Ministry of Education and Training issued a guide of teaching plans for the second semester of the academic year 2019–2020 for junior high school and high school levels.[318]

The 2020 National High School Graduation Examination (NHSGE) test is only the recognition of the student finishing the high school's education programme instead of "two in one" purpose which is recognition of student finishing the high school's education programme and using high school exams for university admission like before. The test will divided into two specific phases, first phase take place from 8 to 10 August for the least affected provinces. The second phase take place on 3 and 4 September at 11 exam councils, with the participation of more than 26,000 students, mostly in the coronavirus epicentre in central Vietnam, along with others quarantined for having close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases.[319]

School closures from February to May impacted an estimated 21.2 million children nationwide and meant the loss of access to key health and protective services as well as subsidized school meals. COVID-19 also triggered school drop-outs as children accompany parents seeking employment opportunities at new locations. Approximately 3% of rural households reported they stopped sending children to school due to reduced incomes.[320] Household registration remains a potential administrative barrier, especially for migrant children, to access the public education system. Most notably, the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated the country's stark digital divide: many learners live in remote regions with limited internet coverage, cannot afford devices required for online learning or do not have teachers confident to facilitate such learning.[321] The provision of online and distance learning programmes did not achieve nationwide coverage. Such learning programmes were available from primary to university levels, however, they primarily focused on grades 9 and 12 in other provinces. Only large cities had programmes from elementary to high school. User fees applied for some video lessons. Online and distance learning focused on few subjects like maths, Vietnamese and English and often not available in ethnic minority languages,[322] while vital extra curriculum programmes such as sex education were often not covered. Half of a survey's interviewed participants reported their children studied less or not at all while schools were closed. Many teachers were not well equipped to facilitate online learning, while ethnic minority children and children with disabilities were disproportionately affected.[323]

PharmaceuticalEdit

Contrary to the pre-pandemic positive forecast, total pharmaceutical revenue in 2020 only increase by less than 3%, compared with an average of nearly 12% each year due to social distancing and tight control of hospital visits. According to SSI Research, in the ethical drugs market, infection concerns and strict health examination procedures at many hospitals limit the number of patients who come for periodic check-ups causing the number of nationwide medical examination and treatment to decrease 10% to 15%. While in the over-the-counter drugs market (mainly from drugstores and pharmacies), people switch from buying drugs to hand sanitizers and medical masks, which are not the main product of most pharmaceutical companies in the country, reducing the sales of the whole industry.

However, 2020 was a "significant" year for merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the pharmaceutical industry. The total value of M&A in 2020 is estimated at $72.8 million USD, with the participation of many foreign investors. The biggest deal is SK Group (Korea), which specializes in cancer, nerve and cardiovascular drugs, spent $39.8 million to buy 25% shares of Imexpharm Pharmaceutical Company (IMP). In addition, Stada Arzneimittel (Germany), specializing in the production of generic drugs, has spent more than $17.3 million raising its ownership in Pymepharco Joint Stock Company from 70% to 76%; while ASKA Pharmaceutical (Japan), specializing in gastrointestinal drugs, hormones and obstetrics and gynecology, spent $16 million to own 25% stake in Hataphar – the second largest drug company in Vietnam in 2019. These foreign partners all have experience in high-quality drug portfolio that can assist Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies.[324]

The pandemic is a big challenge to the performance of the pharmaceutical industry, especially if the disease spreads in the community. But in general, spending on health care is essential and the demand only decreased for a short time. Furthermore, Vietnam's rapidly aging population and increasing per capita income continue to support the long-term growth of the healthcare market, so "the possibility of the industry recovering in 2021 is very likely" SSI's report assessed.[325]

SportEdit

The outbreak also forced the 2020 V.League 1 to be delayed to 7 March until further announcement, which affected the preparation of Vietnam national football team for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualification.[326][327] It also caused the Vietnamese Grand Prix of the 2020 Formula One World Championship to be postponed until 2021.[328][329][330]

On 23 May 2020, 2020 V.League 1 played the first match between CLB Dược Nam Hà Nam Định and CLB Hoàng Anh Gia Lai with 10,000 spectators on Thiên Trường Stadium, this is the first professional football match in the world having spectators since the pandemic breaks.[331][332]

Due to national travel restrictions, League of Legends esports teams of Vietnam Championship Series could not participate in the 2020 World Championship[333] and 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.[334]

In popular cultureEdit

Vietnam's National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health commissioned artists to release the song "Ghen Cô Vy" ("Jealous Coronavirus"), a remake of the 2017 song "Ghen" ("Jealous"), to teach people how to thoroughly wash their hands during the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.[335][336][268] It has gone viral amidst the coronavirus outbreak, first earning praise from John Oliver in his talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and has become increasingly popular among public and frequently duplicated by netizens, with UNICEF recommending the video as a means of fighting back the fear of coronavirus.[337]

International reactionsEdit

  • Asian Development Bank: In December 2020, ADB announced it has provided to Vietnam $600,000 USD in material aid. This would facilitate the addition of protective equipment worth US$500,000 at the National Lung Hospital in Hanoi and a US$100,000 gear upgrade at the Public Health Emergency Operation Center (PHEOC) under the Ministry of Health.[338]
  •   Australia: Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment congratulated Vietnam for its achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.[339] He also thanked Vietnam for resuming the export of rice, helping rice importing countries including small countries in the Oceania-Pacific region to ensure their food demand.[339]
  •   Chile: Chilean Ambassador to Vietnam Jaime Chomali said Vietnam has recorded only few new infections although having high population which showed that its efforts have produced persuasive outcomes. He feels confident in Vietnam's rapid economic recovery than that of other regional countries.[340]
  •   China: In a phone call with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyễn Phú Trọng, Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping said that he "appreciates the results of the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam, as well as the cooperation and coordination between the two countries in the fight against the coronavirus".[341][342]
  •   Germany: In a statement published on its Facebook page on 14 April, the Federal Foreign Office showed appreciation and gratitude for the reactions of the Vietnamese government and people of Vietnam in supporting the European country's efforts in combatting COVID-19.[343]
  •   Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that his government decided to hand out a coronavirus stimulus of ¥100,000 per individual, including Vietnamese living and working in Japan and affirmed to continue efforts to ensure safety for Vietnamese citizens. Two governments agreed to continue working closely in strengthening exchanges and cooperation across all fields. Abe affirmed Japan will continue offering the second support package to help Vietnam cope with the disease and assist the country in economic growth.[344]
  •   Russia: Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin agreed with the Vietnamese government to continue facilitating trade between the two countries amid the pandemic. He also spoke highly of Vietnam's response to the COVID-19 and thanked Vietnam for offering 150,000 face masks to help Russia deal with the pandemic.[345] Russian Ambassador Konstantin Vnukov appreciated Vietnam's performance in the fight against COVID-19 and expressed hope that the countries would proceed with their mutual support in the fight against the pandemic.[340]
  •   South Korea: South Korean President Moon Jae-in highly valued the measures taken by the Vietnamese government in containing the pandemic and affirmed that South Korea was ready to share experiences and cooperate with Vietnam in fighting the pandemic and protecting the population.[346]
  •   United Kingdom: Gareth Ward, British Ambassador to Vietnam expressed his thanks for the support of the Vietnamese government for the British repatriation flight and the medical supplies to aid the UK in combating the pandemic.[347]
  •   United States: The United States Ambassador to Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrink, praised Vietnam for its rapid response to the outbreak.[348] The US delegation also praised Vietnam for its quarantine efforts, and has cooperated with the Vietnamese Embassy in the United States.[349] Matthew Moore, a Hanoi-based official from the CDC expressed "great confidence" in the Vietnamese government's response to the crisis.[281]

StatisticsEdit

No. of confirmed cases, active cases, recoveries and deaths
Growth rate of active cases since 6 March 2020 (phase 2 of the first wave)
(a rising straight line indicates exponential growth, while a horizontal line indicates linear growth)
Number of active cases since phase 2 of first wave
Number of new cases since phase 2 of first wave
Number of deaths since July 2020
Number of recoveries since phase 2 of first wave

Sources:
Ministry of Health of Vietnam (Chart from Vietnam Ministry of Health)
Vietnam Centre for Disease Control (VNCDC)




NotesEdit

  1. ^ Excluding four patients who tested negative for COVID-19 but died of other causes.[2]


ReferencesEdit

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