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). On 23 January 2020, the first known case of COVID-19 was reported in Ho Chi Minh City.[2][4] As of 4 March 2021, the country had 2,488 confirmed cases, 1,920 recoveries, and 35 deaths. More than 2.2 million tests have been performed.[5][6][7] Hải Dương Province, as of March 2021 is the most-affected local with 732 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 Soc Trang City; wholesale market retailers and buyers registering for COVID-19 rapid testing in Lĩnh Nam; PAVN chemical troops start disinfecting Bach 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 6 March 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, 1 month, 1 week and 4 days)
Confirmed cases2,488[1][2]
Active cases529[1][a]
Recovered1,920[1]
Deaths
35[1]
Fatality rate1.41%
Government website
ncov.moh.gov.vn
ncov.vncdc.gov.vn

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 14-day 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 has been cited as having one of the best-organized epidemic control programs in the world,[11][12][13] along the lines of other highlighted states such as South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.[14][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, in contrast to censorship in China and the poor preparation and lackluster response in the United States and in European countries.[16][14][17][18][19]

BackgroundEdit

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 to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[20][21]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[22][23] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[24][22]

With a population of nearly 100 million people, long border and close economic ties with China, which is Hanoi's largest trading partner,[25][26][27][28][29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

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(=)
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 23 January 2020. They were a 66-year-old Chinese man and his son, the former have traveled from Wuhan to Hanoi to visit his son who was believed to have contracted the virus from his father when they met in Nha Trang.[32] 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.[33] The Vietnamese government immediately locked down Bình Xuyên District until 4 March 2020 to prevent the disease from spreading all over the country. 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.[34][35]

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.[36] 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 Bach Mai Hospital with no history of contact with any COVID-19 patients.[37] 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 Bach Mai Hospital, Ha Loi Commune in Hanoi and Buddha Bar in Ho Chi Minh City.[38][39][40]

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.[41] From 1 April, Vietnam implemented nationwide isolation for 15 days.[42] On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19.[43] 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.[44][45]

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.[46][47] On 28 July, the Da Nang authorities immediately locked down the city for 15 days.[48] Hundreds of cases across the country with epidemiological factors related to Da Nang were furthermore detected,[49] and the first death was also recorded on 31 July.[50][51][52] 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.[53][54] Sporadic community infections continue during November and December, causing public scare and heightened measures.[55][56]

The third wave of infection began on 28 January 2021, when Vietnam recorded an additional 84 community transmission cases within a single day in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh provinces. Most of these are related to a single Hai Duong migrant worker, who was diagnosed with the UK coronavirus variant by Japanese authorities after arriving in Osaka on 17 January.[57] 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 Hai Duong was locked down for 15 days while Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City stopped all entertainment activities.[58][59] 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.[60][61]

Medical responsesEdit

Drug therapy and vaccine developmentEdit

 
SARS-CoV-2 viruses under microscope. These are isolated from a patient in the U.S.

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.[62] 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.[63][64]

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.[65][66] 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.[67][68]

In August 2020, the Vietnamese government announced that they had signed up for 50 to 150 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia. The Russians will also donate a number of machines, biological products and equipment to Vietnam for COVID-19 prevention, including their vaccine. In the meantime, Vietnamese researchers will still continue developing the country's own vaccine.[69][70]

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.[71] 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.[72] On 17 December 2020, the country started human trials of Nanocovax vaccine.[73]

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.[74]

Vaccination programmeEdit

The health ministry had approved COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sputnik V for domestic inoculation. Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the vaccine has been approved under emergent circumstances during the outbreak in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh province.[75] AstraZeneca has pledged to provide Vietnam with around 30 million doses in 2021, with the first coming in the first quarter. Besides the deal with AstraZeneca, Vietnam is also stepping up negotiations with Pfizer, along with other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China. For Pfizer’s vaccine, the first batch is expected to be delivered at the end of 2021.[76][77]

National Deployment and Vaccination plan (NDVP) was signed off by Deputy Minister of Health on 9 February 2021. Vietnam will receive the feedback of the plan from NDVP review committee as one of the required steps to receive COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX Facility - a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing, supplying and procuring COVID-19 vaccines for all country, especially for low and middle-income economies.[78] Through COVAX, it is confirmed that Vietnam will receive COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by SK Bioscience) from minimum 4,886,400 doses to maximum 8,253,600 doses, of which 25-35% of the doses will be provided in the first quarter and the remaining doses will be provide in the second quarter of 2021.[79]

The government began to procure doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various sources:[80]

  • 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, including 30 million donated from COVAX Facility (the first batch of 117,000 doses deliveried on 24 February 2021 in Ho Chi Minh City).[81]
  • 30 million doses were ordered from Pfizer.
  • 50-60 million of Sputnik V (presumably). In talks with Russia to obtain licence rights to produce in Vietnam.

VNVC - the company in charge of importing and storing vaccines in Vietnam, said it is ready to have staff and facilities to store up to 170 million doses of vaccine. It has 49 provincial separate vaccine warehouses, 2 cold conditions warehouses, and 3 deep negative conditions warehouses for storing vaccines at a temperature of -40 to -86°C. In February 2021, the VNVC system’s service capacity is up to 100,000 customers per day and can increase capacity to serve up to 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines per month.[82]

Vietnam's vaccination plan for 2021[83][84]
Group Total of people Vaccination coverage (%) Number of vaccinators
First quarter
Medical staff 500,000 95% 475,000
People directly involved in pandemic prevention 116,000 110,200
Total 616,000 585,200
Second quarter
Customs officers 9,200 95% 8,740
Diplomats 4,080 3,876
Military forces 1,027,000 975,650
Police forces 304,000 288,800
Teachers 550,000 522,500
Total 1,894,280 1,799,566
Third & fourth quarter
Teachers 750,000 95% 712,500
Above 65 years old 7,600,000 7,220,000
Essential workers (aviation, transport, tourism staff, utility workers, etc.) 1,930,000 1,833,500
People with chronic health issues 7,000,000 6,650,000
Total 17,280,000 16,416,000

According to Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan, to get protection for the majority of the population, Vietnam needs to diversify supplies of vaccines, which including locally manufactured vaccines and maximising the resources from the businesses and local administration’s budgets in addition to the government's budget to get the vaccination programme running. The budget needed to give vaccine shots for 20% of the population is estimated at 6.739 trillion VND ($293.67 million USD), but over 90% of this cost is funded by the COVAX Facility. The government will contribute 24 billion VND, the remaining comes from municipal and provincial governments and private sources.[85]

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.[86][87]

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.[88]

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.[89][90]

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.[91]

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.[92]

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.[93][94]

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.[95] 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.[96][97][98]

As of February 2021, Vietnam recorded at least five coronavirus strains: the original Wuhan variant, the UK variant (Lineage B.1.1.7), South African variant, A.23.1 from Rwanda, CAL.20C variant and D614G coronavirus mutation.[99][100]

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".[101][102]

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.[103]

TestingEdit

As of 18 March 2020, Vietnam has produced at least two sets of COVID-19 test kits. 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 and Viet A Technology JSC.[104]

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.[105][106] 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.[107]

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.[108] 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.[109] As of February 2021, Vietnam has 152 laboratories capable of testing for COVID-19 using RT-PCR. The maximum capacity in the country remains at 51,000 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.[110] 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.[111]

Government responseEdit

Coronavirus pandemic phases in Vietnam[112][113][114]
Stage No. of cases Description
First wave
Phase 1 (23 January – 25 February 2020) 16 Cases reported are usually people who have had travel history to China.
Phase 2 (6 – 19 March 2020) 69 The virus has spread globally, many cases reported are from other countries but it is still easy to trace spread and quarantine.
Phase 3 (20 March – 21 April 2020) 183 Infections in community, many cluster begin to appear in high-density areas. The source of the infection is untraceable.
Phase 4 (22 April 2020 – 24 July 2020) 145 No cases of local transmission reported, all of the cases are imported and quarantined after arrival.
Second wave
Phase 1 (25 July 2020 – 6 September 2020) 636 New community transmission cases appeared again after more than three months. Officials re-implemented social distancing.
Phase 2 (7 September 2020 – 27 January 2021) 502 The number of cases in community decreased, authorities begins to ease restrictions in the affected areas.
Third wave
Phase 1 (28 January 2021 - ongoing) 910 New community transmission appeared in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh
From top to bottom: Vũ Đức Đam, head of Vietnam National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control[115] 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,[116] as well as to warn Vietnamese citizens to avoid visiting areas with outbreaks.[117] Deputy Minister Đỗ Xuân Tuyên said that Vietnam is considering closing the border with China as a necessary countermeasure.[118] 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] 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 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.[119][120] 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.[121] In the same month, the government 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.[122] 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.[123]

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.[124] 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),[125] the Vietnam People's Armed Forces also takes part on patrolling and controlling measures.[126] Sixty-eight military camps with a capacity of 40,000 people were set up to receive people ordered into quarantine.[127]

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.[128]

On 31 March 2020, Vietnamese government ordered a nationwide isolation of 15 days from 1 to 15 April.[128] 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.[129][130][131]

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.[132]

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.[130] 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.[133]

From 9 May, cinemas were reopened.[134] On 11 May, Vietnamese government started a nationwide tourism campaign, named 'Vietnamese travel Vietnam', to increase domestic demand for travelling and promote domestic tourism.[134]

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.[135]

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.[136]

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.[137][138]

The rural district of Hoa Vang was the last district to be quarantined, starts from 13:00, 28 July 2020.[139][140] 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.[141][142]

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.[143][144]

According to the regulation of the Ministry of Transport issued on 27 July to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic:[145]

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.[146]

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[147]

Temporary 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.[148] 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.[149] 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.[150]

In January 2021, in response to COVID-19 outbreak in Hai Duong, two field hospitals with a combined capacity of 600 beds have been set up in northern Hai Duong 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 Hai Duong Medical Technical University with 210 beds.[151]

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.[152]

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.[153][154]

PropagandaEdit

Vietnam is relying on propaganda to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central Propaganda Department is responsible for disseminating the propaganda through mass media.[155] 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. The Central Government also sent daily text messages to update citizens on the outbreak response and advise them on how to stay safe. Messages on preventive measures such as wearing of mask and physical distancing have been reinforced using infographics and audio-visual materials.[156][157] 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.[158][159][160][161][162]

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.[163]

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[164]
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.[165]

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."[166]

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.[167]

Evacuation and repatriationEdit

 
Disinfection upon landing of a Vietnam Airlines repatriation flight

By the end of 2020, more than 75,000 Vietnamese people have been flown back to the country on 260 repatriation flights from 59 countries and territories around the world.[168] 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.[169]

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.[170]

Local reactionsEdit

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."[171] Signs suggesting that Chinese customers were not welcome were seen in front of a shop in Phu Quoc and a restaurant in Da Nang.[172]

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.[173][174]

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.[175] 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.[176][177]

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, Vinh Phuc province and a number of hospitals in Hanoi to prevent and fight epidemics.[178][179]

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.[180][181]

Social distancingEdit

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.[182]

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.[183] 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.[184]

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.[185]

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.[186][187] 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.[188]

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.[189] 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,[190] Lạng Sơn,[191] Cao Bằng,[192] and Quảng Ninh,[193] 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.[194][195][196]

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.[197][198] 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.[199] 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.[200][201]

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.[174][202]

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.[173]

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.[173]

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.[173][174]

AssessmentEdit

ComplimentsEdit

 
On 16 March 2020, the Vietnamese government required everyone to wear masks when going to public areas to protect themselves and others.[203]
 
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][204][205] — 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.[206][207] 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".[208]

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.[209]

Due to its inability to conduct mass testing like South Korea, Vietnam implements a strict 14-day quarantine policy, and traces people exposed to the virus up to the fourth level of contact. 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.[210][211] 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.[212][213] 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."[214]

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][213][215][216] 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.[216] 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.[215] 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".[217] 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.[17]

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.[218] Some critics of the government have been arrested for allegedly spreading false information and political criticism about the government actions on coronavirus pandemic.[219] 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.[220] 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”.[221]

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.[222] 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.[223]

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)[224]

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.[225] 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.[224][226][227] 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.[228]

Due to the fear of COVID-19 outbreak in Hai Duong and Quang 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.[229]According to the Private Economic Development Research Board survey of 1,200 enterprises, 26.2% of the company will go bankrupt if the pandemic lasts for 6 months, nearly 30% lose 20–50% of revenue, 60% lose more than half of revenue. 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.[230]

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%[231]

The International Monetary Fund is projecting Vietnam's economic growth at 2.4 percent 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.[232]

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.[224] 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.".[233]

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.[234]

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.[235] Interim Health Minister Vũ Đức Đam urged the public to remain calm during the outbreak and avoid excessive emergency shopping.[236] Vietnamese authorities also arrested people profiteering from the outbreak.[237]

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)[238]

 
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.[239] 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.[240] 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.[241]

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 Hue - which is popular with foreign visitors - now resembles a ghost town, with Thua Thien Hue province's tourism department saying that 80% of hotels were closed, while 8,000 people had lost their jobs.[242]

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.[243] The fall was seen in almost all major markets, such as China, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and France.[231] 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.[244]

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.[245][246]

EducationEdit

 
Checking temperature for elementary student in Bac 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.[247] 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.[248]

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.[249]

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.[250] 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.[251] 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,[252] 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.[253]

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.[254]

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.[255]

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.[256][257] It also caused the Vietnamese Grand Prix of the 2020 Formula One World Championship to be postponed until 2021.[258][259][260]

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.[261][262]

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.[263][264] 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.[265]

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.[266]
  •   Australia: Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment congratulated Vietnam for its achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.[267] 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.[267]
  •   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.[268]
  •   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".[269][270]
  •   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.[271]
  •   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.[272]
  •   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.[273] 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.[268]
  •   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.[274]
  •   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.[275]
  •   United States: The United States Ambassador to Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrink, praised Vietnam for its rapid response to the outbreak.[276] The US delegation also praised Vietnam for its quarantine efforts, and has cooperated with the Vietnamese Embassy in the United States.[277] Matthew Moore, a Hanoi-based official from the CDC expressed "great confidence" in the Vietnamese government's response to the crisis.[215]

StatisticsEdit

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

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.[3]


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "TRANG TIN VỀ DỊCH BỆNH VIÊM ĐƯỜNG HÔ HẤP CẤP COVID-19" (in Vietnamese). BỘ Y TẾ (Ministry of Health). Retrieved 4 March 2021.
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