Apr 30, 2020 / 10:32

Vietnam prioritizes people’s well-being in coronavirus fight: Ambassador

The Hanoitimes - The ambassador attributed part of the results to the urgency the government has shown in prioritizing the people's well-being.

Dato’ Shariffah Norhana Syed Mustaffa, ambassador of Malaysia to Vietnam, believes that Vietnam has prioritized the well-being and protection of its people’s health through decisive and essential measures in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

 Dato’ Shariffah Norhana Syed Mustaffa, Ambassador of Malaysia to Vietnam. Photo: Embassy of Malaysia in Vietnam

With Vietnam’s intital results in squashing the coronavirus curve, the ambassador has shared her thought on the country’s fighting process in which she is an observer. Hanoitimes has the honor to introduce her notes.

"All over the world, governments are working to contain and minimize the negative impacts brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a global pandemic that affects every person and all countries. Through my observation, I can see that Vietnam has been doing well in controlling this global virus outbreak.

From the beginning of the outbreak until today, April 30, 2020, Vietnam confirmed a total of 270 cases of Covid-19, of which 225 cases have recovered. Hanoi has the highest number, with 112 patients, followed by Ho Chi Minh City with 54. Despite having limited resources in conducting mass testing upon its citizens, Vietnam has acted swiftly in tackling this issue from the get-go.

In early February, Vietnam began its offensive, acting proactively to contain and minimise the spread of Covid-19 through several initiatives including the suspension of all flights to and from China and a mandatory 21-day quarantine in Vinh Phuc province due to concerns over the health status of migrant workers returning from Wuhan, China.

The early preventative measures and strict border control have given Vietnam an upper hand in controlling the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country. Thus far, Vietnam has miraculously recorded zero cases of mortality and has one of the lowest recorded cases in the world, despite sharing a border with China where the virus was first detected."

 Ambassador Dato’ Shariffah Norhana Syed Mustaffa distributes face masks to the embassy’s staff. Photo: Embassy of Malaysia in Vietnam

"Relaying accurate information is also a key factor in controlling the virus outbreak in Vietnam. Having an open media control helped Vietnam in spreading the right message and warning the people about the dangers of Covid-19. The government has also been actively providing essential information to educate people on what they could do to prevent transmission of the virus.

The public’s response towards this initiative showed how influential and instrumental social media networks could be as Vietnamese communities relied on information gathered from these platforms to formulate community-centric strategies on containing the virus. The government learned from observing the dissemination of information how it could build trust and strengthen self-reliance in communities that may have been very susceptible otherwise.

Then, on April 1, 2020, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc declared Covid-19 a nationwide pandemic and urged authorities at all levels to focus on efforts to contain the pandemic. The Prime Minister also issued Directive No.16/CT-TTg, which sets out Vietnam’s strongest measures yet for preventing and controlling Covid-19, including restricting people from leaving their homes and banning gatherings of more than two people in public.

Overall, I believe that Vietnam’s results so far have shown that the country is winning the war against Covid-19 partly due to the availability of information, transparency of government and effective communication with the people, as well as, the urgency the government has shown in prioritising the well-being and protection of its people’s health through decisive and essential measures.”

 Consulate-General of Malaysia in HCMC assisting stranded Malaysians in Vietnam. Photo: Embassy of Malaysia in Vietnam

Answering a question on how the embassy have done and cooperated with local authorities to support Malaysian citizens in Vietnam. The ambassador said:

“Since the decision of the government of Vietnam to implement stricter border control, several stranded Malaysians who are mostly tourists could not go back to Malaysia due to the cancellation of flights. They have reached out to our Embassy in Hanoi and our Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City. In such situations, we have been in direct communication with the airlines to charter special flights to Vietnam to ferry our citizens back to Malaysia. So far, we’ve managed to assist almost 300 Malaysians to get on the special flight back to Malaysia from Ho Chi Minh City.

The success of the repatriation of our citizens back to Malaysia would not have been possible without the close cooperation between our side and the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, as well as the Civil Aviation Administration, Ministry of Transport of Vietnam. We are deeply appreciative of the excellent assistance given by Vietnam in this regard.”

“On another note, Vietnam has consistently shared information regarding Malaysians who are being quarantined at government quarantine centres. This sharing of information helps us in assisting our citizens in Vietnam by consolidating such information in these trying times. At the time of writing, there are no Malaysians who are positive with Covid-19 in Vietnam and only two Malaysians are being held at the government centralized quarantine center in Tay Ninh province in the southern part of Vietnam. In this connection, on behalf of the government of Malaysia we would like to convey our deepest appreciation to the Vietnamese side for providing urgent and necessary assistance.”