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Apr 20, 2020 / 13:24

US CDC lauds Vietnam's coronavirus data transparency

The US CDC official said that there's no evidence showing that Vietnam's coronavirus data is made up.

An official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has affirmed that there’s no evidence showing Vietnam’s data on Covid-19 pandemic is falsified following some speculation about the country’s relatively low infections.

 John MacArthur, the CDC’s country representative in Thailand. Photo: Flickr

“Our team up in Hanoi is working very, very closely with their Ministry of Health counterparts,” said John MacArthur, the CDC’s country representative in Thailand. “The communications I’ve had with my Vietnam team is that at this point in time, [they] don’t have any indication that those numbers are false.”

John MacArthur made the affirmation after some may still be skeptical of Vietnam’s relatively low Covid-19 case numbers. The CDC’s MacArthur is not, NPR has reported.

At the time of writing, Vietnam, which shares a long border with China where the virus is believed to have originated, has confirmed 268 infections, including 202 convalescents, and no deaths.

In comparison with other Southeast Asian nations, Singapore has reported 6,588 cases with 11 deaths, Indonesia 6,575 and 582, the Philippines 6,259 and 409, Malaysia 5,389 and 89, and Thailand 2,765 and 47, respectively.

Effective measures

 Vietnam takes a number of protective measures altogether. Photo: Laodong

Experts said it’s experience in dealing with prior pandemics, early implementation of tough precautionary measures and social distancing order, and strong action from political leaders have contributed to Vietnam’s successful fight, NPR reported.

With experience gained from dealing with the 2003 SARS and 2009 H1N1 pandemics, Vietnam’s government started organizing its response in January as soon as reports began trickling in from Wuhan, China.

The country quickly came up with a variety of tactics, including widespread quarantining and aggressive contact tracing. It has also won praise from the World Health Organization and the CDC for its transparency in dealing with the crisis.

Tens of thousands have been put under mass quarantine in hospitals, military barracks, and concentrated facilities.

By the end of March, Vietnam had banned all international entries and closed borders to foreigners. From April 1, the country was put under a two-week social distancing order. Later on, the extension request has been applied for 12 cities and provinces, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Streets normally buzzing with motorcycles and cars are almost empty in most large cities. As the economic toll of the stay-at-home request becomes apparent, some entrepreneurs are stepping up to help. “Rice ATMs” to dispense free rice to those who are out of work and vulnerable are available across the country.

Political commitment

John MacArthur pointed out that it’s political commitment early has enabled Vietnam, the country of nearly 100 million people, to significantly curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

“They had political commitment early on at the highest level,” John MacArthur said. “And that political commitment went from central level all the way down to the hamlet level.”

Vietnam has soon set up the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control led by a deputy prime minister and a system of this managing body at each lower level.

With the motto “fighting the epidemic is like fighting against the enemy”, Vietnam indeed has been ready to take all measures overnight to stop the virus spreading.

Accordingly, the fight has drawn the participation of all fronts namely health system, military, public security, and local authorities.