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Apr 16, 2020 / 15:21

What WHO advises other countries to learn from Vietnam fight against pandemic?

Among measures, the country's own principles are highly appreciated by the international organization.

Dr. Kidong Park, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Vietnam, has pointed out several reasons that have enabled Vietnam to curb the spread of the coronavirus, saying that the measures should learnt by other countries.

 Vietnam's models against the pandemic should be learned. Photo: Reuters

Park said it’s early response to the crisis that has played a critical role in the fight against the pandemic in the Southeast Asian country.

“Vietnam responded to this outbreak early and proactively. Its first risk assessment exercise was conducted in early January – soon after cases in China started being reported,” DPA quoted Park as saying.

Early response – critical role

 Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam. Photo: VGP

The country quickly established the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control under the auspices of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam which “immediately” implemented a national response plan, Park added.

Despite having a low number of confirmed cases, Vietnam imposed two-week nationwide stay-at-home period on April 1, a “far faster and more decisive response” than that seen in Britain or Italy, where cases ran into the many thousands before public life was shut down.

Elsewhere, governments enforced lockdowns to cope with existing epidemics while Vietnam did so to prevent an avoidable national crisis, according to DPA.

Vietnam has closed schools since January. Ideas of bringing children back to schools have been considered but now the school break remains in all parts of the country.

Mass quarantine for people coming from and traveling across epidemic-hit areas has been applied since early February and the same request has been given to all entrants entering the country from March 21.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people entering the country from badly hit nations have been put into compulsory quarantine in military barracks, benefiting army living standards with free meals and transport. By March 22, the country closed borders to all foreigners and international flights ceased altogether by March 25.

There is no easing of these restrictions yet in sight. The vast majority of domestic flights, trains and buses have been halted, and anyone leaving Hanoi – the epicenter of Vietnam’s outbreak – is quarantined upon arrival in almost provinces, DPA reported.

 Vietnam has a improved health system. Photo: VnExpress

Social unity

In an interview with the Vietnam Television (VTV), Park said social unity is another reason for the initial success of Vietnam’s fight against the pandemic. The government has gained support by local people, largely backing the nationwide social distancing period that began on April 1.

He said he realized people’s trust in the government of Vietnam that is featured “determined and dedicated”. Meanwhile, its precautionary measures and policies are believed to be proper.

Improved medical capacity

“Success doesn’t happen overnight”, the phrase appears to suit Vietnam’s situation. Indeed, Vietnam has poured significant money into health system over the past decade, Park said in the interview.

As a result, the country owns a qualified health care contingent, improved preventive medicine and a system of well-equipped laboratories that are capable of responding to certain situation and requirements by hospitals.

Made-in-Vietnam measures

 Dr Kidong Park, the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Vietnam meets Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 14. Photo: VGP

Park said the WHO has highly appreciated Vietnam’s four on-site principles including on-site orders, on-site forces, on-site facilities, and on-site logistics. It means that the model enables Vietnam to promptly react to all situations with local forces that help ease burden of the higher levels, especially the central one while making full use of local resources.

The model also empowers lower-level health system and helps them show determination and responsibility for the common matters.

Park emphasized the model at a meeting with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 14, saying that the WHO also impressed with Vietnam’s quarantine principle.

“We cannot make predictions, but we can say that the course of the pandemic will be determined by the actions that countries, including Vietnam, are taking now,” Park told DPA.