|Dr Greeni Maheshwari, RMIT University lecturer |
Vietnam has been one of the most proactive countries in the world in its response to COVID-19. It has taken appropriate actions to stop the virus from spreading, beginning with the banning of all flights from China, then closing the international borders and rolling out trace-test quarantine strategies.
Vietnam’s aggressive contact tracing has proved to be successful in keeping citizens safe early during the pandemic.
The country made effective use of mobile phones to utilise various digital tools. The government recommended people to download smartphone-based apps such as NCovi and Bluezone that transmitted information about the health status of an individual and keep citizens updated about the latest cases.
The government has also partnered with messaging platforms to regularly convey messages and information related to COVID-19 to the people. Moreover, the government also supported patients with COVID-19-related quarantine and treatment free of charge and this helped in removing the cost barrier for the treatment.
Instead of locking down the entire country, the government closed areas where a cluster of infections were suspected and this allowed the people in other areas live their life normally. This has been one of the best things about living in Vietnam in this difficult time.
Other measures taken by the government include asking citizens to wear face masks in public places, sanitising hands in public areas, and refraining from social gatherings.
This helped people to overcome this pandemic and come back to a daily routine efficiently during early stages of pandemic waves.
As an expat, my family has always felt safe in Vietnam during this pandemic as the people are provided with daily, detailed, and timely information.
The people have shown great trust in the government and this was clearly reflected in how citizens abide by the directions provided by the government and we are hopeful that this fourth wave shall pass soon as well.
Along with efforts shown by the government, the Vietnamese community has shown great empathy and support towards each other and united to fight against this pandemic.
The government has placed the health and well-being of citizens and foreigners as a priority in placing all restrictions during this difficult time.
Since the COVID-19 vaccination fund was launched on June 5, many individuals, organisations, and business representatives, corporations, domestic and foreign companies joining hands with the government to fight against the outbreak by raising donations of $347 million, which is extremely commendable.
International investors like Samsung and Toyota, along with local businesses like Vingroup, Long Thanh, and Prudential Vietnam have made valuable contributions to the vaccine fund. The kindness and the faith of people in the government and coming together in difficult times shows that Vietnam will be once again successful in containing this pandemic.
Recently, the ministry of health has sent around 3,300 health workers and medical students to Ho Chi Minh City to take part in the fight against COVID-19.
The citizens of Vietnam have been cooperative with every action the government has suggested till now, starting from following the 5K advice (wearing face mask, using hand sanitisers, social distancing, health declaration, and no gatherings), the government’s various directives, and mass testing campaigns.
The whole country is making an effort to fight the pandemic, including the campaign launched by Nestle Vietnam by providing support to the government and the community and have come forward in helping frontline, healthcare staff, and border guards by providing them nutritional food and beverages. The government is very considerate in supporting people of various economic backgrounds by providing funding and taking care of their citizens.
Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners since March 22, 2020 until further notice.
As Vietnam has been successful in containing three previous COVID-19 waves and hence the vaccination drive was bit slow till now and we strongly believe that vaccinating most of the citizens can be long-term solution to fight against this pandemic and help people to return to their routine.
The only thing we miss during this pandemic while staying here is visiting our family and friends back home.
The things were getting back to normal in Vietnam until this fourth outbreak occurred and before that we were hoping that we would be able to go and meet our families very soon. However, with this this fourth wave hitting the hardest so far, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, our biggest hope now is to be soon vaccinated and see our families back home who are also longing to see us since it has been more than a year we last visited them.
My family and I have experienced in the last 15 years of our staying in Ho Chi Minh City that whenever any crisis happened in Vietnam, such as the avian or bird flu in 2016, flooding in Central Vietnam in 2020, the country bounced back stronger and we are confident that Vietnam will emerge COVID-19-free once again this time, just like after the previous three waves.
As every coin has two sides, despite the great support the government is providing to the locals and the foreigners, the flip side of this pandemic is that we have heard that few expats have faced cumbersome procedures while returning to Vietnam from their home country and this caused a bit of distress to the expats longing to return. In the near future, hopefully the government will consider making this transition smoother, which will help expats to return to this beautiful country without facing much hurdles and obstacles.
Many countries have faced severe oxygen crises in the current pandemic. Hence, it is important that in order to prepare for the crisis and uncertainties in the future, the government may plan to invest in procuring ventilators, monitors, and other medical equipment. As it is difficult to predict the demand for oxygen that might arise in a future emergency, distribution is extremely difficult to manage and hence the government should plan this in advance and practice dry-runs. This advance planning might help in overcoming the problem of oxygen shortages if the need arises in time of crisis.
As Vietnam already started with a vaccination drive and hence it will be crucial to ramp up the vaccination drive especially during this fourth wave. Vaccination is seen to be the best long-term solution and will be especially beneficial for the factories where thousands of workers are working in proximity, and this vaccination drive will help to fight the virus and ensure the good health of workers which will enhance the production and the economy.
The vaccination drive will also help some of the industries like manufacturing and tourism to resume operations and this will bring positive impacts to Vietnam’s GDP growth rate in the coming time.