The Covid-19 pandemic poses a major challenge for all countries around the world, and has put enormous pressure on the health and organisational systems of even the most developed Western and Asian economies. While maintaining certain standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), measures to contain the pandemic vary widely from country to country, as do prevention initiatives to avoid or mitigate the effects of new waves of the pandemic. Some of the countries that have best responded to the Coronavirus pandemic are Vietnam, Taiwan, Iceland, New Zealand and Singapore, all of which launched rapid emergency plans and effective containment and tracking protocols that rely on new technologies.
Vietnam has recorded low numbers of deaths while cases only exceeded the 1,000 mark at the end of November. The first case of Coronavirus in Vietnam was registered on 23rd January 2020, around the same time the pandemic exploded in nearby China. Drawing on previous epidemiological experience, such as the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in 2003, Vietnam immediately launched a detailed emergency plan against Coronavirus, months before other countries even considered taking precautions. The country introduced travel restrictions, initiated strict monitoring of contagions and finally closed its borders with China amid increased controls. Furthermore, extensive and laborious contact tracing operations were immediately initiated. Experts state that, unlike other countries that are now facing a second wave and a steep rise in cases, Vietnam identified a small window of opportunity and acted promptly. Vietnam currently has no domestic cases of Covid-19, imposes quarantine on those arriving from abroad – reduced from 14 to seven days – and maintains agreements for air routes with China, Japan and South Korea. Thanks to its effective measures, Hanoi did not interrupt connections during the Coronavirus pandemic in Vietnam for certain categories of people, including diplomatic and government personnel and special workers. In a November assessment, the World Health Organization highlighted the effectiveness of Vietnam’s response.
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