How country of 97m defeated virus
As Vietnam reopens its economy, critics have been stunned by the results achieved in the country.
Vietnam, which shares a large land border with China, has recorded just over 300 cases of coronavirus, with no deaths. The enviable outcome has led some to question if the Communist government is releasing accurate figures - but critics say they're inclined to believe the South East Asian nation's results.
In late January, when Vietnam recorded its first two cases of coronavirus, the country's Communist government imposed sweeping measures to control the spread of the virus.
Over the period of a few weeks, all international and domestic flights were halted. The government also ordered pharmacists to report people buying cold and flu medication to authorities, and more than 100,000 people were quarantined, put into hotels and military camps and monitored.
A report by Bloomberg called it the "sledgehammer" approach to flattening the curve.
The sledgehammer approach worked.
By April 22, the country was reporting promising results; with no deaths from coronavirus and the curve flattening, it announced it would ease restrictions and reopen pubs, bars, restaurants and many other businesses.
This week, Dr Huong Le Thu, an analyst from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said overseas epidemiologists and the Australian ambassador to Hanoi had found "no reason" to question the positive data coming from Vietnam.
According to reports, the success in Vietnam is down to clear communication from the government, which came early.
The government warnings were frank with residents about the dangers of coronavirus and the lack of broader medical and clinical resources if a large outbreak were to take hold.
"From very early on, it was understood that this is something very serious, a virus that can infect everyone," Dr Le Thu told the ABC. "Not just the person affected but everyone around them."
Also attributed to the country's success was massive, early, large scale testing.
In January, the country only had three labs that could conduct tests for coronavirus, however by April they'd created 112 testing labs for COVID-19.
At the end of last month the country reported 213,743 tests had been conducted, with 270 positive results. The number of positive cases is now at 312, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Other countries suspected of gaps in their reporting have been questioned over spikes in death rates and increased bookings at funeral homes - however Reuters reported, when contacting 13 funeral homes in the capital of Hanoi, none reported an increase.
According to that same analysis, not only has the funeral home business in Vietnam not increased since the pandemic, but operators have noticed a slowing in business, as less deaths have been occurring due to traffic accidents.
Source - World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media
"The steps are easy to describe but difficult to implement, yet they've been very successful at implementing them over and over again," said Matthew Moore, a Hanoi-based official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Mr Moore has been trading information with the Vietnamese government since the country recorded its first cases in January and said the country had "great confidence" in the Vietnamese government.
- With Reuters
Originally published as How country of 97m defeated virus