Vietnam ranks second in world Covid-19 response

By Minh Nga   January 28, 2021 | 01:26 am PT
Vietnam ranks second in world Covid-19 response
A man receives a document from a medic after his sample was taken for coronavirus testing in Hanoi, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Anh.
Australian think tank Lowy Institute found Vietnam performed second best around the world in handling the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Covid Performance Index compiled by the institute evaluated how 98 countries and territories have handled their own Covid-19 outbreaks based on the availability of data across six indicators: confirmed cases, confirmed deaths, confirmed cases per million people, confirmed deaths per million people, confirmed cases as a proportion of tests and tests per a thousand people.

While New Zealand took the top spot with 94.4 scores in total, Vietnam arrived second with an average score of 90.8 over 100, followed by Taiwan, Thailand and Cyprus. The U.S., the world's largest pandemic hotspot, was the fifth worst performing country.

Mainland China was not included in this ranking due to a lack of publicly available data on testing.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam and Thailand are the only ones that have made it into the top ten. Also in the region, Indonesia was ranked lowest, at 85th.

Brazil rocked the bottom, followed by Mexico and Colombia.

The think tank said the period examined spans the 36 weeks that followed every country’s hundredth confirmed case of Covid-19, using data available to Jan. 9, 2021.

Analysis proved that although the coronavirus outbreak started in China, countries in the Asia–Pacific, on average, proved the most successful at containing the pandemic.

By contrast, the rapid spread of Covid-19 along the main arteries of globalization quickly overwhelmed first Europe and then the U.S.

In general, levels of economic development or differences in political systems between countries had less of an impact on outcomes than often assumed or publicized. Smaller populations, cohesive societies and capable institutions have proved to be bigger factors.

Many developing countries were able to cope with the initial outbreak of the pandemic while advanced economies, as a grouping, lost their lead by the end of 2020 — with infections surging again in many places that had achieved apparent success in suppressing first waves of the pandemic.

Richer countries were quickly overwhelmed when the virus first emerged while many governments in developing countries had more lead time, and often a greater sense of urgency, to put in place preventative measures after the scale and severity of the global crisis became known, Lowy Institute determined.

Thus, analysis suggests American political scientist Francis Fukuyama was reasonable when he said last year the dividing line in effective crisis response has not been regime type, "but whether citizens trust their leaders, and whether those leaders preside over a competent and effective state."

"Systemic factors alone, a society’s regional provenance, political system, economic development, or size, cannot fully account for the differences observed in global crisis response. The results point to some strengths and vulnerabilities stemming from the way different countries are set up to deal with a public policy challenge of this scale. But policy choices and political circumstances of the day appear to be just as important in shaping national responses to the pandemic," the institute said.

Hervé Lemahieu, director of Power and Diplomacy Program at Lowy Institute, told the ABC's Coronacast podcast that poorer countries would soon lose ground as they struggled to obtain Covid-19 vaccines for their citizens because "with the uneven distribution and hoarding of vaccines we may well see rich countries get a decisive upper hand in crisis recovery efforts."

Vietnam on Thursday confirmed 84 community transmitted infections after it had gone 55 straight days without any infections.

With a population of near 96 million, Vietnam recorded its first cases in late January last year and has so far registered a total 1,635, including 35 deaths.

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