Vietnam shares its pandemic containment experience with Asian peers

By Minh Nga   November 19, 2020 | 11:09 pm PT
Vietnam shares its pandemic containment experience with Asian peers
Medical staff take samples for mass testing of Covid-19 in Vietnam's central town of Hue, July 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh.
Vietnam's Covid-19 frontman has been telling an international forum organized by a Singapore university how his country curbed community transmission and treated patients.

Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Ministry of Health’s administration of medical examination and treatment and deputy chief of the ministry's Covid-19 taskforce, said Vietnam's initial success in disease prevention, treatment and control was "thanks to early and aggressive efforts by the political system and entire society."

Speaking at an online forum on future health trends hosted by the National University of Singapore on Wednesday, he said Vietnam had in place strategies and plans to respond to the pandemic at all levels, kept a close watch on the number of Covid infections and regularly updated protocols.

The event was attended by officials from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Mobile teams were set up to provide regular support to medical centers with testing facilities across Vietnam to avoid overloading of major hospitals and ensure timely detection and treatment, Khue said.

The country also set up an online center for supporting Covid-19 treatment, and regularly monitored the implementation of hospital safety protocols against the disease, he said.

Vietnam with a population of more than 95 million has so far had only 1,304 cases of Covid-19 and 35 deaths.

Worldwide, the number of cases has crossed 57 million with 1.3 million deaths, with the U.S., India and Brazil being the most infected nations.

While many countries, including developed ones, have recently begun to apply new lockdowns and restrictions to deal with a second or even third wave of infection, life in Vietnam is back to normal with the country going almost 80 days without a single local case.

All the cases recorded during that period have been people coming from abroad, both Vietnamese and foreigners. All were sent straight from airports into quarantine.

In fact, the country has had only 691 locally transmitted cases so far.

Khue said Vietnam would continue to focus on both pandemic containment and the economy, prioritize the development of a telemedicine network to improve the quality of medical services and use information technology in disease prevention, control and treatment.

Attention would also be paid to reducing hospital overloading and cross-infection at health facilities, he added.

Earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who heads the coronavirus task force, told legislators that the government would continue to do what it has been doing so far to contain the pandemic rather than pinning hopes on a vaccine.

"It will not be easy at all to place orders for vaccines soon since demand is far higher than supply," he said.

The most important tasks are to continue to prevent infections and try to live safely with the disease, he said, warning that no one should let their guard down.

The forum focused on the impacts of the pandemic, the response of health systems, especially difficulties in allocating resources, including financial, major policy changes and recommendations for public - private partnerships.

Also on the agenda were the use of information technology and digital platforms in health systems and drug delivery to increase efficiency and reduce costs for health systems.

The health trends forum is held annually in various countries in Asia. Vietnam hosted it in 2016 and 2018.

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