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COVID-19: Vietnam Eases Restrictions As Cases Plateau

(FILES) On this file picture taken on April 19, 2020, residents sporting face masks practise social distancing whereas buying from behind a line as a safety measure in opposition to the unfold of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a moist market in Hanoi. Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP


Vietnam eased social distancing measures Thursday, with specialists pointing to a decisive response involving mass quarantines and expansive contact tracing for the obvious success in containing the coronavirus.

Regardless of a protracted and porous border with China, the Southeast Asian nation has recorded simply 268 virus instances and nil deaths, in accordance with official tallies.

Though the numbers examined for COVID-19 are comparatively low and specialists warning the authoritarian authorities’s well being ministry is the only supply for the figures, in addition they say there’s little motive to mistrust them.

Vietnam was one of many first nations to ban flights to and from mainland China and in early February, when it had barely greater than a dozen instances, villages with 10,000 folks near the nation’s capital had been positioned beneath quarantine.

There has additionally been aggressive contact tracing.

One 72-year-old Hanoi resident described how he and a crew in his group had been tasked with zeroing in on any suspected instances, falling again on grassroots Communist celebration networks in control of overseeing neighbourhoods.

“We go to each and every alley, knocking on each and every door,” Nguyen Trinh Thang advised AFP.

“We follow the guidance from our government that ‘fighting the pandemic is like fighting our enemy’.”

Vietnam’s success in convincing the general public to cooperate has been key, mentioned Takeshi Kasai, the World Well being Group’s Western Pacific regional director.

“They’re really doing their part,” he mentioned earlier this week, including he believed round 80,000 folks had been positioned beneath quarantine.

“I think that’s the reason why they were able to continue to keep the number (of infections) small.”

There are actually virtually no worldwide flights arriving in Vietnam and the nation has been beneath partial lockdown for the reason that starting of April.

The streets of Hanoi — usually flooded with motorbikes, vacationers and distributors — have been just about abandoned, save these most in want queueing at so-called rice ATMs for handouts.

The strict controls have apparently paid off.

After reporting no new infections for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday, the federal government mentioned some retailers and companies might be allowed to reopen.

On Thursday, a number of of the capital’s cafes had resumed service, though the streets had been nonetheless pretty quiet.

– Exceeding expectations –
Throughout Europe and the US, native governments are struggling to maintain their residents indoors — with beachgoers crowding on a shoreline and protesters refusing to adjust to lockdown orders.

In distinction, Communist Vietnam has put tens of hundreds beneath state quarantine, together with abroad residents returning dwelling, at military-style camps throughout the nation.

Vu Thi Nhung and her son spent two weeks sleeping in dormitory bunk beds with no mattresses at a camp in Hanoi after getting back from Germany in March.

Their three meals a day had been deposited outdoors their rooms by troopers.

“You can’t compare it to being at home but given Vietnam and its current economic situation during an epidemic, it exceeded my expectations,” she advised AFP.

Neighbouring Thailand, which reported the primary case outdoors of China in mid-January, has additionally seen a declining variety of new instances previously week, with docs applauding authorities restrictions reminiscent of a night-time curfew.

In Cambodia, the case quantity has remained unchanged at 122 for over every week, whereas instances in Laos have stayed at 19.

However Oupass Putcharoen, head of Chulalongkorn Hospital’s Emergency Infectious Illness Clinic in Thailand, mentioned its neighbours’ numbers might be as a result of “low rate of testing”.

To date, Thailand has performed greater than 142,000 COVID-19 assessments, Cambodia round 9,000 whereas Vietnam has carried out over 180,000 for its 96 million folks.

Vietnam knowledgeable Carl Thayer, an emeritus professor on the College of New South Wales, mentioned Vietnam’s case numbers needs to be handled with warning as Hanoi can punish for anybody who disputes them.

However he added: “There are too many people from overseas, too many people with mobile phones, too many people on the internet (for a cover-up).”

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