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COVID-19

How has Vietnam been so successful at containing COVID-19?

Jonathan Head Apr 23, 2020
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Motorists wearing face masks ride on a busy road in Hanoi on April 23, 2020, as Vietnam eased its nationwide social isolation effort. Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

How has Vietnam been so successful at containing COVID-19?

Jonathan Head Apr 23, 2020
Motorists wearing face masks ride on a busy road in Hanoi on April 23, 2020, as Vietnam eased its nationwide social isolation effort. Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Vietnam acted quickly when the first COVID-19 cases were reported in late January, stopping flights, eventually closing the border with China and launching a nationwide information campaign with slick video messages and posters.

The country has had just 268 confirmed infections and no deaths reported. The government is now relaxing tight restrictions.

It’s worth noting that Vietnam is a one-party, communist state, with an intrusive security apparatus, which is informed promptly of any possible infections, and enforces quarantine, even on entire districts, to stop them from spreading. The country also has an efficient local administration with was instrumental in helping curb the spread of COVID-19.

Vietnam has been unable to replicate the mass testing carried out by Germany and South Korea. Its health system is poorly resourced and would have been quickly overwhelmed by a more serious outbreak.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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