How a country of 97 million people managed to keep its coronavirus death toll at zero

CNN

30th May, 2020 05:49:15 printer

How a country of 97 million people managed to keep its coronavirus death toll at zero

When the world looked to Asia for successful examples in handling the novel coronavirus outbreak, most eyes were on South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

But there's one overlooked success story -- Vietnam.

The country of 97 million people is yet to report a single coronavirus-related death, and on Saturday had just 328 confirmed cases, despite its long border with China and the millions of Chinese visitors it receives each year.

This is all the more remarkable considering Vietnam is a low-middle income country with a much less advanced healthcare system than others in the region. It only has eight doctors for every 10,000 people, a third of the ratio in South Korea, according to the World Bank.

After a three-week nationwide lockdown, Vietnam lifted social distancing rules in late April. It hasn't reported any local infections for more than 40 days. Businesses and schools have reopened, and life is gradually returning to normal.

To skeptics, Vietnam's official numbers may seem too good to be true. But Guy Thwaites, an infectious disease doctor who works in one of the main hospitals designated by the Vietnamese government to treat Covid-19 patients, said the numbers matched the reality on the ground.

"I go to the wards every day, I know the cases, I know there has been no death," said Thwaites, who also heads the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

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