Medical staff in protective wear at a field hospital
that Ho Chi Minh City sets up in its outlying district of Cu Chi for
quarantining those returning from China, February 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh
The World Health Organization said in a statement
Saturday that the first days of the outbreak, when China had detected just
27 cases of the acute respiratory disease, Covid-19, in Wuhan City,
Vietnam’s Health Ministry had already issued prevention guidelines,
including close monitoring of border areas and steps to prevent possible
infections among people.
When China confirmed the first death caused by the
new coronavirus on January 11, Vietnam quickly tightened medical control at
all border gates and airports. Visitors’ body temperature was checked on
arrival; and anyone showing symptoms of cough, fever, chest pain or
breathing difficulties were isolated for testing and strictly monitored at
Apart from a hotline to provide the public with
needed information on the disease, Vietam also established 45 rapid response
teams at major hospitals across the country to deal with suspected cases of
new coronavirus infections.
Vietnam has also been doing a good job in monitoring
and quarantining those suspected of contracting the virus and in treating
infected patients, ever since the nation detected the first infection cases,
the WHO statement said.
So far, Vietnam has recorded 16 cases, of whom seven
have been discharged from hospitals while the rest are all in stable
Of the 16 infections, 11 have been detected in
northern Vinh Phuc Province. The 11 and others who came into contact with
them have been quarantined for treatment and testing.
"Early detection, early isolation, and active
treatment is extremely important," WHO said.
The UN health agency said it highly evaluates
Vietnam’s ability to address urgent public health issues, including emerging
outbreaks of infectious diseases.
This result was made possible by many years of
investment to improve Vietnam's healthcare capacity, WHO said.
But WHO also urged Vietnam to stay on high alert and
be ready to respond adequately because more infection cases should be
expected in coming days.
WHO had said earlier this week that the first
vaccine targeting the novel coronavirus could be available in 18 months "so
we have to do everything today using available weapons."
As of Sunday afternoon, the Covid-19 global death
toll had climbed to 1,669 and confirmed infections reached 69,276. As many
as 9,702 have recovered.