Why Is Vietnam Doing So Well?

The SARS outbreak in 2003 and 2004 left the country better prepared for a viral attack such as Covid. The government quarantine facilities, hospital protocols, and isolation camps being used now, were originally built when Vietnam was fighting SARS. As a Communist country, public health has been integrated in Vietnam's infrastructure and their prior experience with viral outbreaks prepared Vietnam's health care system for Covid.

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Vietnam has an exceptionally young population with a median age of 30.5. As younger people have been shown to have stronger immune systems, their vulnerability to the virus is significantly lower, perhaps contributing to the low number of both cases and deaths in Vietnam.

They were quick to develop and distribute tests. By February the government had funded 4 different research projects to produce accurate and fast acting tests. Tests were widely distributed and when one came back positive the government reacted with contact tracing commune-level lockdowns, and widespread local testing. This may be a reason why the country has maintained such low numbers. The test to case ratio in Vietnam is better than any other country in the world.

Vietnam was one of the first countries to restrict travel, closing their boarders to China before cases had even reached double digits. On March 15, all of the United Kingdom was added, and just three days later they stopped issuing international visas. All international arrivals were forced to quarantine at government bases for 14 days upon landing. International flights and domestic flights were separated as to reduce transmission at airports. Finally on March 22 Vietnam officially closed its boarders.

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