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  • On March 18th 2020, a 43- year-old British pilot in Vietnam, Stephen Cameron, was

  • diagnosed with Covid-19 and admitted to a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

  • As the most critically ill patient in the country, Cameron became a rallying point for the Vietnamese.

  • When news broke that his lungs were failing, more than 50

  • Vietnamese volunteered to donate their lungs, while health experts nationwide

  • were roped in as the country mounted an all-out effort to save him.

  • The government spent more than $200,000 on the Vietnam Airlines pilot and he eventually defied the odds

  • avoiding a coronavirus death and making a near full recovery.

  • He is just one of the many patients to survive Covid-19 in the country

  • which has zero fatalities and a few hundred confirmed cases

  • in the first six months of the outbreak, an impressive feat by all accounts.

  • When news of a pneumonia-like virus from across the border in China reached

  • Vietnam, the government immediately took the potential spread seriously,

  • anticipating that the country could have thousands of cases and framing the outbreak as a war.

  • Vietnam's government carried out its response in phases.

  • As early as January 10th, before the country had recorded its first case on January 23rd,

  • Vietnam started screening passengers from Wuhan, China.

  • Suspected cases were isolated while it ordered its 97- million strong population to wear masks,

  • going above and beyond the World Health Organization's advice.

  • I mean Vietnamese people, we were all anxious, even before there were cases in in Vietnam.

  • That is Ngoc Pham and her friend Kevin Moulié. Both live in Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

  • The government communicate with us very early on about what was happening in China

  • and that there were there was a high risk that the virus might come to Vietnam.

  • We remember what happened with SARS few years back,

  • People were aware of possible consequences of the virus.

  • SARS, or the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, originated in southern China in 2003,

  • and quickly reached Vietnam's shores in the same year.

  • In the later parts of the year, Vietnam was battling another outbreak,

  • avian influenza, commonly known as Bird flu.

  • When Vietnam recorded its first case of Covid-19 on January 23rd 2020,

  • the Southeast Asian country was ready.

  • On February 1st, it was one of the first countries to halt all flights from China,

  • and closed its 870-mile land border with its northern neighbor on the same day.

  • The next phase of the government's strategy centred on increasing testing capacity,

  • communication to the public, and stepping up its quarantine efforts.

  • Between January and May the country would increase its testing sites from 2 to 63 ,

  • enabling it to conduct more than 260,000 tests.

  • Moreover those who tested positive and their immediate contacts were

  • quarantined in military-run camps, field hospitals and university residences.

  • I think that mass quarantine in military camps is one of the elements that makes Vietnam a success.

  • because it's easier to control people when you put them in one area.

  • Nguyen Linh is an analyst who has studied the Vietnam government's response to Covid-19.

  • Because of the form of society and the government in Vietnam, It was able to do that.

  • Perhaps the most unorthodox strategy employed by the government,

  • was a remake of a Vietnamese song, 'Jealous', created to encourage hand-washing and general hygiene.

  • And the song went viral!

  • I think it's a good way to, yeah, to reach out to people and make people sensitive about the topic.

  • And they played the song everywhere. So in the elevators, in hallways...

  • Despite testing aggressively and a communication and quarantine strategy at the start,

  • the country still recorded a jump in the number of new cases.

  • After recording only 16 cases in the first month of the outbreak, the second wave

  • in Vietnam occurred on March 6th with another 254 cases by May 1st.

  • As the numbers surged, the government declared that the country was in an epidemic and

  • implemented a nationwide lockdown. Until May 1st, around 200,000 people were quarantined.

  • If you compare the public health system in Vietnam to other countries in southeast Asia,

  • I think Vietnam still has a big room to improve in terms of public health or treatment.

  • The most important measure in this case is isolating people,

  • like a movement restriction and the government did a great job in that.

  • On January 20th the Ministry of Health also designated 22 hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.

  • This ensured that other hospitals were not overwhelmed.

  • Of its first 328 cases, 90% had recovered.

  • But some experts have questioned the reliability of its data,

  • especially since the country is a one-party state and has a tight control over the media.

  • Some people may question whether we are seeing the right number of cases, the right number of deaths.

  • What do you say to people who say that ?

  • Vietnam's government, they have been pressuring companies like Facebook, YouTube, Google

  • to remove some anti-government content but I think this time in terms of the Covid-19,

  • the level of transparency we have seen from Vietnam's government is pretty much unprecedented.

  • And the country appears to be on a path to recovery, much faster than its neighbors.

  • It was among the first countries to ease social distancing measures and to reopen its economy.

  • In fact, the government allowed the first chartered flight from Japan at the end

  • of June after suspending travel in March. Between April and June 20th its economy

  • grew unexpectedly by 0.36% while the government has a target of 5% growth for the rest of the year.

  • For many life even appears back to normal.

  • Yet Ngoc and Kevin don't see the reopening as a return to their old lives, but rather a

  • new normal with new lessons.

  • Has it changed your perspective on life?

  • We measure that there are so many more important stuff in in life such as

  • health as we say family and also friends because in situation like this,

  • We're just so anxious all the time. I think it's so important to have people to rely on.

  • Now you realize that you're not you're not young, and

  • your parents are not young either and they're getting very old and they're they're

  • always they will be in the high-risk. I text some friends saying okay if your

  • building is locked down you can ask me to come and deliver food for you and

  • then they also said the same so thank God, you have your friends when you don't have your family here.

  • Thank you so much for watching our video let us know your

  • thoughts in the comments below and as usual don't forget to subscribe!

On March 18th 2020, a 43- year-old British pilot in Vietnam, Stephen Cameron, was

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Vietnam has zero coronavirus deaths. Here’s why. | CNBC Reports

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