The year 2019 ended with a special gift, the discovery of a new coronavirus disease, Covid-19. An unexpected occasion for the world to unite in order to understand, track and protect against the spread of this outbreak.
Origin & Report
Going back to the origins, the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China and was since closely followed by every individual around the globe. The Chinese authorities have reported on it early enough for the other countries to take measures to stop the epidemic, or at least slow it down the time a cure is found.
Unfortunately, during these few days, many people flew out of Wuhan, taking the virus with them. Two months later, the reports show a rapid expansion with a total of cases reaching the 80,000 people. But by looking more closely to the numbers, 98% of the contaminated subjects are in China, the remaining 2% are divided between 32 countries.
Most cases are being treated on time and are discharged from hospitals with no after effects. A few cases develop stronger symptoms such as respiratory issues which can progress into pneumonia. Among those affected, patients already suffering from cardiovascular diseases or diabetes are most at risk. End of February 2020, the reports indicate a fatality rate a little over 3%. A rate which also increases with age, those over 80 show a mortality of 14.8%, and on the opposite people under the age of 39 are at 0.2%, according to a large Chinese study published on February 19, 2020 led by a group of experts at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Group of tourists on a City Tour - Hanoi, Vietnam
These numbers, even though impressive due to the speed of their growth, are to put into perspective. For example, in the US alone, the flu, also called ‘influenza’, caused an estimated 26 million illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths this season, according to the CDC.
Consequences on the global economy
The impact of Covid-19 outbreak on the global economy could be more severe than the impacts of the other major outbreaks in recent history such as SARS (2002-2003), MERS-CoV (2012 -), A/H1N1 (2009-2010) or Ebola (2013-2016). The World Health Organization (WHO) officials state that at this stage one cannot predict the direction, duration and scale of the epidemic, which creates an extra dose of uncertainty.
The economic impact of the outbreak will depend on its duration and severity. China will obviously be impacted the hardest, but the longer the situation continues, the impact could be significantly more severe affecting, in particular, the countries from Southeast Asia.
It is not surprising then that the tourism sector braces for impact and countries are already estimating their loss. Southeast Asia has been particularly hard-hit, not only due to the loss of Chinese visitors, but also for the image associated to Asia in the rest of the world. The countries across the region are reporting a fall by 30 to 50% of their tourism activities.
But if you look more closely again, are all countries in Asia to be avoided?
Situation in Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the closest countries to the epicenter of the epidemic in China. However, if you look at the numbers, you will notice that only 16 cases were officially declared and no new cases has been detected since February 13, 2020.
This week, the doctors happily announced that the last patient was successfully tested negative, bringing the mortality rate to… none!
To give you more clarity, out of these 16 patients, 8 were returning from Wuhan, and only 8 have been contaminated within the country. These 8 people flying back from China, were part of a group of workers living in the same area, and most of the infected people are close relatives. Therefore, in order to protect the population, the government has decided to use grand measures and apply a lock down on Son Loi commune. 10,000 people have been quarantined in an effort to stop the propagation of the virus.
Vietnam’s reaction to the virus has been incredibly fast and efficient. The first two cases were confirmed on January 22, 2020, right at the beginning of the Tet holiday, the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. In only a few days, the government decided to cancel all tours and flights from or to Wuhan, close all the schools and universities until further notice, and quarantine over 10,000 people without delay.
These aggressive measures showed their efficiency and no new case is reported in Vietnam for more than 10 days. The Vietnamese response to the outbreak has also gathered praises on the international stage and the trust in this small country remains strong. Even WHO recognizes that Vietnam responded particularly well to the Covid-19 epidemic from the very outset preventing its spread.
In conclusion, as Vietnam has been dealing with the virus since its early stages, the situation is as well under control as it can possibly be. The propagation now hits strongly Europe, so our advice? Do not delay your travels and come party with us
! Nice temperatures, less crowds, World Heritage Sites… great experiences await you.