Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam was first laughed at for taking the threat too seriously, closing borders since the month of March, requiring its citizens to wear masks and following social distancing rules. A few weeks later, it was praised for its active decisions as the virus had travelled around the globe.
As many countries have started to reopen borders and lift travel bans, Vietnam remains closed to foreign tourists. Only technical experts or high-skilled workers have been allowed access, along with Vietnamese citizens wishing to return home, but under the condition that they comply with the 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the country. This mandatory quarantine with regular testing allowed Vietnam to identify the new cases of Covid-19 before they enter the territory.
Unfortunately, bad news shook the country on July 25 when the government officially announced that a new case of community transmission had been discovered in Da Nang central Vietnam, followed by a second. Then on July 26, two more cases were found amongst the patients’ relatives, but July 27 has been most frightening for the citizens as 11 new cases were recorded, including seven patients and four medical staff of Da Nang Hospital.
The total number of cases in Vietnam since the beginning of the outbreak stands now at 431, of which 276 are imported, with 66 active cases. There has been no single death related to Covid-19 recorded in Vietnam.
After 99 days clear of any community transmission, these 15 new cases in three days alarm the authorities that are actively researching how each new case got infected. So far, illegal immigration is part of the privileged leads.
The whole area of central Vietnam is now heavily impacted as between the cities of Hue, Da Nang and Hoi an, the zone is a highly-demanded beach destination for domestic travellers. All bookings were cancelled within hours after the first announcement, and the city of Da Nang is under social distancing orders until further notice. Citizens are encouraged to stay at home and all ‘non-essential’ businesses such as entertainment facilities, beauty salons, bars or karaoke parlours, have been closed.
Vietnam felt so safe, we may have let our guard down and got too comfortable. Hopefully this will be resolved very soon and a vaccine will be found to allow our beautiful country to reopen its borders, and share its treasures with the world.