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This Asian Nation Was Virus-Free for 99 Days – Before It Came Back

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:09 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:09 PM
  • Vietnam saw a new cluster of 15 coronavirus cases after going 99 days without any infections.
  • The authorities shut down the Danang airport and have begun imposing new safety measures.
  • The Southeast Asian nation’s handling of the virus could be replicated by other countries.

The coronavirus has re-emerged in Vietnam, a country that has not seen any new local virus case for three months. It shows that any country is at risk of a second wave until mass vaccine production begins.

Vietnam is one of the few countries around the world that has achieved a clear peak in new virus cases. Along with Taiwan, New Zealand, and South Korea, the Southeast Asian nation received praise for its handling of the pandemic. 

virus vietnam
Daily coronavirus cases in Vietnam in comparison to other countries. | Source: ourworldindata.org 

After recording 15 new cases in the city of Danang, the Vietnamese government shut down the Danang airport.  The government also evacuated 80,000 people from the city as a precautionary measure.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam’s (CAAV) deputy director Vo Huy Cuong said:

All evacuation flights now are canceled. We operated 90 flights to evacuate tourists stranded in Danang yesterday but most tourists had already left Danang on Sunday, mostly by coach or train to nearby provinces.

Coronavirus Comeback in Vietnam Shows Second Wave is Possible in Any Country

Throughout the past four months, Vietnam has recorded zero to three cases on average. Most cases came from foreigners traveling into the country.

The new cases, which were locally transmitted, suggests that the cluster could trigger a second outbreak at any moment.

But when a nation has sufficient experience of handling a virus epidemic, it lowers the probability of a large-scale spread.

Vietnam’s handling of the virus versus other nations. | Source: worldometers.info 

Phuong Pham, a master’s candidate at Queen Mary University of London, explained in a column that Vietnam will likely bring it under control. 

Pham said that Vietnam’s experience of dealing with many epidemics in the past would aid the government.

He also noted that Vietnam’s strict restrictive measures would prevent Danang’s situation from worsening.

Vietnam has imposed various measures to prevent the spread of the virus. For instance, when an outbreak occurred, the country imposed a ban on mass gatherings and conducted sterilization initiatives.

A second wave of the virus could occur in any country at any given moment. When the authorities handle it with practical measures, its negative effect could be limited.

Pham wrote on The Diplomat:

With these stringent actions, Da Nang may be well able to control COVID-19’s community spread, and Vietnam may be able to handle this wave through a local lockdown on vulnerable places like Da Nang… instead of returning to the national scale lockdown of several months ago.

What Other Countries Can Learn From It

There is one common theme among Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, and New Zealand.

All four countries took the approach of implementing the strictest measures possible to combat the coronavirus in a short period.

A driver gets a coronavirus test at a drive-through clinic in Seoul, South Korea, March 3, 2020 after the nation became the bearer-standard for mass-testing within days of the outbreak. | Source: Yonhap via REUTERS

When a city sees a re-emergence of the virus, that part of the nation could see stronger measures.

Eventually, when the area sees no new virus cases, then it could be opened up to the rest of the nation.

South Korea did it with the city of Daegu, New Zealand with their entire nation, and most recently, Vietnam with Danang.