SINGAPORE: Vietnam has moved from being an exemplar to a cautionary tale in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
For almost 18 months since January 2020, residents in the country largely led a relatively normal life with minimal disruptions. With remarkable resilience, the economy grew by an enviable 2.9 per cent in 2020.
But since early May, the country reported a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections. On Aug 19, Vietnam reported 8,880 new cases, with most new infections in Ho Chi Minh City.
In total, Vietnam has confirmed 302,101 cases, with more than 85 per cent of those infected reported in July alone, based on data from Johns Hopkins University. Of Vietnam’s 6,770 deaths, about half were reported in the previous month.
The Delta variant is circulating more virulently in Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern provinces. There are multiple concurrent clusters reported in many provinces, in a variety of settings such as in major cities, in industrial parks, in hospitals, in residential areas and in quarantine sites.
There are still clusters and cases with unknown sources of infection, posing a very high risk of onward community transmission.
At the national level, the government mobilised around 17,000 medical workers to help Ho Chi Minh City tackle this scourge. Healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses (both active and retired), and medical students are joining hands in the latest fight.