A World Health Organisation (WHO) official has hailed Vietnam’s title as the first country in the world to successfully control a SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) pandemic 10 years ago.

The lessons drawn from Vietnam remain invaluable for the international community, said Takasi Kasai, a WHO representative in Vietnam, at a ceremony to mark the 10 th anniversary of the pandemic in Hanoi on April 25.

The WHO and international community commit to coordinating with and assisting Vietnam in the battle against any new deadly virus outbreak, he added.

Addressing the event, jointly held by the WHO in Vietnam and the Ministry of Health, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan conveyed the gratitude of the State, Government and Vietnamese people to individuals and organisations inside and outside Vietnam who were directly involved in the battle 10 years ago. Especially to Dr. Carlo Urbani, who was the first to detect the virus in Vietnam and sacrificed his life to fight the virus.

Doan stressed that Vietnam’s success marked an important landmark in the development of the country’s health sector, lifting its reputation as one of the world’s most reliable and responsible stakeholders in the international community in terms of sharing pandemic information.

The event was a rare chance to pay tribute to those who devoted their time and enthusiasm to the battle against the SARS outbreak.

10 years ago, SARS was first reported in China. It spread quickly to 32 countries and territories. Of the 8,422 cases recorded, 916 people died, and cost 150 billion USD.

In Vietnam, when the first case was detected in late February, 2003, the Government made the information public, called for support from the WHO, and promptly jumped into the fight with the help of health workers and the entire nation.-VNA