UN coordinator highlights Vietnam’s strategies for successful response to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Military troops spray disinfectant in a lockdown area in the southern province of Binh Duong. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam was ranked second for successfully handling the COVID-19 pandemic, and its contact tracing was so good it barely had to lock down, says a headline on the US-based Business Insider.

The newspaper quotes a report published by thinktank The Lowy Institute in January as saying Vietnam was ranked second, behind New Zealand, out of 98 countries in their response to COVID-19.

The country has a population of 97 million people and shared borders with China. Despite that, it has recorded fewer 2,500 cases of the novel coronavirus and 35 deaths.

Business Insider says Vietnam had the potential to be a hotspot because of its location and population. But by using a low-cost model and implementing basic safety measures – like washing your hands and wearing a mask – it was able to contain the virus within a few months of the pandemic.

Despite sharing a border with China where the outbreak started, Vietnam's success story is one worth telling, it says, adding that no other country with the same size or population has contained the virus the way Vietnam has.

Kamal Malhotra, a United Nations resident coordinator in Vietnam, said the country's success in handling the virus came down to three things: contact tracing, strategic testing, and clear messaging.

“Instead of testing everyone, they tested those identified in contact tracing. The borders were shut down and everyone who came into the country was quarantined in government facilities — for free.”

The people of Vietnam are learning to live in their new normal, but are still encouraged to social distance and wear masks.

Public health experts also told Business Insider countries that have limited the spread of coronavirus have a clear recipe: Create a cohesive federal plan with consistent messaging, get everyone to wear masks, and implement widespread testing and contact tracing.

“The countries failing to curb their outbreaks are missing at least one of those elements.”/.