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Vietnamese lesson in fighting Covid-19: Nationalism

VIETNAM has emerged as a model — without the expensive mass testing — for stopping Covid-19 in its tracks: This country of 97 million has, so far, only 298 cases and no deaths from the disease at all.

However, one must note that one difference between Vietnam and the Philippines is that the former has not been as “globalized” as our country has been, which made it easy and fast for the virus to travel across nations’ borders.

That explains also why Myanmar and Cambodia — really still practically isolated from the rest of the world — each have only a hundred-plus cases.

Certainly it’s an anecdotal argument, but the fatalities of Covid-19 I know have been those who were so unlucky as to have traveled to Europe when the virus reached that continent. Also, in the past few years, business and tourist relations between the Philippines and China, where Covid-19 originated, had boomed.

Vietnam though does have very important lessons for us to learn from to defeat this pandemic. Two of these — involving nationalism and some suspension of Western notions of human rights — are, however, anathema to the Yellows and to the globalist elite hysterically trying to put down the administration’s successes in fighting Covid-19.

I quote verbatim from the research of two very knowledgeable writers on what Vietnam did to defeat Covid-19.

From an April 18 article in the Diplomat magazine, “The Secret to Vietnam’s Covid-19 Response Success” by Minh Vo and Bich T. Tran, two Vietnamese scholars based in the US and Antwerp, respectively:

“Despite the aggressive nature of these responses, the underlying factor that enables the Vietnamese government’s success is the mobilization of nationalism. The government has framed the virus as a common foreign enemy and called on the unity of the population to defeat it, echoing the enduring history of a nation always threatened by foreign invaders. Since ‘day one,’ the Communist Party of Vietnam [and the state] have led the fight with the motto ‘fighting the epidemic is like fighting against the enemy.’

“Nonetheless, calls for nationalism are not without setbacks, as public sentiment was at one point villainizing Vietnamese students returning from abroad for carrying potential risks of transmission. Patient 17 was a notorious example that garnered public criticism, reflecting the effectiveness of the government in rallying the public but also the risk of overzealous nationalism. (Patient 17 traveled from Hanoi on February 15 to visit England, Italy and France before returning to Hanoi on March 2 and failed to follow quarantine protocols.)

“In addition, the government has positioned itself as an effective source of leadership during the pandemic by providing information with transparency. The Ministry of Health took the initiative to launch a website and a mobile application not only to ease the medical process but also to disseminate accurate information quickly.”

(My note: In our case, anti-Duterte netizens and even 14 senators have been shamelessly trying to erode people’s confidence in this administration’s capability to defeat the pandemic.)

From an April 6 article in the website Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, “How Vietnam is Winning its War Against Covid-19,” by Canada-based Vietnamese scholar To Trieu Hai (Tracy) Ly (emphasis in italics, mine):

“Vietnam’s digital apparatus helped stem the spread of rumors and fake news, in addition to legal enforcement against people who spread inaccurate information or engage in profiteering. State media have also constantly covered the hotspots of the pandemic like China, Italy, Spain and the United States to raise public awareness about the seriousness of Covid-19 and to demonstrate the essential of robust government intervention.

“According to WHO (World Health Organization), a contact-tracing process comprises three steps: contact identification, contact listing and contact follow-up. Vietnam has successfully conducted tracing via the quick identification of infectious contacts based on the Ministry of Health’s classifications of infected, suspected and exposed cases of Covid-19 and the rapid mobilization of health professionals, public security personnel, the military and civil servants to implement the tracing. For example, in the case of Patient 91 identified on March 19, the mobilization included 300 public personnel who participated in the contact-tracing campaign. Businesses visited by the patient were isolated and people who had been in contact with him were tracked down via surveillance camera footage and then taken into quarantine facilities. The whole process took less than two days and had a definite effect on minimizing the spread of the virus from Patient 91. …

Mass quarantine
“The first case of mass quarantine in Vietnam took place on February 12 in Son Loi commune, Vinh Phuc Province, where five infected cases were discovered. The commune, home to a large number of Vietnamese workers who had returned home from Wuhan, was isolated for 20 days. On March 7, Vietnam intensified its containment measures at its airports by mandating medical declarations for all arriving passengers. Further quarantines followed.

“The first form of quarantine under Vietnam’s Covid-19 measures is home confinement, in which whole neighborhoods where an infected patient is identified are isolated and disinfected.

“The second form, applied to those who arrive in Vietnam from virus-hit countries, is concentrated quarantine in publicly managed facilities, such as universities and hospitals or military-run camps. To ensure transparency and accountability, citizens can easily access information on and the locations of all quarantine camps on Zalo — the most popular social platform in Vietnam.

“The latest high-profile case of mass quarantine is Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, one of the largest hospitals in Vietnam. The quarantine was imposed beginning on March 28, after more than 30 infected cases were identified at the hospital. A nationwide campaign has since been carried out to trace more than 40,000 visitors to the hospital between March 10 and 27. …

“Technology has played a key role in the monitoring of suspected and confirmed infected patients in Vietnam. The Ministry of Health has worked with tech-firm partners to develop an online reporting system in which suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19, as well as people in close contact, are entered into a database available in real time to the government in Hanoi. In addition, a mobile app, NCovi, has been introduced by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to allow citizens to proactively declare their health status on a daily basis.

“Hanoi has also launched a mobile app, SmartCity, to track infected, quarantined and recovered cases. Patients are required to install the app in their phones, which raises an alarm and sends notifications to the heads of residential districts if they move 20-to-30 meters away from quarantine areas, or houses for self-isolated cases.

“Accurate and real-time data collected through these two apps has proven very useful to the government in shaping its response to the outbreak.

“Nevertheless, the use of technology has elicited concerns over data privacy and mass surveillance. The identities of infected patients have been leaked on social media platforms, highlighting Vietnam’s poor regulatory framework around the protection of personal data.

“Although the government of Vietnam has failed to protect the privacy of infected patients, citizens have been cooperative with the government, largely supporting its use of tracking apps, as well as state-funded campaigns to encourage hand-washing and hygiene. According to a recent survey, 62 percent of Vietnamese say that they are satisfied with the level of response from the government in fighting Covid-19, with 17 percent of respondents stating that their government’s response was ‘too little.’”

Tsk tsk, with China having spectacularly defeated the pandemic — it’s got only 1,041 active Covid-19 cases, out of 82,000 Chinese who had been infected — are the atheist communists defeating the bible’s Plague Horseman of the Apocalypse?

At the end of the day, and all the blah-blahs, is authoritarianism, a collective philosopher-king, a superior form of government, that averted the end of times?

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