Vietnam – a developing country that has a large land border with China and a population of 97 million people – has not reported a single death from coronavirus. As of April 21, the country had reported 268 cases of COVID-19, the disease associated with the new coronavirus, with more than 140 people making a full recovery.
The reason why Vietnam has managed to keep patients from death’s door is down to a three-pronged government strategy. While these policy choices may not all be consistent with upholding civil liberties, they are proving essential to keeping the pandemic at bay.
Starting in February, anyone arriving at an airport in a major Vietnamese city had to go through compulsory body temperature screening and fill in a health self-declaration, stating their contact details and travel and health history. These measures are now mandatory for everyone entering major cities and some provinces by land too, and for everyone entering a government building or hospital.