How To Know If It’s A Covid-19 Suspect?
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and young people usually recover even without hospitalization. However, older people or people who had severe sickness can suffer badly. Below are the most common symptoms:
There are also less common symptoms:
Aches and pains,
Loss of taste or smell,
A rash on the skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes…
Below is what Hanoi’s craziest corner looked like during the social distancing of the first wave. This is “empty” by Vietnamese traffic definition.
Updates Of Covid-19 In Vietnam
The COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners from March 22nd, 2020 until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. The measure will not apply to diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts, and skilled workers. Foreigners that entered the country before March 1st including those with temporary residence permits will also be entitled to extensions till June 30th but must present health declarations.
Vietnam is cited by global media as having one of the best-organized epidemic control programs in the world right from the first wave. In reality, Vietnam chose to prevent rather than fight Covid-19.
The first two confirmed cases in Vietnam were admitted to Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City on January 23rd, 2020. They are a 66-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan (China) who travelled to visit his son. Later, the first cluster was in Vinh Phuc after a few workers returned from a business trip in Wuhan and infected other people in close contact with them. The Vietnamese government immediately locked down Binh Xuyen District until March 4th, 2020 to prevent the disease from spreading. Having cases in the early stage is one of the main reasons why Vietnam successfully controlled the virus.
The second cluster started on the evening of March 6th, Hanoi Department of Health confirmed the first case in the capital (17th in the whole country), a 26-year-old girl who travelled to Italy, France, and England. On March 20th, the Ministry of Health announced 2 patients – two female nurses at Bach Mai Hospital who had no contact with any COVID-19 patients. March and April 2020 saw the number of cases increase rapidly due to the large number of people returning home from other countries.
On March 22nd, Vietnam suspended entry for all foreigners and compulsory isolation for 14 days for Vietnamese citizens returning from other countries. Most of the tourists rushed home in March because the flights were soon suspended. On April 1st, Vietnam implemented nationwide isolation for 15 days. On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19. The aggressive control measures had positive results and the country did not confirm any cases of community transmission from mid-April to the end of July. Everything was ready to open up until the second wave came in July.
The First Wave Of Covid-19
From January 23rd until May 15th, Vietnam confirmed 312 cases but no death. That’s just amazing!
On May 29th, after a long period without any confirmed community cases, Vietnam Airlines announced that it had completely restored its domestic flights after months under lockdown; international flights, however, remain suspended.
On June 25th, a flight from Japan to Vietnam took off from Narita International Airport; this was the first flight since the two countries agreed to ease travel restrictions that were imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More flights to Vietnam are scheduled in the coming months by other countries. However, the second way hit just when things looked so positive.
To find out how different Hanoi was during the first wave of social distancing, please watch the below video. For more videos, you can visit our YouTube channel.
The Second Wave Of Covid-19
As of July 2020, Vietnam had 99 days without new COVID-19 community cases. All cases were people who had been infected abroad and who had been placed in government quarantine facilities after returning home.
However, on July 22nd, the second way hit Vietnam and the first deaths were mainly from patients in hospitals in Danang. This is a much worse wave than the first one.
From September 1st, Vietnam started charging people coming from other countries for quarantine and reduced the 14-day centralized quarantine policy to a maximum of seven days for foreign experts, investors, managers, and diplomats entering the country for less than two weeks. After this period of time, if a person tests negative for the coronavirus, they can remain in Vietnam.
After the government considered that the COVID-19 outbreak has been brought under control, on September 7th, Da Nang has decided to ease its social distancing restrictions. All passenger transportation and business enterprises can resume operations normally. On the same day, all 180 bars and discos in Ho Chi Minh City have been active again, after more than a month of inactivity to prevent coronavirus.
Hanoi is really a safe place during the second wave and we are free to ride where we want. However, social distancing, face masks, and hand wash are still in place. Below is a video about the difference in traffic in Hanoi between the first and the second social distancing. Keep up the good work, Vietnam!
On November 30th 2020, Ho Chi Minh City had two new cases in the community. Hopefully, it will be under control soon and won’t make it to the third wave.
The number of cases in the community decreased, the authorities begin to ease restrictions in the affected areas.
The Third Wave Of Covid-19
On January 28th 2021, 82 new community cases were reported in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh. Most cases are the new generation of Coronavirus and the authorities decided to lock down these two provinces.
There were also some community cases in the surrounding provinces and cities and a partial lockdown was taken. Hopefully, Vietnam can control this outbreak in ten days as planned. Go strong, Vietnam.
Many neighbouring countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Laos reported a new with all-time high numbers. Therefore, the chance of new cases increasing in Vietnam is real. Until the end of April, nearly 1,000 cases were reported.
The Fourth Wave Of Covid-19
During the long Liberation and Labour Day holiday in April/May, new cases were reported and this time it’s worse because it started with a National Hospital of Tropical Disease (NHTD) cluster where most of the patients in Northern Vietnam was transferred to. The hospital took samples from more than 800 medical staff and patients. As of 6 May, a total of 42 people tested positive.
K Hospital (National Cancer Hospital) cluster: On the morning of 7 May, 10 people at K Hospital, Tan Trieu Branch had positive results for SARS-CoV-2 including four patients and six patients relatives. The hospital imposed lockdown and quarantined medical staff, workers, patients and their relatives at its three facilities. The source of infection is from the NHTD cluster above.
Later in May, a major outbreak in industrial zones started in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang province, bringing the new cases up 3-digit per day on May 10th. This wave is actually the worst since Coronavirus pandemic started in Vietnam.
This deadly wave then hit the Southern part of Vietnam and started from Saigon (HCMC), then Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Vinh Long … The number rocketed and in August 2021, it’s around 8 or 9,000 cases per day. The stricter lockdown was applied in many provinces and cities, including Hanoi which the government considered as a “high risk” city. In just four months, the number was about 100 times more!
After the lift of the strictest lockdown in 2021 summer, Vietnam became one of the six countries that has most people from 18 years old with two shots of vaccines. Despite the higher cases due to travel during New Year and Tet, the fatal rate drops sharply and talks on opening the border were set for May 2022 or even earlier.
Like most of the world’s economy, Vietnam was hit hard by the outbreak because of the slowdown of private and national industries, the downturn of stock exchanges, and the lower number of incoming tourists, making hundreds of thousands of people struggling to find jobs and are relying mostly on unemployment benefits to survive.
At 12:05 on September 25 2020, flight VN-417 brought 104 passengers, including 15 Koreans from Seoul to Hanoi. All passengers are Vietnamese and businessmen, no tourists yet.
This is not only the first international commercial flight back to Vietnam after Covid-19 hit Vietnam, but also an experimental flight to evaluate the ability to open the border. However, we don’t think tourists can come to Vietnam until next year.
On October 8th 2020, the government decided to suspend international commercial flights until further notice.
From February 15th 2022, Vietnam will resume most international flights. However, tourists may need to wait for a visa. It looks much likely from May 2022, Vietnamese visas will be available but possibly with some restriction at first.
Our Office Operation During Covid-19
Right from the first wave, we are still open but with limited operations. The main activity is to hire motorbikes and scooters for expats or tourists who got stuck in Vietnam. There is no guided tour during the first wave due to the travel ban from the government. However, things look better during the second wave when Hanoi is a safer place. We could provide more rentals and guided tours after the travel ban was lifted. Below is our first guided motorbike ride since the first wave.