With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crippling over 200 countries and territories worldwide, devastation is expected on a scale larger than the 2008 global financial crisis. In the face of this health crisis, Vietnam, a small Southeast Asian nation with limited resources, has taken great strides in weathering the storm and has enjoyed initial success with only 270 COVID-10 cases confirmed and no deaths reported.

In light of these efforts, the international community has widely recognised the country as a success story, praising Vietnam as a role model for other nations to follow. As a result, plenty of Vietnamese citizens living abroad can take pride in their homeland.   

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From California, Khanh Nguyen Nye says it is the top-down bureaucracy in Vietnam which helps bring the epidemic under control

Khanh Nguyen Nye, a Vietnamese expat who married an American citizen and moved to California to live eight years ago, has stayed updated about news from her homeland, despite living in the United States.

Nye explained she was filled with joy after hearing news of the Vietnamese government’s decision to lift the social distancing order in 28 cities and provinces on April 23, telling her husband the news with pride.

“I often asked myself why Vietnam had responded to the pandemic so effectively, I then found the answer myself,” she said. “It is because Vietnam's political system is suitable for dealing with an emergency. It is a well-organised top-down bureaucracy from the central to grassroots levels which is able to discover, quarantine, zone off, and then trace suspected cases swiftly and effectively, alongside implementing social distancing measures.”

She went on to explain that the second reason is the absolute resolve and strong co-operation given by local people in the fight against the epidemic. This quality, according to her, originates from the tradition of building and defending a nation over centuries, with Vietnamese people being aware that only when they are united will they have the strength to succeed.

Moreover, Nye believed that most important factor in the country’s success is the swift response of the government at the start of the outbreak. Although the nation’s resources are more limited in comparison to many countries, the government has made the health of citizens a priority, therefore providing free testing and treatment to suspected cases and patients. This humane policy has served to help Vietnam successfully control the outbreak. 

In terms of those on the frontline fighting the virus, Nye was especially impressed with the qualifications of Vietnamese doctors, whom she described as talented.

“When by chance I read a news story that stated Vietnam has produced a COVID-19 test kit which had been ordered by 20 countries, I told my husband about it because at that time there were millions of Americans waiting to be tested. It is amazing that Vietnam has not reported any fatalities since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on January 23. That reflects the truth that Vietnamese doctors are very good.”

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Phan Bich Thien, who is residing in Hungary, says she was moved to see images of soldiers working hard to take care of people in quarantine

Elsewhere, Phan Bich Thien, a Vietnamese citizen residing in Hungary, said she has followed developments in her homeland with keen interest. To her surprise, the government’s drastic preventive measures have proved effective, successfully bringing the outbreak under control.

 

“During the past few weeks, all local governments and people have shown their determination and stayed united to combat the disease. I am so moved to see soldiers work very hard around the clock to take care of those in quarantine. In fact, it is hard to quarantine and manage all returnees from abroad for 14 days – an uphill task is not seen in many countries. 

In addition, images of ‘rice ATMs’ set up by philanthropists to support people in need also impressed me a lot. This once again indicates the Vietnamese people’s age-old tradition of mutual assistance between the haves and the have-nots.”

In a recent interview granted to Hungarian newspaper 168 Óra, Thien stated her appreciation for the implementation of Vietnam’s effective preventive measures, recalling the government’s declaration that ‘combating the epidemic is fighting the enemy’ along with making the safety of local citizens the top priority.

She concluded by saying, “This is a very convincing and humane act, and I am very proud of the Vietnamese achievements in this battle. I also feel pride when such news grabbed headlines in both Hungary and around the globe.”

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Quach Hung Tong, who lives in San Jose, California, says Vietnam's initial success in the COVID-19 battle has surprised the world

Like many other Vietnamese nationals living overseas, Quach Hung Tong, a resident of San Jose, California, the US, questioned himself regarding why the Vietnamese battle against the COVID-19 has surprised the world. After some consideration, he was able to find the answer in that it is a battle which requires a high sense of responsibility, discipline, and determination of both the government and people to win. The nation’s success is therefore a testimony to people’s unity in strictly following the government’s regulations as a means of preventing the virus from spreading among the wider community.

“In the fight against the pandemic at this time, Vietnam’s image once again shines globally. There is a tradition of mutual assistance in difficult circumstances among Vietnamese people and between them and the international community,” Tong said.

“Not only me, but lots of people are very touched by what soldiers and doctors have contributed to the country’s efforts. They are really heroes fighting on the front line against the epidemic, and as far as I know, the majority of the public appreciate their high sense of responsibility towards the community.

“I cannot forget the images of soldiers taking care of students returning from abroad in quarantine facilities, displaying extreme kindness and thoughtfulness. Such sentiments cannot be fabricated, but are a sign of the sincere treatment and care taken by Vietnamese soldiers and doctors.”

Increasingly, more touching stories of Vietnamese citizens living abroad discussing the nation’s efforts to contain the epidemic during this difficult time are beginning to emerge. In such circumstances, they are becoming more aware about the bravery, strength, resilience, and humanity of the nation, with the country always remaining in their hearts and minds. VOV

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