WHO Representative praises Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight

Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to Vietnam Kidong Park praised Vietnam’s achievements in COVID-19 prevention and control in an interview given to the Vietnam News Agency on January 22.

“Although Vietnam is a country with large, ageing population and lower-middle-income economy, and close to China with land crossing borders with multiple countries, it has been managing the COVID-19 outbreaks effectively, keeping the number of cases, including deaths, relatively lower than those of other countries,” he said 

The cumulative number of confirmed cases per 1 million population remains about 16 so far; and the cumulative number of deaths per 1 million population is about 0.4 so far, he cited.

“These are the lowest figures among the 15 countries with more than 90 million population,” he said. 

Though Vietnam has been enjoying the a period in “peace” with no reported cases of community transmission, he noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating its resurgence in many countries and imported cases are being reported almost every day. New community transmission cases in the country can happen anytime at any place, he warned.

In this context, Vietnam needs to set dual objectives of disease control and economic development, the so called “a safe co-existence with COVID-19”.

He recommended that while doing economic activities, the country should remain vigilant. “Everybody should practice basic infection prevention measures at their daily life such as hand washing, mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding places with high risk of transmission – crowds, closed spaces and close-contact settings,” he said.

The health sector should be able to detect any new suspected outbreak as early as possible and apply measures to suppress new outbreak if it happens, he added.

Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, Park stated that as of January 19, 237 candidate vaccines are under development globally. Of these, 64 are either under clinical trial, and some of them have been in phase 3 or being authorized for emergency use in some countries. Some vaccines are under review of WHO emergency use listing.  

WHO recognises Vietnam’s active participation in this global effort with a candidate vaccine being developed in the country, and acknowledges one of them have already started clinical trial phase 1 and others are also shown well progress to start the clinical trial soon. This is really impressive, he said. 

“It is a pride of biotechnology in the country,” he asserted.

One year since the first case of COVID-19 confirmed in the country (January 23, 2020-2021), thanks to the effective implementation of key measures in the prevention and control of the panemic, the number of infections in Vietnam stand at only 1,548, including 35 deaths.

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