There is no time when speed matters more than when a pandemic strikes. What’s unfolding with the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide speaks volumes to this. First detected in China last December, the novel coronavirus has travelled to 209 countries and territories globally, infected more than 1.9 million and claimed lives of more than 120,000 people at the time of this writing.
Vietnam took quick and decisive actions and is one of the few countries so far that has coped with the situation relatively well. There have been no COVID-related deaths and, as of April 14, only 266 infections nation-wide , despite Vietnam’s role as a regional trade powerhouse and a tourism hotspot.
Many of Vietnam’s swift and effective public health responses have been enabled by information technology. The country has put its high penetration of mobile phones (150%) and the Internet (70%) to great use. Alert notifications and reminders from health authorities to take precautionary measures are regularly circulated via text messages, websites and social media. There are mobile applications for universal medical declaration and to keep tabs on the pandemic development.