With many globally praising Vietnam’s efforts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively quashing any real danger within its own borders and celebrating a month without community infections, it is no surprise that the consistency continues in the repatriation efforts enacted by the government.
Unlike many other nations, Vietnam is able to look beyond the outbreak within its own borders, promising a few weeks back to bring back all overseas citizens that wish to return home safely. There was also a promise made that no one would be left behind, and in the past week, with efforts being ramped up, it is clear that the government has made good on this promise.
In the past fortnight, Vietnamese citizens stuck in COVID-19 ridden nations have been able to return home safely, with flights chartered from the European Union, Russia, the USA & the United Arab Emirates. Of course, strict quarantine and testing measures are still in place throughout this process, with a relative number of positive cases; though this is likely to have been expected when announcing the plans to bring overseas citizens home.
On the flight from Dubai, over 15 people have tested positive for the virus, on the flight from Moscow the numbers have almost reached 30. Despite this, citizens in Vietnam should not be worried about the possibility of a potential third wave of the virus. This is due to Vietnam’s rampant efforts to curb the virus, every person on board the repatriation flights, including cabin crew, pilots & airline staff have been quarantined; ensuring the strictest measures are taken will mean that Vietnam can continue to repress the virus and ensure the safety of its citizens. Similarly, those with positive tests are immediately hospitalised to ensure the safety of such citizens, this is why Vietnam is yet to report its first COVID-19 death.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuan Phúc announced Friday plans in order to ensure the continuation of repatriation flights, but also issued a stark warning regarding the Vietnamese healthcare system. With an estimated 4.5 million citizens living abroad, Vietnam will not be able to repatriate every citizen, nor will every citizen wish to leave their country of residence, though the option remains present for those wishing to return whilst the government promises to continue prioritising its own citizens over reopening the borders for tourism or other reasons considered unnecessary.
Vietnam will likely continue leading the world response to COVID-19, as it did in 2003 with the SARS outbreak, and will remain fully mobilised regarding the possibility of any potential future outbreaks. Acting in a timely manner prevented the possibility of epidemic within the country, but unlike other countries such as Italy (being badly affected by the virus and reopening its borders to tourists little over a month after strict and long-lasting lockdown measures were eased), Vietnam continues to implement a sense of diligence throughout the duration of the global response also, meaning that the nation will likely be remembered as exemplary in its response to the crisis for many years to come.
By Elliott Chapman(firstname.lastname@example.org). Elliott Chapman is a politics and international relations student; political activist. The opinions expressed here are his own.