COVID-19 in Vietnam, update on 16th April 2020

In the first half of April, Vietnam implemented a nationwide social distancing policy that ordered the shutdown of all non-essential businesses and urges citizens to stay home save for trips to groceries, pharmacies, and emergencies.

The policy was expected to last from 1st April to 15th April, but seeing that there are still new COVID-19 cases being discovered – with 1 reported this morning – the government has extended the period by one more week in certain cities and provinces with high risks of infection.

On the other hand, two more patients have tested negative several times in a row and have been discharged from hospitals. As of 9AM, 16th April 2020, Vietnam has recorded 268 COVID-19 cases, of whom 171 have recovered.

1 new COVID-19 case

Medical staff working with patients through a barrier, measuring their temperatures and sanitizing their hands
Image credit: Bệnh viện Đa khoa Hồng Ngọc

Only 1 new COVID-19 case is reported in Vietnam in the past 24 hours. The patient, known as Case 268, is a 16-year-old girl of the Mông ethnicity living in a remote hamlet close to the border with China in the Đồng Văn District, Hà Giang Province. She has 3 brothers who are freelance workers in China. She has now been quarantined for treatment at the Đồng Văn General Hospital and is in stable condition.

2 recoveries

Case 145, one of the two discharged yesterday, giving flowers to a medical worker
Image credit: VNExpress

One of the two patients discharged in the past 24 hours was Case 145, a 35-year-old man. He returned to Vietnam from the UK on 22nd March and was quarantined on arrival. Later, upon displaying symptoms, he was moved to the Cần Thơ Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Hospital and was confirmed positive for the virus on 26th March.

The other is Case 235, a 25-year-old man from the UK who was receiving treatment at the Củ Chi Field Hospital in Hồ Chí Minh City. He was a customer at the Buddha Bar, a COVID-19 hotspot in Hồ Chí Minh City.

Social distancing policy extended in certain cities

Vietnamese people will still need to continue practicing social distancing
Image credit:

The nationwide social distancing policy implemented from 1st to 15th April 2020, referred to as Directive 16, yielded positive results. Statistics show that in those 14 days, Vietnam only recorded 59 new COVID-19 COVID-19 cases, which represents a 60% decrease compared to the previous 2 weeks.

30 of these 59 were spotted in the first 3 days. Afterward, daily jumps have been kept to 5 or fewer.

However, seeing that the disease is yet to be fully contained, the government has decided that 12 Vietnamese cities and provinces with high risks of COVID-19 infection will continue to carry out Directive 16 for at least another week, until 22nd April. This period could then be extended until 30th April depending on the situation.

These 12 cities and provinces include: Hanoi, Lào Cai, Quảng Ninh, Bắc Ninh, Ninh Bình, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Bình Thuận, Khánh Hoà, Hồ Chí Minh City, Tây Ninh, and Hà Tĩnh.

15 medium-risk provinces, including Bình Dương, Thái Nguyên, Cần Thơ, Nam Định, Hà Nam, Nghệ An, Hải Phòng, Kiên Giang, Thái Nguyên, Thừa Thiên – Huế, Lạng Sơn, An Giang, Bình Phước, Đồng Tháp, Sóc Trăng, will continue to adhere to Directive 15, which bans public gatherings of more than 20 people, shuts down all non-essential businesses, and suspends public transport. They must also have plans to return to Directive 16 should the circumstances demand it.

The remaining 36 provinces and cities of Vietnam are classified as having low risks of infection. They will continue to adhere to Directive 15 as well.

Further courses of action will be decided on 22nd April.

Continuing to practice social distancing is necessary

It’s true that nobody likes to stay home for weeks on end, but reality has proven that doing so as a country is an effective way to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the complicated developments of the disease, such as the possibility of a relapse weeks after testing negative, the extension of the social distancing policy is necessary.

Let’s all carry out the government’s instructions for now, and hopefully we can rejoice soon when the ordeal is over.

For more COVID-19 stories, check out:

Cover image adapted from: Bệnh viện Đa khoa Hồng Ngọc,

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