Life in Vietnam…with Covid-19 being tracked and traced, and lock-downs imposed and lifted to cope with one-off outbreaks.  Taylor Edgar reports.

A walk around my local neighbourhood earlier today ( Friday April 24) confirmed that life is slowly returning to normal after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted in Hanoi yesterday.

Buses are running again, workplaces are welcoming back employees from weeks of home working and almost all the shops, including restaurants, are open.

All but two of the city’s 30 districts have been downgraded from high-risk to at-risk allowing much of ordinary life to be resumed. Only places of entertainment such as cinemas remain closed. Masks are still mandatory and large gatherings such as at pagodas etc. are banned meantime. Otherwise, there is little to tell that the capital is still on guard against coronavirus. Limited relaxation of the COVID-19 countermeasures is underway in the second city, Ho Chi Minh City. High-risk restrictions are continuing in Da Nang for the time being.

As of this morning (Friday), the country saw zero new cases for the eighth day in succession. At the time of writing, of the 268 infections recorded, 224 people had recovered, and 44 people are still in hospital receiving treatment. Zero deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded.

Schools are expected to reopen in May.

The Vietnamese government’s early and decisive action has been widely praised as world-class by experts around the world, including the World Health Organisation and World Economic Forum.  

Vietnam also emerged as having the highest number of citizens trusting their government’s response to the pandemic. The finding was made by the Dalia Research investigation centre in Berlin in a survey conducted from 24 to 26 March in 45 countries and territories.

Vietnam’s political will to protect its people, its aggressive testing and contact tracing and centralised quarantine facilities are believed to be behind this SE Asian country’s success in keeping a lid on COVID-19.

Even with the limited resources of a developing country, Vietnam has been able to perfect a COVID-19 test and optimise treatment of the disease.

Only overcast skies and the occasional rain shower today are putting a dampener on the new normal in Hanoi.