I am more grateful to be in Vietnam now than ever.

Gia Bao Huynh Tan
5 min readMar 14, 2020

I am so happy to be in Vietnam right now. During coronavirus pandemic.

The big question: Aren’t we tired of counting new cases and catching up with the news about coronavirus every day? I sure am. However, if you haven’t heard about coronavirus, you’re probably living under a rock or you are really doing your social distancing. With everything that is happening right now, it is hard to find out solid solutions on what to do but hold on to what authorities telling you to do, and it mostly depends on where you are at. I am now enjoying my extended spring break in Vietnam, the longest one in three years living abroad in Japan and then Spain. Extended? What? Why? Coronavirus it is! I thought I would be all panic and scared about it but it took me by surprise that Vietnam is a safe and good place to be during this epidemic.

The coronavirus is coming to you. Not only from Wuhan, China, but literally everywhere: Italy, the U.K., Singapore, South Korea and many more.

It infects in the matter of days and the incubating period is longer than the medical experts expected it to be.

It can be transmitted from people to people through close proximity and many other ways, and some will die.

Medical experts will run out of the labor force, hospitals will be out of space, mass quarantine is mandatory. Too many people, too many problems.

What to do? Act now. And Vietnam did that.

I have heard a lot of opinions about how social media have blown up the consequences or how dangerous the coronavirus is and some have compared it with common flu as well as SARS in 2003 as they did not have many updates hourly back then. Therefore, the efficiency of awareness of coronavirus has fluctuated through times and areas. Since January, Vietnam confirmed their first two cases of coronavirus, both Chinese tourists, both were discharged from hospital clear from the virus within 2 weeks. All built up to 16 cases, all of them were from parts of China or experienced layover there. Vietnam also cultured and isolated the virus in the laboratory and released the 16th patients at the end of February, making the country temporarily cleared from the virus until March 6th, literally one week ago, coronavirus was back, and this time it hit the capital city, Hanoi.

The facts that Vietnam put a 10,000-people village into quarantine for three weeks with concrete check-in and out as well as providing residents with necessities is one of the earliest initiatives in battling coronavirus from the very beginning phase, as well as locking down the border with China have proved that Vietnam wants to keep the number of cases as low as possible. In February, schools and public activities were suspended while it is said to be quite early to do so by the World Health Organization as it was “not yet a global alarming disease”. Aggressive measures, closing down borders, canceling flights, putting people into mass quarantine are efforts shown that the authorities themselves think about the long-term consequences. If they let it slip from the beginning, the number of cases will rise, the problems solved as aftermath will be doubled or tripled. Taking Vietnam’s economy as an example, one of their most prominent markets of exporting and importing is China. The lockdown with China means there will be no ingredients or clients for industries such as garment technology, appliances production and especially tourism. In return, the exported products cannot be transported to China or other countries as the borders were shut down. Therefore, stocks are piled. Omitting the weight of economic slowdown is not an easy task, as the Vietnamese government understands that coronavirus will be a “pause button” around the world and they cannot be the only horse on the race. The same situation will happen in different parts of the world sooner or later, therefore, they better off controlling the number of new cases first, and reconstruct or recover their economy later, hopefully in 2021.

Today marks the day that Vietnam has passed 50 cases of coronavirus, as well as the announcement about blocking flights from Europe, will be put into action. Moreover, all Vietnamese citizens who are positive will be treated free of charge, as well as free tests, which will be conducted, with more than 1,000 examinations per day. These responses towards the outbreak of coronavirus are risky, outstanding and worth the notice from other countries all over the world. While Italy and America are dealing with the rising mortality rate, Vietnam so far has not experienced any deaths caused by the virus thanks to the prompt acts and awareness among the government and the citizens themselves. Refusing free transportation and traveling to and from infected areas can lead to the “broke-ass future” but at least, people are safe. We all need generations of people to rebuild everything from the mess.

Never in my life, I have felt grateful to be in Vietnam than being here right now, even though I only stay home due to the outspread of the virus in my city. The coronavirus is under control and we have new facilities, new rules and a responsible team of leaders to put our trusts on. It is everybody’s responsibilities now, but the ones who take the most are the authorities and the community leaders. They are doing a very good job so powering to them with trusts, honesty, and self-protection methods are what each and every one of us can do in return.

A bonus point before I end this post: What should we do now?

Wash your hands, refrain from traveling, stay at home, find new hobbies and be honest. Vietnamese authorities vowed to punish anyone concealing sickness after 13 people caught the deadly new coronavirus on a flight to Hanoi, sparking lockdowns and panic-buying in the capital. Nobody has time for your lies!

Happy Coronavirus season and stay safe!

I also made a playlist on Spotify for your self-quarantine time and will update once in a while: