Thursday, April 23, 2020

Coronavirus 22

Vietnam 268 cases 0 deaths

There had been 16 cases during February but numbers slowly climbed through March, almost all of them people who had flown into Vietnam from other countries.

A massive public information campaign was launched in early January, stressing the danger of the disease and measures for protection. Incoming people by air and surface were health-checked and quarantined for 14 days, the whole population constantly health-checked with testing widely available using home manufactured kits, contact tracing and quarantine for for anyone in contact with a positive case. Strong travel restrictions have been enforced with complete lockdown in areas where cases have been found.

Testing. Containment, Suppression. Elimination.

Vietnam is a poor country of over 95 million people and with a nominal per capita GDP of under $3 000. It has, however, shown us a textbook case of how to deal with a pandemic, putting the health of its citizens above any other consideration.

By contrast the UK Government, defying the advice of the World Health Organisation and many scientists, and not learning from the experience of other nations, has chosen its own policy that has created the greatest of disasters, the final extent of which we are far from knowing.

The UK Government has not only got everything wrong, it has tried to hide the full extent of the catastrophe and where that is impossible, to blame others.  

We are now learning that the situation has been handled much better in many other nations and that the number of deaths in the UK is far higher, perhaps more than double, than the numbers announced by the Government.

Chris Giles, Economics Editor of 
The Financial Times writes: "The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics."

While countries that have acted promptly and effectively are now contemplating an end to severe restrictions of freedom and economic activity, the UK will be stuck where we are until these criteria for relaxing lockdown within any geographical area: 
1. Satisfaction of health professionals that undetected community transmission is unlikely
2. Strong contact tracing capacity
3. Strength of the area's boundary controls
4. Health system’s ability to cope

Failure to satisfy them will inevitably result in a return to exponential spread of the disease, more death and longer lockdown.

While the people of Vietnam go about their ordinary business, the UK citizens will continue to suffer the consequences of their Government's failure for a long time to come.


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