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Vietnam: How this country of 95 million kept its coronavirus death toll at zero



Motorbike riders with face masks are stuck in traffic during the morning peak hour on May 19 in Hanoi.

To skeptics, Vietnam’s official numbers may seem too good to be true. But Guy Thwaites, an infectious disease doctor who works in one of the main hospitals designated by the Vietnamese government to treat Covid-19 patients, said the numbers matched the reality on the ground.

“I go to the wards every day, I know the cases, I know there has been no death,” said Thwaites, who also heads the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City.

“If you had unreported or uncontrolled community transmission, then we’ll be seeing cases in our hospital, people coming in with chest infections perhaps not diagnosed — that has never happened,” he said.

So how has Vietnam seemingly bucked the global trend and largely escaped the scourge of the coronavirus? The answer, according to public health experts, lies in a combination of factors, from the government’s swift, early response to prevent its spread, to rigorous contact-tracing and quarantining and effective public communication.

Acting early

Vietnam started preparing for a coronavirus outbreak weeks before its first case was detected.

At the time, the Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization had both maintained that there was no “clear evidence” for human-to-human transmission. But Vietnam was not taking any chances.

“We were not only waiting for guidelines from WHO. We used the data we gathered from outside and inside (the country to) decide to take action early,” said Pham Quang Thai, deputy head of the Infection Control Department at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi.

By early January, temperature screening was already in place for passengers arriving from Wuhan at Hanoi’s international airport. Travelers found with a fever were isolated and closely monitored, the country’s national broadcaster reported at the time.
By mid-January, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam was ordering government agencies to take “drastic measures” to prevent the disease from spreading into Vietnam, strengthening medical quarantine at border gates, airports and seaports.
On January 23, Vietnam confirmed its first two coronavirus cases — a Chinese national living in Vietnam and his father, who had traveled from Wuhan to visit his son. The next day, Vietnam’s aviation authorities canceled all flights to and from Wuhan.
As the country celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday, its Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc declared war on the coronavirus. “Fighting this epidemic is like fighting the enemy,” he said at an urgent Communist Party meeting on January 27. Three days later, he set up a national steering committee on controlling the outbreak — the same day the WHO declared the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
On February 1, Vietnam declared a national epidemic — with just six confirmed cases recorded across the country. All flights between Vietnam and China were halted, followed by the suspension of visas to Chinese citizens the next day.
Over the course of the month, the travel restrictions, arrival quarantines and visa suspensions expanded in scope as the coronavirus spread beyond China to countries like South Korea, Iran and Italy. Vietnam eventually suspended entry to all foreigners in late March.
A Vietnamese People's Army officer stands next to a sign warning about the lockdown on the Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on February 20.
Vietnam was also quick to take proactive lockdown measures. On February 12, it locked down an entire rural community of 10,000 people north of Hanoi for 20 days over seven coronavirus cases — the first large-scale lockdown known outside China. Schools and universities, which had been scheduled to reopen in February after the Lunar New Year holiday, were ordered to remain closed, and only reopened in May.

Thwaites, the infectious disease expert in Ho Chi Minh City, said the speed of Vietnam’s response was the main reason behind its success.

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“Their actions in late January and early February were very much in advance of many other countries. And that was enormously helpful … for them to be able to retain control,” he said.

Meticulous contact-tracing

The decisive early actions effectively curbed community transmission and kept Vietnam’s confirmed cases at just 16 by February 13. For three weeks, there were no new infections — until the second wave hit in March, brought by Vietnamese returning from abroad.

Authorities rigorously traced down the contacts of confirmed coronavirus patients and placed them in a mandatory two-week quarantine.

“We have a very strong system: 63 provincial CDCs (centers for disease control), more than 700 district-level CDCs, and more than 11,000 commune health centers. All of them attribute to contact tracing,” said doctor Pham with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

A confirmed coronavirus patient has to give health authorities an exhaustive list of all the people he or she has met in the past 14 days. Announcements are placed in newspapers and aired on television to inform the public of where and when a coronavirus patient has been, calling on people to go to health authorities for testing if they have also been there at the same time, Pham said.

A woman stands in a queue to provide a sample at a makeshift testing centre near the Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi on March 31.

When the Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi, one of the biggest hospitals in Vietnam, became a coronavirus hotspot with dozens of cases in March, authorities imposed a lockdown on the facility and tracked down nearly 100,000 people related to the hospital, including medics, patients, visitors and their close contacts, according to Pham.

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“Using contact-tracing, we located almost everyone, and asked them to stay home and self quarantine, (and that) if they have any symptoms, they can visit the health centers for free testing,” he said.

Authorities also tested more than 15,000 people linked to the hospitals, including 1,000 health care workers.

Vietnam’s contact-tracing effort was so meticulous that it goes after not only the direct contacts of an infected person, but also indirect contacts. “That’s one of the unique parts of their response. I don’t think any country has done quarantine to that level,” Thwaites said.

All direct contacts were placed in government quarantine in health centers, hotels or military camps. Some indirect contacts were ordered to self isolate at home, according to a study of Vietnam’s Covid-19 control measures by about 20 public health experts in the country.
A roadside barber donning a face mask gives a haircut to a customer in Hanoi.

As of May 1, about 70,000 people had been quarantined in Vietnam’s government facilities, while about 140,000 had undergone isolation at home or in hotels, the study said.

The study also found that of the country’s first 270 Covid-19 patients, 43 percent were asymptomatic cases — which it said highlighted the value of strict contact-tracing and quarantine. If authorities had not proactively sought out people with infection risks, the virus could have quietly spread in communities days before being detected.

Public communication and propaganda

From the start, the Vietnamese government has communicated clearly with the public about the outbreak.

Dedicated websites, telephone hotlines and phone apps were set up to update the public on the latest situations of the outbreak and medical advisories. The ministry of health also regularly sent out reminders to citizens via SMS messages.

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Pham said on a busy day, the national hotlines alone could receive 20,000 calls, not to count the hundreds of provincial and district-level hotlines.

A propaganda poster on preventing the spread of the coronavirus is seen on a wall as a man smokes a cigarette along a street in Hanoi.
The country’s massive propaganda apparatus was also mobilized, raising awareness of the outbreak through loudspeakers, street posters, the press and social media. In late February, the health ministry released a catchy music video based on a Vietnamese pop hit to teach people how to properly wash their hands and other hygiene measures during the outbreak. Known as the “hand-washing song,” it immediately went viral, so far attracting more than 48 million views on Youtube.

Thwaites said Vietnam’s rich experience in dealing with infectious disease outbreaks, such as the SARS epidemic from 2002 to 2003 and the following avian influenza, had helped the government and the public to better prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The population is much more respectful of infectious diseases than many perhaps more affluent countries or countries that don’t see as much infectious disease — Europe, the UK and the US for example,” he said.

“The country understands that these things need to be taken seriously and complies with guidance from the government on how to prevent the infection from spreading.”

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Menteri Uno memuji kopi reguler Bangalpinong



Bangalpinong (Antara) – Kopi Madu Musang dari kota Bangalpinong di Provinsi Kepulauan Bangka Belitung merupakan salah satu varietas kopi terbaik di Indonesia karena rasanya yang enak dan manfaat kesehatannya, kata Menteri Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif Sandiaka Uno.

“Wah, kopi ini enak sekali, dari mana asalnya?” Hal itu disampaikan Mendag saat menikmati kopi Madu Musong saat membuka workshop Kabupaten/Kota Indonesia Kreatif (KaTa Kreatif) 2023 di Bangalpinang, Sabtu.

Menteri menemukan kopi memiliki rasa yang kaya dan menganggapnya sebagai salah satu kopi terbaik yang disajikan di Indonesia. Ia meyakini varian kopi ini memiliki potensi untuk bersaing secara nasional maupun internasional. Kopinya dicampur dengan madu asli dari hutan Pulau Banga.

“Saya yakin para pelaku ekonomi kreatif akan menemukan cara untuk menemukan brand yang catchy agar produknya bisa bersaing dengan kompetitor asing,” ujarnya.

Ia mengatakan, kemampuan pelaku usaha dalam membangun merek sangat penting untuk mempromosikan produk ekonomi kreatif dan destinasi wisata Pangalpinong.

Uno juga menyoroti pentingnya nama merek yang menarik, dengan mengatakan, “Saya ingin menegaskan kembali bahwa saya adalah sebuah doa.”

Ia menekan para pelaku ekonomi kreatif untuk mempromosikan produknya dengan mencari nama baik dan menciptakan lagu dan slogan yang lebih bagus lagi, dengan harapan dapat mempromosikan produk khas daerah ke khalayak yang lebih luas.

Terkait hal tersebut, pemilik kedai kopi Madhu Musong, Eko, mengatakan bahwa kopi menawarkan berbagai manfaat kesehatan karena merupakan kopi alami dengan kalori lebih banyak dari gula dan lebih manis.

Selain itu, kopi memiliki sifat antibakteri, mengandung vitamin dan mineral, serta antioksidan yang tinggi. Makanya, kopi ini baik untuk jantung dan membantu mengurangi risiko diabetes dan masalah kesehatan lainnya, ujarnya.

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“Madu untuk kopi ini diambil langsung dari sarang lebah yang ada di hutan Pulau Banga. Sehingga kami jamin keaslian dan kualitas madunya,” imbuhnya.

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Diterjemahkan oleh: Aprionis, Tegar Noorbitra
Editor: Aziz Kurmala
Hak Cipta © ANTARA 2023

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Mengobati pasien di Indonesia



Siloam Hospitals didukung oleh tim medis yang terdiri lebih dari 40 spesialisasi, 3.600 spesialis dan 9.000 perawat, staf kesehatan dan pendukung yang menyediakan layanan kesehatan berstandar internasional kepada lebih dari empat juta pasien setiap tahunnya. Sebagai bagian dari komitmen kami untuk memberikan akses layanan kesehatan berkualitas kepada masyarakat di tanah air, Silom mengoperasikan 66 klinik untuk memberikan layanan medis di daerah terpencil di Indonesia.

Grup Siloam Hospitals selalu mengutamakan standar yang tinggi, dimulai dengan kepatuhan kami terhadap proses akreditasi nasional untuk seluruh 41 rumah sakit kami. Untuk peningkatan kualitas yang berkelanjutan, Silom Hospitals Silom Hospitals Lippo Village (Thangerang) merupakan rumah sakit pertama di Indonesia yang menerima sertifikasi internasional dari JCI pada tahun 2007. Joint Commission International (JCI) sekarang berbasis di Kebon Jeruk (Jakarta) dan terakreditasi. Denpasar (Bali) juga, sedangkan Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) telah mengakreditasi BIMC Nusa Dua di Bali. Hasilnya, dengan tiga akreditasi internasional yang kami miliki, kami telah mempertahankan posisi kami sebagai salah satu penyedia layanan kesehatan terkemuka di Indonesia. Kami mengungkapkan komitmen berkelanjutan kami untuk memberikan layanan kesehatan yang luar biasa kepada pasien kami.

Kami percaya bahwa memberikan perawatan komprehensif dan khusus kepada pasien sangat penting untuk meningkatkan hasil kesehatan kami. Hal ini mendorong kami untuk mendirikan beberapa Center of Excellence (CoE) di seluruh Indonesia, antara lain kardiologi, neurologi, onkologi, urologi-nefrologi, dan kebidanan. Setiap CoE didukung oleh tim spesialis dan sub-spesialisnya sendiri serta fasilitas khusus untuk menyediakan perawatan yang tepat untuk kondisi kesehatan tertentu. Pendekatan CoE kami memastikan pasien menerima perawatan interdisipliner tingkat tertinggi, yang menghasilkan hasil kesehatan dan kualitas hidup yang lebih baik. Seiring berkembangnya CoE kami, kami telah menangani berbagai kasus kompleks seperti bedah saraf dan operasi pisau gamma, operasi jantung terbuka dan intervensi koroner, transplantasi ginjal, dan berbagai operasi onkologi termasuk hematologi, ginekologi, dan kanker payudara. Hingga saat ini, Silom telah melayani lebih dari 5.000 operasi jantung terbuka, lebih dari 2.000 bedah saraf, dan lebih dari 250.000 kasus onkologi.

Dalam bidang urologi-nefrologi, Silom adalah satu-satunya rumah sakit swasta di Indonesia yang melakukan transplantasi ginjal hidup, dengan lebih dari 250 transplantasi berhasil dan tingkat kelangsungan hidup cangkok selama satu tahun mencapai 98 persen, sejalan dengan tolok ukur global. Bersamaan dengan persalinan, Silom meluncurkan klinik fertilisasi in-vitro (IVF), Blastula IVF, pada tahun 2021. Rumah sakit tersebut telah menunjukkan kinerja yang luar biasa dan telah melakukan lebih dari 570 siklus IVF dengan tingkat kehamilan 53 persen dan telah membawa kebahagiaan bagi lebih dari 140 orang. orang tua.

Di Siloam, kami percaya bahwa perawatan kesehatan lebih dari sekadar mengobati penyakit, tetapi memberikan pengalaman yang menyenangkan dan menciptakan lingkungan di mana pasien kami merasa diperhatikan dan didukung. Oleh karena itu, tujuan kami tidak hanya untuk memberikan perawatan medis kelas satu, tetapi juga untuk menumbuhkan budaya empati dan kasih sayang untuk semua. Kami ingin pasien kami merasa dihargai dan dihormati dan mengetahui bahwa kesejahteraan mereka adalah prioritas kami. Dalam setiap langkah yang kami ambil, kami mewujudkan nilai-nilai inti kami tentang kepengurusan, inovasi, kasih sayang, integritas, dan rasa hormat untuk menghadirkan kesehatan dan kebahagiaan sehingga mereka dapat memperoleh kembali apa yang penting dalam hidup.

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Perbusnas bekerjasama dengan British Library untuk memperkuat sektor perpustakaan



JAKARTA (ANTARA) – Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia (Perpusnas) kembali menjalin Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dengan British Library (BL), perpustakaan nasional Inggris Raya, untuk memperkuat kerja sama di bidang perpustakaan.

“Perpusnas kembali mengadakan Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dengan British Library (BL). Kerjasama ini diharapkan dapat menjalin kerjasama yang erat di bidang perpustakaan,” ujar Syarif Bando, Presiden Perpustakaan Nasional (Perpusnas). Dalam keterangan tertulis yang diterima pada Sabtu di Jakarta.

Perpustakaan Nasional menandatangani MoU dengan BL di Gedung British Library, Rabu (24/5).

MoU ditandatangani oleh Muhammad Syrib Panto dari Perpustakaan Nasional dan Bill Spence dari PL. Sebelumnya, Perpusnas dan BL menandatangani nota kesepahaman di bidang perpustakaan pada 2018-2021.

MoU ini akan dilaksanakan dalam tiga tahun ke depan, kata Muhammad Sayarib Panto, Kepala Perpustakaan Nasional.

Pada periode MOU sebelumnya, beberapa agenda operasional dilakukan, di antaranya mengundang Annabel Teh Gallop, Chief Curator Specialist for Southeast Asia, untuk menjadi salah satu reviewer Jurnal Naskah Nasional (Jumantara) terbitan Perpustakaan Nasional. Pembicara webinar tentang Digitalisasi Naskah Nusantara.

Perpustakaan Nasional bersama Keraton Yogyakarta berhasil mendapatkan 75 eksemplar digital naskah kuno dari BL dalam rangka Pameran Naskah 2019, “Nagari Ngayogyakarta Mencekik Jejak Peradaban”.

Panto mengucapkan terima kasih kepada staf BL yang merespon program Memory of the World dengan menerima kunjungan dari Perpustakaan Nasional.

“Semuanya akan kami persiapkan, termasuk naskah akademik, untuk mendapatkan surat dukungan dari British Library untuk memasukkan naskah Hamza Fanzuri ke World Register,” ujarnya.

Kepala Perpusnas berharap agar pertukaran informasi dan pengetahuan, transfer sumber daya manusia dan pertukaran bahan pustaka terus berlanjut.

Sementara itu, Spence mengatakan hubungan kedua lembaga ini sangat erat dan berlangsung bertahun-tahun, dari Ibu Mastini, Kepala Perpustakaan Nasional yang pertama.

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Ia mengatakan British Library akan selalu menjadi pendukung besar Perpustakaan Nasional.

Acara tersebut juga dihadiri oleh Bill Spence, Chief Operating Officer British Library; Sirx Mazda, Kepala Koleksi dan Kurasi di British Library; Kepala Koleksi Asia dan Afrika, British Library, Louisa Elena Mengoni; Kurator Utama Asia Tenggara, British Library, Annabel Teh Gallop; Marcy Hopkins, Kepala Internasional British Library; dan Atase Tugas Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, KBRI London, Khairul Munadi.

British Library bekerja sama dengan mitra di Indonesia, khususnya Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia, untuk membantu mengembangkan metadata untuk digitalisasi naskah Jawa dan menjaga semua aspek pengelolaan naskah di BL.

BL juga menggandeng Asosiasi Manuskrip Nusantara (MANASSA) dan Digital Repository of Endangered and Affected Manuscripts in Southeast Asia (DREAMSEA) untuk mempromosikan dan meneliti manuskrip Jawa dalam koleksi BL.

Naskah Jawa digital pilihan dari BL akan ditranskripsi bekerja sama dengan Yayasan Sastra Standar (YASRI) dan dapat diakses melalui Portal Pelopor Sastra Jawa di

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Koresponden: Aziz Kurmala
Pengarang : Rahmat Nasushan
Hak Cipta © ANTARA 2023

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