For the first time since August 21 last year, Vietnam recorded no new COVID-19 death on Tuesday, keeping the country’s cumulative total number of deaths at a little over 43,000. The Ministry of Health’s publication Suc Khoe Doi Song confirmed Wednesday that the national seven-day average of deaths dropped to two from 42 a day in April.
This progress complements the continuous significant drop in daily coronavirus infections in recent weeks. Latest data showed that Vietnam only recorded 2,709 new cases on May 3 — remarkably lower than the 50,730 cases reported exactly a month ago. The country’s seven-day local infection average was down to 5,121 a day on Tuesday from a seven-day average of 75,319 reported on April 3.
As of Tuesday, Vietnam’s COVID-19 cases stand at 10,659,358, more than 9.2 million have already been given the all-clear.
Given the fact that Vietnam has just recently lifted entry restrictions for all travelers, the country is showing signs of fast recovery. Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Resilience Ranking in April has raised Vietnam’s standing seven places up to 36 from the 43rd place in March. While it scored 16.4 points lower than top-ranked Norway, Bloomberg has recognized Vietnam’s vaccine efforts and the increasing number of inbound and outbound travel routes it has opened.
The country has administered two vaccine doses to 100% of its adult population, while nearly 60% have already been given booster shots. More than 17 million doses have also been administered to children aged 12-17, and 1.54 million doses for children aged 51-11 years old.
Other countries in Asia have also seen a downward trend in new coronavirus infections. New cases in Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea have fallen significantly in recent days as governments make great strides to return to pre-pandemic normalcy. The same trend has been observed in Laos, Singapore, the Philippines, and Cambodia.
However, public health experts have warned that it’s too early to declare the pandemic over. In an interview with VnExpress in April, Tran Dac Phu, senior advisor of the Public Health Emergency Operations Center, said the falling number of daily infections does not guarantee that no new infection will pop up in the future. According to Vietnamese laws and policies on pandemics and diseases, an infectious disease epidemic can only be considered over when new infections aren’t detected for 28 consecutive days.
The same warnings were echoed by experts in Japan, even saying the XE subvariant of omicron may trigger another outbreak in the East Asian country. Japan reported its first XE strain from an asymptomatic woman who arrived from the United States on March 26.
First identified in mid-January in Britain, XE is a mix of two previously detected omicron subvariants, BA.1 and BA.2. The new subvariant is believed to be about 12.6% more transmissible than BA.2.
Vietnam has yet to discover the presence of the XE variant within the country.
The Ministry of Health continues to encourage everyone to wear face masks when in public. And while COVID-19 vaccination certificates are no longer required for people entering the country, being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ensures the safety of visitors and the people they interact with.