Due to Covid19 delta variant spread in Vietnam, in july-2021, the Ascent building in HCMC District 2, was completely locked down. In the past few weeks so much disinformation and unrealistic expectations, we decided to share the latest facts and official information and in section 5- our survival advice from 30-years experience, since 1989, navigating Vietnam medical providers and government.
The HCDC (HCMC Center for Disease Control) discovered one positive case of F0 Covid infection. After all residents were tested, the count quickly became 6 for tower A and another 5 F0. Weekly PCR testing were organized. Whenever a new Covid19 positive was found, the local HCDC health would reset the counter adding +14 days to our quarantine. We quickly found that the management team of 14 were contaminated with 4 F0 cases who in turn contaminated their colleagues F1. Every time a F1 became positive into a F0, the HCDC could extend our building lockdown infinitely. We totaled 24-days.
The residents organized themselves in 4 groups using Viber to exchange information and getting food supplies. The stress was mounting by the days in the Expats groups due to: ignorance of decision making by the police, the CDC managing the pandemics, the limited power and knowledge of building management, the poor healthcare system (in management, equipment and financially), the vaccines stakeholders and decision parameters, the language barrier, Vietnam is a communist country, Sovereignty, reciprocity etc…
We decided to share the key information one needs to make sense of the situation with data, facts, context, Vietnam culture and crisis situation political decisions as we experienced it since 1989. Based on our experience of the 1985 doi moi decision out of starvation, the stop and go early 1990, Asian crisis 1997, 2001 dot.com divestment, SARS 2003, 2008 financial crisis, 2014 anti-China protests, 2020 Coronas virus…
Many people are asking: Why Vietnam took so long to buy and secure vaccinations for all while or 13-month they kept Covid at bay getting worldwide admiration?
To cut short, we would say the main reasons are probably: #1 over confidence on the strict confinement to successfully stop the Covid19 spreading and #2 working on the Nanocovax vaccine to show the world Vietnam capacity -not only to prevent the populations from contamination- but also to cure 100Mio Vietnamese with the ‘Made-In-Vietnam Nanocovax.
VIETNAM reminders: Covid Vaccine campaign
VN is a poor country; a lot of what VN gets as vaccines is free or sponsored
VN is communist and sovereign: only Vietnam laws and decrees apply
VN has its own decision criteria unknown to foreigners (and sometimes locals)
VN ministry of Health, centralizes and manage the supplies of vaccines
VN is short of vaccines what they buy or receive is what you get
Campaigns are decided by the central government
Some private initiatives (like the French government) may be authorized
Some business groups or private companies may get authorization under Ministry of Health patronage
Some campaigns may be reversed or interrupted due to shortage of vaccines
Some vaccines may change destination as a deadly outkreak shifts the urgency for vaccines.
Therefore all campaigns are subject to availability of vaccines. ‘Official’ vaccinations campaigns can be interrupted without notice. Of course, there is no possible guarantee you can choose: Moderna, Pfizer, Covax, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Veracell…
As we write, it is not excluded that the Vietnamese government extends vaccination centers to private arrangements on the French model or to private hospitals.
The Vietnamese strict confinement strategy and tactics to curb the Covid19 pandemics is due to the very poor and limited number of ICU hospital beds for proper treatment.
Below was the number of beds for Covid patients needing hospitalisation (the number beneath ‘giuong hoi suc’ means ICU-hospital bed Intensive Care Unit).
We found out most foreigners in Vietnam know of the following fundamentalss to understand treatment available to you, when declared Covid19 positive F0:
The Government list of F0-confinement centers are overloaded and now extended
The newly added F0-buildings for confinement are not treatment center, but meant to separate the F0 from the population and monitor them at best.
The government Covid19 nominated hospitals listed are overloaded, they started adding more in july-2021
F0-monitoring is no treatment but monitoring so that it ‘passes’ as a fever would do: due to overload of VN facilities, F0 are recommended to stay home and get telemedicine
A F0-hospitalisation may be required when breathing becomes almost impossible. This authorization to move to a hospital is the HCDC doctors’ decision
F0-ICU bed is overloaded, as we write the government tries to extend capacity. They may allow any hopsital wit capacity and doctors able to handle Covid patients to accept patients.
More on the latest additions of Covid authorized hospitals https://tuoitre.vn/4-benh-vien-tu-nhan-se-tiep-nhan-va-dieu-tri-benh-nhan-covid-19-20210727080739955.htm
Private hospitals can not treat for free as per government ‘strong preference’ therefore not listed as Covid19 treatment center…. under negotiation
Once you are tested Covid positive, you will be confined in isolation centers for self healing with medical supervision physically or tele-medicine.
Your first line family, friends, colleagues in contact in the past 15 days become F1 to be confined at home. Since the Covid delta ‘super contagious’, the 4th wave started early may-2021, the 2 types of authorized facilities became overloaded with thousands of daily new cases. To government #1 nominated hospitals and #2 confinement centers, due to full capacity, the HCDC declared eligible 3 additional ‘confinement places’:
You can follow the CDC instructions for Covid sick F0
You may need to find telemedicine if you can not find any HCDC medical doctor or nurse for F0-monitoring.
When monitoring fails, usually around 5-to-10 days after the first symptoms is when you really need treatment and get F0-hospitalization. You can not feed or drink, get dehydrated. You can not breath, every movement is tiring as your body lacks oxygen.
At his critical point, wherever you are:
As of 15-aug-2021, there are talks about allowing any medical facility to provide ‘treatment outside of hospitals‘ as defined by CDC whereby you need Intra-Veinus perfusion, medicines and rest for your body to continue fighting the virus.
At this stage, you need to find a Covid hospital listed by HCDC with ECMO or ICU-bed perhaps by mid-aug extended list to be announced…
Unfortunately Vietnam hospitals are short of Covid ECMO-bed to help you breath and ICU-beds to keep you alive.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a method of providing heart and lung support to patients, usually following a heart attack, when the heart is no longer capable of pumping blood around the body sufficiently.
The government is trying hard to extend, but resources medical, equipment and financing are insufficient.
You will need connections and cash to get access to Authorized Covid hospitals ICU Intensive Care Units beds.
On Thursday 29-july-2021, the government announced they will pay VND4.2Mio towards the cremation cost for any death by Covid19. Depending on the location, authorizations to move the body to HCDC center for register and procedure within 24hours of decease.
To summarize the painpoints and what you could do to prevent a bad outcome. When the HCDC sends you an ambulance as you were tested F0 positive:
To conclude, let #51 your closest friend who knows Vietnam, #52 your boss, #53 a Vietnamse translator #54 A trusted doctor #55 your country consular officer know where and how you are at any one time.
STAY SAFE, STAY ALIVE.
By Mr Tâm & team advice@insuranceinAsia.com Helpline: +84 903 732 365