According to international comparisons, Vietnam is a country that has chosen to take strict measures against COVID-19 and has achieved favorable initial results while gaining public support. In daily interactions with Vietnamese government officials, the author is often keenly aware of the magnitude of the barriers to find solution, even it is rational one, especially when they require cross-ministerial coordination. This report traces the progress of the initial policy responses to COVID-19 up to June 2020, and summarizes the decision-making mechanism, communication methods and narratives used to gain public cooperation for the measures. In addition, the author made initial analysis with regard to the background to the Vietnamese government's ability to take swift and appropriate measures, including its rich experience in containing infectious diseases such as SARS, and thus readiness to consider infectious disease control as a part of its national security. The report also points out that the Vietnamese people have a high level of sensitivity toward health and life, and that effective risk communication has fostered the perception of national emergency to which the people should unite and respond, and that the incentives for policy implementation have increased ahead of the once-every-five-year party congress and personnel appointments at strategic level.
This paper is a translated version of the Japanese original published in November 2021.
Keywords: Crisis response to pandemic, initial response, governmental decision-making structure, multi-agency collaboration, risk communication, information disclosure