The Hanoi Times is honored to introduce some thoughts by Norway’s Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Løchen on how Vietnam manages to cope with the pandemic.
|Norway’s Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Løchen. Photos: Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi|
First of all, Vietnam should be commended for how they have been able to contain the pandemic for a long time. Norway has been following Vietnam in recognizing the importance of testing and tracking people.
Today, vaccination is very important with the more contagious Delta variant dominating also in Vietnam. It helps build herd immunity. Vietnam has also vaccinated over 20 million shots. The global demand outstrips vaccine supply which is also affecting the availability of vaccines in Vietnam. Hopefully, we will see more vaccines arriving in Vietnam in the second half of the year.
From the very outset, Norway saw the importance of developing, producing, and distributing Covid-19 vaccines worldwide as a key priority. We have emphasized the importance of fair and equitable distribution and access to vaccines for all countries. Emerging variants of the virus are heightening uncertainty and underscoring the need for an effective global response.
We all know that vaccines offer hope, but it is more important to ensure equitable access to vaccines, and that vaccines also reach the poorest and most vulnerable groups. The Covid-19 pandemic affects girls, boys, women, and men differently. Therefore, a gender-sensitive response to the pandemic is crucial. It is essential to ensure that our actions are non-discriminating. Only then can we ensure that no one is left behind.
The pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to our nations, with its devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people, and severe disruptions to our societies and economies. However, it also inspires many heart-touching stories about how people treat each other. It is all about sharing.
I have been impressed by how Vietnamese health workers and other front liners have been rushing to affected areas to assist in fighting the pandemic, leaving their own families and friends and working grueling shifts. It tells a lot about the strength of the Vietnamese people.
In addition, Vietnam has also been a responsible international partner by sharing your experiences, resources and providing medical services, equipment, and treatments to other countries as well as contributing USD 500,000 to the COVAX Facility.
The most recent story happened in June 2021 when Vietnam, at the UN request, for the first time Vietnam received and treated a Covid-19 patient who works for the UN under the MEDEVAC scheme, marking the good cooperation between Vietnam and the UN.
This story has touched the hearts of not only UN staff regionally but also foreigners and diplomats in Vietnam like me. It is a symbol of Vietnam's goodwill and international solidarity, which is extremely important in these harsh times.
|Ambassador Grete Løchen in her office in Hanoi.|