The COVID-19 timeline between Philippines and Vietnam (January — April 2020)

Taken from:
  1. On January 5, 2020, Secretary of Health Duque announced that the Bureau of Quarantine will have intensified checks on travelers coming to the Philippines.
  2. On January 23, 2020, the Philippines stopped accepting flights from Wuhan, China. However, it had kept accepting flights from other parts of China. This was a week ahead of Vietnam’s suspension of flights from and to China; however, in Vietnam, all Chinese flights were suspended.
  3. On January 27, 2020, suspected COVID-19 patients were monitored.
  4. The Philippines would record its first COVID-19 patient on January 30, 2020.
  5. Duterte would now ban all flights to and from Hubei province ONLY the same day that Vietnam did against the entirety of China (January 31, 2020) despite his initial hesitancy to even block flights from China. To me, this was the first egregious mistake in the fight against COVID-19. The Philippines was open to other Chinese flights: when asked two days prior, his response was, “”Mahirap ‘yang ano, sabihin mong you suspend everything because they are not also suspending theirs and they continue to respect the freedom flights that we enjoy.”
  6. On February 3, 2020, Vietnam aggressively quarantined all travelers from virus-affected areas, focusing on China. Meanwhile, the Philippine government monitored the temperature of all arriving foreigners. Duterte was quoted to say “China has been kind to us, we should show the same favor to them. Stop this xenophobia thing.”
  7. February 13, 2020 was one day where the “butterfly effect” of proactive health measures would redound upon the respective countries. Vietnam would seal off an entire commune, while the Philippines, on the other hand, has Duterte say: “Huwag makinig diyan sa mga haka-haka. Sa gobyerno kayo nakatutok. Nandiyan ang totoo sa gobyerno, wala diyan sa mga taong haka-haka na wala namang ginawa kung hindi manakot sa kapwa niya tao. (Don’t listen to those assumptions. Focus on the government. The truth is in the government, not in the assuming people who have done nothing but create fear in his fellow man.)”
  8. On March 6, 2020, Philippines would report its first local-transmission case of COVID-19. Vietnam, on the other hand, would impose another aggressive local quarantine on a street where the 17th diagnosed COVID-19 patient in Vietnam resided.
  9. Another two more locally-transmitted cases were observed in the Philippines on March 7, 2020.
  10. While Vietnam closed all its public schools on February 1, 2020, requests to close schools were not even implemented by as late as March 7, 2020 in the Philippines.
  11. On March 9, 2020, Duterte rejected a Metro Manila lockdown by saying “Hindi ko sinasabi na hihintayin mo magkasakit lahat. It’s not that, but you have to balance. (I am not saying that we wait for everyone to get sick. It’s not that, but you have to balance.)Meanwhile, in Vietnam, a nationwide nCOV tracking application was launched and implemented the same day.
  12. On March 12, the Philippines’ travel ban extended to all countries with local transmission. Three days later, March 15, Duterte would declare a quarantine for Metro Manila. By then, local cases would already top 100.
  13. By March 16, Vietnam would mandate wearing of face masks. The Philippines, on the other hand, would have … the first of our Enhanced Community Quarantines on March 17.
  14. It would be only on April 2, 2020 when Luzon, one of the main islands of the Philippines, require that face masks are mandated. The mandate would be extended one week later to the entire country (April 9).
  15. On April 13, 2020, the Philippines would have the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.




Medical doctor, reader, and dabbler in Philippine history

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Michael David Sy

Michael David Sy

Medical doctor, reader, and dabbler in Philippine history

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