UN chief: Vietnam’s first emergency treatment of UN employee shows international solidarity

Vietnam’s treatment of a UN staff member who had contracted Covid-19 demonstrates international solidarity in the pandemic fight.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo: Reuters

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on June 19 appreciated Vietnam’s treatment of a UN staff member who had contracted Covid-19, which, he said, demonstrates international solidarity in the pandemic fight.

During his online talks with President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Guterres Guterres lauded Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements, especially its success in Covid-19 prevention and control, VietnamPlus said.

The UN chief lauded Vietnam’s positive and responsible contributions to the UN and in global issues, especially in the UN Security Council's operations, the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), climate change response and Covid-19 control.

Vietnam is an important factor that has contributed to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region, he stressed.

Guterres and Phuc affirmed that they treasure and are delighted at the fruitful developments of the Vietnam-UN relations over the past years.

Both shared the view on the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, and security, safety and freedom of navigation in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), affirming ASEAN’s centrality in dealing with regional issues.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc held online talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on June 19. Photo: Vietnamnet

For his part, Phuc congratulated Guterres on his reappointment by the UN General Assembly as UN Secretary-General in the 2022-2026 tenure.

He highly valued contributions that Guterres has made in the last term, and showed his support for priorities and directions of the UN Secretary-General in the next five years.

The President thanked the UN for its support to Vietnam over the past time and called for further assistance from UN organisations, especially in accessing vaccine supplies and post-pandemic recovery consultancy.

Earlier, Phuc sent a letter of congratulations to the re-appointed UN Secretary-General, in which he expressed his belief that with his commitments, experience and prestige, Guterres will make more contributions to enhancing the UN's role in common efforts to settle global challenges.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term by the 193-member UN General Assembly, according to Al Jazeera reported.

The 72-year-old Portuguese, the only candidate for the world body’s top post, said on June 18 he was “humbled and energised” by the support, adding that the “driving theme” of his second term will be “prevention in all its aspects – from conflicts, climate change, pandemics to poverty and inequality”.

I will give it my all to ensure the blossoming of trust between and among nations large and small, to build bridges, and to engage relentlessly in confidence building,” Guterres told the General Assembly after taking the oath of office.

Milestone in Vietnam-UN relations

UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra. Photo: VNA

In a recent interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra affirmed that Vietnam’s successful treatment of a UN employee who contracted Covid-19 has marked a new step of development in the cooperation between the two sides, while proving the country’s increasingly important role in the regional and international arena.


This is a historic, significant achievement, he told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), adding that the UN would continue to hold discussions with the Vietnamese government on turning the country into an important and potential destination for patients under the UN Emergency Chartered Medical Evacuation Services (MEDEVAC) in the future.

Earlier, Vietnam, at the request of the UN, had received and successfully treated a UN staff member who contracted the coronavirus while working in a regional country and was in critical condition.

The patient was brought to Vietnam by a plane run by the MEDEVAC, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After undergoing intensive treatment in a strict quarantine process, and thanks to expertise and dedicated care of Vietnamese doctors and nurses, the patient has fully recovered and been discharged from hospital. The UN staff member left Vietnam on June 15 to come back to work.

Doctors at National Hospital for Tropical Diseases are treating a Covid-19 patient. Photo: VNA

Vietnam was once seen as a country that needs to send its severe patients to other countries via the MEDEVAC mechanism such as Singapore and Thailand, the official said.

However, this is the first time the country has admitted a patient through the mechanism, especially in the context of the pandemic spread, he continued.

According to Malhotra, one of the reasons that the UN asked Vietnam to treat the UN staff member was the country’s good performance in COVID-19 prevention and control, with a low rate of infections, as well as its good medical services.

The event is of historical significance as it took place at a time when Vietnam was holding the rotating UN Security Council (UNSC) presidency, the official said, expressing his hope that there will be similar activities in the time ahead.

Regarding cooperation between the UN and the Vietnamese government and competent agencies in the pandemic combat, Malhotra said both sides have acknowledged the important role of the other, with the Vietnamese government playing crucial leadership.

Helping Vietnam build and roll out its vaccination programme is a top priority of the UN in 2021, he affirmed, adding that the UN and relevant agencies will continue their assistance to Vietnam in vaccine supply, and vaccine quality and safety control.

He also suggested the country should do better in expanding vaccination coverage, and informed that the UN will make effort to provide the country with vaccines enough to inoculate 20 percent of its population by year-end./.

MEDEVAC was set up with the aim of creating a global framework to provide emergency evacuation for severely ill UN staff members who require a level of care not available at their locations. Many countries in and outside the region engaged in the reception and treatment for them via the MEDEVAC mechanism.

The UN, through the COVAX Facility, had already sent nearly 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Vietnam, out of a total of 38.9 million doses it committed to provide for the country free of charge.