The tables below sets out some interesting comparisons.

Vietnam is larger than the UK by area and population. It is more densely populated. It has more cities of  over 1 million people. It is significantly poorer. By those measures it faced a bigger threat from Coronavirus than the UK.  However as the second table shows, Vietnam took quicker more decisive action in response.

As of 3rd May Vietnam has had 217 confirmed cases and no deaths.

UK has had 182,000 confirmed cases and 28131 deaths.

On 29th January they each had two confirmed cases. They faced the same risk.

Source: World Population Review Vietnam UK
Size (SQ Km) 331,210 242,495
Population 97,338,579 67,886,011
Largest Cities (population) 2019 Ho Chi Minh 8,244,400
Hanoi 7,379,300
London 7,556,900
Birmingham 984,333
Other cities with over 1 mil pop 4 0

On 30th January 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Committee announced that the Coronavirus outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This followed 12 meetings and announcements between 31st December 2019 and 28th January 2020 whereby the WHO alerted the world to the outbreak, and during which time China publicly shared the genetic sequence of Covid -19 (12th January). The WHO officially declared the outbreak a pandemic on 11th March because of the extent and severity of spread.

All the information above including details of all meetings between WHO and relevant parties was available in real time to both Vietnam AND UK Governments. Indeed the UK journal,The Lancet, published all relevant information known to date in a seminal article on 24th January , so the information was also in the public domain.

Source: Guardian Vietnam UK
First Recognises Coronavirus as a Measurable Risk Mid December 2019 as China confirms 1st cases 22nd January 2020
First Confirmed cases 23rd January 29th January
First Death None to date 5th March
Advisory Measures No advisory measures. All measures were mandatory from the start. 1st Quarantine 24th January 16th March (Avoid pubs restaurants. Work from home if possible)
School Closures 1st February 20th March
Official Social Distancing Measures Mid February including aggressive quarantine of cases and contacts 20th March
Official Shut Down of Economic Activity Minimal. Main technique aggressive testing, quarantine, contact tracing, travel restrictions and banning large gatherings 20th March
Introduction of Mass Testing From 23rd January testing of suspected cases and all contacts and extended chain. Estimated 800 tested re: each positive case 250,000 a day Announced on 25th March BUT NO TIMETABLE. Adjusted on 3rd April to 100,000 per day by 30th April
Mass testing achieved Yes Not achieved
Introduction of Contact Tracing 23rd January Not achieved