What You Need to Know About Vietnam’s Viral Coronavirus PSA

The Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak is a dangerous disease that has affected thousands of people globally, some of them even resulting in fatalities. However, a report on Fortune finds that there is an alarming lack of awareness regarding the subject. What should we do to protect ourselves? How can we stop this disease from spreading?

Since none of the PSAs released by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) seemed to be sticking, Vietnam’s National Institute of Occupational And Environmental Health devised a new plan.

They released a catchy pop-dubstep song called Ghen Cô Vy by Min and Erik—which literally translates to “Jealous Coronavirus”. Ghen Cô Vy was based on an award-winning song called Ghen by the same artists.

Its chorus is a reminder to “push the coronavirus away” by “washing one’s hands thoroughly,” refraining from “rubbing one’s nose, mouth, and eyes”, and “limiting visits to public places”.

The tune is so catchy that it even spawned the TikTok #GhenCoVyChallenge, which started when Ho Chi Minh City’s Quang Dang choreographed a hand-cleaning dance to raise awareness for Covid-19 prevention measures.

As of this writing, the video, along with its copycat clips, has already generated over 2 million impressions.

“I am so happy that my dance spread [around] the world,” said Dang on Instagram last Monday. And who wouldn’t be, when it has been featured in John Oliver’s episode of Last Week Tonight, UNICEF’s Facebook page, and other international news and health outlets?

Vietnam and TitkTok

(Image Credit: CNBC)

So what is it with the Vietnamese and their love for popular social media platforms? For one, they’ve always been a global-facing country—one that highly values the opinion of its Generation Z demographic to drive some of their biggest campaigns. After all, The ASEAN Post reports that Gen Z make up more than 25% of the Vietnamese labour force, and thus have an enormous amount of spending power. As more Gen Z folks enter the working population in the next decade, their influence is only going to get stronger.

Of course, the youth (and their love of TikTok) isn’t the only factor driving the country forward. ExpatBets’ travel guide to Vietnam highlights how the country’s adaptive culture is largely thanks to its Chinese roots and the influence of its current expat population.

So, it’s no wonder that Vietnamese locals are adept at taking global trends and putting their own local spin on them. And with today’s most pressing health issue, the trends they have latched onto are those that get popularised in their favourite entertainment app—again, TikTok.

“[The Vietnamese] are open-minded about consuming and creating new kinds of creative content,” says head of publicity for TikTok Vietnam, Nguyen Lam Thanh. From singing and dancing to music and special effects, it just so happens that TikTok has all of these on its platform and more.

Major trends such as #agechallenge, #beautymirror, and #rabbbitdance are only some of the things that became viral in this TikTok-gripped country throughout the years. It’s currently the top entertainment app in the Vietnamese App Store.

With the #GhenCoVyChallenge at the forefront, health organisations are hoping that more people become aware of how to better protect themselves from various diseases.

Hand-washing sounds like such a trivial thing. But if done properly (as shown in the video), it will be able to protect you not just from coronavirus, but also from other common illnesses like the flu, and even hepatitis.