Hanoi, March 4, 2020 – Home-made videos featuring a catchy Vietnamese song and an accompanying dance about the necessity of hand-washing during the coronavirus crisis have racked up more than 2 million views on video app TikTok.
Cribbing the tune from pop song Jealous – or Ghen in Vietnamese – by singers Erik and Min, the Ministry of Health released an animated video with lyrics telling its citizens to “push back the virus Corona, Corona”.
The unlikely ear worm by a usually staid Communist government drew hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube, and was also featured on HBO's comedic news show Last Week Tonight, with host John Oliver calling it a “genuine club-banger”.
In Vietnam, the nation's youth have taken to TikTok performing hand-washing dance moves, making sure to rub in-between their fingers and their fingernails – which health professionals have recommended.
Spin-offs include office workers grooving at their desks and even people dressed in the Hmong ethnic minority outfits dancing in front of a waterfall.
“The remote village also prevents and fights the epidemic,” read the caption on a video featuring the Hmong couple.
Popularized by dancer and Internet personality Qang Dang, who has nearly 300,000 followers on TikTok and Instagram, he and another dancer performed it with light-hearted swagger on a street with food vendors.
It was tagged with the government-issued hashtag #ghencovychallenge, and Dang's original video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times.
The song provides guidance on how to prevent an infection, such as washing hands by “rub, rub, rubbing evenly” and limiting “visits to crowded places”.
“We want the song to give fire and reduce tension for those… leading this fight, including experts, doctors, medical workers and millions of laborers who are on the frontline to fight this epidemic daily,” the health ministry posted in the video's description.
“Vietnam is determined to win this epidemic!”
Communist-run Vietnam has a booming youth demographic, with two-thirds of its 97 million citizens under the age of 35.
It has 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, though it says all patients have recovered and been discharged.
The country, which shares a porous border with China, has taken great measures in the fight against the virus, including putting a small village an hour from Hanoi under quarantine after five confirmed cases emerged from there.