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Coronavirus: Vietnamese COVID-19 video goes viral as prevention message proves popular

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Screenshot from Ghen Cô Vy's video clip
Screenshot from Ghen Cô Vy's video clip   -   Copyright  All rights reserved
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Rarely has a government's public information message been so popular.

A video by authorities in Vietnam about how to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus was so catchy it went viral.

The pop song, a collaboration between musicians and Vietnam's health ministry, has been viewed more than five million times on YouTube.

Music composer Khắc Hưng wrote the music and lyrics, and it is sung by popstars MIN and Erik.

The Saigoneer site explains the melody was used in a previous hit by these artists, entitled Ghen, but the lyrics were changed.

It evokes the origin of the virus and good practices to protect against the disease like washing hands and not touching your face.

Youtuber Nikki Châu Ngọc Trân offered some answers to understand the meaning of the title Ghen Cô Vy.

She explained: "Ghen means jealous. Cô Vy seems to be a pun on COVID. Cô means madam. Vy is a common Vietnamese name. The video portrays the virus as someone trying to break up a couple. At the start of the video, the couple argues and in the end, they get together. And yes, the video continues the roles traditionally played by men and women."

The text of the description of the original video says: "Through this project, we look forward to empowering and trusting the community so that we can join hands to fight against COVID-19."

The objective is also to boost the morale of the country and health personnel.

Let's wash our hands, rub, rub, rub them.
Lyrics of Ghen Cô Vy song

"At this critical time in the fight against the virus, we hope that the song will brighten our minds and reduce the stress of the frontline fighters of this war" the description adds.

Among the "soldiers" cited in the song, are "the team experts, doctors, healthcare workers and the millions of other workers who are at the forefront of exposure and everyday fight against this disease".

The song owes part of its notoriety outside Vietnam to a mention during an episode of the show Last Week Tonight.

"This song is incredible," exclaims John Oliver, host of the US programme.

But Ghen Cô Vy did not need Westerners to go viral on social networks.

On TikTok, a video sharing platform particularly popular among the 15-24-year-olds, it has even become a dance challenge, the #ghencovychallenge. It has its own choreography, including hand washing.

In an interview with Billboard, Quang Dang, the dancer behind this challenge explained: "I wanted to use my own language, dance, to disseminate the right information for the fight against COVID-19, and this, to as many people as possible".

On Youtube and Instagram, his video has already been viewed tens of thousands of times, and has inspired many imitations.

"I think that knowledge is a source of power, we are in the information era," he continued.

"We have false information everywhere. It is therefore essential to have good awareness and good pieces of information so that we can use our power in the right way," he added.