Even though Vietnam and China are each ruled by Communist parties, they've had a testy relationship over the past few decades.
In 1979 they fought a border war after Vietnam had invaded and occupied Cambodia the previous year. China was an ally of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which Vietnam ousted.
After the war ended, border skirmishes ensued in the 1980s. The two countries have also squabbled over ownership of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
And this year in January and early February when an outbreak of the novel coronavirus rapidly spread in China, Vietnam acted quickly.
It was one of the first countries in the world to ban flights from China.
According to the Diplomat, Vietnam also stopped issuing tourist visas to people with passports from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
"Although its case numbers were still only in the single digits, Vietnam did not stop there. Schools were set to reopen on February 3 after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday – the first new school week since the virus was first detected in Vietnam on January 23," the magazine reported. "But classes nationwide were scrapped, despite only eight diagnosed cases at the time in a country of 95 million."
In a nutshell, Vietnamese rulers didn't trust the Chinese government's claim that it was bringing the epidemic under control.
Today, according to the coronavirus worldometer, Vietnam has reported 312 positive test results and no deaths.
Its ratio of three positive test results per million is among the lowest in the world in countries with populations in excess of 30 million.
In fact, it's the most populous country in the world not to have recorded a COVID-19 death.
That's despite having a 1,144-kilometre land border with China.
The next most populous country with no recorded COVID-19 deaths is Uganda. There were nearly 43 million people living there in 2018.
Mozambique and Madagascar also haven't recorded a COVID-19 death. Their populations in 2018 were 29.5 million and 26.3 million, respectively.
Cambodia, with 16.25 million in 2018, is another country that still hasn't recorded a death caused by the novel coronavirus.
They're not alone. Other countries with smaller populations—including Eritrea, Rwanda, Namibia, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, and Fiji—are not listed as having any COVID-19 deaths.
In contrast, 5,472 people in Canada have died of COVID-19, according to health officials.
Among large countries, Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of the disease. With a population of 109.2 million in 2018, it has just two cases per million and has recorded five deaths from the disease.
Last month, the BBC reported that several Ethiopians, including pop star Hemelmal Abate, have donated houses to quarantine those who've tested positive.
Myanmar, with a population of 53.7 million in 2018, is also at two cases per million. Six people have reportedly died from COVID-19 there.
According to the German-based media organization DW, armed conflict has prevented the spread of COVID-19 in that country.
Human Rights Watch has reported nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the Myanmar state of Rakhine to escape ethnic cleaning by security forces. Many are living in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.