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|Matthew Lourey Managing partner Domicile Corporate Services|
Make no mistake – this is bad, and it will only get worse. Governments around the world failed to comprehend the true impact and significance of the situation, and were slow with their responses. The impacts of these responses are now visible (think the Italian hospital crisis). Social distancing and “flattening the curve” have become part of our vernacular in a very short time frame.
I am proud to be living in Vietnam – where the government has been proactive, and was preparing extensive quarantine and hospital facilities in early February, long before the pandemic was being felt globally after leaving the confines of China. Vietnam is still able to quarantine arrivals and conduct contact tracing for each case. Positive virus cases in the country are low, and hopefully this can be maintained.
The military and health workers, who work in the quarantine and hospital wards, are themselves subject to quarantine, and cannot interact with their families. Their sense of nationalism and duty is acknowledged and respected by the community. The country is still functioning, albeit with schools and entertainment closed, but supermarkets are fully stocked and there are no shortages.
In the coming days we are expecting borders to be fully closed here, with the strong likelihood that it will be six months before us foreigners living in Vietnam would be able to return or visit our native countries. This is not unique to us in Vietnam – it is happening around the world – but it is a sobering thought.
|The Vietnamese government has thus far offered a tough but proportional stance to contain the outbreak|
Owning and running a business in Vietnam, and with my young family here, meant there was no decision – I have made Vietnam my home for a long time, and this is where I need to be.
My 70 staffs are like my family. I am extremely proud of every one of them, and proud of the work they do every day to assist and look after foreign investors in Vietnam. Looking after each of them in turn is extremely important to me, as the impacts of their employment is not just themselves, but the extended families each one of them support.
The good thing is that our business is doing well – we are still growing and recruiting in these difficult times, as overseas investors are looking for support and assistance right now, and we are there for them. We are hopeful that this continues, and our business stays strong.
However, the impact of human isolation and distance, particularly for those now trapped in countries which they are visitors, is making things difficult for many. I have spent many hours each day recently talking to clients, giving guidance and reassurance that there is someone there for them that they can call upon and lean on.
Not all are doing well – hospitality and tourism operators are clearly dealing with a disaster – and making sure they have someone to talk to and understand their issues is very important. If I can put a positive spin and give an avenue of opportunity out of their concerns, then I can go home each day knowing that I am helping. It’s not quite the same as a soldier in a quarantine centre, but I’m still doing what I can.
We will get through this, but it is personal for everyone. Whether we are distant from our family and country and running a business in a foreign environment, or simply concerned about our elderly neighbours who are the most susceptible right now, it is personal.
Everyone should please talk to the people around them. Make sure they know you are there, and vice versa. Verbalise and discuss – it helps.
The world has changed. We will come out better people, and I hope the world has more humanity and humility at the end of this. Look after each other, and they will look after you.