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|Citizens of all walks of life have recognised how important protective gear is for health workers during this time|
Three months have passed since the novel coronavirus appeared, leading to a global health crisis unrivaled by anything the world had to cope with since the Second World War, with nearly a million confirmed infections and more than 46,000 fatalities across many countries and territories. As the number of cases grows, the Vietnamese government officially tightened the prevention measures last Wednesday, urging people to stay home and practice rigorous social distancing.
According to the latest directive signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the whole country has begun a nationwide non-mandatory lockdown, during which people are required to stay at home and only go out in case of necessity, such as buying food and medicine, emergencies, and some kinds of work that require their presence like in factories and trading facilities, as well as other essential services.
In addition, the government also requested people to keep an interpersonal distance of at least two metres and to not gather in groups of more than two people outside the workplace. Meanwhile, workplaces that are still active shall be disinfected and follow the authorities’ guidelines strictly, such as requiring their staff to wear face masks and keep distance from each other as much as possible.
Unlike in some other countries, businesses and individuals all agree to follow the directive and protect themselves and others. As a result, since April 1, Vietnam has taken up important social distancing measures across the country in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
According to a recent survey by the Berlin-based Dalia Research GmbH, the majority of respondents in Vietnam said that the government is performing the right amount of actions to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. With these responses, the Vietnamese people’s confidence in the government’s handling ranks the highest worldwide.
In response to the positive results of the survey, Vietnam’s top leaders further urged solidarity in the battle against the pandemic and lauded Party committees, organisations, and authorities, as well as businesses and individuals in the society. Party General Secretary, State President Nguyen Phu Trong, appealed to compatriots, comrades, and soldiers nationwide to stay united in their will and actions in the fight against the pandemic. “Each citizen must be a soldier in the war against COVID-19,” he stressed.
|Donations have been made nationwide to ensure people have what they need|
At the age of 97 and with one of her eyes unable to see, the veteran Ngo Thi Quyt meticulously makes dozens of face masks every day for the poor with her old sewing machine and a lot of compassion. “Old people like me often stay at home without doing much. When hearing that the Women’s Association was starting a project to sew face masks for charity, I volunteered immediately. Now, I can have the opportunity to help others in need,” Quyt said with a smile on her face.
She also mobilised people around the neighbourhood to donate clean clothes for the project. “For as long as I can breathe, I will be devoted to the country,” she said.
Since February, Quyt and the Women’s Association in her neighbourhood have donated more than 4,000 face masks to people in need. Similar to her past, when she contributed her youth to fighting in the war and sewing clothes for soldiers, she now continues to contribute in another, only this time against an invisible enemy.
Following in the footsteps of Quyt, in mid-March, a picture of a handwritten letter appeared on Facebook, written with compassion and a devoted spirit, which warmed the hearts of many of the network’s users. The letter belonged to Le Thi Niem, a 78-year-old woman from Nong Cong in the central province of Thanh Hoa, who rode her old bicycle to the communal people’s committee headquarters to donate VND1 million ($43) for the prevention and control of the ongoing disease, along with the emotional letter.
“My family and I fought in the war and some of us sacrificed their lives. When the country was in economic difficulties, my family also sold grain to buy bonds. Today, as the disease is now our enemy, I want to contribute VND1 million to the state. The amount is not big but it comes with sincerity. I hope the authority will receive it,” Niem wrote in her letter.
For many years, Niem’s life relied on the state’s martyrs subsidies each month. The money she donated to support the epidemic prevention and control came from her savings and was also given by her children whenever they came to visit her. Niem used to be a volunteer during the war and now she is living alone in an old, degraded house of about 40 square metres.
“The country is finally united, and the war is long gone, but now we have to deal with another enemy, no less fearsome. I really understand the difficulties and losses that families around the entire country are suffering from,” Niem said.
There are hundreds of mothers throughout the country continuously supporting the united efforts of the people and the government. Some, like Quyt, are investing their energy and craftsmanship, while others donate significant chunks of their savings or directly send rice and other goods to local authorities, hoping to support the nation’s efforts in combatting the pandemic.
In the early days of the pandemic, when hand sanitisers and face masks at pharmacies became somewhat rare for a short while, people crossing Ly Tu Trong street in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City noticed a little boy with medical gloves on, bowing his head politely and giving out face masks for free. The boy was the 12-year-old Andy Dao Nguyen, who spent VND10,000,000 ($430) of his lucky money that he received during Lunar New Year to buy face masks and distribute them for free. “I am very happy that the masks can be given to everyone. Though this pandemic has not spread too wide in Vietnam, it is very dangerous,” said Andy. “I hope my small gift will help more people to stay healthy,” the boy said.
Andy’s story inspired others youngsters across the country who started to act with huge determination and responsibility, despite their ages. Several days after Andy’s kind act, fourth grader Nguyen Ngoc Trinh from Hanoi donated VND3,180,000 ($140) of her lucky money to the Hanoi Youth Union for them to buy face masks and handwash to help people in the community.
Trinh shared that she would work with her classmates in a project, trying to raise awareness on COVID-19. In addition to spreading information about the outbreak and common preventive measures, they also donated face masks and handwash to needy children across the city.
Trinh’s kind support was mirrored in in the central province of Nghe An, where the Northwestern Nghe An General Hospital received over VND14 million ($600) from a pair of sisters, 8-year-old Tran Bao Ngan and 5-year-old Tran Bao Tran.
Nguyen Thi Hong Phuong, the mother to the admirable children shared, “The money has been saved by my daughters during the past five years. Initially, the girls planned to use this money to buy school supplies and help families in our community to repair their houses.”
Equally heartwarming was the case in the northeastern province of Yen Bai, where an 8-year-old boy named Nguyen Binh Minh smashed his piggy bank in order to donate all of his savings of more than one year. He donated VND220,000 ($9.50) to a local charity organisation after seeing a Facebook post from Luc Yen charity group calling for donations to buy protective gear for doctors in the province.