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|PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc donates to COVID-19 prevention and control fund Photo: VNA|
In line with what Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc proclaimed, that the country would stand ready to sacrifice short-term economic interests to combat COVID-19, protecting people’s health has come as one of government’s top priorities.
Since last Monday, the Vietnamese government has mandated that people wear face masks in public places. “Some may call these measures drastic, but as we have seen, an ounce of prevention is worth a kilo of cure. Vietnam has been all over this since day one,” said Rick Ellis, an American expat in Vietnam.
Currently, more than 11,000 people with high risk of infection are under medical observation in quarantine areas and more than 25,000 in self-isolation at home across Vietnam, with daily meals and necessities offered for free.
Quarantined persons or patients were originally not asked to pay for testing or treatment – however, upon concerns about Vietnam’s financial burden, PM Phuc has approved a proposal that people who are not holding a Vietnamese passport will be charged only treatment fees once they test positive for the virus.
Joining the government in fighting against virus spread is the business community with massive contributions. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, as of March 18, there have been over one hundred 2- to 5-star hotels and accommodation establishments nationwide registering to support as quarantine centres.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, director of Hoi An’s Prevention Healthcare Centre said, “The conditions in our centre are not as good as in hotels, but we try to provide people with essentials, especially suitable food upon request.”
Major businesses in Vietnam are also proactively supporting the country in this challenging period, soon after the prime minister’s call for donations.
The Vingroup Innovation Foundation and the Vingroup Big Data Institute financed a combined of VND20 billion ($855,000) for three research projects aiming to develop quick-response measures. Vingroup and FLC Group each contributed VND5 billion ($215,000).
Meanwhile, the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association also donated VND5 billion raised from its members to help the government produce 10,000 COVID-19 test kits.
TH Group supported one million glasses of its milk products to health workers and people subject to mandatory quarantine. Grab Vietnam provided 100,000 medical face masks.
Early in March, chairman of Imex Pan Pacific Group Johnathan Hanh Nguyen – without any hesitation – chartered a private jet for some $360,000 to bring his daughter home from London, with fear that she could have contracted the virus. She then became the 32nd patient in Vietnam.
“When sending my daughter back to Vietnam, I laid all of my hopes on the Vietnamese medical system,” said Johnathan. “It was my wisest decision, and now my family is in utmost happiness as my daughter is recovering.”
Expressing appreciation to the country, Johnathan Hanh Nguyen and his wife have donated over VND31.2 billion ($1.3 million) to support Vietnam in the fight against the coronavirus.
“I know that businesses are under countless hardships during this period. But I believe we should express our responsibility and accompany with the government in the COVID-19 fighting campaign – which is also a way to protect ourselves and our families,” he said.
As of last week the total amount of national contributions has surpassed VND300 billion ($13 million), according to the Vietnam Fatherland Front.
“I believe that Vietnam will be able to push back the pandemic, bringing life back to normal and recover our economic production thanks to these meaningful actions,” PM Phuc emphasised.