Life Life

31/03/2020 - 09:44

Staying up all night to fight against the pandemic

The number of citizens from Laos and the epidemic areas coming to concentrated quarantine areas has increased exponentially. This means that the staff and soldiers working in the isolated areas managed by the Provincial Military Command must work at full capacity, often "overtime", even "pulling all-nighters" to receive citizens to the quarantine camps.

People having their body temperature checked carefully

Receiving missions at any time

I was sleeping when I received a phone call saying that nearly 700 citizens from Laos were about to come to the quarantine area at the dormitory of the University of Industry and Trade (Phu Thuong commune, Phu Vang district) (T3 Quarantine Area). Checking the time, it was nearly 2am. For the whole month, I have always been willing to go to the quarantine camps at any time to assist in reporting about epidemic prevention. So, I quickly got up and got on my motorbike to get to the camp on time to report. Upon arrival, I was equipped with protective gears, including a coverall suit, gloves, boots, goggles, and a medical mask...

More than 10 buses lined up one after another, heading into the quarantine area. Everyone was signaled to remain on the bus while the vehicle was disinfected. After the bus was disinfected, young soldiers started to collect luggage and help people to disinfect their luggage. Despite being late at night and despite the large the number of arriving citizens, the administering work was run very smoothly. This is probably due to the fact that for the past few days, the quarantine areas have been receiving 2 – 3 groups of returning citizens. All of the officers and soldiers swiftly carried out their assigned duties.

Having to work in the middle of the night, interacting with hundreds of people in hot weather, but 1st Private Le Van Khue, in the T3 quarantine area, always had a good spirit when interacting with people. He said, “I was really exhausted for the first few days. Often, the cars from Laos came around dusk or late at night. In the evening, I had just lied down for a bit of sleep when we were called to get ready for the next reception. Sometimes after the second reception, it was dawn already. Even though we are tired but I think this is not only a soldier's duty, but also a youth's responsibility to the community in emergency situations. So we will try our best to complete our tasks and to welcome people in the most enthusiastic and thoughtful way.”

Although the number people arriving at the camps were in the hundreds, but with a sense of responsibility for themselves and for the community, everyone kept order and queued patiently. Thanks to the awareness and cooperation of the people, the reception work were less strenuous.

Each person had their body temperature checked and underwent strict medical examination. After their body temperature was measured, those with temperature higher than 37.5 degrees were quarantined separately. Personal information and travel history of each person was recorded in the epidemiological profile.

 “Understanding that everyone had been struggling because of the long distance travelled, especially children and the elderly, when we were on duty, we also thoroughly instructed officials and soldiers to communicate to the people to strictly abide by the regulations, and to prioritize women and children ... in order to facilitate the work and shorten the reception time,” said Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quyet Tien, T3's director of the reception area.

Each time, the quarantine areas receive hundreds of citizens

The number of citizens returning to the country to "avoid" the pandemic is increasing. The quarantine areas have been expanded, so the number of officials and soldiers has to be scattered. Hence, the work in each quarantine area has also increased. During the day, officials, soldiers and military medical personnels must clean, disinfect, and check the health of the people. At night, they sometimes have to "pull all-nighters" to receive arriving citizens to the quarantine camp.

Dedicating the best to the people

Together with cadres and soldiers of the Provincial Military Command in the fight against COVID-19, I could partly understand their hard work, especially the young soldiers. The soldiers appeared everywhere needed. They could be found leaning their backs against the tree trunks for a quick nap. Then, they would continue with the work of preparing facilities for the quarantine areas or rushing to wash their faces to wake themselves up  to receive arriving citizens in the middle of the night. These images partly reflect the silent dedication of the soldiers.

Always giving the people the most gentle smiles and affectionate gaze towards the children when directly conducting medical checks during the reception process, Captain Nguyen Trung Giang, military physician, at T2 quarantine area could not help but get emotional: “No matter how hard it is, and no matter how many nights we must stay up to receive citizens, we will always give our people the best welcoming as possible”.

Dr. Giang himself has also called for donation of toys for the children in the T2 quarantine area and many of his friends and relatives have donated.

Having to receiving hundreds of citizens but the officials and soldiers were always happy and enthusiastic

Could not help but be moved by the thoughtful and considerate reception of the soldiers, Ms. Nguyen Thi Diem Quynh (Vinh Thanh commune, Phu Vang district) confided, “when we were still in Laos, we also heard that the quarantine areas were well prepared, clean and well received. But when returning home, everything was even better than what we had heard. Not only did the officers not hesitate to receive us in the night, arrange accommodation, equip us with some essential products, but they were also motivating our spirits and checking up on our health.  We are grateful to the government and our soldiers. It is true that no place is better than our homeland.”

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Dinh Khoa, Deputy Chief of the Provincial Military Command, Head of the Provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said: “Currently, the Provincial Military Command has received 3,774 citizens, mainly from Laos, in six quarantine areas. Two more quarantine areas are under completion with a capacity of thousands of people at Truong Bia Dormitory and Hue University’s Center for National Defense - Security Education.

With the expectation that the number of citizens arriving to quarantine areas will increase sharply in the coming days, especially the reception usually takes place at night, the Provincial Military Command has announced all provincial armed forces to be in wartime. All officers and soldiers are ready to carry out tasks at any time, in any situation. No matter how difficult the situation gets, we must be determined to overcome all challenges to complete our tasks”.

Story and photos: Thanh Thao

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