Foreign nationals receive certificates after completing the quarantine period at the military school of the 7th Military Region in HCM City. VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Khu
by Xuân Khu
HCM CITY — As people all over the country join together in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the military’s efforts shouldn't be forgotten, especially the dedication of soldiers serving at the quarantine centres.
It’s hard to imagine how much hardship and difficulty soldiers face in serving the people. However, they overcome their own limitations to carry out their duties. Those at the military school of the 7th Military Region in HCM City’s District 12 are an example.
Đặng Văn Cảnh, deputy principal of the school, said after being chosen as the field hospital, the school has mobilised 90 students for support services.
Their work varied from carrying meals to each room, helping quarantined people carry their luggage to their room or other things on request.
According to Cảnh, the school has received 875 people. Of which, 50 are foreign citizens and the rest are Vietnamese students returning from European countries.
Most of people at the quantine area follow the health ministry’s regulations on combating the disease. However, there are some citizens who wanted to be allowed back home before the quarantine period was up. Soldiers had to talk with them and convince them not to do so.
For foreign citizens, in addition to solving problems related to the language barrier, the school had to repair and replace sanitary equipment to suit their stature and habits.
To accommodate people who have to be quarantined, soldiers at the schools have given up their shelters.
Their daily life also changed at the same time, Cảnh said.
Over the past month, most of the soldiers who take part in the fight against COVID-19 stayed at the school to ensure the tasks are fulfilled, in the spirit of Uncle Hồ’s soldiers – that is “serving the people”.
Võ Đức Trọng, a soldier, said being exposed to people at the quarantine site posed a risk of infection. Therefore, they must carefully prepare protective gear such as clothing, gloves and masks and maintain a safe distance to reduce the risk to the lowest level.
“Psychologically, I was so worried at first. However, as a soldier, I have to fulfil every duty that I am assigned. If the pandemic is not brought under control, maybe I am the person who contracts the disease, then my family and the whole society,” he said.
Sharing the same thought, Trọng and other colleagues tried to do their job well.
It was not really hard but required thoughtfulness, he said.
The biggest challenge for them was to answer questions from young people on when the quarantine period would end because it was beyond their authority.
“It is joyful for us to see off people who finish their quarantine and return home,” said Trọng.
Soldiers’ efforts have paid off and are appreciated by quarantined people.
“I will leave the quarantine site at the school tomorrow. I couldn’t hold back my tears with mixed feeling. I am joyful because I’m about to reunite with my family but I’m sad as I have to say goodbye to soldiers and doctors who have taken care of me over the past two weeks,” wrote Lưu Nhã Đình, a Vietnamese student returning from Europe.
Soldiers help people who have finished their quarantine period carry their luggage onto their bus. VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Khu
In her letter, Đình said: “Fourteen days staying at the military school is a wonderful experience for me. Military soldiers and doctors there are very nice to everyone. It is not only because of a sense of responsibility but a kind of affection to compatriots.”
Hoàng Đức Thịnh, another student returning from France, shared appreciation for the staff for their constant support.
He said days living at the school helped him and his friends understand more about the sacrifice of the soldiers.
“We are moved by the soldiers’ thoughtfulness. They even help us in booking air tickets and arranging trips to come back home. We will never forget their good deeds.”
For 20-year-old Phạm Thị Yến Nhi, hailing from Đà Nẵng City, the quarantine period left an unforgettable memory.
Sharing her experience, she said: “I found the people here to be compassionate. I would like to thank the dedicated soldiers for supporting us.”
Nhi said she hoped the pandemic would end soon to ease the hardship for them.
Once people come back home after finishing their quarantine period, soldiers like Trọng continue their duties – disinfecting the facility and preparing for the mission – to combat COVID-19. — VNS