Ilustration by Đàm Minh Chí
Did you go out to have a bowl of phở right after the Government’s decision to ease social distancing measures?
Or did you call your friends to hang out, enjoy a coffee while watching the world go by after weeks of staying at home?
Many of my friends did things like this because they said being cooped up had made them sad and they desperately missed being out and about.
Nguyễn Thu Hà, 30, an office worker, said: “For the first time I feel the smell of petrol and smoke from vehicles are like perfume, and I yearn for traffic jams like in previous days.”
Hà went to her office, took a photo to check in on her Facebook as she had never loved her job as much as that day.
“My colleagues and I joked that we would buy some fireworks and have one more New Year's party,” said Hà.
Many people in Hà’s office also started thinking about travelling because they think everything will go back to normal quickly.
I share their happiness and it’s easy to understand their joy, as everybody needs social communication, especially after such stressful days worrying about the pandemic, which has affected the entire world.
But, today is not the day to declare the end of the pandemic in Việt Nam.
And today is not the day we gain total victory over the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The easing of social distancing is just one small victory in the long war against this pandemic.
Lawyer Nguyễn Văn Khoa, a member of the Hải Phòng Bar Association, said it was encouraging that no new cases of community transmission of COVID-19 had been reported recently and easing social distancing was necessary.
But, he said, residents should remember the entire world was still striving to control the pandemic and risks remain.
“All of us must be aware of protecting ourselves and therefore protecting our community,” he said.
Associate professor Trần Đắc Phu, director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said the struggle against COVID-19 was a long-term one, and easing social distancing would be conducted in phases, together with giving more education to raise people’s awareness and understanding of the disease.
"The disease still has latent risk," he said.
Citizens should understand the importance of preventive measures amid the disease’s complicated conditions, such as recovered people testing positive again, he said.
Lê Quốc Hùng, head of the Tropical Diseases Ward under the Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City, said that halting community transmission and patients recovering from the disease were significant results thanks to the correct guidance from the State and support from the community.
To ease social distancing effectively, residents’ awareness and local authorities staying vigilant were vital, he said.
“If the community unanimously follows preventive measures, the virus will not have any opportunities to spread,” he said.
So, we have made some progress against this nasty disease, but that doesn't mean we should forget all the preventive measures. We can continue our normal lives, but also ensure health and safety for ourselves, for our family and our community.
It’s good to express our happiness, to enjoy our favourite food and drink, but if we are too fun-loving, the pandemic could return in full force and place an enormous burden on frontline medical workers and put us all in danger.
Viet Nam has come together spectacularly well during this time of crisis, with preventive measures largely obeyed and support being offered to vulnerable people, including rice ATMs.
Though the country has gained some success, the fight against the disease continues, meaning that all of us should maintain discipline, even more strictly than before so that COVID-19 cannot disturb our lives again.
Let's not throw again all the progress we've made and make sure we can defeat this disease for good. — VNS