|Nguyễn Thị Vân Anh, a 38-year-old nurse at Vinh Tân Ward’s Healthcare Centre in central Nghệ An Province’s Vinh City, talks to her family members on a break from taking swab samples for COVID-19 tests. Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Thị Vân Anh|
NGHỆ AN – A photo of a medical worker in a protective suit trying to talk to her sons while maintaining a two-metre distance to keep them safe has touched hearts nationwide.
The mother was Nguyễn Thị Vân Anh, a 38-year-old nurse at Vinh Tân Ward’s Healthcare Centre in central Nghệ An Province’s Vinh City. She was among the frontline medical workers to conduct mass testing for suspected patients in the city.
It was a special situation. On June 23, Vân Anh met her two sons and her parents-in-law when she was helping mass test people living near the new confirmed cases in the ward. That night, a new infection was reported in her residential area.
In the photo, Vân Anh, wearing her PPE, was trying to say something to her two sons, who were sitting with their grandparents after they had been swabbed for COVID-19 tests.
It had been two weeks since Vân Anh left home to live and work in the health centre, two weeks since she kissed her two sons goodbye.
“The photo was taken by the vice-chairman of the ward’s People’s Committee. I didn’t know about the photo as I was too busy tracing and taking samples of suspected people when a new case was found,” she told the online newspaper dantri.com.vn.
After Vinh reported a community case on June 13, the city’s health sector launched the fight against the virus. Vân Anh’s husband, a border guard, has been working to control entry in remote areas of Vũ Quang District in central Hà Tĩnh Province for more than three months.
Vân Anh sent her two children – a 14-year-old and a seven-year-old – to her parents-in-law and moved to live in Vinh Tân Ward’s Healthcare Centre, which became the concentrated quarantine site for suspected patients.
On the night of June 23, Vinh Tân Ward reported a community case involving the biggest wholesale market in the province.
Vân Anh and her colleagues were mobilised to conduct rapid tests for all people living nearby, including the alley where she lived.
“I was shocked when the alley was isolated and people were waiting for testing, including my family,” she said.
Her small son, Trần Đăng Khoa, recognised Vân Anh although she was in her protective suit.
“You go to work and don’t come back, just like Dad. I miss you so much!” he said.
This was the first time Khoa had been away from his mother for such a long time.
Vân Anh said her job was quite busy and usually finished at 4am since the infections hit the area two weeks ago.
Although the office was only a kilometre away from her house, she didn’t go home to ensure the safety of her family.
“When I saw my sons, I just wanted to rush over and hold them tight, but I was on a mission and it would increase the infection risk to them. That’s why I stood far away and talked to them,” she said.
“Ninh is independent and very careful, so I’m not worried about him, but Khoa is still small and has a strong bonding with me. He needs to be encouraged more,” she said.
Vân Anh told her children they didn’t have much time but that she would be home soon.
She said she and her colleagues had gotten used to the all-night swab sample collection, cold meals and sleeping in a chair or even on the office floor.
“We have only one wish that the pandemic will end so that we can get back to normal life and be with our families,” she said. VNS