Ensuring safety for Vietnamese peacekeepers top priority amid COVID-19: Deputy Defence Minister hinh anh 1Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh (Photo: Internet) 
Hanoi (VNA) – Ensuring safety for Vietnamese staff working at UN peacekeeping missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic is the first and the most important task amid the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic in those two countries, according to Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the situation of Vietnamese peacekeeping staff at the missions, Vinh, who is head of the Defence Ministry’s Steering Committee on Vietnam’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, said the Central Military Commission, the Defence Ministry and the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in the army attach great importance to protecting the Vietnamese peacekeepers from the epidemic.

According to Vinh, every officer, including those who have no medical backgrounds, has been provided with knowledge about disease prevention. The Level-2 Field Hospital No2 has been equipped with ventilators and medicines. The Defence Ministry has allocated 2 billion VND (85,900 USD) to buy medical supplies for the hospital.

 Asked about whether the pandemic affects Vietnam’s plan on deploying peacekeeping personnel, the Deputy Minister said the COVID-19 outbreak has deeply impacted the UN peacekeeping activities, prompting it to define again the tasks of the force, which are no longer only preventing war and engaging in post-war reconstruction, but also coping with non-traditional security challenges, including epidemics.

He added that the pandemic also affected the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces. In such a context, Vietnam should on one hand continue to well perform its present duties, and on the other hand follow the UN’s latest moves in the field in order to make preparations for the time ahead.

Deputy Minister Vinh reported that after more than half a year operating in South Sudan, Vietnam’s Level-2 Field Hospital No2 has treated nearly 1,000 cases, including one suspected case of COVID-19. All the patients have been cured.

He affirmed that the UN appreciated the outcomes and measures to fight COVID-19 undertaken by the field hospital not only for the hospital itself but also for Vietnamese and UN staff in Bentiu, South Sudan. /.