Soldiers on the front line of COVID-19 battle hinh anh 1Centre for Defence and Security Education at the Nha Trang University expected to be used as a quarantine facility (Source: VNA)

Khanh Hoa (VNA) - “Thank you, soldiers!” This is the heartfelt sentiment of Vietnamese citizens returning home from overseas and quarantined at facilities in south-central Khanh Hoa province’s military units towards those who have cared for them in recent days.

Vo Van Thao, born in 1972 in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, went to Taiwan (China) to work in 2018. When COVID-19 broke out around the world, his company adopted a policy of assisting staff to get back home. Only at the end of July, however, did he get that chance.

Suffering from a heart disease, Thao was concerned that if he was infected by the coronavirus then the treatment costs in his adopted country could be huge. Now back to the homeland, he feels safe and sound. “The soldiers serve us nutritious meals every day and teach us physical exercise, while medical staff give us check-ups,” he said.

Of a similar mind, Pham Thanh Long, who came home on July 28 and is in quarantine in another facility in Khanh Hoa, said he was stranded overseas by COVID-19. After entering quarantine, the first thing he and many others noticed was the warm care from the soldiers. From their reception at the airport to the accommodation, the soldiers prepared everything with all of their heart. “We understand that the situation is very dangerous,” Long said. “Quarantine is a safety measure for us and society as a whole. In addition to the gratitude we feel towards the Motherland, we also donate money through the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee. We also would like to express our sincere thanks to the soldiers at the quarantine facility.”

Khanh Hoa province is currently quarantining 525 Vietnamese who were previously working, studying, or accessing medical treatment abroad, including 146 pregnant women, at four military units. To care for the pregnant women, female military physicians have coordinated with doctors, obstetricians, and midwives at the Khanh Hoa provincial Department of Health when providing health check-ups.

It’s not that easy for the male soldiers, who are only in their 20s, to care for the pregnant women. They are learning on the job about cooking meals how the pregnant women want them. And they have done it really well.

Deputy Chief of Staff of the Khanh Hoa Border Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Lam Nam, who is also in charge of a quarantine facility, said their task is to guarantee absolute safety and create the most comfortable conditions for those under quarantine.

As the facility is short of clean water, the soldiers must pump it every morning from 2am to 5am, Nam added.

The soldiers on duty at the quarantine facility of Regiment 803, Division 305, Military Region 5 suffer greater hardship. Every time they welcome Vietnamese citizens home, they have to stay up all night for the work and offer the best infrastructure to the guests, while they themselves move to makeshift camps a few kilometres away.

Soldiers on the front line of COVID-19 battle hinh anh 2Soldiers install a bed to serve people under quarantine (Source: VNA)

According to the provincial Health Department, the four quarantine facilities managed by the army are now overloaded. The provincial People’s Committee has therefore decided to use other quarantine facilities at the Centre for Defence and Security Education at the Nha Trang University as well as the university’s dormitory, to offer an additional 700 places.

The two facilities have been cleaned up and are fully equipped to welcome people who must undergo quarantine.

Sergeant Nguyen Hoang Thanh Thien said that when the soldiers first went there, the buildings were empty and covered in dust. After just four days of cleaning, however, all were spic-and-span and had electricity and water supply and the necessary equipment. “We do this so the returnees understand that bringing them back to Vietnam involves a major effort by the Government amid economic difficulties,” Thien said. “Hopefully everyone feels secure when they’re in quarantine.”

With a spirit of “fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy”, the army is more than willing to pioneer disease prevention and control measures. Every soldier on the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic knows that this is their duty and they are willing to weather all the hardships to fulfil all the tasks assigned on them./.