Quick translation from the Main article in Vietnamese from VOV.vn
Peter Rimmer, Executive Director of the British Business Group Vietnam (BBGV), returned to the UK for business in late February. On March 14, Peter returned to Vietnam early as his home is now here. After arriving at the airport, Peter was transferred to the Covid-19 quarantine centre in Trung My Tay Ward, District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.
Peter stated “I was prepared to go into a quarantine after returning to Vietnam. After 32 hours of flying from the UK for business in late February. On March 14, Peter returned to Vietnam early as his home is now here. After arriving at the airport, Peter was transferred to the Covid-19 quarantine centre in Trung My Tay Ward, District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.
Peter stated “I was prepared to go into a quarantine after returning to Vietnam. After 32 hours of flying from the UK to Vietnam with 9 hours of queuing for entry and quarantine, I was put in a car to be transferred to a military barrack for quarantine”.
When he returned to Vietnam early, Peter’s decision was supported by his family in England and Vietnam. “If I did not make the decision quickly, it would be difficult to return to Vietnam, which is now my home. With the tightening of the visa policy and traveling on flights as well as the spread of Covid-19, I would certainly be very cautious of recommending others to return to Vietnam. Although for Vietnamese citizens, I fully understand the desire to return to their homes, just like in my case, even though I knew that Vietnam was handling the Covid-19 epidemic well.”
As well as being away from family, friends and operations of the BBGV office during the quarantine period, Peter was also worried about whether or not he may have contracted Covid-19 added to the concern of sharing his common living space with strangers from around the world without knowing their past travel history and chances of carrying the virus. “I think this is a normal reaction of us all, certainly those who have to stay quarantined.”
He is confined to the centre for 14 days; in his dorm, there are 8 bunk beds for 8 people, including 6 Vietnamese and 2 British, including himself. The upper deck of the bed is for luggage storage, the lower level for sitting and sleeping. Each room has two toilets and a bathroom with a shower. Daily life in the quarantined area is very quiet while most of the time people are resting in the room. Every morning, after everyone showers, staff deliver breakfast to each room and undertake temperature checks.
Peter refers “We are served 3 meals per day; the food is tasty and good quality. After breakfast, we wait for the first temperature check of the day. Everyone hopes that their temperature has not risen, so we do not have a fever, which would be highly worrying. After 5 days here, the people in my room are fine. After breakfast, we start to use our smartphones to online and update the situation with our family and friends. In the early morning and late afternoon, on the common yard area of the quarantine centre, people gather in groups and play their favourite sports like football, badminton, basketball or shuttlecock.
According to Peter, the quarantine centre is kept clean and tidy, thanks to the daily cleaning sessions conducted by military soldiers. He says “The supplies, delivered for people who are in quarantine, from families and friends are distributed well. Thanks to these deliveries we have items to make our life more comfortable. The names of the recipients are read on the loudspeaker to notify people that they have items to be collected. I often receive things from my wife and family. The loudspeaker system announces the news and also plays background music during the day.”
Peter praises the enthusiasm and friendliness of the doctors and all the staff in the quarantine centre. “They are always ready to help us. I wish I could express more appreciation to them, however, due to the language barrier, it is difficult. With such intense hard work, they must be all be very tired, but I have never heard a single complaint and they remain polite and helpful. Their dedication and thoughtfulness help to keep the Centre in order and calm despite the worry about the epidemic. Their centre’s procedures are developing and improving. For example, when taking the temperature checks, the nurses and doctors call us one by one to the door area instead of entering the room now. This is a “smart” action to reduce the direct contact with people”
“The people who deliver the food also very friendly and helpful. Soldiers are apparent around the centre, helping people whenever needed, this seems more of a willingness to help than a presence for control. These are the people we come in daily contact with, however, in my opinion, the other personnel must also work very hard, to maintain the operation of the quarantine centre. Everyone here deserves good appreciation for their professionalism.”
Peter said, when he first arrived at the quarantine centre, his family were very worried. But knowing that he is being well cared for in all aspects here, everyone has relaxed. “I often contact my family through social media and by phone calls to keep them updated about what was going on here and monitor the information about the Covid-19 epidemic. My relatives are very happy with my decision of coming back to Vietnam and have been treated so well and carefully.”
“In the end, I would like to thank a lot to everyone in Vietnam who is helping and supporting me during my isolation. It is impossible to express my gratitude. The country I love – and is where I have the good fortune to call home, is doing its best to protect me and other citizens. I am extremely grateful”.