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Canadian shares experience in Vietnam during Covid-19 pandemic

December 04, 2020 | 11:35

Recently, CBC – a Canadian outlet has published Sabrina Pinksen’s story, who has had an unforgettable experience in Vietnam during Covid-19.

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Sabrina Pinksen, who's originally from the small town of Wild Cove, N.L., moved to Hanoi in late 2017. (CBC)

According to the news, Sabrina Pinksen shared her story from a view of an expat, who was used to a resident of small-town Wild Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador.

She had lived in South Korea before moving to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam in 2017, emphasizing that Vietnam, a country of 90 million but smaller than Newfoundland and Labrador geographically. Despite its huge gap in population, both of her “homes” share the same point: the rate of Covid-19 infection has remained low. "I don't even think about COVID, going out into my daily life," Pinksen said. "It's almost like it wasn't real."

Pinksen credits Vietnam's low COVID-19 caseload to its swift response, CBC reported.

"We have a very porous border with China... They closed the borders almost immediately [at the start of the pandemic]," Pinksen said, noting that Vietnam conducted strict social distancing measures for three weeks in April.

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The green and peaceful space around Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi Capital. Photo by Minh Hieu/ VNA.

She says the country has been extremely proactive in its handling of the pandemic.

"They really focused on community transmission and contact tracing, and stuff like that. There were tests available for anyone who thought they might need one," she said.

"This is a massive tourist destination. So everyone that was still coming into the country … they were brought into government quarantine camps that were erected all around the country. And that went on for quite a while."

A second wave struck in July, in the city of Da Nang, in the central part of Vietnam — and Pinksen happened to be there on vacation.

"I think there were … 50,000 people [from Hanoi] that were in Da Nang during that outbreak, and everyone that came back to Hanoi, 50,000 of them, they had us tested in a matter of a couple of weeks," she said.

When it comes to daily life in Hanoi, Pinksen said, it's like COVID-19 doesn't exist.

"This is a mask-wearing country anyway. So even before COVID, a lot of people would wear masks," she said.

When the pandemic struck, Pinksen recalls feeling uneasy.

"It was scary being a foreigner in a country that's not your own and not really knowing what is going on," she said.

"[But] it never really got that bad here during the first wave."

Pinksen initially tried to get back to Newfoundland and Labrador, but her plans didn't pan out. She called the Canadian Embassy, which put her in touch with a travel agency.

"[The travel agent] said, 'Well, we're going into lockdown tonight. So it's going to be a lot more difficult to leave. And there's a flight leaving tomorrow, but it's full. Give me your contact information, and I'll put you on a list,'" she recalled.

"But my passport was at Immigration waiting for a visa extension, so I couldn't get on a plane [at the time] if I wanted to.… So I accepted that I wasn't going anywhere."

Since the Covid-19 case of an HCMC English teacher was confirmed on Monday, at least two more community transmission cases have been confirmed: the teacher’s one-year-old nephew and a 28-year-old student.

According to Vnexpress, the original source of community transmission was determined to be a 28-year-old Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who breached Covid-19 quarantine protocols and infected the English teacher.

Also Thursday, Vietnam recorded three imported Covid-19 cases, patients 1359-1361, taking the nation’s active case count to 114.

The latest cases are a 27-year-old man returning from Germany on November 19, a 40-year-old Nepali expert flying from the U.S. on December 1, and a 48-year-old man returning from the U.S. on December 1.

Vietnam’s current Covid-19 tally stands at 1,361 cases, 1,209 recoveries, and 35 deaths. Many of the deaths have been of elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes and kidney failure. Three people who died of other causes after they were declared free of the novel coronavirus have not been included in the list of Covid-19 recoveries or deaths.

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