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Malaysia has implemented a nationwide lockdown since June 1 when the number of daily new infections hit a new record.
Amid the complex Covid-19 situation, it’s fortunate that there hasn’t been any Vietnamese in Malaysia contracting the novel coronavirus, said Tran Thi Chang, chairwoman of the Vietnam Women's Union in the country.
Living and working in Malaysia for nearly 30 years, Chang has taken the responsibility of connecting and assisting Vietnamese expats. "Due to the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs, so the union has made efforts to provide them with the best support,” Chang said.
|Chang (left) presents gifts to overseas Vietnamese. Photo: Tran Thi Chang|
Love in the time of Covid-19
Some Vietnamese in Malaysia have said that their lives have carried on as usual despite the lockdown. They have strictly adhered to the country’s pandemic prevention measures such as wearing face masks and scanning QR codes in public spaces.
Living in Kuala Lumpur, a Covid-19 hotspot in Malaysia, Le Thi Hong Loan has stayed optimistic. “The Vietnam Women’s Union in Malaysia has called for the community to donate necessities to disadvantaged people,” she said.
Hong Loan has been stranded in Malaysia due to Covid-19. Photo: Hong Loan
As of the end of May, the union has collected 150 gift packages, each worth VND 840,000 (US$ 36.61) to aid those in need.
Living far away from Vietnam, Chang and other Vietnamese people in Malaysia have always turned their hearts towards the homeland and appreciated the efforts of medical and frontline workers in combating the pandemic.
In the Covid-19 wave hitting Malaysia last year, as many as 350 packages of gifts were handed over to overseas Vietnamese with difficult circumstances.
Waiting for repatriation flights
Hong Loan is among Vietnamese workers who ended their labor contracts and are looking forward to returning to Vietnam.
Pham Thi Doan Trang, living in Kuala Lumpur, registered for a repatriation flight in March. She ended the labor contract and has lived on her savings since.
|Empty streets in Kuala Lumpur on the first day of a two-week lockdown on June 1, 2021.Photo: Reuters|
Doan Trang doesn’t want to renew the contract because of the company’s unfavorable regime. Nevertheless, she cannot find a new job.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia on May 31 announced the suspension of repatriation flights in June in a bid to prevent the spread the virus.
There has been about about 3,000 to 5,000 Vietnamese citizens registering to return home since opening the application, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia.
From July 2020 to mid-March 2021, the embassy, in coordination with airlines has conducted 10 flights,with each bringing about 300 Vietnamese people home.
The latest repatriation flight in May was dedicated for prioritized groups, including Vietnamese being released from prison in Malaysia, according to an online announcement by the embassy on April 28.
More than 40 Vietnamese workers stranded in Malaysia are brought home on a Vietnam Airlines repatriation flight on June 26, 2020.
Loan said there were also many Vietnamese tourists heading to Malaysia to visit their stranded relatives. These people often do not have long-term visas, so are included in the list of prioritized groups for repatriation flights. Since Doan Trang and Hong Loan have long-term visas, they need to wait for longer, at least until the end of the year.
Loan, Trang and many other Vietnamese expats in Malaysia have encouraged, united and supported each other during the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
Longing to return to Vietnam, they have no option but to patiently wait until the pandemic is under control.
“Both Malaysia and Vietnam have grappled with challenging coronavirus waves. Therefore, operating flights now may cause risks,” Doan Trang said.
Malaysia on Thursday recorded 5,671 Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 639,562. There have been 3,684 deaths so far, including 73 new fatalities.
Since the start of the pandemic, the country has seen a total of 2,422 clusters. A total of 745 of these are still active.
The life of Vietnamese in the United States has been stable thanks to effective vaccination rollout in the country.
The United States was one of the hardest-hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic. Hhospitals were overloaded, medical workers were exhausted and medical supplies and equipment were lacking.
Nevertheless, within less than half a year, life in the United States gradually returned to normal thanks to rapid and effective vaccination rollout.
“The authorities in many states have allowed fully vaccinated people to remove their face masks. Supermarkets and restaurants have almost reopened. Relatives and friends have begun to meet each other,” Nhi Nguyen, 46, living in New Jersey, told Zing News.
“My 15-year-old son was injected with the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine on May 27. After the administration, he didn’t experience any reactions, only had a slight pain at the injection site. Initially, I was hesitant to let him get vaccinated, but he wanted it as he is looking forward to going back to school and traveling by plane,” said Nhi, who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“All friends of my son were also administered the vaccines.”
Ha Nguyen, living in Illinois city, said: “Restaurants and bars have reopened. Gyms no longer require customers receiving two vaccine doses to wear face masks.”
Ha completed her second shot of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on April 13 at a Walgreens pharmacy.
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