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Vietnamese in the United Arab Emirates feeling at ease amidst pandemic

June 01, 2021 | 10:38

Many Vietnamese feel secure even though they are living far away from home. The United Arab Emirates government has good control of the COVID situation and provides free vaccination for everyone.

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Dam Hanh, a Vietnamese living in Al Satwa in Dubai said COVID is well controlled in the United Arab Emirates. She feels secure living there.

"Since COVID first broke out, the government has been applying many strict measures to control the pandemic. For instance, they require people to wear face masks when going to work, mandate that taxi car does not take more than two passengers or prohibit large gatherings or parties. Those who do not follow the rules will be fined,” said Hanh.

So far, the United Arab Emirates has reported over 569,000 cases and 1,677 deaths. The number of new cases has dropped more than 51% compared to January when the pandemic reached its peak in the country. According to Reuters, the United Arab Emirates is currently recording 132 new cases per 100,000 people.

Hanh said people in Dubai are recommended to get COVID vaccination, which is provided for free, regardless of nationality. One of the many Vietnamese in Dubai who have been vaccinated, Hanh received two shots of Sinopharm on January 21 and February 11.

"Right after I was vaccinated, I had a slight fever and was somewhat tired, but these symptoms went away after one day. I didn’t experience any other symptoms,” said Hanh. According to Hanh, all information on her vaccination is updated on the website of the Dubai government.

Vietnamese in the United Arab Emirates feeling at ease amidst pandemic

Photo: People wore face masks while walking on a street in Dubai in January / Bloomberg

Lives in the United Arab Emirates and Dubai go on almost as normal, thanks to effective COVID control measures. However, like with the rest of the world, the pandemic has negatively affected people’s livelihoods, especially in places that rely heavily on tourism like Dubai.

"Without customers, many business owners have been having a hard time,” said Hanh.

Hanh is happy, however, because the Vietnamese community in Dubai has been very supportive of each other. “Many Vietnamese here have lost their jobs, but everyone has been helping each other out. We also have free housing for people who have difficulties finding a place to live,” said Hanh.

Living in Bur Dubai, a community in Dubai, Tieu Xuan Long said the Vietnamese community has been receiving good support, from getting COVID vaccination to quarantining when they are infected.

"Most citizens and workers with a two-year VISA can get vaccinated for free,” said Long.

Long’s family received Pfizer shots in January. “I just felt slightly painful around the injection area, but I didn’t experience any other side effects,” said Long.

The United Arab Emirates has provided COVID vaccines for almost 12,8 million people. Last week, the country gave over 106,000 shots per day on average, according to Reuters.

Data by Our World in Data shows that 3.84 million out of 9.7 million people have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 39.3% of the total population.

Vietnamese in the United Arab Emirates feeling at ease amidst pandemic
Photo: Frontline health workers getting COVID shots / Abu Dhabi Department of Health

Normalcy is within reach, as stores and schools are allowed to open. However, Long and many Vietnamese are concerned about whether they can come to the stadium and cheer for Vietnam’s national soccer team in the upcoming matches.

"To enter the stadium, people must be fully vaccinated and show a negative PCR test result within 48 hours before coming,” said Long.

"Currently, stadiums can operate at 30% capacity, but we can’t be sure of anything,” said Hanh.

Long and Hanh hope to attend at least one match to cheer up Vietnam’s team. The national soccer team of Vietnam arrived in Dubai on May 26. They will go head-to-head with Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11, and the host United Arab Emirates on June 15 respectively, to attain the ticket to the final qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup.

Xuan Hung, a plastic surgeon in Dubai, said he regrets that he can’t come to see Vietnam’s team compete due to his work. However, he follows the team closely and has full faith in Vietnam’s national team.

Hung said he has not been vaccinated due to his busy work schedule. “I want to get COVID vaccines, so I’m trying to make this happen as soon as possible,” said Hung.

The Vietnamese plastic surgeon said everything goes on as normal in Dubai, except people must wear face masks and adhere to certain public health measures. He also said the situation in the United Arab Emirates is not as complicated as in Vietnam because the climate is quite hot there.

Hearing about COVID developments in Vietnam in the past few days, many Vietnamese in the United Arab Emirates feel worried. Dam Hanh hoped that “COVID will be controlled soon in Vietnam so people in the country can be more at ease and Vietnamese abroad can return home more easily.”

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