COVID resurgence, workers fall in difficulties

Medical staff spray disinfectant at Da Nang Hospital, where Covid-19 patients are treated, July 26 2020

Covid pandemic has re-emerged for nearly a month in Vietnam with a large number of infections and on a large scale. Strict epidemic prevention measures have been implemented in many localities such as Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, or Hanoi. In the midst of worries about illness, most people have a sense of compliance to protect themselves and their families. As the pandemic recurred, the desperate situation of the poor workers once again piled up after the difficulties they had endured for more than a year.

Nguyen Thi Hang, a resident of Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, told VOA that her family’s situation is very difficult right now. Over the past few months, her two younger brothers, who are long-distance bus drivers, have quit their jobs completely. In the morning, her family took the trouble to eat a little late to avoid having lunch. Her family is relying on the money saved for self-prevention and tight spending to endure until they can return to work as before.

Now, each bus going north-south is only allowed to carry a maximum of 10 people. Then what do people eat, is the fare enough to pay for gas? So no one is driving. Moreover, at this time, people have strict control over passenger cars, because recently, many cases of Chinese people illegally entering Vietnam have been discovered in buses. So they really only know how to stay at home, but do car owners let their cars run to lose capital?” she lamented to VOA.

Ms. Hang said that not only her family but also the surrounding neighbors, who do small businesses and live on the sidewalk, are also facing extreme difficulties since Hanoi banned sidewalk trading from the beginning of May because of the outbreak.

My neighbor’s house, her house is always in the alley, every day selling tea and pate bread on the sidewalk, she also sells 15-20 pieces a day, and also the money collected from iced tea. Now banned, only for take-out, the drink shop was the place where people sit and rested, pressed the phone, but now buy it and bring it to work, it’s like people bringing tea from their own house. I’m lucky to sell 7-8 cakes every day. The remaining half is idle, two days to accumulate the red and green mold. It’s like a tree that has already collapsed, but before it can recover, it’s hit with another epidemic, it’s just collapsed,” she expressed boredom.

With the difficult situation of many households, especially in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh when agricultural products such as litchi, melons, and some other vegetables are in the harvest, the “rescue” programs continue to be mobilized. However, according to Ms. Hang, the way to “rescue” based on the people’s strength at this time is not possible because many families, specifically hers, really no longer have the ability to support anyone.

My friend for the past few days, he has loaded a truck with about 1 ton of melons to rescue farmers in Bac Giang, but he has only gone once because according to him, people have no money left to buy. That’s private. Now only people relying on the state have money to buy a lot,” she said.

For families with slightly better economic conditions, that is, having a shop on the street for business, at this time, they can only endure through the day because the number of visitors has decreased by 2/3 because of fear of being infected so a few want to leave their houses.

Do Thanh Nga, a shop owner in Hoan Kiem district, said:

It has a lot of influence. My shop is here, one or two days I don’t even bother going back, I don’t know if it’s still for sale or closed. But customers that people can’t come in to choose, who will buy. In this situation, each person, each family must have a solution to try harder when they know that.”

For working families like Hang’s, the epidemic is still very long and far away. The opportunity to escape the epidemic and recover has not yet been seen when a vaccine for the people is still a long way off.

There is a medical station near me here, so I know it all. Recently, they called the police force to get vaccinated. Thus, even the police and military do not have enough vaccines and even doctors. Not to mention the fact that the men and women in these fields use their relationships to ask for injections for their wives, children, and relatives, when will it be the turn of people like me. Maybe 3 years from now, there will be no vaccine injected into people, I don’t know,” commented Hang.

But according to her, this outbreak is also a bit less bleak than the first outbreak more than a year ago.

“It’s starting to be as difficult as the first outbreak. But the thing is that so far, people are not as panicked as the first outbreak. Mainly because we have lived with Covid for a long time,” she shared. (Translated)