Bui Thanh Vu - Reporter in Ho Chi Minh City
I have been working in the pandemic-hit areas of Go Vap district since social distancing began on May 31. Although I constantly searched for news in high-risk places since the first outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, whenever I go into these places, it remains is a different feeling. Truly speaking, working in such places scares me, but as it is my job, I remain content.
During these days of social distancing in Go Vap, I have visited quarantine places in the area about 2-3 times a day to get information. Yet, to ensure safety, I quickly got the information I was looking for and moved away. At that time, the deserted and dreary scene on the streets, on which there were few people, worried me because it was so different from previous outbreaks. However, it didn’t stop me from moving forwards in my role. Indeed, I’m glad that I can bring the latest and the most necessary information to people.
What catches my eye are the images of doctors and nurses working around day and night to take samples for testing. They have to work continuously and only rest for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Sometimes the sampling lasted until after 2am, but everyone kept working until the task was finished. The medical clothes they wear are also very hot and uncomfortable.
I most remember the time I filmed at Moc Bai, an international border gate between Vietnam and Cambodia located in Tay Ninh province. At that time, everyone from the border guards to the drivers had to wear protective gear, wash hands, and check temperature, so I partly saw the impact of the pandemic.
After recording at this border area, I fell ill. I was upset because I was afraid that I might get sick, but luckily it only lasted a few days. The only thing I could think to do was to keep gathering more news.
The work may be scary but that fear is nothing compared to the daily mission of doctors and nurses, as well as forces protecting isolated places. Their silent sacrifice gives me more motivation to record the most realistic scenes and images.
Binh Nguyen - Freelancer in Bac Giang province
I run a mobile phone shop in Bac Giang city. When the city and some industrial zones in the province were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, my shop was forced to close and some of my friends working in newspapers in Hanoi asked for help to capture the moments of social distancing and quarantine areas – so I became a freelancer for the local press.
I feel very eager to be a reporter to go around and capture the living conditions of people and related authorities, and healthcare teams’ activities daily in the region while trying my best to keep safe in impacted areas. The weather at that time was burning hot and it’s very exhausting in protective suits with facial mask and protection shields.
After just one hour working in the testing area, my whole body was drenched in sweat, I felt short of breath and dizzy under the sunshine and suffocating air. I totally admired healthcare workers who took 4-5 hours a day to test the local workers and other people in the burning heat.
After nearly a month witnessing the healthcare teams in the quarantine areas, it was unlucky that my neighbour was an F0 case so I had to be quarantined. The matter came so quickly that I could not bring anything with me except my mobile phone. But now I am happy that I am now home safely and with my health.