Covid drives frontline medical workers to exhaustion

By Thuy Quynh, Cao Tuan   May 20, 2021 | 11:02 pm PT
The photos of two frontline healthcare workers sleeping on a street in Covid-19 protective clothing after a night at work in Dien Bien Province has deeply moved people.

Taken and posted on social media by a man who was doing his morning exercises on May 18, the photos of the fatigued duo have gone viral.

The man said on seeing the two lying on the street he was worried they were victims of an accident, and tried to rouse one of them.

The person woke up and told him: "We are exhausted and cannot travel any more. We have helped contain the pandemic in Nam Po District. Just 15 minutes’ sleep and we will go."

Linh and Than sleep on the street. Photo courtesy of Health Ministry.

Linh and Than sleep on the street. Photo courtesy of the Health Ministry.

People seeing the photos have expressed gratitude to medics across the country and sorrow.

Pham Giang Nam, director of the Dien Bien Department of Health, said: "I cannot help my tears when I see my workers become exhausted and lie on the street."

He identified the two people as Lo Van Linh, medical staff at the Nam Po District medical center, and Than, a driver, whose job was to take infected patients and those coming into close contact with them to quarantine facilities.

Since Dien Bien Province recorded its first Covid case on May 15, Linh has worked with many doctors and nurses at Si Pa Phin Commune to contain the infection, barely getting any time to sleep.

On May 17 night he and Than had taken some patients to the field hospital in Dien Bien Town and returned to Nam Po District the next morning, when they decided to nap on the street.

"I cannot go on; let's sleep for a while," Than had told Linh.

The surging Covid numbers in Dien Bien have completely stretched out health workers, Nam said.

Linh sleeps next to the ambulance. Photo courtesy of Health Ministry.

Linh sleeps next to the ambulance. Photo courtesy of the Health Ministry.

Between May 7-21, they had diagnosed 48 cases.

In Si Pa Phin Commune, many people have come into close contact with the patients, worrying doctors and nurses, who have worked around the clock to test, guide people to quarantine and take patients to the field hospital as soon as possible.

The mountainous terrain with residents scattered in many neighborhoods has made it tough for them to travel around and locate suspected cases.

"Dien Bien health workers have worked at 200 percent of capacity," Nam said.

The province health department has asked the Ministry of Health for more health workers to cope with the latest outbreak.

More than three weeks into the new wave, Vietnam has had 1,836 cases in 30 cities and provinces, including five deaths.

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