Vietnamese in UAE secure as Covid-19 risk wanes

By Thanh Tam   June 1, 2021 | 05:30 am PT
Vietnamese in UAE secure as Covid-19 risk wanes
People wearing protective face masks shop at Dubai Mall after the UAE government eased restriction measures and allowed stores to open. Photo by Reuters.
Many Vietnamese in the United Arab Emirates now feel safe after the country successfully contained the Covid-19 outbreak and is providing free vaccinations.

Dam Hanh, a Vietnamese living in the Al Satwa neighborhood of Dubai, UAE, said the Covid-19 situation is well under control, which makes her feel safe.

"Since the beginning of the outbreak, the government has implemented many preventive measures, such as requiring people to wear face masks when working; taxis can only carry two people and people cannot gather in large numbers," Hanh said. "If you don’t comply, you will be administratively fined."

The UAE has reported more than 569,000 infections and 1,677 deaths since the start of the outbreak. The number of new daily infections is down 51 percent from its peak in late January. The country now reports 132 new infections per 100,000 population, according to Reuters.

Hanh said everyone in Dubai is recommended to get the Covid-19 vaccine, provided for free even to foreigners in the UAE. As one of many Vietnamese vaccinated in Dubai, Hanh received two shots of China’s Sinopharm on Jan. 21 and Feb. 11.

"After the injection, I felt a little feverish and tired, but only a day later it was gone. Besides, I didn't experience any other side effects," Hanh said, adding all information related to her vaccinations is available and updated on a Dubai government website.

Life in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular has somewhat returned to normal thanks to good epidemic control. However, like other parts of the world, the pandemic still affects people's lives and work, especially in a tourist-oriented place like Dubai, according to Hanh.

"Without customers, many businesses still struggle," she said.

But what makes Hanh feel secure is the mutual help and support of the Vietnamese community in Dubai amid difficulties. "There are many unemployed people here, but everyone is helping each other out. There are also free shared houses for people in difficult circumstances to live in," she said.

Living in Dubai’s Bur Dubai District, Tieu Xuan Long said the Vietnamese community is well assisted in the city, from vaccination to isolation when infected.

"Most people and workers with two-year visas are vaccinated for free," he said, noting his family was inoculated with Pfizer's vaccine in January.

"I only felt a little pain in my arm after the shot, but there were no side effects," he said.

The UAE has administered nearly 12.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Last week, the country injected an average of more than 106,000 doses of the vaccine per day, according to Reuters.

According to online scientific publication Our World in Data, out of more than 9.7 million people, 3.84 million have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 39.3 percent of the population.

Life in Dubai appears to have returned to the pre-pandemic era as shops and schools are still open.

However, what makes Long and many Vietnamese people wonder is whether they can come cheer for the Vietnamese football team during the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

"The condition for entering the field is to have two doses of the vaccine and no negative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results 48 hours before arrival," Long said.

"The stadium will be 30 percent full. But nothing is certain yet," Hanh said.

Both Long and Hanh hope to be able to enter and watch at least one match, to give strength to the home team. The Vietnamese team landed in Dubai on the evening of May 26. The team will clash with Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11 and the host team UAE on June 15, respectively.

Xuan Hung, a cosmetic doctor in Dubai, shared that due to workload, he won’t be able to come and watch Vietnam play. However, he will watch the games on TV and cheer for the national team.

Hung also said that due to his busy schedule, he could not receive the Covid-19 vaccine. "I am trying to arrange to get vaccinated as soon as possible," he said.

The Vietnamese doctor shared that all daily activities in Dubai are still taking place as usual, except that everyone must wear face masks and comply with some preventive measures. He added that the epidemic situation in the UAE is not as complicated as in Vietnam since the climate is relatively hot.

The news about the recent outbreak in Vietnam also has many Vietnamese in the UAE worried.

"I hope Vietnam will soon control the outbreak, so that people in the country can feel secure and overseas Vietnamese can return home more easily," Hanh said.

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