Around 100 Vietnamese left in pandemic-ravaged India: embassy

By Xanh Le   April 25, 2021 | 07:15 pm PT
Around 100 Vietnamese left in pandemic-ravaged India: embassy
A patient is wheeled inside a Covid-19 hospital for treatment, amidst the spread of the disease in Ahmedabad, India, April 19, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Amit Dave.
Most of around 1,000 Vietnamese expats in India, which has been battling a world-record Covid-19 spike, have been sent home, an embassy official says.

The Vietnamese living and working in India have been brought back home in six rescue flights, said Do Thanh Hai, Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Vietnam in India.

The 100 or so who still remain live in different parts of India and the embassy is keeping in touch with them to provide timely help when needed, he said.

"We are working on preparing another flight to send them home soon because the more they stay back in India, the higher the risk they would face," Hai told VnExpress.

"We have been preparing and making ourselves ready to deal with any development with the ongoing outbreak here."

Hai noted that the Vietnamese people left in India were facing many difficulties apart from the very high risk of contracting the dreaded Covid-19 disease.

If they get infected, the risk of serious illness or death is very high because the health system of India is overwhelmed already. Traveling and getting access to essentials have also become difficult these days, and the psychological stress they are experiencing is high, he said.

India is in the grip of a disastrous second wave of the pandemic. Reuters has reported that at least one Covid-19 death is happening under every four minutes in the capital city of Delhi as an underfunded health system buckles. Local media has been reporting a drastic shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders for patients in distress. Crematoriums and cemeteries are also overwhelmed.

Hien Nguyen, who stays in Mumbai with her baby and husband, said she did not dare to go out because "almost all people in my neighborhood have been infected and more than a few have died even before they were taken to hospitals."

Hien gave birth to a baby girl 16 months ago and she and the baby have been staying indoors ever since. "My baby has never been taken outside since she came into this world." Her family has been using a room to store some food and ordering food online in some cases.

Tan Nhi, who lives in Kochi, Kerala with her husband, said: "It seems like the situation is still under control and is not as stressful as in Mumbai or New Delhi." But she was worried because her husband works at a hospital and she has been living under huge pressure. Nhi said she has completely locked herself in the house.

"My husband is in charge of the shopping and he does that every seven or ten days. Every time he goes to the store, he would do his best to bring home as many essentials as possible to avoid going out again and again."

India reported nearly 350,000 new cases Sunday, more than any country on any day since the beginning of the pandemic, marking the fourth day in a row the country has broken the world record.

A Reuters report has cited health experts as saying that India became complacent in the winter, when new cases were running at about 10,000 a day and things seemed to be under control. Authorities lifted restrictions, allowing the resumption of big gatherings, including large festivals and political rallies for local elections.

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