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Man builds makeshift altar inside Vietnam quarantine camp to mourn father’s death

Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 14:30 GMT+7
Man builds makeshift altar inside Vietnam quarantine camp to mourn father’s death
Tran Dinh Sy offers prayers to his deceased father at a makeshift altar erected at a quarantine facility in Da Nang City, Vietnam, March 23, 2020. Photo: V.M. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Dinh Sy was undergoing compulsory 14-day isolation in Vietnam as a precaution against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) when he learned that his father had passed away. Unable to attend the funeral, he mourned the loss with a makeshift altar – erected with the help of soldiers on duty at the facility.

Returning to Vietnam from a trip to Malaysia, 51-year-old Sy was subjected to a mandatory isolation period of 14 days at the Center for National Defense and Security Training run by the Da Nang Military Command in the namesake central city.

On Monday, while still in quarantine, Sy learned that his father had passed away due to old age in their hometown in the north-central province of Nghe An.

He expressed his wish to leave the isolation zone to see his father for the last time, but advice from officers on duty at the facility and his own sense of awareness that he could be carrying the virus weighted in.

Sy eventually decided to stay in quarantine and mourn his father remotely.

A makeshift altar was quickly erected on the same day using a table and a sheet of white cloth.

Officers stationed at the military unit lent their hands by buying flowers, fruits, and incense for the grieving man to pay his dues to the deceased father.

The only thing missing on the altar was a funeral portrait of Tran Dinh Kinh, Sy’s father.

“Traditional moralities are indispensable, but this is also a stressful time for our country as we battle the COVID-19 epidemic, and Sy understands this well,” an officer at the quarantine camp said.

“He also called his family asking for their permission to wear mourning for his father on a later date.”

Tears rolled down Sy’s face as he offered prayers to his father on Monday afternoon, as did they down the faces of fellow quarantined people who attended the touching ‘funeral.'

Vietnam has confirmed 134 cases of COVID-19 infections to date, with 17 having walked out of the hospital free of the virus.

Five patients are being treated in Da Nang.

Vietnam mandates that everyone arriving from abroad goes into quarantine for at least 14 days -- the advised incubation time of the novel coronavirus -- upon arrival.

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