Hundreds of young volunteers in Vietnam are lending a hand to their country's efforts to quell the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pham Tuan Vu, a university student in Hanoi, and 50 of his peers have spent the past few weeks making thousands of face shields they hope to distribute to the local community in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the capital city.
The fourth wave of COVID-19 struck Vietnam late last month after a super-spreader in Dao Ly Commune, Ha Nam Province, some 51 kilometers from Hanoi, caused an outbreak that led to authorities locking down the locale.
In the following days, dozens of residents in Ha Nam, Hanoi, and nearby Vinh Phuc Province began testing positive for COVID-19.
The country has registered 1,836 domestic infections in 30 provinces and cities during the current wave, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.
Vu, 21, felt it was his duty to step up and help his community in its efforts to ward off the virus.
He quickly assembled a group of friends and set about making plastic face shields.
“We are students from a medical university,” said Vu.
“Although we do not have much money, we still want to contribute to the fight against the virus.
“We want to make sure that medical staff on the front line have the protective equipment they need.”
It took the group just two days to make 1,000 face shields – a particularly impressive feat given that they are full-time students with little time to spare between classes and clerkships at local hospitals.
“We hope the pandemic dies down soon so we can return to a normal life,” Vu told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
In addition to making masks, Vu’s group is also trying to help improve the quality of life for their fellow Hanoians currently trapped in lockdown areas.
On Sunday, they visited K Tan Trieu Hospital – a medical facility currently under lockdown – to distribute congee to the residents.
Vu has also assembled a team that is offering support to frontline workers by making 2,000 anti-droplet caps.
They are also collecting medical supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer, to send to local hospitals.
In Ha Nam’s Ly Nhan District, a group of volunteers have been struggling to help residents manage the fallout of the pandemic.
Between 7:00 am and 2:00 pm each day, the volunteers spend their time transporting vegetables, food, hand sanitizer, and other necessities to the district's frontline workers and 2,500 households.
“Watching our hometown struggling against COVID-19 gave us a sense of responsibility,” said Vu Quang Huy, 31, the leader of a volunteer group in Ly Nhan.
Trinh Thanh Tam, 36, the leader of the Thanh Tam charity club, said she felt a similar urge to support the community.
Her group has spent the past several days calling for aid for the public and working with donors and other charity clubs to support frontline medical workers with vegetables and other necessities.
So far, Tam has delivered over 1,000 kilograms of winter melons, sweet cakes, fresh milk, instant noodles, and water to the community.
They have also distributed hundreds of servings of congee, hundreds of bottles of sanitizer, protective suits, and more than 51,000 medical face masks to nearby restricted areas.
“I often receive text messages from people thanking our club and donors for the ‘lovely bowls of congee’ they received,” Tam shared.
“It warms my heart and inspires the group to keep working in support of hard-hit areas.”