Caritas workers give rice to Quyet Thanh Commune officials on March 2. (Photo courtesy of gphaiphong.org)
Caritas in northern Vietnam has provided food aid for tens of thousands of people who have been badly affected by anti-coronavirus measures in the country’s epicenter of the pandemic.
Hai Duong province, which has become the epicenter of the third wave of Covid-19 in Vietnam, has recorded 701 infections since Jan. 28, when the first cases were detected in the province.
The province with 100,000 factory workers started to be isolated on Feb. 16 to contain the pandemic. Many places are still in quarantine.
Local farmers have thrown away produce that could not be transported to other places because of isolation and quarantine measures. Companies and factories have been closed.
On March 6, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said frontline healthcare staff who work at facilities for Covid-19 patients in Hai Duong will be the first to be vaccinated. The province alone is expected to get 35,000 vaccines.
Long said the country, which received 117,000 vaccines on Feb. 24, plans to start its first phase of vaccinations in 13 coronavirus-hit cities and provinces on March 8.
Caritas in Hai Phong has offered 100 tonnes of rice worth 1.45 billion dong (US$63,000) to local people, especially factory workers who became jobless due to the coronavirus, since Feb. 28. They could not approach people due to coronavirus measures and had to offer rice and money to local authorities to distribute.
Father Joseph Duong Huu Tinh, Hai Duong parish priest, and Father Anthony Vu Ngoc Thach, head of Caritas in Hai Duong, provided 30 tonnes of rice for those who are isolated in Cam Giang district, which is one of the worst-hit districts and home to many industrial zones.
The priests gave 50 tonnes of rice to families in public quarantine places in the isolated district of Kim Thanh, where many communes and villages are still in quarantine.
On March 2, they visited farmers and workers in need in Hai Duong City and other neighboring districts.
Caritas in Hai Phong has launched a campaign called “Catholic Church towards Hai Duong: Supply 100 Tonnes of Rice” and received donations from Caritas Vietnam, Caritas in Hanoi, Hung Hoa and benefactors. Caritas in neighboring Bac Ninh Diocese supplied 12,500 face masks, 400 bottles of antiseptic and 10,000 Vitamin C tablets.
“The campaign aims at showing the spirit of Christian charity and the national tradition of mutual support at Lent,” Caritas in Hai Phong said in a statement.
Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien, who serves as apostolic administrator of Hai Phong Diocese, has called on all people to pray for the pandemic to be stemmed soon and to work together to support people who are badly affected. Hai Duong is under the administration of the diocese.
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