Updated: August 07, 2021 08:04 AM GMT
Catholic volunteers offer test samples to people at a quarantine center in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
The Vietnam government has complimented religious groups on making great contributions to the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic
The Vietnamese Fatherland Front, an umbrella organization of the communist government, said the country has contained the stubborn Delta variant outbreak in some provinces thanks to positive and useful contributions made by religions.
The government body said followers of faiths have shown a genuine spirit of solidarity and mutual support with the nation during the outbreak.
It said religious groups undertake fresh and pioneering initiatives in strictly following social distancing and Covid-19 preventive measures, donating to the government-run vaccination funds and using health facilities to look after patients.
They also send many dignitaries, nuns, monks and followers voluntarily to work as frontline forces, use their facilities as field hospitals and quarantine centers, and provide basic food and commodities to vulnerable people.
“Their good deeds and services connect all people together in pushing back the deadly pandemic,” the Fatherland Front said in a statement on Aug. 3.
Many patients feel comfortable and inspired by the professional services and strong presence of volunteers
Noting that the current outbreak is dangerous and complicated in Ho Chi Minh City and many southern provinces, it called on followers of faiths to continue obeying movement restrictions and health measures, offering health declarations, donating to vaccination funds, registering for vaccinations and providing material support for people in need.
All religious activities have been suspended in Vietnam at the government's request for months.
Bishop John Do Van Ngan of Xuan Loc said the local Church had sent 102 priests, seminarians and religious to serve Covid-19 patients at field hospitals and isolated areas. They are expected to work as frontline workers for 14 days before leaving for a church-run quarantine center to avoid infecting others.
Bishop Ngan said another 100 Catholics plan to set off to take care of patients at hospitals next week.
He said the country's largest diocese in terms of Catholic population had supplied six ventilators to three local public hospitals in Dong Nai province, one of the Covid-19 epicenters.
The prelate asked priests to help patients pray and reconcile themselves with God in a wise way as they could not closely approach patients as normal.
He highly appreciated many volunteers who "smartly contact Catholic patients by phone, giving them faith advice, consolation, medical guidelines and prayers."
"Many patients feel comfortable and inspired by the professional services and strong presence of volunteers," he said in an open letter issued on Aug 2.
Bishop Ngan said the diocese is operating emergency hotlines from 6am to 9pm every day for patients and people in need. Some 22 priests and sisters offer medical and spiritual advice to Covid-19 victims.
He also urged parish priests, Catholic associations and Caritas workers to supply basic food to people in need, especially factory workers and migrants. Seminarians and parishioners offer daily meals to healthcare givers and officials at checkpoints.
On Aug. 7, Vietnam reported 8,320 new coronavirus cases. It has had 189,422 infections in 62 out of 63 provinces and cities since the first Delta variant cases were detected on April 27. Among them were 2,981 deaths.
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