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Vietnamese sisters join the Covid front line

Nuns on a mission to provide healthcare for coronavirus victims in quarantine centers

Sister Anna Tuyen

Sister Anna Tuyen

Published: July 07, 2021 06:18 AM GMT

Updated: July 07, 2021 06:52 AM GMT

Vietnamese sisters join the Covid front line

A nun in protective gear prepares to test Covid-19 patients at Catholic-run Hoa Sen Nursery School in Vietnam's Bac Giang province. (Photo: Truyen Thong Mater Unitatis)

Since the fourth wave of the coronavirus outbreak hit Vietnam in early May, Bac Giang province, where our Mater Unitatis Association is based, has become an epicenter with a record number of infections as the pandemic spreads at speed. All health workers from local hospitals and clinics rallied to the clear and credible goal of containing the uncontrollable outbreak. 

With the agreement of our superior, we nine sisters, who are qualified healthcare givers, quickly prepared ourselves for a new mission and were assigned to provide care for Covid-19 patients at four quarantine centers. One of them is our Lotus Nursery School in the compound of the mother house. We reserve the school as a quarantine center as a way of making a positive contribution to fighting the stubborn coronavirus outbreak.

Together with officials and workers from local government agencies, four other sisters and I have been placed in charge of providing shelter, healthcare and basic needs for those infected at our school.

Being urged by love of Christ, we left our safe convent to set out and willingly accept high risks of infection and other dangers. We replaced our daily Masses and Eucharist adorations with giving medical tests and care to patients, cleaning accommodation and giving words of encouragement and succor to those sent to our care.

I had a vivid impression of the first day when I felt distinctly embarrassed and uncomfortable wearing full protective clothing in the sultry summer weather. Thus prepared, we could penetrate the heroic sacrifices of our work colleagues and other frontline health workers.

The first bus brought patients to our school — manufacturing workers who were so skinny and sick, suffering from a mass of nerves and sense of insecurity.

We got used to working in a rush and with a sense of urgency, always on duty to limit the spread of pathogens as much as possible in the isolation area  

We immediately tested them for the coronavirus and many were positive. We classified them, sending those whose test results were positive to other quarantine centers for treatment  to avoid spreading the highly contagious disease among them. We continued checking health problems of high-risk groups.

Other groups of patients were continuously driven to the school and when we finished classifying patients, it was almost dawn. We received as many as 71 people on the first night alone.

We had no time to take a rest on the second day since many people started to develop symptoms of coughs, fever, hard respiration, sore throats and loss of taste. We worked at full stretch, quickly testing them and informing our superiors for a timely response. We also received 13 new infections and transferred all those infected to other healthcare centers that night.

We got used to working in a rush and with a sense of urgency, always on duty to limit the spread of pathogens as much as possible in the isolation area.

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We offer money and gifts to patients who lost their jobs and feel the pinch. The financial support was from the local Caritas and parishes. Our sisters also provide daily meals for dozens of patients, nearly 200 on some days.

We are over the moon to say goodbye to those who have completed the period of quarantine and can return to their homes. Others are frequently tested for Covid-19 to control the spread of the pandemic.

The contagious pandemic is not over yet, but I believe in God's loving plan for the world and in this painful human situation. Prayer and trust are crucial for that plan to be carried out.

I know our sisters and other people always pray for us here. It is an effective source of strength and support on the road ahead. Please continue to pray to God, Father of love, to soon roll back the growing coronavirus outbreak so that people can return to a peaceful life.

We believe that God does everything for all people, healing our wounds through the hands of health workers

We should pray for the authorities and frontline health workers who have no weekends off and are in a race against the clock to save the lives of our brothers and sisters.

We believe that God does everything for all people, healing our wounds through the hands of health workers, and trying to give peace back to us via government leaders.

So we try our best to work with God and others by our small efforts to deal with the pandemic.

This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from Vietnamese articles published here.

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