Mar 17, 2020 / 17:29

Quarantine in Vietnam is more like a holiday camp: Briton

The Hanoitimes - The full 14-day quarantine is part of Vietnam's efforts to keep locals and foreigners safe amid the rising global infections.

Gavin Wheeldon, a British citizen who has been in government-run quarantine in Hanoi, exclaimed that he feels more like a holiday camp than quarantine though he lives in an area of complete lockdown.

 British visitor Gavin Wheeldon at a military base in Hanoi. Photo: Gavin

Gavin provides an insight on life inside a quarantine facility that is a military barrack in Son Tay town since March 14 after landing in Hanoi on a direct flight from London.

About 4-5 hours after the landing, Gavin chose to enter Vietnam with a 14-day quarantine instead of buying another flight out.

 Buses carrying people from the airport for quarantine. Photo: Gavin

The government of Vietnam covers all costs during the quarantine. Foreign visitors only pay hospital bills if they test positive for the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Gavin accepted the quarantine as Vietnam is his favorite country and he is now a guest in a country that is doing its best to protect its people and is offering him that courtesy.

 The room is disinfected. Photo: Gavin

At first, Gavin and four other Westerners who are total strangers didn’t know what awaits them or where they were going.

He and his Western fellows speculated what the conditions might be with lots of questions like “Will we be fed enough?” “Will we be in close proximity with the sick?”

 Luggage is sprayed with disinfectant. Photo: Gavin

Finally, they were taken on a bus out of busy streets to highways and countryside until they reached a military base where their coach and luggage were sprayed with disinfectant.

It’s an area with two huge dormitories and fencing. Everyone wears protective clothing. The quarantine is highly organized. “It’s clear that while the rest of the world waited, Vietnam has been preparing,” Gavin commented.

 A military base in Hanoi used for quarantine. Photo: Gavin

As walking to his room, he saw fencing, training grounds, and fields in the distance with farmers at work. He and four Westerners shared a room with 10 military bunk-beds and got some well-needed sleep. Banh mi was for breakfast and satisfied every craving. “Conditions are far better than I expected,” he said in an article post on Southeastasiaglobe.

There he got a SIM card that a soldier bought for him. Gavin wanted to tip the soldier for helping him since he got there but the soldier refused.

At the quarantine, a translator who is a volunteer came there to help foreigners meet their needs and asked about their time at the base.

“Outside, everything is peaceful. The location is quiet, the soldiers work tirelessly to sterilize the rooms daily, log our temperature and clear out our bins. They live here to help their country and despite what they might have heard, they’re friendly and caring. So far, this feels more like a holiday camp than a quarantine,” Gavin wrote to Southeastasiaglobe.

“It’s clear that Vietnam is working hard to keep people safe,” he noted.