|Military doctors are mobilized for the COVID-19 fight (Photo: VOV)
Many army officers, soldiers, policemen, and doctors have been deployed nationwide since August 20 in response to the Prime Minister’s Directive on strengthening the fight against COVID-19 in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces. The image of people in uniform distributing food and ensuring public security and order has been comforting to the public during this difficult time.
The Vietnam People’s Army is rooted in the people and its struggles and sacrifices are for the people. The close bond between the Vietnam People’s Army and the people has been fostered and strengthened throughout history. Their relationship to the people is like the relationship of fish to water.
Performing emergency tasks to protect people’s lives is part of the army’s acknowledged duty. The army exists, not just to train for combat to defend the nation, but also to assist the public in times of disaster. Soldiers helping farmers to harvest during a flood, evacuating people to safer places in a storm, or carrying out search and rescue operations is a familiar sight in Vietnam. Mobilizing the army to fight COVID-19 in HCM City and the southern provinces is a continuation of the traditional close bond between the army and the people.
|Army soldiers deliver food to lonely elderly people
HCM City and the southern provinces have been struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic since May. People on the frontline have been working day and night, knowing how vital it is to contain the pandemic, not just for HCM City and the provinces most affected by the pandemic, but for the entire nation.
The army is helping to enforce social distancing, establishing perimeters to contain the pandemic, preventing social instability, and ensuring public safety and social order. Apart from the doctors and medical workers, no one is more professional and effective than the army in performing essential tasks. Since the early days of the outbreak, the army has been Vietnam’s key defense against the pandemic, controlling borders, helping out at quarantine facilities, organizing logistics, disinfecting, testing, vaccinating, screening and treating patients, and conducting funeral services for bereaved families.
Engaging the army in the fight against COVID-19 has been a common practice around the world. In many countries the military has been organizing logistics, distributing food and medicine, maintaining public order, and ensuring public compliance with movement restrictions and social distancing measures imposed by local administrations, not to mention helping to purchase, produce, store, transport, and distribute life-saving PPE, respirators, and oxygen.
Many military units have also engaged in testing, screening, and treating COVID-19 patients. In China, 10,000 military medical workers have been mobilized to treat COVID-19 patients in Wuhan and Hubei province. In South Korea, the army has played a major role in disease prevention and control. The British Defense Ministry mobilized more than 5,000 military servicemen to help with vaccination, testing, and logistics.
In May India set up a COVID-19 Management Unit, led by the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of its Ground Force, which is in charge of coordinating personnel and logistics and collaborating with relevant civil agencies.
At whatever scope or level of engagement, the army in Vietnam – and many other countries – is effectively helping to deal with the current crisis. Distortions and misrepresentations about the army’s involvement in fighting COVID-19 in Vietnam come from an uninformed, biased, or downright hostile point of view.