Overseas Vietnamese offer free meals to Russian doctors fighting COVID-19

Thursday, 2020-06-04 10:16:49
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Meals being prepared for delivery to the local hospitals for doctors.
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NDO – To encourage and support Russian doctors who are on the front line in fighting COVID-19, the overseas Vietnamese community in the country has offered free meals to doctors at local hospitals specialising in treating COVID-19 patients.

In the last days of May, Moscow was still in the peak period of COVID-19 response. The city government is still enforcing mandatory self-isolation and ceasing the operation of high-risk commercial establishments such as restaurants, entertainment facilities and trade centres. Thereby, Vietnamese expatriates in Moscow, who mainly do their business in local markets and restaurants, have been hit hard by the ban.

However, despite the difficulties, overseas Vietnamese people have promoted the spirit of solidarity in organising multiple mutual support activities, as well as helping Russian friends during the epidemic. These are movements to help their compatriots find accommodation, support Vietnamese people in medical examination and treatment and provide face masks and protective gear for both Vietnamese and Russians. In addition, over the past few weeks, several groups in the overseas Vietnamese community have started offering free food to Russian doctors to assist them in the fight against COVID-19.

Beef Pho, one of the free dishes offered to Russian doctors.

Taking inspiration from the activities of a group named "Thank you doctors", Van Anh, an active member of the Vietnamese Support Group in Russia, joined her younger sister, Hong Anh, the owner of "Pho" restaurant chain, in calling for offering free meals for local doctors. Van Anh said that there are now many hospitals in Moscow used to serve as treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients. Doctors at these facilities must work a lot, but due to the limited budget, many of them are not provided with meals during their working hours. Therefore, when she learned that her younger sister had an idea to combine with the city's volunteers to bring food to local doctors, Van Anh was very supportive. She urged her compatriots in the local Vietnamese community to join and support this meaningful activity.

The community offers financial support based on the meals’ prices and Hong Anh's restaurant is responsible for cooking and then transferring the meals to the doctors. The call quickly received enthusiastic support from the majority of the Vietnamese community. No matter how much they donate, everyone wants to contribute a part to motivating doctors who are struggling to take care of patients during the global pandemic.

The staff preparing the free meals.

At the Kashirskaya Plaza, except for department stores and pharmacies, all other stores in the centre are closed. The entire restaurant area on the 4th floor has only a few security guards. However, in Hong Anh's "Pho" restaurant kitchen, her staff are in a hurry to work. Ms. Irina, a store local employee, said that since the beginning of the pandemic, due to the mandatory order to stop operating to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the business at the restaurant has faced many difficulties. Currently, the restaurant mainly serves online orders but the number of orders is much lower than before the pandemic occurred. Meanwhile, expenses such as renting premises and staff salaries still have to be paid.

Each prepared set includes a hot dish, a cold dish and a drink, costing from 300 to 350 roubles. The menu consists mainly of beef pho and other Vietnamese dishes. However, the restaurant has also started to cook Russian dishes to diversify the meals. Once the food is ready, staff from the local volunteer organisations pick them up and transfer the meals to local hospitals. Irina said that free meals will be sent to doctors at Medvedkovo Veterans, Varsavskoe, Miklyxo Maklaya and Klylatskie Kholmy Hospitals, as well as a number of other medical facilities.

Russian doctors are glad and offer sincere thanks to the free meals from the overseas Vietnamese community.

According to the original plan, it is expected that the meal donation activity for local doctors will be conducted until June 15. However, Van Anh expressed her hope to continue to receive the support from the Vietnamese community to increase the number of meals, thus maintaining this meaningful activity.

With thousands of doctors participating in anti-COVID-19 activities in Moscow, a few dozen meals a day is a very small number, but for the Vietnamese community, it is a gratitude to the tireless efforts of the Russian doctors on the front line against the epidemic. That is also to show social responsibility to the local communities by the Vietnamese expatriates in their second homeland.

By Nam Dong – Nhan Dan Newspaper correspondent in Moscow