A Vietnamese man who tested positive for COVID-19 is refusing a government order to be taken from his home for quarantine, saying thousands have died in centralized locations without adequate treatment.
Tran Xuan Quang, a resident of the Hung Phuc ward of north-central Vietnam’s Vinh city, was confronted on Sunday by police and medical workers who came to detain him after he reported his infection the week before, Quang said.
“When the authorities came, I was very upset and angry,” Quang, 62, told RFA on Monday.
“They were accompanied by a group of 20 people and three cars, and when the cars stopped, someone made an announcement over a loudspeaker, saying that if I and my family didn’t cooperate, we would be sent to a central place for quarantine.
“We all know how dangerous centralized quarantine locations can be, so I strongly opposed their order,” Quang said. Two militiamen in the group then wanted to detain him by force but were stopped by a ward official, he added.
Though refusing to leave his home, Quang agreed to close his shop and allow ward medical staff to enter his house to disinfect blankets, mattresses and mats. The items were left soaking wet with chemical spray, making it impossible for him and his family to sleep that night in the cold, he said.
Quang had reported his positive COVID test to a ward clinic just a few days before, he said.
“Having heard about my health problem, they told me to fill out a form and leave it there. I thought that making this declaration was all I needed to do, and I went home, but that night, my grandchild developed a high fever, and I made a phone call to the head of the clinic.”
The clinic head called back the next morning, telling Quang he would have to be taken to a center for “centralized treatment” according to government regulations, Quang said.
“But I asked her what regulations were currently in force, and whether she remembered that thousands had already died under centralized treatment in Ho Chi Minh City.”
Quang told the official he would refuse to leave, prompting Sunday’s arrival of the task force at his home, he said.
Authorities have meanwhile provided no medical help or other support to Quang and his family, he said.
“Honestly, they have nothing available to help us. Even on the day that I was sick, I called them, but they didn’t care,” he said.
Calls seeking comment from Phan Anh Hung, chairman of the Hung Phuc Ward People’s Committee, were not picked up on Monday. A reporter who phoned Nguyen Thi Bich Hoa, the deputy secretary of the ward’s Party Committee, was told to come to her office in person for information.
Vietnam’s government has acknowledged that coercive measures were used to house COVID-infected residents in field hospitals in southern provinces during the pandemic’s peak in 2021, despite a lack of adequate vaccines or other medicines to treat their condition.
Critics blame the policy for unnecessary infections and deaths.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Richard Finney.