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Da Nang pickup truck enthusiasts show drive in Covid-19 battle

Leaving their work and families behind, several Da Nang residents are braving infection risk to transport crucial supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As heavy rain pounded many places in central Vietnam, three men wearing raincoats stood next to their pickup trucks outside the Phu Bai International Airport in Hue.

Da Nang, pickup truck enthusiasts, Covid-19 battle, Covid-19 pandemic, Da Nang residents, infection risk, crucial supplies

Nguyen Quy, Hung Le and Hoai Duong (from L to R) stand outside Phu Bai International Airport.

At 10 p.m. one of their phones rang. Almost immediately, the three men got into their vehicles and into the airport and stocked their pickup trucks with many boxes. The boxes contained 25,000 Covid-19 rapid test kits sent to Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province.

Nguyen Quy, 34, head of a real estate agency, Hung Le and Nguyen Hoai Duong are members of the Pickup Da Nang Club (PDC). They volunteered to pick up and transport the test kits after a suggestion from the Da Nang Youth Union.

With a confirmation paper from Da Nang's Center of Diseases Control (CDC), the group, allowed to transport and install Covid-19 prevention equipment and gears, arrived at the Phu Bai International Airport at 9.40 p.m.

Three hours later, the boxes with 25,000 test kits arrived in Da Nang. 16,000 were given to Da Nang's CDC, the rest followed Quy to the central province of Quang Nam.

It was only after he finished his mission and returned to Da Nang at around 10 a.m. that Quy remembered he had skipped dinner the day before.

The test kits transported by Quy and his friends are used for thousands of people in Da Nang and Quang Nam, helping local authorities identify infected people and control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Since joining the PDC two years ago, Quy has been on many roads and visited many places. But the trip to Hue has been the most memorable experience. And he is not alone; 30 other club members are also transporting necessities and medical equipment to hospitals, medical centers and quarantine facilities in the central city, now Vietnam's largest Covid-19 hotspot.

Since July 25 when community infections reemerged, 298 domestic cases have been reported. The epicenter Da Nang got 193 cases. Its neighbor Quang Nam Province got 29 cases.

‘Quarantined’ outside

Since he joined the mission last week, Quy has not dared to return home and see his wife, mother and two children.

Da Nang, pickup truck enthusiasts, Covid-19 battle, Covid-19 pandemic, Da Nang residents, infection risk, crucial supplies

Members of the Da Nang PDC transfer necessities to the Da Nang Hospital C.

Since the semi-lockdown was imposed, Quy and his friends have to be at designated charity spots by 5 a.m. to receive food and take it to local hospitals. Whenever someone asks for their help with transporting goods, they get on the road immediately, day or night.

On some long journeys, the men do not get much time to have even their daily meals.

Every day, around ten pickup trucks in the club transport goods for free. On average, each vehicle makes 7-10 trips per day.

At first, when the fresh Covid-19 outbreak happened in Da Nang, there were not many people who joined the PDC's community service activities. But after the club published information on their Facebook page, thousands of drivers gave their phone numbers and expressed their willingness to help.

Nguyen Tran Hoang Anh, 42, lead of the PDC's quick response team, said most club members are business owners and managers at many companies in the central city.

Local authorities appreciate the support they are getting from the PDC volunteers.

After Da Nang confirmed its first Covid-19 case on July 25 and the city went into a semi-lockdown three days later, bringing necessities and protective gear to local hospitals and quarantine facilities became a challenge.

The Youth Union has equipped the volunteers with masks and protective gear; and called on other companies to support PDC members with gasoline.

The club, having a hotline, also supports individuals and organizations having transportation demands.

Nguyen Hoang Bao An, residing in Hai Chau District, had prepared necessities for people dealing with Covid-19 in the city but could not deliver them.

Wherever they go, the PDC volunteers see people who are in need. They respond to most calls for support shared on social media.

Over the last several days, hospitals and other quarantine facilities in Da Nang have received enough equipment and food items. But Quy and his friends are not done.

They have begun trips to the neighboring province of Quang Nam to support more people hit by the second wave of the novel coronavirus.

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Source: VnExpress

Da Nang, pickup truck enthusiasts, Covid-19 battle, Covid-19 pandemic, Da Nang residents, infection risk, crucial supplies
 
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