Young people involved in Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19

Young Vietnamese at home and abroad are striving to contribute to the country’s fight against COVID-19 in their own way, believing that everyone has a role to play for the sake of their homeland.

Vietnamese citizens from Equatorial Guinea express their sincere thanks to the Party and State for bringing them home

Once-in-a-lifetime journey

Pilot Vu Duc Nghia proudly recalled that he was among the first to register for the historic flight bringing 219 Vietnamese citizens living in Equatorial Guinea home last week.

It was the 41st flight conducted by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines to bring citizens home from different parts of the world. It was the first time, however, that the airline had to do so while also dealing with a large number of infections, as many passengers were thought to be carrying the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

For 26-year-old Nghia, the flight offered him a new and challenging experience, he said in a video call interview.

No pilots from Vietnam had ever flown to Equatorial Guinea’s Bata International Airport, he said, so many meetings were held to identify suitable air routes and operating procedures. Most of the crew members on the flight had a lot of experience, and Nghia was one of the five pilots.

He overcame a brief period of anxiety prior to the trip, with his family standing behind him all the way.

Flying compatriots home

“I was truly proud of being able to overcome the anxiety and felt like a victorious soldier coming home,” he said.

The most memorable and touching moment for him came when the aircraft just landed at the Bata International Airport.

“One of the pilots held a national flag up against the cockpit window for the Vietnamese people at the airport to see,” he said. “They responded in an instant by holding up national flags and portraits of President Ho Chi Minh.”

The gold star on a red background remains a symbol of hope and trust for all Vietnamese people.

“It was indeed a long, exhausting flight, and I had to wear tight protective clothing for the whole trip,” he added.

The flight to Equatorial Guinea was his first direct flight to Africa. The guidance system used at the Bata International Airport was one not widely used elsewhere, so it was a valuable opportunity for him to broaden his aviation knowledge. 

Though it was his first repatriation flight, the young pilot was also involved in quite an unusual flight nearly two years ago.

It was an additional trip conducted by Vietnam Airlines to take football fans to Malaysia to watch the national men’s football team take on the hosts at the AFF Suzuki Cup, with the return flight taking off shortly after the final whistle. The round trip took seven hours in total, with a long wait in between.

Both flights, he said, were physically draining but at the same time quite memorable.

Working together on common goals

As a pilot, the desire to explore new airports and lands, despite the challenges, provides Nghia with ample motivation.

He is still in a quarantine area at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi with other members of the crew. The sound of people talking to each other could be heard in the background during our interview.

When his period of quarantine comes to an end, Nghia is more than ready for similar trips. He and his colleagues are already planning their next flights, he said with a broad smile.

“If I wasn’t able to go, my friends would,” he said. “We will work together to complete the task.”

“I don’t think anyone should just wait for their turn. Rather, everyone should be working together to reach the common goal.”