dimanche 2 août 2009

Influenza in Saigon


HCMC, Vietnam, July - August 2009

I must admit that since I live in Vietnam, I do not read much the papers whether local or international. It may have been a while now that the virus H1N1 has become a critical concern in Vietnam, but I have only noticed it a week ago.

It first started with a press article sent by a colleague of mine to all the staff informing that a school in Saigon as well as the headquarters of a major Vietnamese company in Hanoi had been shut down following H1n1 cases. Then, thursday evening, public health notices from the Ministry of Health were displayed all over the elevator doors of my building.

Even in a country where it is common for people to wear masks, whether because of the pollution, the sun or for health purposes, it was hard not to notice that the next morning, nearly all people working in public places were suddenly wearing masks. From the doorlady of the office building to waiters in restaurants. Recommendations are now displayed all over the walls of our office building. A friend of mine even had a personal visit at her home from people from the Ministry of Health warning them that one of the housemates had been in contact with someone who had been in contact with someone diagnosed with influenza... I guess that also shows the efficiency of the communist administration when it comes to tracing back people.

Yesterday night, after a rather interesting evening involving a pool party, the police showing up at 10PM ordaining everyone to get out of the house and me spending the rest of the evening in the police station trying to help out in a confiscated motorbike case, I found an email from my lovely friend who has just left Vietnam after a two months visit, informing me that she arrived in France with flu symptoms and has been asked to stay confined in her home wearing a mask for seven days...

It so happens that I recently had lunch with a doctor who has jokingly recommended that because the virus is still in its friendly form, should we know anyone having the virus, we shouldn't wait to go and hug the person...

If only.

3 commentaires:

LD a dit…

It's been a while! Nice to see you writing again... :p

Jali a dit…

OUPS Pauvre amie, j'espère ne pas subir le même sort. C'est la panique in Saïgon ?

M a dit…

La dame de l'entree a deja enleve son masque, j'en deduis que ca se calme ;)

Bah, la brusque effervescence autour de la grippe est surtout surprenante plus qu'inquietante...