Currently, there are over 30,000 Vietnamese students in the US, 12,000 in the UK, 6,500 in France, 7,500 in Germany, 2,500 in Finland, and over 1,000 in Italy. Notably, thousands of students studying in Europe, the "epicentre" of the global coronavirus pandemic, have not returned yet.

Dinh Nam Giang was among the students who have fortunately returned home before the European countries closed their border. Giang is a Vietnamese student studying at Radbound University in the Netherlands. He came home on the last Vietnam Airlines flight, landing at Noi Bai International Airport at 6:00 am on March 17.

Many Vietnamese students studying in the Europe Union (EU) have returned home due to the complicated developments of COVID-19.

Speaking with a reporter of the People’s Army Newspaper from the quarantined center in Thach That, Giang said that overseas Vietnamese students were finding it difficult to buy medical supplies such as face masks to prevent the disease. Therefore, he decided to come back home since he will have better medical care if he becomes infected by COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Huyen Trang, a student returning from Spain shared that she and other people felt relief after their flight landed at Van Don Airport safely. For her, the most meaningful thing is to be able to return home, she said. However, not many Vietnamese students are lucky like her. They have to make face masks or salt water mouthwash for self-protection, and share phone numbers of relevant agencies together in case of emergency.

According to Nguyen Thanh Hai, Deputy Head of the Department of International Cooperation under the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), the ministry has sent proposals to Vietnamese diplomatic agencies abroad to ask for help. Vietnamese students can contact the Vietnamese Embassies in European countries for assistance, he stressed.

Vietnamese students returning from the epidemic-hit areas will have to be quarantined for 14 days, and will be treated for free if they are infected by the virus.

The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has ordered the Ministry of National Defense to arrange more quarantined areas in other localities in case of an overload of patients in Hanoi.

MoET’s representative held that the ministry has regularly updated information related to overseas Vietnamese students to support them promptly.  However, the organ hoped that Vietnamese diplomatic agencies abroad will give more assistance to Vietnamese students against the epidemic in the time to come.

Translated by Trung Thanh