Wednesday 15th April was Vietnam’s proposed last day of the 15 day social distancing methods and #STFAH. We were all waiting in Phong Nha for the news on if we would be having an extension or if tomorrow would be the first day of freedom. The evening before I had spoken to my parents who were still doing their lockdown and were healthy in the UK. It was good to speak to them but worrying that there still looked no end in sight for when normality could resume for them. I told them I expected we would have to extend our measures here and stay at home for at least another week. It was also 3 months since I’d arrived in Vietnam and looked likely I would be here for a lot longer than planned. The temperature was a moderate 27° while I read the news and it was a cloudy day with a maximum 32° expected. Vietnam now had 266 cases of Corona, Turkey had reached 65,000 and the UK over 93,000. There were still no deaths in Vietnam, Turkey were over 1,400 and the UK had exceeded 12,000. To put it in perspective the UK still had less than 0.2% of their population dead from the virus. In Vietnam there were more recoveries reported bringing the total to 169 (just over 63% recorded recoveries) which was promising.
We had Spanish omelette for brunch (I still don’t like eggs but forced it down) and the usual earl grey tea. For lunch Captain Caveman wasn’t hungry so we just had crisps to eat followed by white russians.
I received an email back from the consular which was of a generic nature but it had some FAQs which you may find interesting. I certainly didn’t realise that visitors to Vietnam who were from the UK were being advised to go back to the UK as soon as possible but I didn’t feel now would be a good time to take my chances.
The announcement finally came later in the day that the Vietnamese Prime Minister would relax existing measures in low risk provinces. Phong Nha is in the low risk province of Quang Binh so we were lucky to be told the new rules for us were as follows: masks and the 2 metre social distancing to be observed, maximum number of people in a room together to be 20, with maximum of 10 people in an outside gathering, for example a queue or being outside an office, shop or school. We were still to use the NCOVI app and not travel between provinces unless essential and transport between places would still be restricted. In other cities and provinces they were continuing lockdown or social distancing and staying at home until at least the 22nd April.
We were very lucky and we were free to go ‘out out’ from tomorrow! We ordered takeaway from Vung Hue and watched a film. The Snowman which had Michael Fassbender, Val Kilmer and JK Simmons in, was about the disappearance of a woman and was ok but we were still a little shocked that life was about to return to normal from tomorrow!