HANOI (UCAN): Bishops in Vietnam asked Catholics to live out their Christian faith in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19, formerly Novel coronavirus 2019) by treating infected patients fairly and not seeking to profit on health supplies.
On February 8, Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Ha Tinh, said the world is seriously affected by the coronavirus epidemic, so “local Catholics should make a great show of Christian love in the hard time.”
Bishop Nguyen urged them not to profiteer from a lack of medical supplies, especially face masks which now fetch much higher prices.
The Directorate of Market Surveillance said the severe shortage of masks has been caused by unchecked speculation and hoarding to raise prices. Many pharmacies and stores in Ho Chi Minh City reportedly announced they were out of masks, but 150,000 masks were found on February 7 at Tan Son Nhat International Airport to be exported abroad.
Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of Ho Chi Minh City, called on people not to be greedy and self-interested in making money on the sufferings of other people.
“We should pray for the human community to love and help one another generously in this difficult time,” Archbishop Nang said in a message on February 5.
He also asked them to pray for leaders of nations, for wisdom in finding effective solutions for the virus epidemic, and that they would serve people in truth and love.
Bishop Nguyen called on Catholics not to discriminate against, but love and respect infected patients, those suspected of having been infected and those who are from affected areas.
A female receptionist who was infected with the Wuhan coronavirus by two Chinese tourists at her hotel in January, in the coastal city of Nha Trang, said local people had kept away from her and her family even though she was free of the virus and had returned home from hospital on February 4.
She said people were afraid to come into contact with them and would not speak to them. Her parents had to stop their work because of public discrimination.
Vietnam has reported 15 cases, including two Chinese visitors and one Vietnamese-American. Five Vietnamese and one Chinese patient have recovered.
Vinh Phuc in northern Vietnam, has nine patients including five female workers who returned from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, on January 17.
Bishop Nguyen asked the people take preventative measures as proposed by Church and government agencies in a careful and calm manner. Those who have a fever and cough should not attend services but can receive the Eucharist at home.
The bishop said priests who hear confession and penitents must wear masks and keep a safe distance from one another. Catechism classes can be suspended according to the situation.