The US Embassy in Hanoi recently started sending me and other US expats in Viet Nam whose email addresses happen to be on file daily updates with the subject line: Health and Travel Alert. I was struck by this “reminder” in the 3 April edition:
On March 31, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo urged U.S. citizens interested in returning to the United States during the outbreak of COVID-19 to make immediate use of available commercial flight options, as the number of locations in need of assistance around the world may not allow for a charter option: “We do not know in some countries how long the continued commercial flights in your country may continue to operate. We can’t guarantee the U.S. Government’s ability to arrange chartered flights indefinitely where commercial options no longer exist. I urge Americans to register with their nearest embassy at step.state.gov and work your way back here.” Commercial flight options are still available from Vietnam to the United States. U.S. citizens overseas should immediately make use of these options to return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad indefinitely, as stated in the U.S. Department of State’s recent Global Level 4 Health Advisory.
Aside from the fact that I am “prepared to remain abroad indefinitely” because I live and work here, why would any US American or any foreigner in Viet Nam, for that matter, want to fly home, unless they absolutely had to for personal and/or professional reasons. It would be akin to jumping from the food warmer into the fire, in the case of the US and a long list of other countries with high coronavirus infection rates.
Hmmm, let me think… Where would I rather be, again setting aside the fact that I’m based here?, in the US, which is now the global epicenter of COVID-19 with 311,357 confirmed cases, 14,825 recovered, and 8,452 deaths, as of yesterday, or Viet Nam, with 240 confirmed cases, 90 recovered, and zero deaths, as of this writing. That’s what’s called a rhetorical question, folks. It’s also a no-brainer, i.e., something that requires or involves little or no mental effort.
Shalom (שלום), MAA