Written by a former Narrabri resident:

It was with great reluctance that my friends and I decided to cut short our recent visit to Vietnam, not because of personal concerns about Covid-19, but because tourist attractions and venues were being closed down because of the coronavirus.

If we’d arrived one day earlier, we could have sailed on Halong Bay, experienced contrasts of old and new Vietnam and discovered that country’s rich and complex heritage through our comprehensive itinerary.

However, we soon noticed signs on coffee shop doors requesting foreigners not to enter.

Mothers hastily pulled children towards them as we strolled the streets and as we dodged motor bikes to cross roads, riders would tap their faces to indicate we should pull up our masks.

Continuing our journey, our mini-bus was occasionally stopped for temperature checks by people clad in protective gear, as happened when catching a domestic flight as well as multiple checks at the international airport.

And this is a country that managed to maintain its ‘green’ status for months as other countries rapidly succumbed to infections.

Our Singapore stopover saw the same careful attention to hygiene for passengers in transit.

So, on arrival at Sydney Airport on Monday this week we did expect the same rigorous monitoring of the health condition of incoming passengers.

On board the plane we were instructed on what to do if infection was apparent but the only advice we received when we arrived on the ground was a sheet of general instructions on isolating ourselves and what to do if experiencing symptoms.

We strolled though customs unimpeded.

What was also missing was any helpful advice on how to get from the airport to our destination as we were now supposed to be isolating ourselves.

Not easy to do on public transport especially as, in my case, I had a further two-hour trip to make to get home.

I was driven home in a car by two friends who also had to then go into isolation.

Now I’m at home and obeying the government’s decree, but how do they know that?

I don’t see any drones flying around with temperature detectors.

Will my neighbours report me if they hear me coughing?

Fortunately, I have very supportive people nearby who have already phoned to check on my needs.

And I’m sure I’m ‘clean’.

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