Having studied abroad in Russia for many years, celebrating Tet away from home is not something new to Mr. Xuan Hoan, a Vietnamese graduate student in Moscow.

`When I returned to Russia, my son was just a newborn. Now he knows how to run around the house. Over the past year, many times I planned to return home but failed because of the strong outbreak of Covid-19, making traveling difficult.

Russia is one of the largest epidemic areas in the world with nearly 4 million nCoV infections.

`Now I’m still worried, but I’m not afraid anymore. I just always maintain a sense of prevention, always wear a mask, and disinfect fully. The introduction of the vaccine also makes Vietnamese people here feel more secure,` he said.

Close to Tet, Vietnamese markets in Moscow are still full of banh chung, dong leaves, sticky rice with beans, wood ear mushrooms, and sausages to serve people, but the atmosphere is gloomy because of the epidemic.

`This year I have to celebrate Tet away from my family. I miss my parents, wife and children very much, but everyone also has to encourage each other to accept the situation and maintaining health is the most important thing,` he said.

A woman of Vietnamese descent attended an event to celebrate Lunar New Year at Clinton Park, Oakland city, California, USA, on February 7.

Sharing the same concern for his family in Vietnam at this time is Mr. Ngoc Nghia in the US, the largest Covid-19 epidemic area in the world.

`I have been away from home studying abroad and residing in the US for 21 years now, but every year I take the opportunity to return home for Tet with my wife to take care of my father,` said Mr. Nghia, a biochemistry research expert in Henrico County, Virginia.

Calling home from halfway around the world, he was happy that his father was still healthy and that his brothers and sisters were taking care of him.

In Virginia, there are not as many Vietnamese people as in California, so Tet is almost the same as any other day.

Every year, Mr. Nghia usually buys ready-made banh chung and sausage at the Chinese market, but this year because of Covid-19, unable to return to Vietnam, his wife decided to make her own banh chung, `even though the cake is not pretty, it’s still fun.`

Celebrating Tet away from home because of Covid-19

Mr. Ngoc Nghia’s family wraps banh chung, prepares trays of five fruits, candies, and spring rolls for Tet.

Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad said last month that many Vietnamese people registered to return home to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

However, because a new strain of nCoV appeared and spread rapidly in many countries around the world, from January 5, the Prime Minister issued a document requesting to limit flights bringing people into Vietnam.

Tet is the biggest and most important holiday of the year for Vietnamese people, an opportunity for many people to reunite with family and relatives after 365 days of separation.

Since many weeks ago, on social networks, Vietnamese people everywhere have been asking each other how to repatriate.

However, not everyone knows or has the conditions to follow this path.

Coming to Japan as an intern, then leaving to find a better job, Mr. Minh became an illegal worker.

`I applied many times to the Vietnamese embassy in Japan to express my desire to return home, but I only received the answer that I had to wait patiently,` he said.

At a meeting last month, officials from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security all agreed to encourage Vietnamese people abroad to comply with epidemic prevention regulations in the host country and `not return to the country at this time.`

Ms. Anh Dao, a Vietnamese bride in Incheon city, understands that the current Covid-19 situation in both Korea and Vietnam does not allow her to return to celebrate Tet with her family.

`Staying in Korea, I don’t have Tet. The government has banned gatherings of more than 5 people, my husband is a native and works far away so he doesn’t care about this holiday. We also rarely talk because of barriers.

Celebrating Tet away from home because of Covid-19

Peach branches and banh chung from Ms. Sharon Vu’s house.

Sharon Vu’s house, in London, England, has bought enough peach branches and banh chung, but the Tet atmosphere is still not complete.

`This year’s Tet is generally sad because it’s just my husband and I and our two children, and we can no longer return to Vietnam, gather with relatives and friends to wrap banh chung, and stay up all night to look for the cakes,` she said, saying that she had

Thinking about the new year, Sharon only hopes that her family is healthy, that the pandemic is repelled, and that she can return to normal life.

`I most hope that by Tet the flight route will be reopened to return to Vietnam,` Mr. Hoan shared.

`I also hope that the epidemic will be over in the new year so I can return to Vietnam to visit my family. If I have the chance to stay for a long time, I want to go on a tour to visit the scenic spots of my country,` Mr. Nghia said.

Mr. Ngoc