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Special team of drivers formed to cope with COVID-19 epidemic at Vietnam-China border gates

Sunday, February 23, 2020, 15:56 GMT+7
Special team of drivers formed to cope with COVID-19 epidemic at Vietnam-China border gates
A truck is being sterilized at Kim Thanh Border Gate in the northern Vietnamese province of Lai Cai. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A team of Vietnamese truck drivers have been tasked with transporting imports and exports between two border gates in Vietnam and China to ensure a steady flow of merchandise amidst the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

About 150 shipping containers carrying goods and agri-products have been transported between the two countries via the Kim Thanh Border Gate in the northern Vietnamese province of Lao Cai and Hekou Border Gate in China’s Yunnan Province on a daily basis.

This would be a difficult task to accomplish due to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, but thanks to a special team of truck drivers, it has been completely possible.

The establishment of the team was an initiative of authorities in Lao Cai Province, in an effort to ensure bilateral trade while preventing the spread of the disease.

The team includes about 10 drivers who work in shifts.

After other truck drivers finish necessary procedures at each of the border gates, the special team will then take the keys and steer the vehicles to the other side of the border.

Trucks line up at Kim Thanh Border Gate in Lao Cai Province.

Trucks line up at Kim Thanh Border Gate in Lao Cai Province.

The trucks will be steered to a designated area where the shipments are loaded off.

The special drivers then take the vehicles back to their original drivers.

Members of the team are always dressed in protective suits and have their body temperature measured twice a day.

If they show any sign of viral infection such as fever, they will be sent to a quarantine area.

Members of the team of drivers are dressed in protective suits.

Members of the team of drivers are dressed in protective suits.

Nguyen Van Dung, 37, one of the drivers, said there is nothing to worry about as there are strict rules and precautions to prevent them from getting infected.

Dung said he can complete about 10 turns every day and is paid VND100,000 (US$4.3) each turn.

Thanks to the team of drivers, Lao Cai’s export value has remained stable amid the epidemic, according to the management board of Kim Thanh Border Gate.

A driver has his body temperature measured.

A driver has his body temperature measured.

The COVID-19 has killed 2,462 people and infected nearly 78,700 globally since it first hit the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, according to the South China Morning Post.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 16 cases of the viral infection, including 13 Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.

Among them, 15 have fully recovered and been released. The only remaining patient is receiving treatment at a general clinic in the northern province of Vinh Phuc and expected to be discharged next week.

The country has recorded no new infection since Thursday last week.

Ly Van Quy, 30, a member of the driver team, waves while doing his job.

Ly Van Quy, 30, a member of the driver team, waves while doing his job.

A driver washes his hand before the job.

A driver washes his hands before the job.

A truck is brought back to a Chinese driver (in blue suit) after the delivery is complete.

A truck is brought back to a Chinese driver (in blue) after the delivery is complete.

Chinese drivers of shipping trucks and trailer tractors wait in a quarantine area while the special drivers do their job.

Chinese drivers wait in a quarantine area while the special drivers do their job.

Trucks travel between Kim Thanh and Hekou Border Gates.

Trucks travel between Kim Thanh and Hekou Border Gates.

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