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Vietnam’s border patrol keeps guard up against inbound COVID-19 risk

Wednesday, December 02, 2020, 15:21 GMT+7
Vietnam’s border patrol keeps guard up against inbound COVID-19 risk
Border guards of An Giang Province patrol an area along the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Photo: Buu Dau / Tuoi Tre

Due to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 epidemic in neighboring countries, provinces along Vietnam’s border are strengthening security measures to deter all illegal entries.

An Giang Province says no plan to open border for Vietnamese-Cambodians

The government of the southern province of An Giang has sent a written notice to relevant agencies and local-level authorities, elaborating that the province has no plan to accept Vietnamese-Cambodians through the border at the moment, Le Van Phuoc, the deputy leader of the province said on Monday. 

“The People’s Committee ordered the provincial Border Guard Command to cooperate with the military and public security forces as well as other relevant agencies to uphold strict control measures on all paths to prevent illegal entrances,” Phuoc said.

“Anyone who let border jumpers slip through must take full responsibility before the chairperson of the People’s Committee."

Dong Thap keeps eye on road, marine traffic

In the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, Doan Tan Buu, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, attended a quick briefing on the pandemic developments with representatives of relevant agencies on Monday morning. 

On the afternoon of the same day, the provincial authorities held an online meeting with administrations of districts and cities along the border with Cambodia, including Hong Ngu City, Hong Ngu District, and Tan Hong District, to announce the province’s orientation on boosting medical checkups and entrance monitoring in the border areas.

Accordingly, medical units at the border guard stations are required to maintain strict medical checkup procedures, while border control and public security forces are ordered to stick to control missions as well as regular patrol sessions over roads and waterways.

On top of that, propaganda and communication efforts should be strengthened to promote the reporting of illegal entrances and prevent border crossing among local residents. 

According to Buu, selected cases of Vietnamese-Cambodians who are experts, engineers or civil servants will be allowed to enter Vietnam.

“As the pandemic is still exhibiting complicated developments, instances of border crossing should be reduced to a minimum. Vietnamese people [from Cambodia] would be encouraged to return to Cambodia. The province would assist their return with portions of food and fuel,” Buu said.

Long An launches comprehensive measures

The People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Long An has organized an online conference on COVID-19 prevention measures in the locale. 

Actions put forward in the meeting included mandatory mask wearing, regular hand washing, and body temperature checks in crowded places and on public transport. 

Medical facilities are required to uphold strict scanning, categorizing, and quarantining for patients to prevent potential COVID-19 spread on the premises.

Besides, the reinforcement of patrols on border crossing paths and background checks of guests at local hotels are also advised.

Ha Giang, Lai Chau intensify border control

Colonel Luu Duc Hung, a high-ranking border guard officer in the northern province of Ha Giang, pointed to the complicated task they are undertaking as the province shares 280 kilometers of border with China.

This means the province faces a high risk of imported COVID-19 cases from the other side of the boundary.

According to Major Ta Tan Hoang, head of the border guard post in Ha Giang’s Xin Cai Commune, entrants from China are rising as the year-end season is approaching.

“We normally see 10-15 illegal entrants through open routes per day, but the number has soared since last week. There are days where we have caught and quarantined as many as 40 illegal entrants,” he said.

Predicting the number of entrants from China to rise in the year-end season, provincial border guards have taken preemptive measures by mobilizing manpower to assist border posts in the locale. 

The province also set up new control units, bringing the total number to 63 control posts and 17 mobile patrol cohorts.

Meanwhile, border posts of the fellow northern province of Lai Chau are working with commune-level authorities, local guards, and police to reinforce patrol duties along the border, said Lieutenant Colonel Le Cong Thanh from the Lai Chau Military Command. 

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