Jeopardized by the complex developments of local COVID-19 outbreaks, Vietnamese immigrants in Cambodia are bracing immense risk to repatriate by swimming across An Giang Province’s Binh Di River, which separates Vietnam and Cambodia.
The phenomenon was confirmed by Lieutenant Colonel Dinh Quang Diem, head of border guard at Long Binh Border Gate, An Phu District, An Giang Province, on Tuesday.
The border post has detected 30 cases of people swimming their way into Vietnam in the past few months, the majority of whom are Vietnamese immigrants who moved to Cambodia for job opportunities.
All detected illegal entrants have been sent back to quarantine, Diem stated.
In light of the detection, officers at the border post are required to keep an eye on immigrants who swim through the Binh Di River.
They are also instructed to keep a safe distance and film the incidents upon detecting such cases.
According to Diem, the Binh Di River stretches 70 to 100 meters in width, depending on the location.
The river is also occupied by floating rafts of water hyacinth and aquaculture cages of fishing households in Khanh An, Khanh Binh Communes, and Long Binh Town.
Illegal entrants usually swim across the Binh Di River, then hide in the water hyacinth clusters or fishing cages to avoid detection by authorities.
The wave of illegals from Cambodia who sneak into Vietnam through the Binh Di River will persist in the near future due to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in neighboring countries, he added.
Vietnam is tightening border security to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection from border jumpers.
The Southeast Asian country has sealed its borders since March last year but it still grants entry to diplomats, foreign experts, and Vietnamese repatriates.
The country requires all arrivals from outside the country to undergo different forms of quarantine to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Many border jumpers have been found trying to sneak into the nation to duck such quarantine over the past few months.