LÀO CAI — Despite the hard work, severe weather and food shortages, border guards in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai are working hard to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
The guards in Chung Chải B Village often have dark rings around their eyes due to the hard work they carry out day and night.
If they catch anyone entering Việt Nam illegally, the border guards team ask them to wear medical face masks and spray their luggage and clothes with disinfectant.
After taking their details, the guards then take them to a nearby medical station for quarantine.
The Chung Chải B Border Guard Station sits high in the mountains, about 30m from the border. The weather there is inclement most of the time, and to reach the station, the guards must travel through villages and fields inhabited by the Pa Dí ethnic minority group.
Due to long and difficult roads, each team works on three-day shifts.
During a break, Senior Lieutenant Lương Văn Linh tends to vegetables in his garden.
“We will be stationed here for a long time so we grow our own vegetables to supplement our meals,” he said.
Soldiers at the Bản Lầu Border Station in Cốc Lầy Village, Lùng Vai Commune, Mường Khương District also share the same hardships.
Lieutenant Colonel Ngô Minh Đức said the weather was harsh and had been very cold this week, but had quickly changed, which was affecting their health.
Đức’s house is about 40km from the station, but he has not been home for two months due to his busy work.
“The epidemic is serious. I’m homesick, but I still need to complete my duties,” said Đức.
Đức’s team has six members tasked with keeping a close watch on about three kilometres of the border frontier in Bản Lầu and Lùng Vai communes. The area is remote so they must prepare their own food, which often includes wild forest vegetables.
Vương Văn Long, a member of Đức’s team, said: “Despite the hard work and deprivation, we will overcome these challenges to fulfill our task”. — VNS