Volunteers work at the checkpoint on HCM National Highway in Hoà Phú Commune, Buôn Ma Thuột City. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh
ĐẮK LẮK — Despite no cases of COVID-19 reported in the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk, the area is still on high alert.
Local soldiers, police, volunteers and healthcare staff have been working around the clock, focusing on preventive measures to keep people safe from coronavirus.
Since late last month, eight quarantine checkpoints were opened at key gates to the province together with six other checkpoints set up over the 73km-long borderline which it shares with Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province.
All the checkpoints are staffed all the time, anyone arriving or leaving the province must undertake a brief health check and report their conditions to make sure those suspected to carry the virus are quarantined as soon as possible.
Major Đỗ Thế Cường, head of the border station at Đắk Ruê Bordergate said in recent days, border guards were patrolling, quickly detecting and dealing with illegal border crossing.
Under the heat of the border area of Ea Súp, the guards have extra tasks to fulfil during the pandemic rather than their conventional work. Besides regular patrols, they also arrive in local households to tell people about disease prevention and control measures.
Cường said his team worked and stayed almost all the time in forest areas where the border runs through. Their living conditions were harsh because of the strong heat, Cường said, adding that such difficulties did not stop them carrying out their duties.
“We are determined to fight the disease. We see the disease as the enemy we need to beat at this time,” Cường said.
Colonel Đào Viết Hùng, deputy commander of Đắk Lắk Province Border Guard Command said local border guards tightened control at fixed checkpoints and minor border crossings.
Hùng said they make use of on-spot available resources – leadership, staff, equipment and logistics – to fulfil their tasks.
“We are all on red alert for the disease,” Hùng said.
Meanwhile, along roads across the province, police, medical workers and young volunteers help inspect all travellers and vehicles.
The checkpoint on HCM National Highway in Hoà Phú Commune, Buôn Ma Thuột City becomes busier during the evening, meaning those on duty have little time to rest.
Nguyễn Ích Năm, a fifth-year medical student of Tây Nguyên (Central Highland) University has been volunteering at the checkpoint for a month. Like other volunteers, Năm helps measure the body temperature of travellers, asking for their travel history and health status.
“We are divided into groups and work in turn to make sure there is staff available to work all the time,” Năm said.
“Some of my peers are not used to staying up late and working at night,” Năm said, adding that at the checkpoint, almost all people had just a few hours to rest per day and they usually spent the rest time right at the checkpoint.
“As the people working at checkpoints do a good job, the threat of disease spreading would be minimised,” Năm said, adding that they believed Việt Nam would beat the COVID-19 pandemic soon, which add strength for them to overcome any difficulty.
“We are aware of the risk to be exposed to the fatal virus but now is the time that my country and my hometown need help. Many young people like me want to contribute and join the fight against the disease,” Năm said.
Police work at the checkpoint in Hoà Phú Commune. Busy traffic, hot sunny weather plus long working hours are just among the many problems faced by Đắk Lắk authorities. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh
Lieutenant Colonel Lương Xuân Ngọc, head of Traffic Police Team 1 said working at the checkpoint on HCM National Highway in Hoà Phú Commune was tough because it is at a key location.
“Busy traffic, hot sunny weather plus long working hours are among the many inconveniences we face at this time,” Ngọc said, adding that effective co-operation of other forces including border guards, medical workers, volunteers and especially community made their work run smoother.
Chairman of Đắk Lắk Province People’s Committee Phạm Ngọc Nghị sad that given no COVID-19 cases had been reported in the province so far, they were still implementing drastic prevention and control measures.
“Those working at the frontline in the battle against this disease – border guards, police, medical workers and young volunteers – have contributed very much to the successful disease control,” Nghị said.
Before entering the province, all people underwent health check, reported travel history, health status and contact phone numbers at the checkpoints so that authorities could be more proactive in disease prevention and control, Nghị said. — VNS