|The border guard force at the Vĩnh Xương International Border Gate in An Giang Province has increased patrols along trails to prevent illegal entry and exit across the border. — VNA/VNS Photo Công Mạo
HCM CITY — The risk of COVID-19 spreading at or near border areas still exists despite border checkpoints, according to Trần Đắc Phu, a senior advisor at the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre at the Ministry of Health.
He noted that all cross-border travel of residents via trails and open roads remains difficult to control.
Việt Nam has had no new cases of COVID-19 in the community over the past 48 days, but community transmission risks still exist.
“People should not neglect prevention and control measures, including early detection and prompt quarantine,” Phu said.
Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh Châu, director of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCM City on Tuesday, said that a 30-year-old woman who illegally returned to Việt Nam from China had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 twice.
On Monday, the HCM City Centre for Disease Control said a woman suspected of being positive for coronavirus arrived at Cao Bằng Province via a border trail on May 28 and then flew from Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội to Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City on May 29.
Hoàng Xuân Ánh, chairman of the Cao Bằng Province’s People’s Committee, asked the border guard to strengthen management of migration at borders to control the spread of COVID-19.
The province’s Department of Foreign Affairs will work with Chinese authorities on tightening immigration management measures.
Phu said the woman violated Việt Nam's immigration laws and regulations on medical declarations.
She was the second person to have been found illegally returning to Việt Nam without undergoing the mandated 14-day quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
The first case was a 39-year-old man residing in Tây Ninh Province’s Tân Châu District, later identified as the 315th COVID-19 patient in Việt Nam. He illegally returned to Việt Nam from overseas through a border trail on May 2, and then stayed at a relative’s house in Tân Châu District.
Reporting inaccurate health status or evading quarantine can result in fines of VNĐ5-10 trillion (US$215-430).
Cao Thành Nam, head of Kiên Giang Province’s Centre for Disease Control, said a woman and her two children had been found illegally crossing the border via a border trail near Hà Tiên International Border Gate.
“Thanks to the public’s awareness about disease prevention, violations have been detected promptly and people were quarantined,” Nam said.
An Giang Province shares a border of more than 100km with Cambodia.
The province’s border guard force has worked with local police to increase patrols and has set up many border checkpoints, but many people have still been found crossing the border illegally through trails and open roads. — VNS