A driver has body temperature taken at a checkpoint manned by border guards in the southern province of Đồng Tháp. Border guards also tell people about COVID-19 prevention and control measures to improve public awareness. VNA/VNS Photo Văn Khương
HÀ NỘI More than 1,600 checkpoints manned by 7,000 soldiers and officers were set up last year along Việt Nam’s borders as a part of the army’s efforts to prevent and control COVID-19.
Together with local military and self-defence forces, border guards last year detected and seized more than 31,000 people illegally entering the country.
They also helped bring prosecutions against 153 people suspected of illegal trafficking, a review of the Ministry of National Defence said at a meeting yesterday.
By the end of last year, Việt Nam’s army opened 174 quarantine areas hosting more than 100,000 people, of whom, over 69,000 people were those who repatriated to Việt Nam via 269 flights.
Until now, no COVID-19 cross infection was reported at any army quarantine areas.
These figures were released at a meeting held on Friday by the Ministry of National Defence to review the army’s COVID-19 prevention and control efforts during last year.
Speaking at the meeting, Major General Nguyễn Xuân Kiên, Head of Military Medical Department under the ministry’s General Department of Logistics said from the first COVID-19 case reported in Việt Nam to August 5, 2020, no COVID-19 cases were reported in the army.
During the resurgence of the pandemic in Đà Nẵng City, at first eight COVID-19 cases relating to the army were reported and all the cases were controlled properly, avoiding spread into community.
Dozens of military personnel who were infected when working or studying aboard were also treated and recovered.
More than 29,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted within military units, Kiên said, adding that no soldier or officials were reportedly infected when working at checkpoints or patrolling along borders.
Kiên said that nine institutes belonging to the army now had capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests and 15 units had facilities to provide tests if needed.
As the COVID-19 pandemic was still developing, the Military Medical Department asked Government to adjust flights that bring overseas Vietnamese home so that agencies could better deal with quarantine work, Kiên said.
He also asked for detailed guidelines on quarantine fees, treatment costs and testing as well as sanctions for those who intentionally skipped quarantine obligations or foreigners who don’t show their personal identification papers.
Deputy Minister of Defense Trần Đơn said that illegal border crossings were among the major risks for the spread of COVID-19 in community.
“As Tết (Lunar new year) celebration is nearing, hundreds of thousands Vietnamese migrant workers, especially those from neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia or Thailand want to return home. Many of them seek ways to enter Việt Nam illegally, which poses more difficulties for border guards and other agencies,” Đơn said.
The official urged all soldiers and officers to strictly implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
“Fighting against COVID-19 is like fighting during wartime,” Đơn said, adding army units are ready to make use of all available resources to actively respond to any situation. VNS