Holiday rush backs up lines at Vietnam-China border

By Le Tan   May 2, 2023 | 06:42 am PT
Holiday rush backs up lines at Vietnam-China border
Thousands of people wait to complete immigration procedure at the Mong Cai border gate in Quang Ninh, April 30, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Hoa
It took some Vietnamese tourists up to 6 hours to cross the border from Vietnam's Mong Cai into Dongxing City this weekend due to Chinese coronavirus measures during the holiday rush.

In accordance with Chinese policies, Vietnamese entering Dongxing had to be part of a group with at least three people who traveled using tour agencies and were accompanied by tour guides. All parties must have obtained negative PCR Covid-19 tests within 48 hours of crossing the border.

Vietnam required no such procedures for those entering the country from China.

China's coronavirus prevention measures, along with the sheer number of travelers during the Reunification Day-Labor Day holiday, prolonged the time required to complete immigration procedures to 3-6 hours, twice the normal wait time on weekends.

"We arrived at 7 a.m., but the border gate was already full of people," said Bui Nga, a tourist from Hai Phong, on Sunday April 30th.

"Our group had 10 people and it took us 5 hours to complete the procedures to enter Dongxing."

From April 29 to May 1, some 39,140 people crossed through Vietnam’s Mong Cai border gate in northern province of Quang Ninh, including 19,590 people traveling from Vietnam into China.

The Mong Cai City People's Committee said it was the highest number recorded since February 21, when the border gate first began allowing Vietnamese into China post-lockdown.

The Mong Cai People's Committee has asked Dongxing authorities to resolve the delay problem, but there has been no reply from the Dongxing side, committee chairman Ho Quang Huy said Tuesday.

After three years of disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, immigration activities at border gates between Vietnam and China reopened January 8 with the resumption of Chinese travelers crossing into Vietnam for the first time since lockdown. Starting February 21, Vietnamese have been able to enter China through the Mong Cai border gate using passports and permits.

Since the resumption of immigration activities, 550,000 people have passed through the Mong Cai border gate, 274,650 of which crossed from Vietnam to China, according to data from the Mong Cai People's Committee.

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