PM orders probe into foreigners' illegal entry after Covid-19 community transmission

By Nguyen Dong, Viet Tuan   July 25, 2020 | 09:55 pm GMT+7
PM orders probe into foreigners' illegal entry after Covid-19 community transmission
A quarantine zone for Covid-19 patients in Da Nang Hospital in Da Nang City, central Vietnam, March 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

The Prime Minister has ordered the police to investigate a ring that brought foreigners into central Vietnam illegally after the first Covid-19 community transmission in 100 days was confirmed Saturday.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned the Ministry of Public Security to investigate and strictly deal with the recently busted ring that had illegally brought foreigners into Da Nang City and nearby Quang Nam Province.

The move came after a 57-year-old man in Da Nang was confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus Saturday morning, ending Vietnam's 99-day streak of no community transmission. Until now, health authorities have yet to identify the source of transmission.

Phuc also asked police and security forces to tighten the management of travel via border gates and open paths.

Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Son told a government meeting on Saturday that authorities have yet to confirm whether the Da Nang man, "patient 461", is related to the group of foreigners entering the country illegally.

Da Nang police have arrested three people, including two Vietnamese and one Chinese for "organizing illegal entry into Vietnam" after 31 Chinese nationals were found illegally crossing the border in mid-July.

On Friday, police discovered an additional 21 foreigners, mainly Chinese, who had illegally entered the central city. Health authorities have taken them to centralized quarantines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In Quang Nam Province, neighboring Da Nang, 21 Chinese nationals who snuck into Vietnam illegally were traced and quarantined by authorities on July 19.

Deputy Minister Son said recent reports of a large number of foreigners, mainly Chinese, illegally entering Vietnam showed "lax immigration management" at some localities.

Vietnam halted entry for foreign nationals on March 22 and suspended international flights on March 25, and only allows in Vietnamese nationals and foreigners carrying diplomatic or official passports or being experts or high-skilled workers. All are quarantined for 14 days and tested at least twice for Covid-19.

The country has recorded 417 infections, with four cases reported on Saturday, including three repatriates from Russia and Da Nang’s "Patient 416". Of these, 365 have recovered and 52 remain active.

Police in the northern province of Quang Ninh, home to world famous Ha Long Bay, on Saturday detained six Vietnamese from Mong Cai Town for "organizing illegal entry into Vietnam."

They admitted working with an unidentified Chinese man via WeChat and social media apps to bring six Chinese from China's Dongxing City to Mong Cai. They used rafts to ferry the Chinese across the river at the border and then drove them on motorbikes to the town before moving on to other parts of Vietnam.

The Chinese nationals were caught by border officers in Quang Ninh on June 9 and 10.

 
 
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