Vietnam border guards patrol in sub-zero temperatures in Covid battle

By Giang Huy, Hoang Phuong   January 13, 2021 | 02:01 pm GMT+7
Though temperatures have plummeted to minus two degrees Celsius, troops in Ha Giang Province bordering China continue to patrol at night to keep out illegal entrants.
Six members of a team in charge of Post 457 under Xin Cai Border Guard Station in Meo Vac District in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang meet and discuss work before the night patrol. The northern region, including Ha Giang has gone through six days of a cold snap resulting from a strong cold front with temperatures plunging below zero degree Celsius and many areas in the region covered with frost and snow. Border guards along the northern border have been stepping up efforts to prevent illegal entrants since a large of number of Vietnamese working in neighboring country China would seek to return home for the Lunar New Year, or Tet, in mid-February regardless of chilly weather.

Six members of a team manning Post 457 at the Xin Cai Border Guard Station in Meo Vac District in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang discuss their task before they start a night patrol. Northern Vietnam, including Ha Giang, has suffered a week of cold snap caused by a strong cold front that has sent temperatures plunging below zero and covered the region in snow.
Border guards have a busy time ahead of them since a large of number of Vietnamese working in neighboring China would seek to return home for the Lunar New Year, or Tet, in mid-February. Many would try to go through unmanned paths and trails to avoid being caught and sent to quarantine camps.

Border guards prepare for flashlights and batons in case illegal immigrants resist with the patrol team. The team patrol all day and they are usually divided into six shifts per day, with 2 to 4 people per team. Depending on weather conditions, each shift lasts 3-4 hours.

Border guards are armed with batons against illegals who put up resistance. The team patrols all day divided into six shifts a day, with 2 to 4 people per team.

Located at an altitude of 1,300 meters above sea level, the night temperature in Xin Cai drops to minus 2 degrees Celsius with frost and snow covering the area. At 11 p.m, the team began their patrol mission.

Located at an altitude of 1,300 meters above sea level, the night temperature in Xin Cai drops to minus 2 degrees Celsius, and frost and snow cover the area. At 11 p.m. the team begins its patrol.

Xin Cai is mainly covered with rugger rocks and small shrubs that make the task of keeping out illegal entrants more hard and stressful. Managing nearly 24 km of border lines in two communes Thuong Phung and Xin Cai, the station has five teams and three centers for Covid-19 prevention.

Xin Cai is covered with rugged rocks and shrubs that make the task of keeping out illegal entrants harder. To manage nearly 24 km of border in two communes, Thuong Phung and Xin Cai, the station has five teams and three medical centers.

The area is also a busy hotspot for illegal entry activities in the northern border area. Last year, border guards in Ha Giang prevented over 17,000 people illegally exiting from and entering into Vietnam, with Xin Cai Station spotting over 7,400 people. Vietnam closed its borders in March last year and stopped the entry of foreign nationals except those with diplomatic or official passports or are high-skilled workers.Since Vietnamese in neighboring countries would return home in the coming weeks for Tet, border guards have been working hard these days despite the harsh weather conditions.

The area is a hotspot for illegal entry in the northern border area. Last year border guards in the province prevented over 17,000 people from illegally entering or leaving Vietnam, including over 7,400 by the Xin Cai Station.
Vietnam closed its borders in March last year and banned the entry of foreign nationals except those with diplomatic or official passports and high-skilled workers.

Captain Nguyen Xuan Trang, chief of the team said between June and August, more than a hundred illegal workers returning from China were discovered. The team had to stay awake many nights to take illegal immigrants to quarantine centers for Covid-19 prevention while still patrolling.

Captain Nguyen Xuan Trang, chief of the team, said between June and August more than 100 illegal workers were caught returning from China. The team had to stay awake often at night to escort illegal immigrants to Covid-19 quarantine centers while still patrolling.

Border guards use flashlights to keep out illegal immigrants.

One of the teams on patrol.

The night-duty session on Tuesday was the last patrol of 21-year-old soldier Nong Van Tan, who will complete two years of military service and return home on January 16. Tan was moved from Ha Giang Border Guard Command to Xin Cai Station from the end of July last year as Covid-19 fight at the border intensified.

Tuesday night marked the last patrol for 21-year-old Nong Van Tan, who completed two years of military service and will return home on January 16. He was transferred from the Ha Giang Border Guard Command to the Xin Cai Station in July last year as the Covid-19 fight on the border intensified.

Behind Tan is Post 457, which has been fortified with iron, iron frame for four days when the cold spell came.The team had previously been in a tent that had been temporarily set up by the border line for nearly a year.

Behind Tan is Post 457, which used to be a tent put up less than a year ago after the pandemic broke out and was upgraded after the cold snap began.

Trang sits in front of a heating fan to cool it down.For him, this winter was really harsh when the border forces are fighting against the pandemic and facing long-lasting cold snap.

An officer sits in front of a heating fan.

In a cold winter night, patrolling border guards warm their hands under fire to fight off the lingering cold.

On a cold night, patrolling border guards warm their hands over a fire.

 
 
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