Vietnam-Lao border guards deny Covid-19 point of entry

By Hoang Tao   August 23, 2020 | 12:05 pm GMT+7

On high alert, stations along the Vietnam-Laos border help stem the Covid-19 flow.

A border guard station by the Se Pon River in central province of Quang Tri that marks the boundary between Laos and Vietnam. It was set up in February to curb the new coronavirus infection spread along the land border shared by Vietnam and Laos.The station belongs to the Thuan Border Post under Quang Tri Border Guard. So far, 15 of such stations have been established to guard a section of 13.2 kilometers along the Vietnam-Laos border. On the other side Savannakhet Province of Laos. As community infections has returned to Vietnam on July 25 after three months, officials and border guards at those stations have been put under even more tension.

A border guard station beside the Se Pon River in central Quang Tri Province marks the boundary between Laos and Vietnam. It was set up in February to curb the novel coronavirus infection spread along the two nations' border line.
The station belongs to Thuan Border Post under Quang Tri Border Guard. So far, 15 similar stations have been established to guard a border section of 13.2 km. Opposite lies Savannakhet Province of Laos. With community infections returning to Vietnam on July 25 after three months, border guards have been placed on high alert.

One of such station has three guards. They must take turn to be on duty 24/7.

One station is manned by three guards working 24/7 shifts.

Picking some herbs, major Tran Xuan Tai said this area usually suffers strong heat and scorching sun, and they have to make a frame covered with banana leaves to protect the garden. Being aware that it would be a long journey to fight against the pandemic, and that they would have to stay at the stations for a long period of time, members of the border forces have built their own farm to grow vegetables and raise chickens.

Major Tran Xuan Tai said the area usually suffers scorching heat, forcing his team to protect their garden with a banana-leaf frame. Aware the Covid-19 fight may last long, most stations have opted for raising vegetables and chickens.

Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Van Binh (L) fix a canvas to protect the camp from the rain. He and the others spend their own money buying the new canvas.

Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Van Binh (L) and his comrades fix a canvas, bought with their own money, to protect the camp from the rain.

A camp used as a warehouse to store tools and food.

A tent is used to store tools and food.

A kitchen spreading one square meter at a station. Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Manh Cuong said in the past six months, guards at those pandemic prevention stations could rarely return home. They have spent most of the time living at the stations.

The station kitchen covers one square meter. Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Manh Cuong (pictured) said in the past six months, guards at pandemic prevention stations could rarely return home.

Senior Lieutenant Binh sits inside a camp that is set up far from the residential area and does not have electricity. This camp used to be blew up by strong wind and we have just fixed it, reinforcing it to get ready for the coming rainy season.

"The camp used to suffer under strong winds. We’ve reinforced it many times," said Senior Lieutenant Binh.

Lieutenant Colonel Ho Van Nam guides a local in Thuan Commune of Huong Hoa District on protocols to prevent new coronavirus infection. The Thuan Border Post has made 1,900 families in the two communes it manages, Thuan and Tan Long, sign commitments not to cross the border and receive anyone coming from the other side of the border without informing the border forces.

Lieutenant Colonel Ho Van Nam informs a resident of Thuan Commune in Huong Hoa District of protocols to prevent novel coronavirus infection. Thuan Border Post has required 1,900 families across the two communes under its jurisdiction, Thuan and Tan Long, to sign commitments not to cross the border or receive anyone traveling from the other side without informing border forces.

Lieutenant Colonel Nam uses a speaker to warn fishers not to penetrate the area belonging to Laos.

Lieutenant Colonel Nam uses a loudspeaker to warn fishers not to accidentally penetrate into Laos.

A dog named Covid that was adopted by the border guards during the first wave of the pandemic in Vietnam early this year. Covid has played a role to protect the guards.

A dog named Covid was adopted by border guards during the first wave of the pandemic in Vietnam early this year.

All over Quang Tri Province, 84 border stations have been set up since February to have 405 border guards to keep watch a border of 179 km to prevent Covid-19 spread.Colonel Le Van Phuong, head of the Quang Tri Border Guard, said for the past seven months, the camps built by bamboos and canvas have all been downgraded.  We want to replaced them with those made of steel but we do not have the budget for that, he said.

All over Quang Tri Province, 84 stations have been set up since February manned by 405 soldiers that keep watch over a border of 179 km.
Colonel Le Van Phuong, head of Quang Tri Border Guard, said for the past seven months, all camps built from bamboo and canvas have been downgraded. "We want to replace them with those made of steel but don’t have the budget," he said.

 
 
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