Laos Tightens Border Controls as COVID Cases Surge in Vietnam

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Laos is tightening controls across its southern boundary to stop COVID-19 from penetrating visitors from neighboring Vietnam, in which instances of new disease have surged lately, Lao sources state.

Government have set new constraints in place in any way points of entrance by Vietnam, an official in the Lao Security Ministry’s Immigration Department told RFA’s Lao Service on Aug. 7.

“Whoever has in must get a health certificate issued within the past 72 hours in the COVID Center at Vietnam, and then they must be quarantined for 14 times in Laos,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Vietnamese building workers and technical specialists entering Laos to operate on dams or help construct the new Lao National Assembly Building from the capital, Vientiane, has to strictly comply with new preventative steps, the official added.

Residents of Sekong province in southern Laos meanwhile expressed anxieties that individuals from Vietnam’s coastal city of Danang, in which the numbers of diseases continued to grow this week, could sneak undetected across the border to Laos.

“I am afraid since our Dak Jung district is just 100 km from Danang,” one Sekong resident stated, adding,”three or four of our cities close to the border is going to be on lockdown until Aug. 31.”

Still another Dak Jung villager stated that many Vietnamese are already within the district.

“Many of these have been here for quite a while, although others are newcomers. But we are concerned about people who prevent the boundary gates and input through the woods. Our health-care process is not great, and we do not have modern hospitals”

Lao border guards must currently fortify their patrols along the edge, since Vietnamese frequently cross illegally to the district to search for work, ” he added.

Approximately 3,000 Vietnamese truck drivers entered Laos via checkpoints on the border during the first six days of August, but needed to move their cargo into Lao trucks in the border gates then return home, the Lao Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Control and Prevention declared on Aug. 6.

Workers yield from Thailand

Fifty Lao employees who were held for two or more months on the Thai border with Laos were allowed to return home this week, a Lao health employee from Vientiane supported to RFA on Aug. 7, saying the workers had crossed into Laos in the Thai city of Nongkhai.

“We shot in 50 of these from Nongkhai. They tested negative for COVID-19 but we kept them for 14 days,” the health employee stated.

“They needed to wait patiently [in Nongkhai] since our centre was complete,” said a police officer in the Km 27 Quarantine Center at Vientiane, describing the origin of the delay. “We constantly have to discharge 1 set before accepting another.”

“I had been stuck in Nongkhai to get over half a month,” a Lao employee told RFA on Aug. 7, saying he’d only arrived in the middle. “Now I am happy, and I am going home once the quarantine is lifted.”

About 250 Lao employees are currently living under quarantine in the Km 27 Center, a center official told RFA, including,”The centre is financially supported by assist, but what we get isn’t really enough for what we need.”

Vietnam’s Health Ministry meanwhile declared on Aug. 7 which three cases of COVID-19 disease have been connected to the pandemic’s newest epicenter at Danang, such as two new instances in Quang Tri province and in Thanh Hoa.

A total of 784 instances of disease and 10 deaths have been listed in the nation at Aug. 7, country resources stated.

Vietnam should prepare to get a long-term struggle against the outbreak, together with local governments working to ensure adequate supplies of food and medication in their regions, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told cabinet members, ministry heads, along with neighborhood leaders at a digital assembly on Friday.

Reported by RFA’s Lao and Vietnamese Services. Translated by Max Avary and Huy Le. Written in English from Richard Finney.


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