Despite no cases of COVID-19 reported in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak, the area is still on high alert.
Volunteers work at the checkpoint on HCM National Highway in Hoa Phu Commune, Buon Ma Thuot City.
Local soldiers, police, volunteers and healthcare staff have been working around the clock, focusing on preventive measures to keep people safe from coronavirus.
Since late last month, eight quarantine checkpoints were opened at key gates to the province together with six other checkpoints set up over the 73km-long borderline which it shares with Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province.
All the checkpoints are staffed all the time, anyone arriving or leaving the province must undertake a brief health check and report their conditions to make sure those suspected to carry the virus are quarantined as soon as possible.
Major Do The Cuong, head of the border station at Đắk Ruê Bordergate said in recent days, border guards were patrolling, quickly detecting and dealing with illegal border crossing.
Under the heat of the border area of Ea Sup, the guards have extra tasks to fulfil during the pandemic rather than their conventional work. Besides regular patrols, they also arrive in local households to tell people about disease prevention and control measures.
Cuong said his team worked and stayed almost all the time in forest areas where the border runs through. Their living conditions were harsh because of the strong heat, Cuong said, adding that such difficulties did not stop them carrying out their duties.
“We are determined to fight the disease. We see the disease as the enemy we need to beat at this time,” Cuong said.
Colonel Dao Viet Hung, deputy commander of Dak Lak Province Border Guard Command said local border guards tightened control at fixed checkpoints and minor border crossings.
Hung said they make use of on-spot available resources – leadership, staff, equipment and logistics – to fulfil their tasks.
“We are all on red alert for the disease,” Hung said.
Meanwhile, along roads across the province, police, medical workers and young volunteers help inspect all travellers and vehicles.
The checkpoint on HCM National Highway in Hoa Phu Commune, Buon Ma Thuot City becomes busier during the evening, meaning those on duty have little time to rest.
Nguyen Ich Nam, a fifth-year medical student of Tay Nguyen (Central Highland) University has been volunteering at the checkpoint for a month. Like other volunteers, Nam helps measure the body temperature of travellers, asking for their travel history and health status.
“We are divided into groups and work in turn to make sure there is staff available to work all the time,” Nam said.
“Some of my peers are not used to staying up late and working at night,” Nam said, adding that at the checkpoint, almost all people had just a few hours to rest per day and they usually spent the rest time right at the checkpoint.
“As the people working at checkpoints do a good job, the threat of disease spreading would be minimised,” Nam said, adding that they believed Vietnam would beat the COVID-19 pandemic soon, which add strength for them to overcome any difficulty.
“We are aware of the risk to be exposed to the fatal virus but now is the time that my country and my hometown need help. Many young people like me want to contribute and join the fight against the disease,” Nam said.
|Police work at the checkpoint in Hoa Phu Commune. Busy traffic, hot sunny weather plus long working hours are just among the many problems faced by Dak Lak authorities. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuan Anh|
Lieutenant Colonel Luong Xuan Ngoc, head of Traffic Police Team 1 said working at the checkpoint on HCM National Highway in Hoa Phu Commune was tough because it is at a key location.
“Busy traffic, hot sunny weather plus long working hours are among the many inconveniences we face at this time,” Ngoc said, adding that effective co-operation of other forces including border guards, medical workers, volunteers and especially community made their work run smoother.
Chairman of Dak Lak Province People’s Committee Pham Ngoc Nghi sad that given no COVID-19 cases had been reported in the province so far, they were still implementing drastic prevention and control measures.
“Those working at the frontline in the battle against this disease – border guards, police, medical workers and young volunteers – have contributed very much to the successful disease control,” Nghi said.
Before entering the province, all people underwent health check, reported travel history, health status and contact phone numbers at the checkpoints so that authorities could be more proactive in disease prevention and control, Nghi said. — VNS
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