Update: 11:17 | 02/08/2021
Thousands of migrant workers from pandemic-struck southern localities are driving long distances to get back home in the central provinces and other regions as the Covid crisis worsens.
After passing through a Covid-19 check point in Thua Thien-Hue, a traffic police vehicle escorted a group of 700 people returning from HCMC and other southern localities on motorbikes to Quang Tri, another central province.
A Covid-19 checkpoint in Hai Lang District, Quang Tri Province collects medical declarations from those returning from southern localities placed under lockdowns. After collecting the declarations, those returning to their hometown in Quang Tri are taken to quarantine camps. Those wanting to go on further to other localities are escorted by functional forces to avoid chaos and ensure safety.
A militiaman disinfects vehicles of people who’ve returned from Covid-19 epicenters and been sent to quarantine facilities.
Nguyen Thi Thu Hoai, a medical staff in Hai Lang District, said the checkpoint is was duty round the clock to receive people from southern localities. "In recent days, a large number of people have come, overloading those on duty at the checkpoint, as well as temporary quarantine facilities. "Because of contact with many people, it is impossible to distinguish who have contracted the virus and those who have come into contact with Covid cases. Therefore, we are easily exposed to the virus," Hoai said.
A couple and their son have hot porridge by the roadside. Many people stopped their bikes at the checkpoint and had free food and drinks. The migrant workers said that along the way back home, they have been provided free food at checkpoints. Those returning home are mostly young people and there pregnant women and children among them. On Saturday, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh decided to extend the social distancing order in 19 southern localities including HCMC for another 14 days and ordered them "not to let residents leave their neighborhood from July 31 until the social distancing order ends."
Without protective gear, a medical staff uses simple plastic gowns while recording information. In five days (July 27 to 31), Quang Tri traffic police escorted 4,400 motorbikes with 6,200 people from the check point to other provinces.
A group of women and children from Tuong Duong District in the central province of Nghe An were transported free of charge from the southern region to their hometown by train on the north-south route. They stayed overnight at a checkpoint area and were provided with rice, milk and other food.
Medical staff at the checkpoints guided people in making medical declarations.
One migrant is transported by ambulance to a medical facility for a health check.
The southern region, particularly HCMC, is carrying the brunt of the worst novel coronavirus wave yet to hit Vietnam. The number of cases has been rising steadily over the past few weeks. More than three months into the new wave, Vietnam has recorded 146,198 community infections in 62 of its 63 cities and provinces.