Stepping up control over illegal immigration to prevent COVID-19 transmission

Saturday, 2021-01-02 10:58:35
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Functional forces in Dong Thap Province actively preventing illegal immigrants from crossing the border in an attempt to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from penetrating Vietnam. (Photo: NDO/Huu Nghia)
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NDO – Experts have suggested the strengthening of illegal immigration control to prevent COVID-19 from entering Vietnam, especially as the Lunar New Year approaches.

>>> Vietnam records nine imported COVID-19 cases on New Year day

Epidemiologists have pointed out that, at present, there are three sources of COVID-19 infection in Vietnam: from people entering the country from abroad (both legal and illegal immigrants), infections in the community and imported goods from abroad.

As legal entries have been quarantined and monitored under the guidance of the health authority while imported goods are tightly controlled, the risk of outbreaks from these two sources is very low, leaving the biggest risk being from foreigners illegally entering Vietnam. Therefore, at the recent meetings of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the main solution highlighted was the relevant ministries, agencies and local governments strengthening the strict control of the land border to prevent unauthorised immigrants.

In the group of illegal immigrants who were detected recently, the specialised agency identified four COVID-19 infections, now known as Patients 1,440, 1,451, 1,452 and 1,453. It showed the legitimacy of the above concern. These four cases were found in Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh Long and Dong Thap, respectively. Worryingly, if not detected in a timely manner, the above cases would have been a source of infection in the community, resulting in outbreaks of unknown source and posing even more difficulties for their zoning, stamping out and control of the spread of the disease in the community.

Currently, the epidemic is rampant around the world and in many countries in the region, including nations sharing border lines with Vietnam, leading to a high risk of epidemic infiltration into the country. If the immigration cannot be controlled, and illegal entry still occurs, the danger of further outbreaks in the community will continue. With the four cases detected, dozens of their close contacts were quarantined and placed under health monitoring while many others are being contacted by the Ministry of Health and instructed to take necessary preventive measures.

From the above reality, experts suggest the concerned ministries, agencies and localities strengthen their control of the border line and strictly handle illegal immigration. Each citizen should raise their guard and timely notify the local authorities and functional forces of any illegal immigrants for the safety of the community.

Demand for repatriation and migration into Vietnam will increase at the end of the lunar year. More than ever, border provinces need to strengthen their forces to promptly prevent and detect any cases of illegal immigration by intensifying patrols and the inspection of suspicious vehicles to prevent and promptly handle violations.

These high-risk localities need to activate their rapid response systems against the epidemic. The competent forces (healthcare and police) should review immigrants and COVID-19 related cases, while offering quick tests for those at-risk.

Health facilities were advised to raise their vigilance, strengthen measures for screening, classifying and thoroughly controlling people coming to medical examination and treatment facilities, as well as strictly implementing measures to prevent and control COVID-19 infection therein.