Year-end night at Po Hen border post during COVID-19 fight

VOV.VN - “We are ready to sacrifice our lives to protect the country's sovereignty,” said a soldier at Po Hen border post in the northern border province of Quang Ninh, putting aside all nostalgia for family and hometown during the lunar New Year holiday (Tet).

With the Tet celebration in full swing, the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic and the control of illegal entry on border posts in Hai Son commune of Mong Cai city in Quang Ninh province are becoming increasingly difficult.

Located in the northernmost area bordering China, the Po Hen border post in Hai Son commune manages 12 km of the border line and 11 border markers.

Major Truong Minh Dao, head of checkpoint No. 26, said the place is just one stream away from China, whilst the terrain is full of mountains and forests. Many people take advantage of trails and open roads in the area to conduct smuggling and illegally enter the Vietnamese territory from China.

“Soldiers stationed at the post are often tipped off by local residents about strangers’ attempt to illegally enter the country. On hearing such news, they quickly split up to scour all nearby mountainous areas, bamboo bushes, and the stream to seek criminals,” said Major Dao.

These days soldiers strengthen border patrols because it is the peak time for smuggling and illegal entry. Fortunately, all patrol soldiers are familiar with the mountainous terrain and harsh weather with temperatures some time falling to seven degrees Celsius at night.

Dang Ngoc Minh, 21, said his enlistment coincided with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has been impacting Vietnam for two years. This year is his second Tet celebration on the border post.

Over the past two years he has grown to fully understand the difficulties faced by a border soldier.

“If a person enters the country illegally through border roads, then it poses a great risk of the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the nation,” said Minh. “But if the border guard forces are able to successfully complete their mission, the illegal immigrants will be forced to cross official border gates and receive health supervision, thereby reducing risks,” he said.

For every 500 metres there is a group of two to three soldiers accompanied by five sniffer dogs operating at night to ensure that any act illegal entry will be pre-empted.

Despite all these difficulties, border guards stationed at the Po Hen border post are determined to accomplish their mission, protecting the border around the clock.

“Border guards here get used to staying far from home, although the cold weather during wintertime makes them feel homesick than ever,” revealed Lieutenant Colonel Tran Van Quyen who spent 30 years serving as a border guard.

“No matter how bad the weather is, each soldier always tries his best to fulfil the mission of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting the fatherland,” added Quyen.  

The Lieutenant Colonel He also expressed his hope the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak will be well controlled soon, and local people’s lives will be able to return to normal.

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