19.06.2020, 09:11

1,000 Chinese workers and experts allowed to enter Vietnam by train

1,000 Chinese workers and experts allowed to enter Vietnam by train

Entrants will travel by various trains from Huu Nghi border gate in the northern province of Lang Son to Dung Quat Industrial Zone in Quang Ngai Province, Phung Thi Ly Ha, deputy general director of Hanoi Railway Transport Joint Stock Company, said Thursday.

Related: New coronavirus cases raise fears in China capital city of Beijing, markets closed

The first train had departed on June 12, carrying 137 Chinese workers.

Chinese workers in protective clothing arrive by train in Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam, June 12, 2020. Photo courtesy of Hanoi Railway Transport JSC.

Employers cooperated with Quang Ngai authorities to book the trains and ensure entrants follow mandatory quarantine protocol, Ha said.

On the first train, 15 conductors and 137 passengers were placed in two separate areas, according to Dao Viet Thang, head of Hanoi Railway Conductor Station.

Passengers traveled in six carriages, while train staff remained in three others. Three staff served food while the remaining monitored the passengers. Everyone was equipped with personal protective equipment.

The train ran from Dong Dang in Lang Son to Hanoi before heading to Quang Ngai. Throughout the entire trip, all doors aboard the train were sealed, with only a few technical stops undertaken en route.

All Chinese passengers and those who served them food were subjected to 14-day quarantine upon arrival. All carriages were later sterilized.

“The latest test results show all crew members and the 137 Chinese workers tested Covid-19 negative,” Thang said.

Three Chinese workers have a meal on a train that arrived in Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam on June 12, 2020. Photo courtesy of Hanoi Railway Transport JSC.

Data from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs shows there are 33,770 licensed Chinese workers in Vietnam. Of these, 15,000 are currently employed. A little more than half of these workers returned to China for the Lunar New Year holiday in January and could not come back due to the pandemic.

Vietnam has banned entry for foreign nationals since March 22 and suspended international flights from March 25.

In a government meeting on June 6, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked authorities to enable experts, investors, business managers, and highly skilled workers to enter Vietnam to resume work following mandatory quarantine.

Phuc asked local authorities to provide free quarantine locations to and test all entrants for the novel coronavirus. They should also help foreign workers extend or renew their work permits if need be, the PM added.

This is not the first group of Chinese workers granted entry to Vietnam.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh had also permitted 331 Chinese experts, business managers and high-skilled workers to enter the country.

Meanwhile, the Chinese capital, Beijing, is facing a new Covid-19 outbreak with authorities announcing 137 new cases since a cluster linked to the Xinfadi wholesale food market was identified.

Neighboring provinces Hebei, Liaoning, Sichuan and Zhejiang have also reported new cases linked to travelers arriving from Beijing.

Vietnam has gone 63 days without community transmission caused by the novel coronavirus. Of the 335 Covid-19 patients recorded so far in the country, 325 have recovered, with no single fatality reported.

Featured image: Vietnam’s Train by Marcus Lacey

Reporting by Doan Loan @ VNExpress