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IOM assists immigration officers' response to COVID-19

08:16 | 15/04/2020

The International Organization for Migration, (IOM) Mission in Vietnam on April 13 delivered urgently needed Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to support the frontline immigration officers at both major international airports Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat.

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On April 13, in Hanoi, the International Organization for Migration, Mission in Vietnam delivered Personal Protection Equipment to the frontline immigration officers at both major international airports Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat. Photo: IOM

In addition to the support of PPE, IOM also organized a training for trainers on measures to prevent COVID-19 and protect migrants in vulnerable situation in order to enhance the ability to manage and respond to the pandemic for the immigration officers.

With the guide of IOM experts, the participants quickly got a grip on the fundamental knowledge of preventive measures and infection control at the Points of Entry. Based on the provided knowledge, the officers were invited to practice how to use PPE properly. The other half of the training focused on the vulnerabilities of migrants during mobility in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to improve the effectiveness of migrant assistance activities with an eye to the basic rights, gender sensitive factors, personal data confidentiality, non-discrimination and child-centered support.

Tran Van Du, Deputy Director of the Immigration Department, expressed his gratitude to IOM for “the timely donation of PPE and training which are critically needed at both airports for admitting and classifying the visitors. Notably, no immigration officer has been infected with the virus despite having to regularly receive, screen and support many customers, including infected cases. And PPE has greatly contributed to this initial success”.

IOM Vietnam Head of Programme Unit, Brett Dickson, stated “In Vietnam, the whole of Government approach is working tirelessly to slow and contain the transmission of the virus and achieving timely results. These initial successes have been achieved through interagency coordination between Government departments including the frontline immigration and health officers at two major international airports Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat. I hope this donation as well as the training session by our experts can contribute to the prevention of further COVID-19 transmission.”

The activities carried out are part of COVID-19 response support plan within the framework of “Asia Regional Migration Programme” in Vietnam, funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration under the US Department of State and implemented by IOM.

According to CNV, the 10 ASEAN countries have reported at least 20,000 COVID-19 cases in total, but the number is likely to be higher given the lack of testing capability in some areas. Countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, have imposed measures to restrict the movement of residents.

Four of the world’s 10 busiest air routes are between ASEAN member states. The bloc also has the world’s busiest land crossing - the Causeway between Johor Bahru and Singapore.

Vietnam has 266 virus cases and no deaths, while Thailand has officially also kept its numbers relatively low at just over 2,500 cases with 40 deaths.

The situation is mixed elsewhere across the region, with fears that limited testing in Indonesia has played out into the low caseload - and under 400 deaths - for a country of 260 million.

Malaysia reported 220 more COVID-19 recoveries on April 14 bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,478, almost 50 per cent of the total positive cases.

Similarly, threadbare health systems from Myanmar to Laos are widely believed to be missing the true scale of infections, while a recent surge in cases in Singapore has raised fears the pandemic could rebound in places which had batted back the initial outbreak, CNA reported./.

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Hannah Nguyen