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Vietnam suspends border crossing from/to Laos, Cambodia over COVID-19

16:49 | 01/04/2020

Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 31 March that the Vietnamese Government has decided to suspend cross-border activities of individuals at main and secondary border gates, and trails in border areas sharing with Cambodia and Laos from April 1 as part of measures to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Cross-border activities of individuals at main and secondary border gates, and trails trails and entry points at its border areas with Cambodia and Laos from April 1 are suspended.

Vietnam has closed borders with its south-western neighbors Laos and Cambodia starting Wednesday for the continued bid containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country decided to suspend cross-border activities at main border gates, secondary border gates, trails and entry points at its border areas with Cambodia and Laos, the Foreign Ministry said in a release Tuesday.

The decision was delivered to the Lao and Cambodian Embassies in Vietnam.

The measure aims to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus and ensure maximum effectiveness of Vietnam's anti-epidemic measures in the context that the country has recorded 212 infections, with many of them returning from Europe, U.S. and Cambodia or going through other pandemic-stricken areas.

vietnam suspends border crossing fromto laos cambodia over covid 19
Medical staff go into the quarantine area at Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh Province on the Cambodian border, March 2020.

Vietnam wishes to receive cooperation of the two neighbouring countries’ governments. "Vietnam hopes to receive the cooperation of the governments of Laos and Cambodia and will continue to work closely with countries in the region and around the world to establish control early and stamp out the dangerous pandemic," the release said.

Amid COVID-19 impacts, countries and territories around the globe have implemented many strong measures to fight against the pandemic. ASEAN member nations have restricted entry and exit activities at different levels.

From March 20, Cambodia temporarily halted entry for Vietnamese citizens while Laos suspended entry for individuals at all international border gates across the country from March 30 to April 19. Previously, the Lao government also ordered the temporary closure of 10 border gates with its neighbouring countries, including Vietnam, from March 19 to April 20, amid the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the world.

On March 26, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had said that Vietnam will provide Laos and Cambodia with medical equipment worth $100,000 each to aid their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. He also said Vietnam was also willing to send medical experts to both countries if needed.

Vietnam had earlier stopped issuing visas for those coming from outbreak areas in China and closed the borders to prevent the spread of the virus. The Covid-19 pandemic first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December before spreading around the world.

vietnam suspends border crossing fromto laos cambodia over covid 19
Medical official testing border residents' temperature in Tinh Bien international border gate, An Giang.

In a tougher move, Vietnam also launched a nationwide social distancing campaign starting Wednesday, not allowing gatherings of more than two people and asking people not to leave their homes except for emergencies and procuring essential items like medicines.

The Covid-19 pandemic has so far killed more than 42,300 people worldwide and made more than 859,300 people infectious.

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Tarah Nguyen

VNT