Chinese prepare to cross into home country from Vietnam
Thousands of Chinese queue up at border gates the northern Vietnam on Sunday, waiting to cross into their home country China where Covid-19 restrictions have been eased after three years.
A queue as long as over 300 meters was seen at a building in Lang Son Province where immigration registrations from Vietnam to China are submitted.
Some of them came to the province on Saturday evening to be submit their forms early Sunday when China completely lifts all Covid-19 relation immigration restrictions.
At 6.30 a.m. hundreds have already queued up at Huu Nghi Border Gate.
Customs officials keep the queues organized. Requests to skip forward in the line to make it in time for train or bus boarding were denied. Only some children and elder were prioritized.
Liu, who works in an industrial park in northern Hai Duong Province, was waiting to return home after three years staying in Vietnam. He was holding a Covid-19 negative test result.
As of Saturday China has been imposing its “zero Covid” policy for over 1,000 days.
Major Pham Tuan Hung, head of Huu Nghi Border Gate Border Guard Station, estimated that 5,000 people showed up Sunday, compared to 250 on a normal day.
Officials had to work throughout lunch time to shorten the queue.
Chen from Guangdong Province was waiting with two of his friends outside of the queue as it was too long. They came from Bac Ninh to Lang Son early Sunday morning.
Chen has been not been able to return to China since August 2021 as it would cost a lot of money and time at a quarantine facility.
“I miss my wife and children.”
Eight immigration lines were operating at maximum capacity. Each procedure check takes about 30-40 seconds.
Hung said that if by 8 p.m. there were still people queuing, Vietnam and China customs will discuss to lengthen their work hours into the night to help the Chinese citizens return home quickly.
Lang Son Province shares 231 kilometers of border with China with four border gates. This is a key trading hub between Vietnam and China, with goods being delivered to even Central Asia and Europe.
Around 4,000-5,000 people pass through Huu Nghi Border Gate each day before the pandemic.
Mong Cai Border Gate in the northern province of Quang Ninh also saw thousands of Chinese queuing up at 8 a.m. to return to their country.
Mong Cai Customs Authorities have ordered immigration staff to prepare for between 5,000 and 15,000 people to start crossing the border each day.
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