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03/09/2020 - 14:48

South gateway - nightless days

The south medical checkpoints of the province remain in strict operation day and night. Besides the strenuous work, the anti-COVID-19 pandemic force also has the people's feelings and sharing...

Checking a tank truck driven by Mr. Tran Quang Luc at Hai Van Pass top checkpoint

Midnight pot of porridge

Late at night, the more bustling with people and vehicles the National Highway 1A becomes, the quieter the side road to “Đệ nhất hùng quan” (The first grand gate) - Hai Van Pass is. Here, there are 2 checkpoints for COVID-19 pandemic prevention: the checkpoint No 5 at the foot of the pass, and the reinforcement checkpoint of Phu Loc Traffic Police Station (Traffic Police Division, Provincial Department of Public Security) right in the middle of the pass top.

Our first destination was the checkpoint no. 5. It was around 9 pm. Lieutenant Colonel Hoang Cong Trinh, Phu Loc Traffic Police Station, said the unit has been on duty at the checkpoint no. 5 at the foot of the pass and the checkpoint at the top of the pass since July 27.

In the early days, there were very many people and vehicles passing the station, mainly from Da Nang. At that time, there was no policy of quarantine; so many vehicles had to make a U-turn. On August 3, as many as 400 people at the checkpoint no.5 had to be quarantined. Also at the same time, a lot of people from areas with pandemic and without pandemic poured in.

The traffic police forces here remember forever that on August 8, a group of 14 people from Quang Nam crossed Hai Van Pass to Hue. The functional forces, after performing medical declarations, disinfection and mask distribution, requested the group to make a U-turn. However, these people insisted on no return.

After a brief consultation between the forces, the soldiers here donated money, milk, food and arranged the vehicle for transporting these people to "cross the parallel" to Quang Binh.

"Making the checkpoint here for nearly 20 days, without the coordination and enthusiastic support of the local people, we won’t be able to complete the task well," traffic policeman Hoang Minh Tuan added. As if to prove Tuan’s words, around 22:00, after parking the motorbike, a woman wearing a raincoat and a face mask hurriedly brought the pot of porridge here to "support".

"You guys eat hot porridge to stay on duty late at night," she said. Asked the name, the woman only smiled gently, " Just a good thing to do. Please tell me what you like to eat tomorrow night for me to cook."

From the top of the pass to the National Highway

At 23:00, the heavy rain at the top of Hai Van Pass made the slightly cold air by nightfall dense in the dark. Captain Phan Van Hanh, Phu Loc Traffic Police Station, said that the checkpoint at the top of Hai Van Pass is a reinforcement one to alleviate the workload and avoid congestion for the lower checkpoints.

From July 27, the checkpoint at the top of the pass was responsible for preventing motorbikes from passing the pass, implementing medical declaration. From August 11, it performed another task of distributing the green badge cards to vehicles passing the pass but not entering the territory of the province.

On duty at the anti-pandemic checkpoint at North Hai Van Toll Station

The story at night was not over yet when the distant truck was approaching the top of the pass and stopped after the signal given by Captain Phan Van Hanh. After being asked to make medical declaration, Mr. Tran Quang Luc, the tank truck driver, followed the captain to the checkpoint to be instructed to fill in the form.

“Typically, when traveling on the pass, the vehicles only move past the bypass, so they must go to the station to ask for green badges. The drivers who comply with all anti-pandemic requirements laid down by the authorities feel more comfortable and confident when moving on the road. My tank truck followed Hue bypass to return the badge card to the checkpoint in Phong Thu Commune (Phong Dien) on National Highway 1A and then continued the journey to Quang Tri,” said Luc.

Leaving the thousand-mile route on “the world’s first grand gate”, Hai Van Pass,at 0:00, we were present at the anti-pandemic checkpoint at North Hai Van Toll Station and the checkpoint no. 6 on National Highway 1A, about 700m away from it - 2 south checkpoints on National Highway 1A, controlling vehicles traveling through the province.

This checkpoint is complex and crowded with means of transport, so 2-3 more mobile policemen are always arranged to coordinate with the staff at North Hai Van Toll Station to fulfill the anti-pandemic requirements. Every day at this checkpoint, 4 shifts are arranged to distribute the 400-500 green badge cards to the trucks entering the province through Hai Van Tunnel.

Mr. Le Duc Quoc, Deputy Head of North Hai Van Toll Station, said that since getting the anti-pandemic request at the station, the company has strengthened its force to coordinate with relevant agencies here. In addition to trucks distributed with the green badges of traffic police force, the cars and passenger cars passing the station are controlled and approved by the traffic police force. The company staff working in Da Nang, who did not return to the pandemic area, were also arranged to coordinate with the traffic police force in order to do well in the pandemic prevention and control.

Checkpoint no.6 is where many truck drivers get off to make medical declarations and ask for the badges to enter or pass the province. Here, although it was morning, the medical force, traffic policemen, traffic inspectors, border guards and youth union members ... were working hard to fight traffic congestion on the National Highway.

Sleepless night at checkpoint no. 4

From checkpoint no.6, our car went down to checkpoint no.4 at the intersection of National Highway 1A, Nguyen Van Dat Street (Lang Co Town, Phu Loc) managed by Huong Thuy Town. Every day, this checkpoint on average checks more than 400 cars, passenger cars and over 5,000 people. From about 1am to 4 am, the electric lights in this area are still on; vehicles and people come and go in large numbers.

Checkpoint no. 4 is always overcrowded at night and dawn

In the role of the people who came to make medical declarations, after driving the car to the checkpoint under the guidance of the traffic police force,  we joined the queue for the medical force to take the body temperature and give the instruction on antiseptic hand washing.

Completing the medical examination, the line of people moved to more than a dozen tables pre-arranged to make medical declaration. On the opposite side were more than a dozen youth union members, office specialists, teachers ... of Huong Thuy Town. Some plugged away at the computer screens; others eagerly received and instructed the people to follow the procedures in the noise of the  people, vehicles continuously parking and moving.

After nearly 1 hour, finally, Mr. Truong Nhat Quang (Deputy Chief of the Office of the People's Committee of Huong Thuy Town) and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Quy (office specialist of the People's Committee of Huong Thuy Town) and some other members on duty realized our presence. However, with a nod instead of greeting, all of them were busy with the work.

At about 2am, taking advantage of the time when the number of passenger cars, people at the checkpoint dropped temporarily, both of us approached to talk. No sooner had we pulled the chairs than suddenly 3 people over 50, carrying some bulging plastic baskets, asked: "Are you hungry?  Please change your taste with seafood rice spaghetti. This day, is there any extra person or 45 portions as before? If any, let me know to cook more, don't hesitate,” said one man.

Each steaming hot bowl of rice spaghetti was served. Inside were fish, shrimp and squid. Slurping, Quy said these people are the members of Lang Co Volunteer Association. Since the checkpoint no. 4 moved here, in the afternoon, the association members have come to ask how many officers there are on duty on the night shift in order to cook late night food.

While the bowls of rice spaghetti with human warmth have not been eaten up,suddenly the whistle of the traffic police force from the intersection sounded and were followed by the continuous lights of the passenger cars. Quang, Quy immediately put down the bowl of rice spaghetti, did not forget to cover it carefully and then quickly together with the members continued with the position of "fighting".

Story and photos: KHANH NHAN

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