On the night of Oct. 5, more than 300 people from the northern provinces of Son La and Lao Cai stopped at Trung Ha Bridge, located in Phu Tho’s Tam Nong District. They were still hundreds of kilometers from their destination, and waiting for local police to come and accompany them.
Most were workers in southern Binh Duong Province, leaving the south on the night of Oct. 2 on their motorbikes.
Since Sept. 30, when Ho Chi Minh City and southern localities relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, seas of people have returned to their hometowns across Mekong Delta, central and northern provinces.
Among those traveling to the north, several were from the provinces of Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Son La, and Ha Giang; others were month-old babies returning with their parents.
A couple had some pieces of bread and milk provided by local authorities. On Oct. 5, Tam Nong police received four groups of migrating workers, accompanied by Hanoi police,with each grou pcomprising up to 300 people.
Local police accompanied them within Phu Tho Province, up until they stepped foot in the neighboring provinces like Yen Bai and Tuyen Quang.
Many people were exhausted after traveling around 1,700 kilometers with no sight of home. They sleep on the sidewalks while local police check their personal information and arrange an escort.
Lau Thi Song, 19, was bringing everything, including her clothes hangers, home and has no plan to return to Binh Duong.
Renting a studio in Tan Uyen District, where many Covid patients were recorded, she has been jobless for two months and is aching to return home.
Giang A Pao from Lao Cai was woken by a passing truck. The shoe and leather worker in Binh Duong lost his job in July and decided to return to Lao Cai with his wife, saying he “had no idea whether I should return to Binh Duong or not.”
At 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, police accompanied the group onto other provinces. Broken motorbikes were transported by truck, while pregnant women and children traveled by bus.
Phu Tho Police mobilized eight vehicles to accompany the workers. Based on their destination, they were divided into groups traveling in different directions.
Eighty kilometers from Trung Ha Bridge, at a checkpoint along Phap Van - Cau Gie Highway in Hanoi, more than 200 workers submitted health declarations before police accompanied them to northern Phu Tho Province, where Phu Tho police would meet and support them.
Lieutenant Colonel Bui Ngoc Anh, vice captain of No.8 Traffic Police Team, estimated that from Oct. 4 to 5, about 1,000 people returned to northern provinces. Anh’s team regularly contacted traffic police in neighboring Ninh Binh and Ha Nam provinces to determine the numbers of returnees, from which they could allocate support.
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