These people had illegally entered Meo Vac District, which borders China, said the border guard station of Xin Cai Commune.
Two groups consisting of 20 people were detected by authorities Tuesday, entering the border three hours apart. The next day, three more groups consisting of 40 people were also detected. The rest entered Vietnam on Thursday and Friday, four groups with 33 people detected on the latter. Most groups were guided by a third party, it was confirmed.
They took advantage of the rain, mist, and low temperature in Meo Vac, partially caused by the impact of the now-devolved Storm Noul, to enter Vietnam, authorities suspected.
They had gone to work in China illegally and were thus not eligible for official repatriation programs to bring Vietnamese citizens home from Covid-19 affected areas.
All illegal entrants have been put into quarantine as per Covid-19 prevention protocol. Many had expected to be quarantined upon their return, entering Vietnam regardless of the time of day, said Nguyen Van Chung, deputy political officer of the Xin Cai border guard station.
Meo Vac District has seen the highest number of illegal entries from China out of the entire border length of Ha Giang since the beginning of this year, with 3,000 illegal migrants detected within the district out of over 3,500 for the whole province, border guards said.
Individuals in China often cooperate with accomplices in Vietnam to illegally bring people across the border, mainly for work, provincial officials said.
Vietnam had closed its borders and suspended international flights since late March to prevent Covid-19. The government just gave permission for resuming flights to several Asian destinations this month.