Businesses adopt remote working as new coronavirus clocks in

By Anh Minh, Dy Tung   March 10, 2020 | 08:34 pm PT
Businesses adopt remote working as new coronavirus clocks in
Employees go through a temperature check upon entering the headquarter of Vietnam Electricity (EVN) on March 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Trung.
Hanoi and Saigon companies are letting staff work from home as Vietnam records a series of new coronavirus patients in less than a week.

Ngoc on Tuesday began a week working from home after her boss made the decision to shut down most activities in Hanoi to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"I have had three online meetings this morning. I’m even busier than while in the office," said Ngoc, employed by an e-payment company.

Tung, an employee at a cryptocurrency payment company in the capital, has been allowed to work from home starting Monday until the outbreak is contained. "I concentrate better in the office but with the ongoing situation it’s better to work from home."

Many companies in Hanoi have let their employees work from home this week after Vietnam confirmed its 17th coronavirus patient on Friday and another 17 since, most were passengers on a flight from London to Hanoi on March 2.

The city has quarantined Truc Bach Street in downtown Ba Dinh District where the 17th patient lives, with local authorities preparing 1,000 beds at various hospitals to brace for more coronavirus infections.

With 18 new confirmed cases in the country as of Tuesday, many of whom having been traveling in the past few days, companies in HCMC are also taking precautions.

Kim Thanh, who works at a foreign-invested tech firm here, said she and her colleagues had been asked to work from home indefinitely. They will receive internet stipends during this time.

Quoc Sang, who works for a U.S.-invested company in District 1, has been asked to isolate himself for 14 days after returning from Singapore.

Other businesses that could not let their staff work from home are taking the highest safety measures.

All employees at the headquarters of national utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) in Hanoi this week must undergo temperature checks and wear face masks upon entering the building, located a kilometer from locked down Truc Bach.

Restrooms and elevators in the building are disinfected several times a day, and staff must declare their health status. They have been asked to refrain from eating at restaurants around the neighborhood.

Most employees say they support the work from home campaign to combat the epidemic.

Sang said: "I believe this is the right thing to do for the good of the community."

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