Driver shortage looms due to isolation law

By Doan Loan   July 14, 2021 | 05:16 am PT
Driver shortage looms due to isolation law
A police officer gives instructions to container truck drivers at a checkpoint in the northern city of Hai Phong. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Chinh.
Transport firms are in distress as authorities require drivers passing through Covid-19 hit localities to isolate for a prolonged period.

Municipal authorities are requiring drivers passing through localities with Covid-19 outbreaks to isolate themselves seven days, 14 days or 21 days, which may soon cause a driver shortage, said Nguyen Van Quyen, chairman of Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association (VATA), at a meeting Tuesday.

It proposed the regulation be scrapped. Instead, transport companies or localities should set up accommodation for drivers inside or near parking areas to prevent contagion.

Another proposal is to increase the expiration duration of a Covid-19 test, known as the "travel pass" for drivers during the pandemic, allowing them to travel between localities.

Current travel pass expiration varies between localities: it is three days in Binh Duong Province and Ho Chi Minh City, five days in Long An Province, and seven days in Dong Nai Province.

There is a lack of consistency in what test is approved. Some localities require quick tests, while others want PCR tests, which is the official and most accurate test.

"Drivers have to stop in many localities along the road to do the tests, which increases costs," Quyen said.

Frequent checkpoints also interrupt journeys, prolong transport time and affect the quality of goods, he added.

Minister Nguyen Van The has tasked localities with reviewing the proposals, while localities where social distancing campaigns are being imposed should prioritize trucks and reduce time loss at checkpoints.

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