HCMC delivery firms tell drivers to pay for Covid tests as city pulls plug

By Vien Thong, Tat Dat   September 24, 2021 | 08:25 pm PT
HCMC delivery firms tell drivers to pay for Covid tests as city pulls plug
A medical staff takes samples of shippers in HCMC's Go Vap District, Sep. 20, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Delivery companies in HCMC have told their shippers to pay for Covid-19 tests since the city is set to stop footing the bill.

Grab said its employees could test themselves at 16 locations around the city where it has set up facilities. The test costs VND75,000-160,000 ($3.29-7.02), and 30-40 delivery persons can be tested at each location every 30 minutes.

AhaMove has also rented medical facilities to test its drivers.

The company, like all others, gets free test kits provided for by the government. Shippers pay VND75,000 for each test.

ShopeeFood has set up medical facilities and supports its delivery people with weekly reward points.

Grab too has several reward mechanisms to cover the testing expenses and ensure a minimum income of VND160,000 a day for each driver.

Food delivery company Baemin bucks the trend by providing free tests to all its shippers at 13 locations.

They receive a QR code confirming their Covid status 60-90 minutes after testing, and it will be valid for three days.

The city was providing free testing since allowing inter-district deliveries to resume on Sep. 16.

The city will provide the free testing kits until the end of this month.

Some delivery people complain that there are too few testing locations for the size of Vietnam’s largest city.

Thanh, a driver who lives in Binh Tan District, said some test locations are overloaded due to the large demand.

Thien, who lives in Thu Duc City, said: "I live 12 kilometers away from the nearest testing site. The test and fuel costs are around VND100,000."

Delivery companies said the testing requirements are a big burden for them.

Testing a large number of drivers poses challenges in terms of cost and management, ShopeeFood said.

AhaMove warned that if it has to bear the testing costs it would have to reduce the number of drivers, causing a shortage and requiring customers to seek expensive non-professional delivery people.

It called for increasing the validity of tests, especially for those who have been vaccinated or have had Covid.

There are around 92,000 shippers working in HCMC.

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