HCMC delivery personnel struggle in high-risk Covid areas

By Vien Thong, Tat Dat   September 1, 2021 | 03:31 am PT
HCMC delivery personnel struggle in high-risk Covid areas
A shipper at a checkpoint in HCMC's Binh Thanh District. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Some delivery platforms have recommenced operations in HCMC from Aug. 31, though challenges remain amid the unstable Covid outbreak.

On Aug. 30, Thieu, a deliveryman in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District, was anxiously awaiting an official announcement allowing delivery personnel in high risk Covid areas to return to work.

These areas include Thu Duc City and Districts 8, 12, Go Vap, Binh Tan, Binh Thanh, Binh Chanh, and Hoc Mon.

However, all he knew was that delivery persons seeking to return to work must be vaccinated and be listed by the local Department of Industry and Trade.

"So far, we don’t know when we will actually be able to work, or what kind of processes we need to comply with," it was held on many social networks.

Talking to VnExpress, the representatives of several delivery companies said they were waiting for authorities to finalize the process, and that nothing would happen before Monday.

ShopeeFood, which has nearly 6,000 vaccinated drivers in HCMC, said it is "working closely with authorities and drivers" but there is no information about when it could resume operations in red zones.

Gojek said it is waiting for instructions on the quick test result confirmation form. But Gojek said it has no information about the cost of testing. Other platforms have not responded yet. This could be a new challenge for businesses who have to decide whether to absorb the testing cost or hike prices.

According to data from the Department of Industry and Trade, 17,449 delivery people have been vaccinated.

Each staff member could deliver 20-25 orders a day, meaning the 25,000 available delivery persons could serve 500,000 - 650,000 households. But since each could only work within a single district, the feasibility remains low.

HCMC, the epicenter of Vietnam's fourth Covid wave, has reported 221,254 infections so far. It has imposed a series of social distancing orders, including an ongoing lockdown since Aug. 23 that prohibits people from going out entirely.

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