HCMC shuts biggest employer to contain new coronavirus

By Huu Cong   April 13, 2020 | 06:13 pm PT
HCMC shuts biggest employer to contain new coronavirus
Employees of Pouyuen Vietnam leave work in Ho Chi Minh City on April 8, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Footwear maker Pouyuen Vietnam Co. Ltd. was ordered to halt operations for two days starting Tuesday due to Covid-19 safety concerns.

The order came after HCMC health authorities inspected the Taiwanese-invested company on Saturday and found some employees without masks and a large number ignoring social distancing rules.

The city had on April 6 inspected Pouyuen’s premises and found the novel coronavirus infection risk indicator to be 81 percent, while municipal regulations stipulate companies with an indicator over 80 percent must be closed temporarily.

The city had asked prime ministerial permission to suspend company operations, but Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam held it could decide for itself.

Pouyuen would resume operations Thursday as the 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign will end on Wednesday.

The company is the largest employer in HCMC with almost 70,000 workers covering three shifts and employs over 800 vehicles for transportation each day.

Local officials said if an outbreak occurs at Pouyuen, the consequences would be severe because Covid-19 could spread to nearby businesses and HCMC’s four neighboring provinces of Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Tay Ninh.

HCMC is home to 450,000 companies with 3.8 million employees. The city stands second after Hanoi in the number of Covid-19 cases at 54, of whom 40 have been discharged. Hanoi now has 127 cases and 59 discharges.

Vietnam had 119 active cases after 146 discharges as of Tuesday morning.

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