American business group wants southern industrial hubs vaccinated

By Tat Dat   August 20, 2021 | 08:13 pm PT
American business group wants southern industrial hubs vaccinated
A medical staff prepares to vaccinate people in Ho Chi Minh City on August 15, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Southern industrial centers like HCMC, Binh Duong and Dong Nai should be prioritized for vaccination, the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam has said.

They have major industrial parks and make a big contribution to the economy, Mary Tarnowka, its executive director, said at a meeting with HCMC authorities Friday.

The safety schemes imposed on factories, like requiring workers to stay on-site and restricting travel between home and the factory, she said these are only temporary solutions and not sustainable in terms of health, safety or cost.

American businesses in Vietnam want to be able to do rapid tests on their employees and take full responsibility for the results, and that requires enough test kits, she said.

Echoing her, a spokesperson for the German Business Association said that the stay-at-work model is only suitable for four weeks, and any longer than that would disrupt manufacturing.

A European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam spokesperson said workers in the logistics sector should be prioritized for vaccination to help clear ports faster.

HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city has vaccinated around 286,000 workers and 3,000 experts working in industrial parks, processing zones and hi-tech parks, or 85 percent of the total number. The city is making plans to give them the second dose and the remaining 15 percent their first dose, he said.

The city can vaccinate up to 300,000 people a day, and plans to immunize everyone, including 70 percent of people aged over 18 by the third quarter, he added.

The Korean Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and the Singapore Business Group want payment of social insurance premiums by employers deferred at a time when companies are shut down.

The latter also wants tax and fee cuts for manufacturers.

Vietnam has had over 319,200 Covid-19 cases since the end of April, when the latest wave began, nearly 53 percent of them in HCMC.

It has vaccinated 15.2 percent of its population.

HCMC, Binh Duong and Dong Nai house major electronics manufacturers like Intel and Samsung, footwear maker Pouyuen, and tire maker Kumho.

HCMC has 1.6 million workers working in factories, including more than 320,000 in 17 export processing zones, industrial parks and high-tech zones. Binh Duong is currently home to 29 industrial parks while Dong Nai has 32.

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