Mekong Delta Province maintains factory restrictions over ‘high risks’: officials

By Le Tuyet, Hoang Nam   October 22, 2021 | 12:20 am PT
Mekong Delta Province maintains factory restrictions over ‘high risks’: officials
Inside the factory of rice cracker producer Want Want Vietnam in Tien Giang Province. Photo courtesy of Want Want Vietnam.
Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is still imposing the stay-at-work model because of high Covid-outbreak risks driven by low vaccination, an official said.

With only around 45 percent of workers vaccinated, the province cannot risk spreading infection with many returning from other provinces, said Nguyen Nhat Truong, head of Tien Giang Industrial Hub Management Committee, at a press briefing Thursday.

He was responding to a recent letter from 19 factories demanding the stay-at-work and one-route-two-destinations models be removed so they could resume normal operation.

Although 109,000 workers across industrial parks have been half-vaccinated, or nearly 100 percent, 14 days have yet to pass in accordance with official health requirements, Truong said.

He added that in early August the province had to shut down 10 companies due to contagion, which shows the low compliance among workers in imposing safety measures.

Chau Thi My Phuong, head of the Propaganda Department of Tien Giang Provincial Party Committee, said the province is allowing workers from ‘green’ zones to commute to ‘green’ factories.

‘Green’ refers to an area deemed safe from Covid-19.

However, business representatives at the meeting disagreed with officials.

They said that among the 19 companies that sent a joint letter requesting government intervention to lift restrictions in Tien Giang, over 80 percent of workers had received their first vaccination shot for 14 days.

Some companies even have a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, making them eligible to resume production according to the government’s latest decree on gradual economic reopening.

They added that the ‘green-green’ model is difficult to impose as only three factories are approved to operate under this scheme with only 10 percent of their total workforce.

The stay-at-work model is not viable either as factories are required to close immediately when one Covid-19 case is found.

"This is not in line with the government’s strategy to fight the pandemic while keeping manufacturing going," a business representative said.

If these restrictions are not lifted, companies would lose customers and have to pay a penalty for failing to fulfill contracts.

The 19 businesses with nearly 70,000 workers on Oct. 19 sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting his intervention in lifting Tien Giang restrictions.

They want the stay-at-work model removed and workers who live in areas with low, average and high risks to be allowed to commute to work using personal transport.

On the government’s Covid-19 scale, the province currently puts itself at Level 2 out of 4, or at average risk.

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