Seven-day isolation requirement for commuting workers hits HCMC factories

By Dat Nguyen   July 9, 2021 | 09:30 pm PT
Seven-day isolation requirement for commuting workers hits HCMC factories
Employees are tested for Covid-19 at Long Rich factory in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong.
The seven-day self-isolation mandate in neighboring provinces for people arriving from HCMC is giving city companies a headache since many of their workers live there.

Some 90 percent of footwear maker Long Rich Vietnam’s 4,000 workers live in Binh Duong Province and this Thu Duc City-based factory is struggling to run at full capacity since they are required to be isolated for seven days on entering their home province as mandated by the Ministry of Health.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Van, head of Long Rich’s labor union, said the factory is too small to accommodate the 3,600 workers coming from Binh Duong, and that means they could not return for seven days if they go home.

"If all of them are isolated, the factory can hardly function."

Underwear maker Triumph International in Binh Duong Province has a similar problem but in reverse as half its 3,000 workers live in Thu Duc City and travel between the two localities every day.

Without them, the company could not operate, Mai Thi Hong, head of its labor union, said.

The Saigon Hi-tech Park in Thu Duc City gets over 19,000 workers every day from Binh Duong another neighboring province, Dong Nai.

Some companies there have rented hotel rooms for their workers so that they do not need to leave the city, Le Bich Loan, deputy head of the park, said.

"There are many difficulties but factories are trying to resolve them." The park would use training centers for workers to stay while setting up temporary lodging places.

Deputy head of the HCMC Labor Union, Ho Xuan Lam, said most factories would have to reduce their production to 30-50 percent and possibly shut down parts of their plants to create space for workers to stay.

This is to prevent a total shutdown of the plant should Covid-cases be detected, he said.

But localities should start considering creating "green routes" for workers to commute between HCMC and other localities, ensuring they only travel between home and factory, he added.

HCMC has recorded nearly 11,000 infections in the latest Covid-19 wave.

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