Vietnam streamlines anti-pandemic measures across factories

By Hoang Phuong, Gia Chinh   May 29, 2021 | 05:26 am PT
Vietnam streamlines anti-pandemic measures across factories
Factories seen at Quang Chau Industrial Park in Bac Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Authorities in northern Covid-19 hotspots are streamlining measures to ensure worker safety as industrial parks gradually resume operations.

Epicenter Bac Giang Province, which is in the process of reopening four industrial parks, has sent teams to evaluate the risks of Covid-19 contagion in 237 companies.

Among them, five have high and one very high risks.

Fuhong Precision Component and New Wing Interconnect Technology, located inside two industrial parks, were allowed to resume operations as they satisfy Covid-19 prevention standards. Both firms produce electric components for Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn, a major assembler for several Apple products.

Nguyen Xuan Ngoc, deputy head of the management board of industrial boards in the province, said authorities are still reviewing plans to resume company operations to ensure safety.

Facilities need to be adapted to accommodate returning workers and vehicles sent to collect them, he added.

These vehicles must be disinfected before and after each trip. Windows must be opened during trips and workers must practice social distancing.

Workers must test negative twice for the novel coronavirus, the second time one day before returning to work.

"With these procedures it will take at least several weeks for all four industrial parks to resume operations," said Ngoc.

Bac Giang recorded the first Covid-19 patient in a factory on May 8. Over 1,600 cases have since been confirmed at local factories.

Neighboring province Bac Ninh, the second biggest Covid-19 hotspot, has demanded 50,000 out of a total 450,000 workers remain home due to their linkage to confirmed cases.

Bui Hoang Mai, director of the management board of industrial parks in the province, said companies with cases confirmed are asked to gradually reduce the number of workers to half, and then to 20 percent and later 10 percent to ensure the supply chain remains intact.

Starting June 6, the province will let employees return to work but require them to stay inside their factories for at least 15 days.

This requirement, however, has been met with concerns from companies as they have limited resources to accommodate workers.

"But this is the only way to ensure manufacturing continues. Companies that do not comply will have to cease production," said Mai.

Workers who stay in the same dormitory will be arranged to work together, while those seeking to shop for necessities should collaborate with external Covid-19 prevention teams.

Bac Giang and Bac Ninh host many manufacturing facilities that form part of global supply chains, including Apple and Samsung suppliers.

Bac Giang plans to vaccinate 150,000 workers, and Bac Ninh 90,000. Vietnam has recorded 3,785 local Covid-19 cases in the latest wave that began April 27.

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