1,069 Chinese restricted at HCMC workplaces over coronavirus fears

By Huu Nguyen, Ha An   February 4, 2020 | 06:21 am PT
1,069 Chinese restricted at HCMC workplaces over coronavirus fears
A doctor sprays disinfection on a door handle at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City where a Chinese national is being treated for nCoV infection, February 3, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Chinese employees returning to work in HCMC after the Lunar New Year break have been requested to stay away from their workplaces for 14 days.

The request was made on Tuesday by Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to 187 local companies that have 1,069 Chinese employees on their rolls.

The move is part of safety measures being taken to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the city, given that all 31 direct jurisdictions in China have confirmed infections after the virus first appeared in its Wuhan City in Hubei Province last December.

Among the returning Chinese employees are 750 experts, 80 managers, 70 technicians and 30 managing directors who have been asked to stay in their hotels or rented accommodations for 14 days. 

The request is made in line with an order issued Monday by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, which is based on the incubation period of the virus inside a human body, currently estimated between two and 14 days.

Phuc directed that anyone entering Vietnam from China will be quarantined for 14 days. The order will apply to everyone who has passed by Chinese areas that have reported the novel coronavirus infection.

On Monday, the Ministry of Industry and Trade had also asked companies in Vietnam to ask their Chinese workers in coronavirus-infected regions not to return after spending their Lunar New Year holiday at home.

The municipal labor department has also suspended acceptance procedures for nine Chinese workers who had requested permission to work in the city, and requested 86 labor export companies to postpose plans to send Vietnamese workers to China and other places that have been hit by the virus.

However, the businesses have said that not all 1,069 Chinese employees will be in HCMC.

Pouyuen Vietnam, a footwear producer based in Binh Tan District, has 300 Chinese employees. Normally, all of them would have returned to work in the city on January 30 after the Lunar New Year, but the epidemic has prompted the company to request them to stay in China.

"The company will receive Chinese employees only when the epidemic in their home country is put under control," said Kim Vinh Cuong, deputy chairman of the company’s labor union.

HCMC has reported three nCoV patients, out of the nation's 10, including one who has recovered and was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

The city’s tourism department has sought permission to set up a facility near the Tan Son Nhat International Airport to temporarily quarantine any passenger suspected of carrying the virus.

The PM Tuesday gave the nod for local airlines to send 5,361 Chinese nationals stuck in the central province of Khanh Hoa Province home after all flights to China were suspended on February 1.

Vietnam is also keeping a close watch on its citizens returning from China.

Since last Sunday, 200 Vietnamese citizens returning from China have been quarantined. Of these, 194 returning via land are staying at a military base in the northern province of Lang Son and the remaining six who had flown back are isolated in Quang Ninh Province. Both provinces in northern Vietnam share their borders with China.

As of Tuesday evening, the nCoV has killed 427 people and infected more than 20,600, of whom 730 have recovered.

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