8,500 workers, students wish to leave Da Nang

By Nguyen Dong    August 18, 2020 | 06:21 am PT
8,500 workers, students wish to leave Da Nang
Tourists have their temperature checked at Da Nang Airport before leaving the city, August 12, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Van.
Authorities in Da Nang in central Vietnam have sought government permission to let 8,500 stranded workers and students return home.

Around 2,000 workers who had lost their jobs to the fresh Covid-19 outbreak and 6,500 students cannot return to their hometowns as Da Nang, the country’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot, has extended its social distancing campaign indefinitely to stem the new coronavirus spread, with all public transports suspended.

Da Nang on Sunday petitioned Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to allow migrants to leave the city amid the complicated development of the Covid-19 pandemic and requested the Ministry of Transport to arrange special trains to bring them home.

Pham Thi Thuy Linh, director of the municipal Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said all migrants would be tested for Covid-19 before leaving the city.

They would be quarantined for 14 days upon returning to their localities as per health ministry regulations, she said.

The unemployed

For the past three weeks, Minh Lai, 24, and his wife Hoai Phuong have been unemployed.

They had brought their one-year-old child from Quang Tri Province to Da Nang several months ago to seek work. As a part-time worker, Lai earned a monthly salary of VND5 million ($215.78) while his wife worked at a factory inside Hoa Khanh Industrial Park of Lien Chieu District for VND4 million a month.

However, the resurgence of domestic infections in Da Nang since July 25 cost the couple their livelihoods.

"With the return of Covid-9, we didn’t know how to survive or pay our VND2 million rent each month," Phuong said.

To reduce daily expenses, she contacted charity groups and received a donation of some boxes of instant noodles.

Duyen, 43, who worked at a construction site, said she and her husband stayed home the past few days after local infections were reported in their neighborhood of To Hieu Street in Lien Chieu District.

"My husband works as a security guard for a company, earning a monthly salary of VND4.5 million. When the city deployed its social distancing measures, the company closed, forcing him to remain home," she said.

"We want to return to our hometown but I don’t know whether my husband would break his labor contract if we did leave," she said.

Da Nang authorities have decided to continue social distancing indefinitely, limiting gatherings to two people and household shopping to once every three days as the city has recorded 350 domestic infections since July 25.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists have been evacuated from the city since, including many to Hanoi and HCMC.

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