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Infection concerns mount as thousands of workers turn up for Covid tests

By Hong Chieu   June 29, 2021 | 06:22 am PT
Factory workers in Covid-19 epicenter Bac Giang gathered en masse Tuesday to get coronavirus tests at a time the province's outbreak is yet to be controlled.

The workers who gathered were employees of Luxshare Precision Industry (Luxshare ICT), assembler of Apple's AirPods wireless earphones in Vietnam, which is located in the Van Trung Industrial Park in Viet Yen District.

Van Trung is one of four IPs with almost 400 companies that had been shut down for 10 days starting May 18 after becoming Covid-19 clusters.

Since May 28, only a few companies of the IPs have reopened, and Luxshare ICT was recently given permission to have its workers back.

Thousands of Luxshare ICT show up at the company to have their samples taken for the new coronavirus test. June 29, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Giang

Thousands of Luxshare ICT employees show up at the company in Bac Giang to have their samples taken to test for the new coronavirus test, June 29, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Giang.

Workers who reside in areas that the authorities now consider safe enough can go to work but they need to test negative after an RT-PCR test for the novel coronavirus a day before they resume work at the factory.

A company representative had announced earlier that 7,000 workers were qualified to get back to work. This prompted many of them to gather in the thousands on Tuesday morning to have their samples collected for the test, Bac Giang health authorities said.

The sample collection was organized by the company and done by a private healthcare unit authorized to do the job.

However, as the company had gathered too many workers at once and failed to ensure social distancing among them, authorities ordered it to stop the process and submit a report on the situation.

The company was later asked to divide workers into smaller groups and let them come in different shifts to have their samples taken.

The province’s administration will decide how to deal the company for letting this happen, the provincial health department has said.

Luxshare ICT workers gather to get the new coronavirus test. June 29, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Giang

Luxshare ICT workers gather to get themselves tested for the novel coronavirus, June 29, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Giang

Dao Xuan Cuong, head of the Bac Giang Industrial Parks Management Board, said that Luxshare ICT factory has 22,000 employees in normal times.

"The management board will issue a guiding document requiring companies with a large number of employees to separate them into small groups to take samples for the Covid-19 test in different times," he said.

Luxshare ICT has been hiring thousands of workers in Vietnam since 2020, when its factory had to shut down due to the pandemic in China.

Bac Giang has so far allowed 188 companies in the four IPs to resume operations. The other three IPs are Quang Chau and Dinh Tram in Viet Yen District and Song Khe – Noi Hoang in Yen Dung District.

To earn that permission, those companies have to test its workers once every seven days in the first month of having them back and in the following months, the test will have to be done randomly among half the workers by the first two weeks of each month.

After the pandemic reached four of its industrial parks, Bac Giang became the epicenter of Vietnam’s latest ongoing Covid-19 wave that began two months ago. The province has recorded more than 5,600 infections so far.

 
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