Laborers return to Vietnam's southern industry hubs post lockdown

By Van Tram, Tran Hoa   October 16, 2021 | 04:16 pm PT
Laborers return to Vietnam's southern industry hubs post lockdown
Laborers from the Central Highlands travel by motorbike past Binh Phuoc Province to get to southern industrial hubs, October 15, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Van Tram
Workers from the Central Highlands have flocked back to HCMC and nearby provinces now that manufacturing and production activities are resumed.

In recent days, groups of people traveling by motorbikes have been seen along routes leading from Central Highlands provinces like Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Lak to the south.

In most cases, they are laborers who had fled Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc several months ago due to a Covid-19 wave that emerged in Vietnam in late April.

Driving a motorbike from his hometown in Cu Jut District of Dak Nong Province to Binh Duong Province that borders HCMC, Hoang Van Cuong, 30, said he and his friend are returning to the footwear factory in Binh Duong after three months of unemployment at home.

The factory was shut down under Covid-19 impacts and has now resumed operations as the outbreak in Binh Duong Province has been basically put under control.

Dao Kim Nghiep, deputy director of Dak R’Lap District in Dak Nong Province, said checkpoints at the border with Binh Phuoc Province has recorded many people leaving home in the Central Highlands for HCMC, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

For now, to ensure safety, everyone entering Binh Phuoc to get to other southern provinces must stop at the checkpoint, show a negative test certificate obtained within 72 hours, and wait to be led by traffic police through the province.

Binh Phuoc Police Department said the number of people returning to work in southern industrial hubs has increased sharply since Oct. 3, staying at 1,000 per day on average.

The General Statistics Office of Vietnam said earlier this week that about 1.3 million laborers had returned to their hometowns between July and Sept. 15 under pandemic impacts.

Of these, about 324,000 returned from Hanoi, 292,000 from HCMC and 450,000 from other southern localities.

The statistics have yet to include tens of thousands of people leaving for their hometowns in the countryside since early October, when HCMC and neighboring provinces eased Covid-19 restrictions.

Bordering HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An are the second, third, and fourth hardest-hit localities in the wave, after the city. All four are major industrial hubs that employ a large number of workers from across the country.

At a conference on the national workforce in the context of the pandemic held online Friday, the director of the HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said since the city’s Covid-19 restrictions were eased on Oct. 1, around 143,000 migrant workers have returned to work, though the city still lacks 60,000 laborers.

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