Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

By Quynh Tran   April 23, 2020 | 09:30 am GMT+7
Hundreds of construction workers on Saigon’s much-delayed first metro line wear face masks and toil in sweltering conditions to catch up with the schedule.
Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

On Monday they were working at the elevated station near the Vietnam National University-HCMC in Thu Duc District. Two tracks have been laid and are ready for a test run in the third quarter of this year.

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Before entering the construction site all workers and engineers have their temperature checked, wash their hands and keep a minimum distance of two meters.
 

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in January, the HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways has counseled the workers to raise awareness of disease prevention and required them to wear masks and maintain a distance between each other.

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Nguyen Thi Cam Tu, 56, who is in charge of cleaning the construction site, is fully protected from the sun. She said: "My husband also works here. I have a more stable income than at other places and there are wage increases at the end of each year."

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

At some construction sites, the contractor requires workers to bring at least one bottle of water to keep themselves hydrated and prevent sunstrokes.
 

HCMC has recently experienced temperatures of 34-37 degrees Celsius, while RealFeel temperature, which indicates how hot it feels outdoors, rose to around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Pham Van Dien, a worker, who was sweating profusely, said, "The thick layer of face mask and tight clothes made me feel even more suffocated but we put up with it due to the Covid-19 pandemic." 
 

The man and his wife moved from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang to Saigon. He used to work as a mason while his wife was a construction worker, but has been off work for the past two months due to the pandemic. He earns VND350,000 ($14.8) a day working on the metro, less than his earlier income but more stable. 

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

At the underground station below the HCMC Opera House (District 1), construction workers work at a depth of around 15 m. There are many ventilators here but the air is still hot.
 

Around 400 workers are racing against time to complete the B1 floor as scheduled by the end of April. It will have a lobby, ticket vending machines, automatic toll gates, and toilets.

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Engineers inspect the progress of a tunnel section. 

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Le Thi Hang, 30, from the central province of Thanh Hoa, is in charge of loading and cleaning the underground station.

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Workers have an hour and a half to eat lunch and take a short break. The management warns people to limit gathering and sit away from each other during the break.


In this picture Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, 41, of Dong Thap Province in southern Vietnam, his wife and oldest son have lunch with rice and dried fish. Tuyen's wife wakes up at 5 a.m. every day to cook. The three have been working at the metro project for over a year now. They live in a rented house and the couple have two younger children. 

Saigon metro workers keep going despite sun, pandemic

Saigon's metro line 1 will run 20 km, 2.6 km of it underground, and cost VND46.3 trillion ($1.96 billion). It will have 14 stations, three of them underground. The target is to complete 85 percent of the work this year so that it can begin commercial operations by the end of next year. It is currently 75 percent complete.

 
 
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