Vietnam: Factories with only a few positive Covid-19 cases should remain open under new rules

It’s unreasonable to close a factory with thousands of workers when only one positive case is found, officials have said.

At an online conference discussing solutions to help enterprises in industrial zones (IZs), export processing zones (EPZs) and hi-tech zones on September 20, 2021, a representative of Nidec Vietnam proposed that enterprises should not be forced to close the entire enterprise when discovering a positive Covid case on production lines.

In these cases, enterprises need to quarantine or close the specific production divisions.

A representative of Nike Vietnam said that there is no need to close the entire factory if only one positive case is discovered. Separate the person and quarantine their contacts in the factory. Nike wants to allow fully vaccinated workers who have negative testing results to go to work every day

Meanwhile, Samsung Thai Nguyen proposed that workers who have two vaccination shots be allowed to travel from their homes (green zone) to the company with buses provided by the company.

Replying to questions about the requirement of recovering production while ensuring absolute safety, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh said “absolute safety” means that enterprises must not let hotbeds break out in enterprises. When resuming production, enterprises must control production activities to avoid the spread of infections among staff.

If enterprises resume production activities, they must organize regular testing. Ministries will give further guidance on this issue.

“It would be very dangerous for an industrial zone with 20,000 workers to become a hotbed,” Thanh said.

However, Thanh said there was no need to be too rigid when applying anti-pandemic regulations – for example, closing a factory with thousands of workers when positive cases are discovered. In this case, it’s necessary only to stop the operation of the workshop where the patient worked and quarantine their close contacts.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu promised to help enterprises simplify procedures for foreign specialists to enter Vietnam.

For example, Vietnam may consider reducing the required quarantine time from 14 to 7 days. Vietnam has temporarily recognized vaccination certificates of over 60 countries. Ministries are considering expanding the foreign subjects allowed to enter Vietnam.

Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen said the ministry is considering the ‘five green’ principle – green factory, green workers, green travel, green workers’

The Government has been urged to act promptly to save businesses, or it will be too late.

In HCM City, a study of the University of Economics and Law showed that since the fourth wave of Covid-19 broke out in late April, as many as 288,300 businesses with 3.2 million workers had to stop operation.

Enterprises put at center

Thanh said the Government will have monthly meetings with ministries, branches, localities and enterprises, and will take the initiative in learning and sharing difficulties with enterprises.

“The most important thing is close cooperation and high responsibility. If ministries cannot cooperate well, we won’t succeed,” Thanh said.

Enterprises need to take the initiative in building plans to recover production, including solutions to control positive Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, local authorities will settle administrative problems and help enterprises.

Localities need to soon organize conferences, meetings and exchanges to thoroughly grasp the production recovery spirit in the current conditions.

In related news, in the first eight months of the year, coastal IZs and economic zones (EZs) attracted 428 new investment projects and 517 projects registered for capital increase with additional capital of $8.1 billion.

The total revenue of enterprises was $140 billion, with export turnover of $100.7 billion, accounting for 47.5 percent of the country’s total export turnover, contributing VND96.5 trillion to the state budget and creating 4 million direct jobs. 

Thu Hang