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Whole factory should not be shut just due to one Covid case: Deputy PM

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HCMC – It is not necessary to shut down a whole factory if only one worker or two tests positive for Covid, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh told a virtual meeting held yesterday, September 20, to seek ways to remove obstacles facing businesses operating in industrial zones, export processing zones and hi-tech parks.

Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said nearly half of 500 foreign-invested companies in such concentrated production zones in Vietnam have been severely affected by the Covid pandemic.

Industrial, economic and hi-tech zones have had to face a number of obstacles such as rising input and logistics costs which led to a shortfall of input materials and increased production costs.

Businesses have also had to pay other Covid-related costs such as costs for testing, investing in facilities to meet Covid safety requirements, and maintaining stay-at-work operations.

Vo Van Hoan, vice chairman of the HCMC government, said businesses operating in the city’s industrial zones and hi-tech parks are encountering several problems related to personnel, finance and market conditions.

It is forecast that these businesses will face a serious shortfall of employees once the city eases mobility restrictions. In addition, the entry of foreign experts into Vietnam remains difficult due to some Covid-safe requirements.

In terms of finance, the businesses have to cover various costs to maintain operations during the lockdown period.

They also have insufficient capital, especially working capital to pay off debts. Further, they lost strategic markets due to the disrupted circulation of goods, Hoan added.

A representative from HCMC-based Nidec Vietnam suggested that only a production line or a division directly linked to confirmed Covid cases should be shut down, instead of closing the whole factory. The representative expected the authorities would create favorable conditions for workers to commute between localities.

Echoing this point of view, a representative from Nike Vietnam said the closure of the whole factory is not logical after a worker tests positive for the coronavirus. Instead, only the infected persons and their close contacts need to be isolated.

In response to the feedback from business representatives, the deputy PM said it would be extremely dangerous if an industrial zone with 20,000 workers becomes an infection cluster. However, rigid Covid prevention and control measures should not be imposed by ordering the entire factory with thousands of workers to shut down just because one worker has been infected with Covid.

Only the production line linked to the Covid case has to suspend operations, Thanh continued.

Wrapping up the meeting, the senior leader of the Government said businesses have to proactively draw up plans to restore production based on the Covid situation at their places of operation.

He stressed that the Government, ministries and local authorities will stand side by side with the business community to quickly restore production.

By Hoang Thang

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