For businesses to safely produce in the new normal

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Production activities at Pouyuen Vietnam Company. Photo: Nam Duong

Production gradually stabilized

According to Hua Quoc Hung, Head of the Management Board of Export Processing Zones and Industrial Parks (EPZs and Industrial Parks) in Ho Chi Minh City – Hepza, there are now 1,355 out of 1,412 enterprises operating again (reaching 96% compared to before the pandemic) with about 230,000 employees.

Businesses are also starting to pay attention to increasing capital, expanding production, and gradually adapting safely, flexibly, and effectively controlling the Covid-19 pandemic. In which many enterprises have a rate of employees returning to work at nearly 100%, factories are speeding up to operate at full capacity.

Similarly, the whole high-tech park has about 45,000 workers back at work. According to Nguyen Anh Thi, Head of the Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City Industrial Park, it is expected that by the end of November, enterprises in the industrial park will restore 100% of their operation. The management board of the Industrial Park will also focus on the key tasks of safe adaptation and step-by-step recovery and socio-economic development, including paying attention to a number of large enterprises such as Intel, Samsung, Nidec.

Do Phuoc Tong, Chairman of the Members’ Council of Duy Khanh Mechanical Company, said that after a stable month, workers returned to the city.

Pandemic prevention has also been more organized. In particular, with a clear set of safety criteria for pandemic prevention that are suitable for businesses’ operations, the application is quite convenient, so businesses have confidently reopened production, ready to receive new orders.

However, recently, at a number of enterprises’ factories in EPZs and IZs in Ho Chi Minh City, cases of Covid-19 have appeared. For example, at 17 EPZs and IZs of the city, after opening, cases of infection increased gradually according to the scale of business operations. The number of infections per day increased from 50 cases to 70 and some days about 100 cases. Since October 1, more than 2,800 infections have been recorded at factories. Since October 1, there have been more than 770 infections in Ho Chi Minh City Industrial Park. In which, a number of enterprises recorded a continuous increase in cases over the past 3 weeks.

A representative of Vietnam UB Company (Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park, Nha Be) said that in order to prepare to resume production, the enterprise’s health department has tested all personnel, and those who have received two doses of the vaccine are allowed to go to work. The company’s factory is continuously disinfected, customers who come to work will be given a test kit at the gate, those with a negative test will be allowed to go inside. Enterprises also maintain screening tests of at least 30% of employees and periodically test 100% of high-risk groups. Measures to prevent and control the pandemic are done very carefully, but infections still appear.

Prevent outbreaks

A representative of Pouyuen Vietnam Co., Ltd (Binh Tan Industrial Park) said that currently, 38,000 workers have returned to work when the company started operating on October 6, reaching 70%.

To welcome these workers back, the company conducted rapid antigen testing in five batches for nearly 40,000 people. In addition, the company also organizes periodic rapid antigen testing for high-risk workers every Tuesday. However, like many businesses, Pouyuen Company has a large number of workers, the common psychology of workers is fear of infection, insecurity, anxiety and not being able to work with peace of mind.

According to Mr. Chanh Phuong, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts and Woodworking Association, after a month of easing social distancing, through screening and periodic testing, many units detected infections. However, businesses and workers and localities have calmly handled the situation.

Currently, many units still apply isolation areas at factories for employees to stay and avoid spreading the disease to their relatives and neighbors. Many companies arrange a place to treat F0 cases, in case the patient gets worse, they immediately contact the local medical facility.

Currently, Hepza is coordinating with the Data Center of Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, to build labor management software in 17 industrial zones, in which priority is given to the implementation of information data of each enterprise and the residence of employees. In case F0 cases are reported, the factory declares information on this software to easily control and transfer information about infections to the competent authorities to coordinate handling.

The high-tech park has put into operation a temporary isolation ward for asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic F0 cases with a scale of 100 beds. Along with the concentrated isolation area, enterprises in the Industrial Park at the same time ensure temporary isolation areas, creating the initiative for businesses to safely adapt to the pandemic.

In the long term, many businesses expect the government to support the construction of accommodation for workers and social housing, contributing to safe production and adaptation to pandemic prevention and control. Chairman of Thu Duc City People’s Committee Hoang Tung said that Thu Duc city has started construction of worker accommodation in Cat Lai industrial park, and at the same time checked vacant land in the area, in collaboration with EPZ-Industrial Parks to build accommodation areas to serve the needs of workers.

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Nguyen Van Cam, General Director of Uyen Phat Production and Trading Co., Ltd., said that in this “new normal” production period, every week, enterprises found F0 cases, in which, most of them are workers living in boarding houses. Enterprises want to build inns for workers but are currently facing difficulties in land funds.

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