Covid-19 impact and responses: Vietnam

Updated on: 20 July, 2021

What is the current situation?

General information

Until July 14, Vietnam has recorded 31,890 new cases of COVID-19 since April 27 and there are 58 provinces with cases of COVID-19 in the community. Until now, Vietnam has a total of 35,409 COVID-infected patients and has 9,553 cases have been recovered and discharged from the hospital. Vietnam has recorded 132 deaths due to the pandemic. Around 4,079,066 people have been vaccinated in which 283,884 people got both doses in Vietnam (0.3% of the population).

Currently, Ho Chi Minh city is becoming the hottest spot of the COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam. Until now, this city has recorded 17,239 cases of Covid-19 (an increase of 404% compared to the last 14 days), standing the first rank in the total number of cases in the 4th wave of the outbreak. Ho Chi Minh applied social distancing measures under the Prime Minister’s ‘Directive 16’ for 15 days starting at 00:00 on July 9. In accordance with the directive, people must strictly follow strict social distancing rules. They are asked to stay at home and only go outside for essential trips such as buying food and medicines, or emergency care. The city authorities have requested the suspension of public transport, technology ride-hailing services and traditional motorbike taxis. Some other high-risk localities were also implementing Directive 16/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister, including Binh Duong, Long An, Tien Giang, Phu Yen, etc.
The Ministry of Health has rolled out a COVID-19 vaccination plan for the 2021-2022 period with an overall goal of reaching herd immunity by the end of 2021 or early 2022. The vaccination rate among people aged 18 and above is expected to increase to at least 50% this year and over 70% by the end of the first quarter of 2022, according to the plan. The plan also specifies 16 priority groups for vaccination; factory workers and their relatives are included in this. The plan will be implemented nationwide from July 2021 to April 2022, with priority to be given to:

  • Pandemic-hit provinces and cities
  • Localities in key economic regions
  • Industrial and populous localities
  • Border localities with international border gates.

Challenges of textile and garment enterprises

COVID-19 transmission is rising rapidly day by day, especially rising in manufacturing and industrial zones. Many provinces and cities have applied strict regulations to prevent transmission. Those regulations are putting the enterprises in difficulties, especially in the garment, footwear, and electronic industries, where a large number of workers are employed.

  • Ho Chi Minh City only allows the continuation of production activities for enterprises in the city when ensuring one of two cases.
    • Enterprises must ensure both production and isolation of workers with the motto “3 on site”: on-site production, on-site eating-drinking, on- site resting).
    • Enterprises ensure the implementation of the motto “1 road – 2 locations”: there is only one route to transport workers from the place of residence to the workplace (dormitory, hotel, dormitory, etc.)
      In case the enterprise fails to comply with the above activities, it will stop operating from 00:00 on July 15, 2021 until new instructions are issued.
  • Long An Province: From 00:00 on July 13, companies and businesses that do not meet the motto “3 on-site” are forced to suspend operations.
  • Tien Giang Province: By July 15, any business in Tien Giang that does not meet the “3 on-site” requirements including on-site production, on-site dining and on-site rest to prevent Covid-19, will have to reduce the number of people by 50% or temporarily stop working.

Provinces such as Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, etc. and many factories, agencies and enterprises require a negative COVID-19 rapid test result to be allowed to operate and enter the workplace. Representatives of some businesses in Binh Duong said that since the application of this regulation, this has caused many difficulties for the operation of the company. Especially, the test papers are only valid for 3-5 days (after 3-5 days, they have to rotate for testing) puts a lot of pressure on companies, reducing labour productivity. See the regulations of high-risk provinces here.

A guide by CNV International for factories describing the measures that can be taken if a COVID-19 case is detected.

What are the government policies and regulations to protect employees – the workers?

The Ministry of Health issues the Decision No. 2787/QD-BYT on the promulgation of “the guidance for pandemic prevention and control plans when COVID-19 cases are recorded at the production and business establishments or industrial parks” on June 05, 2021. Accordingly, when no COVID-19 case is recorded, the production and business establishment must organize screening tests by rapid antigen testing or pooled RT-PCR testing of SARS-CoV-2, at least every 5-7 days for all employees providing close-contact services for employees at the production and business establishments and at least 20% of high-risk employees at the production and business establishment. Where confirmed cases are recorded at 1 production and business establishment or industrial park, it is required to temporarily isolate the entire production and business establishment or industrial park, or each workshop/production line/production team/production area/working position where the confirmed cases (F0 cases) are recorded, depending on the practical situation.

The Government has just issued Resolution No.68/NQ-CP on a number of policies to support employees and employers facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 7, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 23/2021/QD-TTg regulating the implementation in order to deploy the support package in a timely manner, transparently and effectively. There are 12 supporting policies introduced in the recently issued Resolution. Some policies can be mentioned such as reducing the contribution to the insurance fund for occupational accidents and diseases, suspend the payment of retirement and survivorship funds, use unemployment insurance funds to support vocational training and job changes; support employees with their labour contracts temporarily terminated; and additional support and assistance to children. See detail of Resolution here.

What do local organisations do to support and protect the workers?

The COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant impact on social life; in particular, this 4th outbreak has spread, causing many difficulties for workers and people in the blockade areas. In that context, trade unions, organizations, individuals and businesses in Ho Chi Minh City have had many timely support activities, including donating money, organizing distribution of essential goods, free meals, organizing “0 VND supermarket”, community refrigerator, etc.

The Binh Duong Provincial Labor Confederation has supported many cases of affected workers, in which F0 workers received 3 million VND/person, F1 workers received 1.5 million VND/person and F2 workers and workers in the blockade areas received 500,000 VND/person. In addition, there are many gifts and necessities to support workers in the isolation areas.
The representative of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor came to Binh Duong and gave 500 million VND to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee of Binh Duong province to join hands in the prevention and control of COVID-19.

What have been the responses and requests of business associations to support the industry?

Due to the complicated situation of the pandemic, VITAS has issued a petition to the Government and the Ministry of Health on supporting businesses to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, with priority given to businesses with a large number of workers in industrial parks and central areas of epidemic zones; facilitate mobilization of partner channels and brands to work together to bring vaccines to businesses.

Fair Wear in Vietnam: Due to the 4th wave of COVID 19 in Vietnam, the audits and WEPC in Vietnam scheduled in July and August are postponed. The Vietnam team hasn’t been able yet to plan for the new requests on training and audit. We will notify the partners when the situation is improved.

Relevant links for more information