|Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam (right) on August 6 checks COVID-19 prevention and control measures in HCM City’s District 7. — VNA/VNS Photo Diệp Trương|
HCM CITY — Essential food manufacturers in HCM City have told Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam that the “three-on-spot” principle (work, eat and rest on the spot) was not working and should be stopped so that production can be restored to meet consumer demand.
During an inspection led by Đam on August 6, Bùi Mai Phương, chairman of the Board of Directors at Vietnam Food Industries Joint Stock Company (VIFON), said the company had to reduce its number of workers from 1,300 to nearly 500 under the “three-on-spot” principle, which has led to a large decrease in output.
Besides the domestic market, the company also exports its products. If the company cannot distribute its ordered products to customers as scheduled, it will have to pay compensation and lose markets, Phương said.
Lý Kim Chi, chairwoman of HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association, pointed out that two large companies, Acecook Vietnam Joint Stock Company and VIFON, produce more than four billion packages of instant noodles per year. If the two factories face difficulties in production, the noodle output for the country will be insufficient.
Chi said that several enterprises suggested having two-thirds of their employees working at their factory. They would go home directly after work and not go anywhere after working hours. Staff would buy food for them.
Other enterprises suggested that half of their workers work at their factory for 15 days and then be off for one week. These workers would be tested before re-entering the factory.
Đam pointed out that the “three-on-the spot” principle should be carried out for only three weeks and that HCM City should not apply it in the same way that the northern provinces of Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang did when they were COVID-19 hotspots.
The city should assist enterprises with medical screening and surveillance at their factories and workers’ homes, he said. To have proper solutions for production activities, enterprises should also know how many of their employees are living in pandemic-free “green zones” and how many are in “red zones” with COVID-19 cases.
Enterprises should rent rooms for workers living in red zones, or, alternatively, they should stay at the factory.
Chi said that enterprises in essential food production want priority for vaccinations for their workers. The number of workers at 11 enterprises that need vaccinations is 1,949.
Nguyễn Ngọc An, general director of VISSAN Joint Stock Company, said that more than 700 of its employees need to be vaccinated.
Đam told the city to give priority for vaccinations to workers in factories that have been forced to maintain production such as those in medical and food production sectors.
Following the Deputy Prime Minister’s instruction, the city's Department of Health said that it would create conditions for enterprises to work with private health facilities to vaccinate their workers at their facilities.
Transport of goods
VISSAN also wants the city's People’s Committee to allow its employees in charge of slaughtering, delivering and selling fresh food to travel after 6pm. Under Directive No 16, people in the city are not allowed to go out after 6pm except for valid reasons such as trips to hospitals.
Deputy Chairwoman of the city's People’s Committee Phan Thị Thắng said the city would soon have solutions for this problem.
VISSAN also asked the Deputy Prime Minister to allow its close contacts (F1 cases) of COVID-19 patients to resume working after they have finished their 14 days of quarantine and have negative test results.
Đam agreed that production and distribution of food was a priority. He said that local public and private health facilities collaborating with enterprises will monitor the close contacts’ health conditions and provide medical assistance if necessary.
Ngô Hoàng Gia Khánh, deputy general director of the e-commerce platform Tiki, noted that the company’s shippers had not been able to travel through several checkpoints although they were delivering vegetables.
Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, director of the city's Department of Industry and Trade, said the department would order authorities in all districts and Thủ Đức City to resolve this problem. — VNS