|A shipper gets their papers checked in HCM City. Because of the rising number of shippers registering with the city following a new regulation, the city has been struggling testing all of them. – VNA Photo|
HCM CITY – HCM City is struggling providing COVID-19 tests to local shippers as the number of shippers registered with the city’s Department of Industry and Trade has soared over the last few days.
Since September 16, shippers have been allowed to deliver goods across districts from 6am to 9pm every day, but they have to be pool tested for COVID-19 once every two days, with fees paid for by HCM City's budget.
The city recently stopped limiting the number of shippers of each delivery service allowed on the road.
Nguyễn Nguyên Phương, deputy director of the department, said the number of shippers allowed to travel outside had risen to over 82,100 as of September 19, compared to 20,000 before September 17.
Restaurants have been allowed to sell delivery since September 9, increasing demand for shippers.
Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of staff of the Department of Health, said the department has instructed district medical centres to provide mobile medical stations with test kits. There are 501 such stations, with around 1,200 medical staff.
However, the number of registered shippers are now exceeding the stations’ testing capability.
Mobile medical stations’ key tasks are caring for COVID-19 patients at home, and testing and vaccinating locals, so testing shippers is a new task added to their workload, Mai said.
In the past few days, many shippers have had to wait in long lines for hours in the early morning at mobile medical stations to be tested.
The Department of Industry and Trade has asked the Department of Health to allocate more resources to increase stations’ testing capacity to over 90,000 shippers.
The Department of Health is working with the HCM City Centre for Disease Control and districts’ medical centres to provide more support to mobile medical stations.
Shippers should visit the stations for testing at around 5 - 6am to not interfere with the monitoring of COVID-19 patients, Mai said.
They also must adhere to pandemic preventive measures, have at least one vaccination shot, and be registered with the city’s Department of Industry and Trade.
The city is Việt Nam’s COVID-19 epicentre with over 336,000 cases found by Sunday. – VNS