Not all HCM City migrants choose to leave, many hopeful about livelihood post-COVID

October 07, 2021 - 08:52
Thousands of people left HCM City for their hometowns in the last few days after the city lifted its lockdown on October 1, but many migrants have chosen to stay back to resume work or look for new jobs.


HCM City’s streets become busy after it lifted the lockdown and social distancing on October 1. VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tình

Gia Lộc

HCM CITY — Thousands of people left HCM City for their hometowns in the last few days after the city lifted its lockdown on October 1, but many migrants have chosen to stay back to resume work or look for new jobs.

Cao Minh Hải decided to come from his native Mekong Delta province of Cà Mau to the city to sell seafood at the beginning of this year.

But his business ground to a halt when the fourth wave of COVID-19 hit in late April and the city mandated lockdowns and stringent social distancing restrictions for more than three months.  

The 36-year-old had to depend on his savings to survive.

Though the city worked together with a number of provinces and cities across the country to help people return to their hometowns, he chose to stay back.

“If I go back to my hometown, I have to be quarantined. I would have a chance to get a job when the city enters a ‘new normal’ period,” he said.

“I got VNĐ1 million (US$44) from the third relief package.”

The city earmarked VNĐ7.3 trillion for more than 7.3 million people irrespective of where they were from.

“I also got two shots of a vaccine,” Hải said.

A 27-year-old man from the south-central coastal province of Quảng Ngãi, who asked not to be named, said: “I chose to stay in the city because the vehicle repair service shop where I work resumed working after three months. I now have a job [again].

“I faced difficulties because I ran out of money. I asked for help via Zalo connect, the new feature launched on the Zalo network to help people in need of support and those who want to offer assistance. I got food from donors thanks to Zalo connect.”

He had come to the city five years ago with the hope of having a better life than in his hometown.

A 29-year-old from the south-central coastal province of Bình Định, who too wanted to be anonymous, said his parents told him to return home since they were afraid he might contract COVID.

He tried to assuage their fears since he did not want to return.  

Labour demand

Phạm Đức Hải, deputy head of the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, told the media on October 1 that the city needs workers as many businesses reopen in large numbers.     

It welcomes workers from other provinces and cities, appreciates their contributions to its economic development, and is making efforts to take proper care of them, he said.

Local authorities around the city are speeding up disbursement of the third support package for people affected by COVID.

The HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (Hepza) is working with health centres and clinics to ensure all workers are fully vaccinated and can resume working in factories.  

More than 204,000 workers out of a total of some 288,000 at industrial parks and export processing zones have so far got both shots. 

A worker at a company in the Linh Trung 1 Industrial Park in HCM City after the city lifted its lockdown on October 1. The city needs numbers of workers as many businesses are reopening after being closed for long. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Pha

On October 3 it and the District 7 Health Centre gave the second shot to 2,000 workers living in the district.     

It earlier collaborated with Tâm Đức Hospital, Thái Hòa General Medical Clinic and Careplus International Clinic to vaccinate 9,500 workers living at their workplaces in the Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone.

According to Hepza statistics, 288,000 workers worked in industrial parks and export processing zones at the beginning of this year. The figure reduces to 135,000 now. 

When the fourth wave broke out, city authorities ordered enterprises to house their workers on-site if they wanted to operate.

The Youth Employment Service Centre of HCM City is carrying out a programme to help unemployed workers find jobs, rent cheap rooms and get free COVID tests.

It is also working with authorities in Ninh Thuận, Sóc Trăng, Đồng Tháp, Bến Tre, and Bình Dương provinces to help people there find jobs in HCM City.

More policies

According to a joint research team from the University of Economics and Law and Việt Nam National University-HCM City’s Banking Technology Development Research Institute, the city should provide relief to COVID-affected and low-income people for at least two more months.

Families with school-aged children should be assisted for a longer period, it said.

Economic revival efforts should target not just the economy but also prioritise social welfare and healthcare, it warned.

Reduction in incidence, deaths

The Department of Health has reported a drop in the number of new cases and deaths since October 1.

From an average of more than 4,000 new cases every day earlier, it reduced to 2,461 on October 3.

The number hospitalised as of October 3 was only 1,631 while more than 4,000 are discharged from hospitals every day compared to 2,000 earlier.

On the same day more than 11 million vaccine shots were administered, including more than 4.3 million second shots.  

Thủ Đức City and the 16 districts of 1, 3, 5, 6,7, 8, 10, 11, 12, Gò Vấp, Phú Nhuận, Tân Phú, Tân Bình, Nhà Bè, Cần Giờ, and Củ Chi have announced they have controlled the outbreak. VNS