Business associations unhappy with weekly tests for vaccinated, recovered workers

Wednesday, Oct 06, 2021 17:08

Workers test for COVID in HCM City. Business associations have called for removing a requirement by the city that workers commuting to work from elsewhere need to undergo a weekly test regardless of their vaccination and recovery status. — Photo

Several business associations in HCM City have called for scrapping a requirement that workers commuting to the city from elsewhere need to undergo a weekly test for COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination or recovery status.

In a proposal sent to the People’s Committee on Monday, the Food and Foodstuff Association, Textile and Apparel Association, Association of Mechanics, and Fine Arts and Woodworking Association called for amending provisions for workers and experts travelling between HCM City and neighbouring provinces.

The provisions, in Document No 3252, require people travelling by employers’ or personal vehicles to have “a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days, regardless of their vaccination and recovery status.”

The associations said the regulations are “inconsistent with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines for COVID testing for production and business establishments,” pointing out it only applies to employees who have not had the second vaccine.

Most of their members have factories in Binh Duong, Long An, Dong Nai, and Tay Ninh provinces, and a large number of experts, department heads and workers travel from there to HCM City every day, they said.

“Most businesses have great financial pressure to resume production. The testing requirement will be a huge waste of resources, and even threaten to cause cross-infection during testing.

“Reducing unnecessary costs at this time is the best support possible for businesses and workers.”

According to self-testing guidance issued last month by the health ministry, only employees with suspected symptoms such as cough, fever and shortness of breath, and those with related epidemiological factors need to be screened.

Most firms, especially in the city, face major hurdles to recovery such as a serious shortage of workers and numerous testing requirements by cities and provinces.

HCM City, the country’s pandemic hotspot, lifted most lockdown restrictions on October 1 as part of efforts to reopen its economy.

It had a series of lockdowns since late May, which peaked on August 23 with orders to the public to “stay where they are” except for emergencies.

The city has had more than 400,000 COVID cases since late April and 15,000 deaths. — VNS

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