Minh * is employed in a furniture maker in Binh Duong. At the start of this epidemic, the government implemented a “three-in-place” model where employees lived, ate and worked on-site with the aim of maintaining industrial activity, which is crucial to Vietnam’s economy-driven economy. exports, while protecting employees from spreading in the community.
But for Minh’s employer, the cost of converting significant industrial space into housing and organizing three meals a day was high, as was the risk of the virus spreading, and he was sent home. July 26. Production stopped shortly after. He has not worked since and is now paid the equivalent of US $ 0.88 per day by his company.
“It’s very difficult,” he said of making ends meet for himself and his wife. “All the money I make is spent and we have no savings. ”
Minh has not been vaccinated and said just having enough food to eat is a huge challenge. There is no current timetable for the reopening of the factory in which he works.
Diep Nguyen runs a café in Ho Chi Minh City which has been closed since May 31, although she is now allowed to deliver to homes. While her landlord has reduced the rent on her business, there has been little financial assistance from the city for small businesses.
“Locking down has been tough, but I’m taking care of my plants and trying to learn new things,” she said. “I cook a lot and I never would have thought my day would be just cooking and cleaning, and that went on for months. “
The difficult socio-economic situation in Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding provinces has forced government officials to rethink their approach to eradicate the Covid. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has acknowledged the reality of “living with” the virus, a change from the zero-Covid strategy pursued from the start, even if the situation further north is much better.
Hanoi, which has endured weeks of strict lockdown to avoid a catastrophic outbreak like Ho Chi Minh City’s, is easing restrictions, while other major cities like Da Nang and Nha Trang are also gradually allowing businesses to resume. their activities.
However, low vaccination rates nationwide remain a problem.
“Around the world and in Vietnam, it has become clearer that the virus will be with us for a while and will continue to spread and put people’s lives at risk,” said WHO’s Dr Park. “It will also have short and long term financial consequences. I understand that the government is now paving the way for the development of a roadmap for Vietnam “to live with Covid-19”.
While the eventual reopening of economic activity will ease financial pressure on some, according to Roberts, huge needs remain.
“Once this lockdown is over there will be many families in debt and at risk of eviction, so financial support will be vital,” he said. “The level of need is so severe and pervasive. Vietnamese are resilient and pragmatic, but it has been the most difficult time for many for over 30 years. ”
*Name changed at the request of the respondent.
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