What solutions to help businesses limit disruption of production chains?

VCN - Supporting businesses and limiting the disruption of production and supply chains in the Covid-19 pandemic are issues the Private Economic Development Research Board (Board IV) proposed to the Prime Minister to tackle.
In 2021, textile enterprises must promote production chains In 2021, textile enterprises must promote production chains
What solutions to help businesses limit disruption of production chains?
There has been a breakdown of the “three on-site” model in some factories. Photo: TTX

Businesses are in a passive position

One of the issues proposed by Board IV to the Prime Minister is the use of the "three on-site" model. The application of the "three on-site" model in factories is to create safe production zones, isolated from the risk of disease to protect production and supply chains and maintain jobs for workers.

However, many factories did not meet this requirement and had to suspend production as they are not able to organise and arrange facilities for on-site meals and accommodation for thousands of employees in a short time; or because the previous design capacity of factories is also limited and not ready to accommodate the long-term eating, living and resting activities for thousands of people.

In southern provinces, many firms are trying to apply the "three on-site" because they are in key industrial zones, which play a huge role in production and export chains.

However, preliminary information from businesses and industry associations (Vietnam Textile and Garment, Vietnam Electronics, Vietnam Timber and Forest Product, Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts and Wood Processing, Binh Duong Wood Processing, and Binh Duong Business Federations) showed there was a breakdown of the “three on-site” model in some factories when many positive cases (F0) appeared and multiplied rapidly within a few days.

According to a report from Board IV, with the local medical capacity almost zero, while the local health system is extremely overloaded, the handling of F0 and F1 cases in these factories is very confusing, causing a heavy psychological impact on businesses and employees, and negatively affecting other businesses in the area.

In that context, local governments have issued documents asking businesses to strengthen COVID-19 testing for employees. However, relevant medical scenarios were not clarified, so the pressure on firms was increased because the cost of testing was too large without assessing how effective it is to protect production compared to other options.

In Tien Giang province, as soon as businesses invested costs to implement the "three on-site" model, the provincial government issued a notice to suspend production and business activities with units that are applying the "three on-site” in industrial zones and clusters since August 5, causing businesses to fall into a passive and difficult situation.

When to apply “three on-site”?

From experience in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh, Board IV and associations proposed the application of the "three on-site" model should be implemented in localities where the pandemic situation is still "under control".

For example, in HCM City and southern provinces, with the long-term spread of the pandemic, potential pathogens in many areas and workers, although factories seriously test for COVID-19 before conducting the "three on-site", it still puts them at risk with a high possibility of disease outbreaks.

Accompanying "three on-site", a close public-private coordination process and a serious monitoring process during the implementation are needed to detect and respond to any arising problems. This helps the locality to calculate the medical needs and other conditions to control the pandemic. This helps businesses to safely operate without falling into crisis that some factories have become "F0 beams" in the southern area in the past few days.

“Localities that require businesses to implement the ’three on-site’ need to develop and publicly announce health plans, quick handling procedures if F0 cases appear at the ’three on-site’ factories; and discuss in advance with businesses to coordinate all resources to handle arising problems. Minimising situations when businesses report a pandemic outbreak, the government delays inspection, or after the inspection is completed, the government only requires a blockade of thousands of workers at one place. This causes the pandemic to spread exponentially in the factory, making the opportunity to handle and overcome even more difficult,” – said Board IV.

For southern provinces where F0 cases have appeared in “three on-the-spot” factories, due to the overloaded local health force and lack of detailed response procedures, there are many difficulties for both authorities and businesses. The Government should assign the Ministry of Health to chair an emergency meeting with the provinces, representatives of businesses and associations to assess the situation and discuss solutions to minimise damage to both localities and business.

Should Covid test results be used as a passport?

An issue also mentioned by Board IV is how to secure the chain of goods transport as well as imports and exports.

The confusion and disruption of freight transport has been repeatedly mentioned by many businesses, associations, and newspapers recently. This situation is due to differences in the way of making, understanding and interpreting regulations on pandemic prevention and control in localities. Directive document No. 5187/VPCP-CN dated July 29by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has solved many major problems related to this.

However, the consumption chain and import and export chain also involve the activities of many other parts. Therefore, Board IV and associations proposed to the Prime Minister to direct or assign focal points to ministries, branches and localities to review and apply uniform regulations and travel conditions for those specialising in import and export procedures, port staff, and loading and unloading staff. This is the same group of people as the inner city shipping group (shippers) who are under management measures to travel and perform work while still ensuring pandemic prevention.

Additionally, Board IV proposed the Prime Minister consider and evaluate carefully the "safe transport - contactless driving process" recommended by the Vietnam Association of Logistics Service Enterprises and the Vietnam Automobile and Transport Association. According to medical experts, the use of Covid-19 screening test results (including quick test or PCR test results) as a passport is part of the meaning of the test, and has many potential risks.

By N. Linh/ Ha Thanh

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