09/28/2021, 12.56
VIETNAM
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COVID-19 has sunk businesses and impoverished workers, especially migrants, in Bình Dương

by Tran Hung

The area is part of Vietnam’s most important economic hub, which includes Ho Chi Minh City and Đồng Nai. Provincial leaders plan to boost businesses and employment. But the virus still imposes distancing and lockdowns. For one worker, vaccines are the key to economic recovery.

 

Bình Dương (AsiaNews) – Bình Dương province, southern Vietnam, plans to boost local businesses, promote employment and support the weakest groups affected by the economic and social crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially migrant workers. 

Together with neighbouring Ho Chi Minh City and Đồng Nai province, Bình Dương is part of Vietnam’s so-called economic triangle.

To achieve its goal, provincial officials are determined to support businesses, economic activity and job creation.

Bình Dương province is home to about 50,000 companies, with over 1.2 million workers, many of whom come from other provinces and cities of Vietnam. 

It has 29 industrial parks with 2,000 companies employing 485,670 employees, including 14,900 foreign workers, mainly from Asian countries in the region.

At the start of the pandemic, Vietnam was able to contain its spread without shutting down business activity and preventing worker mobility. For a long time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) cited it as a model.

However, a poorly implemented vaccination policy that relied on relatively ineffective Chinese vaccines combined with the Delta variant have led to a surge in cases and forced the authorities to take harsher measures, including lockdowns. 

As the fourth wave of the virus spread among Bình Dương residents and businesses, the province found itself affected, starting last 27 April.

Closures and lack of support have caused a very serious crisis, especially among economic migrants (foreign and domestic), even more so among migrant women who are the most vulnerable to the pandemic.

Tens of thousands of people have lost their job due to COVID-19, excluded from the labour market with no prospects for the immediate future. 

The virus has paralysed businesses and disrupted production, services, and even religious activities.

The measures put in place, including social distancing and strict restrictions, have effectively prevented any economic recovery and return to normal employment levels, although the first signs of a turnaround are visible.

The most affected groups live in poverty and the provincial economy itself has suffered a sharp slowdown after 20 years of vigorous growth. 

Yesterday Vietnam reported 9,342 new cases, for a total of 203,989 since 27 April, 3,793 In the Bình Dương alone.

Provincial leaders have set 15 October as the deadline to bring the pandemic under control.

“This year our life has been completely ruined,” said Thanh Tung, a woman who spoke to AsiaNews.

“In my company,” she added, “many migrant workers or their family members have died as a result of the epidemic. Others have contracted large debts. Our lives are still precarious.”

“This pandemic has a long way to go. The key is for people to get vaccinated. We must accept to live with the virus.”

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