NA report looks at COVID-19’s social impacts
Multiple enterprises have closed down or reduced production scale due to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs.
A medical worker gives check-up to a people entering Vietnam from another country at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City
Industrial production growth has seen the largest drop in the last six and a half years.
Production has been delayed due to a lack of raw materials, as a majority of enterprises have depended on materials from China and other markets, the report said, adding that effects caused by the epidemic on the country’s GDP growth are inevitable.
The State will have to deploy economic support packages to help businesses revitalize their production and business, and support labourers, it said.
For the health sector, if the epidemic is prolonged, health facilities will be under pressure and facing difficulties maintaining the operation of the preventive healthcare system. There will be a shortage of medical workers for epidemiological investigation, taking samples for testing, and organizing quarantine, the report said.
It also mentioned the need to prepare enough medical supplies, medicine, and personal protective gear to meet the medium- and long-term disease prevention efforts.
Another problem is the strong reduction in the number of patients seeking treatment at medical facilities, the report said, citing examples at many hospitals in Hanoi with decreases of patients ranging from 30-50 percent.
On one hand, this will affect patients’ health, and on the other hand, hospitals will suffer from decreasing revenues.
Meanwhile, the health insurance fund is also forecast to be seriously impacted if the number of COVID-19 cases surges, it said, clarifying that treatment costs for COVID-19 patients are quite high.
For the field of labour and employment, job loss and unemployment has increased, the report said, citing a quick survey of 1,200 SMEs conducted by the Prime Minister’s advisory board on administrative procedure reform which showed the epidemic has force them to cut workforce or let workers take no-pay leave, as well as cut wages. The enterprises also face a high risk of bankruptcy.
In February alone, about 47,100 unemployed labourers nationwide filed applications for unemployment insurance in February, 63.26 percent higher than in January.
Joblessness and strict compliance with disease prevention regulations will lead to lower purchasing power, the report noted.
According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, about 500,000 Vietnamese guest workers are working under definite-term labour contracts in 36 countries and territories worldwide. So far, no Vietnamese workers have been confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the three main markets of Japan, Taiwan (China) and the Republic of Korea.
The report said so far Vietnamese guest workers are working normally and have not showed wish to go home at this time.
The committee asked the NA Standing Committee to pay special attention to budget allocation and adjustments for the health sector in order to strengthen public healthcare capacity in both general and preventive healthcare.
It also suggested the Government build socio-economic development scenarios on the basis of the epidemic’s development, and in the post-pandemic period, especially arranging and making adjustments to exams and study plans for students in the 2019-2020 academic year./.
COVID-19: Vietnamese citizens in Laos, Thailand advised to stay calm
Vietnamese citizens in Laos and Thailand should stay calm and limit going out and returning home at this time as the COVID-19 is developing complicatedly.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Laos said the host government is working out all possible measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the embassy, a large nubmer of Lao workers in Thailand have flocked home in recent days to avoid the pandemic, and the figure is expected to increase in the time ahead. Despite this, the overseas Vietnamese community should not be panic but stay at home, minimise social interactions, and follow preventive measures of the Ministry of Health and regulations of the host country.
The embassy recommended Vietnamese citizens in Laos reduce movement and home-returning trips at this time because there is a high risk of infections on public means of transport and the medical capacity at home in terms of testing, quarantine, infrastructure, and equipment is limited.
Vietnamese expatriates should continue keeping a close watch on the situation and sharing information in their living and working areas for Lao authorities without spreading fake news to cause social panic.
They could contact the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos via hotlines 85620 96106775 or 85620 92546868; call 85620 91112345 to the Vietnamese consulate general in Luang Prabang, 8562098362929 to the Vietnamese consulate general in Pakse, and 85620 98208666 to the Vietnamese consulate general in Savannakhet to update information and receive guidance and emergency support.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand also advised Vietnamese citizens to stay calm and conduct self-quarantine and measures against COVID-19 right after the host government announced to declare a state of emergency on March 26.
In its notice on March 25, the embassy recommended Vietnamese citizens keep a close watch on the situation, actively cooperate with local authorities and strictly abide by local emergency preventive measures.
The embassy asked Vietnamese citizens to stop travelling to Thailand-Laos border gates to seek ways to return home because this action violates Thailand’s law on the state of emergency. On the other hand, the bilateral border gates would be closed at any time.
As of March 24, the embassy received nearly 500 online registrations of citizens asking support to return home. However, due to the overload in quarantine areas, the embassy will temporarily close the registration link.
At present, the embassy is actively coordinating with Thailand’s relevant agencies to facilitate the extension of visas for Vietnamese citizens who cannot leave the country due to COVID-19.
By March 25, Thailand recorded 107 more cases tested positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, raising the tally to 934 natinwide, according to the local health ministry. VNA