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Vietnam allows quarantined Samsung engineers from S.Korea to telecommute from hotels

Saturday, March 14, 2020, 17:07 GMT+7
Vietnam allows quarantined Samsung engineers from S.Korea to telecommute from hotels
Workers work at a Samsung plant in Vietnam. Photo: N.A. / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam will quarantine nearly 200 engineers of Samsung Electronics’ display unit from South Korea at their hotel, instead of isolation camps, where they will work remotely, after allowing their entry to the country amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The information is confirmed with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper by Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung on Saturday.

Dung said that the Vietnamese Government assigned the northern provinces of Thai Nguyen and Bac Ninh to arrange local police and medical forces to monitor the Samsung Display engineers.

“All their activities during this time, including work-related activities, must be carried out in isolation, separated from other people’s activities,” Dung affirmed. 

“These engineers will be quarantined and work [from their hotels] at the same time, ensuring that if an [outbreak] incident happens, it will not spread to the community,” the Minister added. 

Samsung Display, a supplier for Samsung Electronics and Apple, had earlier asked Vietnam to exempt 700 engineers from mandatory quarantine, saying they need to prepare for the production of screens for new smartphones, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.

South Korea has Asia’s second-biggest coronavirus outbreak outside China, with 8,086 cases as of Saturday, and Vietnam, which has just 53 cases, tightened up entry regulations for South Koreans, including making them undergo 14-day quarantine upon entry.

But despite the controls, a chartered Asiana Airlines plane carrying 186 Samsung Display engineers flew from South Korea to Vietnam on Friday, according to Reuters.

There will be more flights carrying more Samsung Display engineers to the Southeast Asian country, Reuters said.

According to Minister Dung, the Samsung Display engineers were transported from South Korea to Vietnam by a charter aircraft and picked up by company buses from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to separate isolation hotels in Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen.

Each trip was accompanied by police and medical forces, as well as local authorities.

Dung emphasized that the solution is meant to ensure both the quarantine and normal working activities of the South Korean engineers are not interrupted.

A representative of Samsung Vietnam told Tuoi Tre that the company will strictly comply with Vietnam’s policies and regulations for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic.

“We will make every effort to take effective measures, including effective and thorough isolation, to protect the health and safety of Vietnamese employees, South Korean experts, and the local community,” the representative said.

Samsung Electronics accounts for a quarter of Vietnam’s exports, and the Southeast Asian country is South Korea’s third-biggest export market, and the fifth-biggest source of South Korea’s imports, according to Reuters.

Park Noh-wan, South Korea's Ambassador to Vietnam, earlier also sought quarantine exemptions from the Vietnamese government for diplomatic officials and government officials with official passports, as well as South Korean experts who have health certificates proving that they are negative with COVID-19 issued by South Korean health authorities.

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