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Vietnam’s seafood association proposes long-term solution to coexist with COVID-19

Vietnam’s seafood association proposes long-term solution to coexist with COVID-19

Wednesday, August 04, 2021, 11:01 GMT+7
Vietnam’s seafood association proposes long-term solution to coexist with COVID-19
Workers work on a processing chain at a seafood factory in Vietnam. Photo: Chi Quoc / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) has put forward a proposal to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan to seek help for the seafood industry to coexist with the COVID-19 in the long run.

The association came up with the solution after the 'three-on-the-spot' mechanism, a model that many firms in Vietnam have followed to maintain economic growth during the pandemic prevention time, has proved to be ineffective, it said on Monday.

Enterprises and employees applying this scheme must conduct production, have meals, and rest after work at the same place.

According to VASEP, only about 30 percent of seafood enterprises in the southern region can afford the 'three-on-the-spot' mechanism.

However, even at financially strong companies, only 30-50 percent of their workers are going to work now, while the others have to quit jobs or take unpaid leave.

As a result, the average production capacity has dropped by 50 to 60 percent.

The association estimated that raw materials for production and export in the last months of this year will fall short by 20 to 30 percent.

VASEP assessed that the 'stay-at-work' mode is only a temporary measure that medium enterprises can afford in two to three weeks and large companies for four to five weeks, regarding the heavy expenses to maintain production and pandemic prevention regulations at the same time.

The association thus called for giving COVID-19 vaccine priority to workers at enterprises following the 'three-on-the-spot' model in the seafood industry as an immediate solution.

In the long term, VASEP suggested seafood enterprises to apply sustainable measures to survive the pandemic.

It proposed the Ministry of Health complete a set of rules and organize training for local authorities and enterprises to implement the so-called 'on-site medical.'

Accordingly, firms will proactively make use of their own medical teams and factories’ medical stations to hold COVID-19 sampling drives for employees twice a month.

Local health agencies will test the samples, with the results being widely recognized for circulation in production and transportation activities.

Municipal and provincial centers for disease control will conduct another test once a month so that each employee will be tested three times monthly.

The Ministry of Health will also need to give instructions for timely handling infected workers, conducting contact tracing and medical isolation, disinfection, and other measures to effectively and appropriately control sources of infection, thus reducing losses to businesses’ and workers’ incomes while ensuring the pandemic prevention.

In addition, VASEP pushed for more support for workers and enterprises in need, including reducing bank interest rates, cutting electricity bills by 30 percent at least until the end of 2021, and lowering the payment ratio of union dues from two percent of staff salary to one percent.

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