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COVID-19 testing requirement causes long queues of delivery workers in Ho Chi Minh City

COVID-19 testing requirement causes long queues of delivery workers in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday, September 20, 2021, 17:11 GMT+7
COVID-19 testing requirement causes long queues of delivery workers in Ho Chi Minh City
Delivery workers queue up for COVID-19 tests on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Mobile medical centers in Ho Chi Minh City were overcrowded with app-based delivery workers on Monday morning as they needed to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result before starting their daily job as required by local authorities.

Due to the small number of mobile medical stations, which provide the testing service for free, many workers had to tolerate long waits and chaotic situations to finish the mandatory procedure.

“We’ve waited here since 4:30 am,” said Nguyen Thanh Long, a 25-year-old motorbike partner of multi-service app Grab, referring to a mobile medical point in Go Vap District.

“Some others gave up after waiting for too long.

“It is overburdened for such a few medical stations to perform tests for a multitude of delivery workers.

“I’m concerned about such large gatherings and hope that there will be more mobile medical stations for COVID-19 testing.”

Meanwhile, Minh Anh, another Grab delivery worker, left the venue empty-handed on Monday morning, the second day he has queued up to undergo the rapid COVID-19 test.

Delivery workers queue up for COVID-19 tests on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Delivery workers queue up for COVID-19 tests on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have allowed app-based delivery workers to resume inter-district delivery services since Thursday last week, provided that they are tested for COVID-19 every two days.

However, the number of mobile medical stations set up to help delivery workers perform the tests for free has paled in comparison to the demand.

Many delivery workers took to social media platforms’ groups to complain about the situation.

Some of them advised their colleagues go to hospitals or other medical facilities to use paid COVID-19 testing service to avoid overcrowding, transmission risk, and time waste at the free mobile medical stations.

Congestion at a COVID-19 checkpoint on Nguyen Kiem Street in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Congestion at a COVID-19 checkpoint on Nguyen Kiem Street in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Meanwhile, a representative of a delivery service company suggested extending the validity period of COVID-19 testing results for delivery workers from two to five days.

In this way, a delivery worker pays VND270,000 (US$12) for a test, or only about VND50,000 ($2.2) a day out of the average daily income of VND500,000 ($22), which is an acceptable ratio.

The municipal Department of Industry and Trade on Sunday proposed the city’s Department of Health increase its capacity to test 90,000 delivery workers for COVID-19.

In response, the health department admitted that its 501 mobile medical stations with 1,200 medics, which were originally designated to take care of COVID-19 patients quarantined at home, were far behind the demand of delivery workers.

Delivery workers queue up for COVID-19 tests on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Delivery workers queue up for COVID-19 tests on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

In addition, the number of prepared test kits was also insufficient.

The department pledged to add more personnel to the mobile medical stations soon.

In the latest COVID-19 wave that hit Vietnam almost five months ago, Ho Chi Minh City has been hit the hardest.

With a population of nine million, it has documented more than 336,000 local infections, including over 13,000 deaths.

The national tally has reached 687,063 patients, including 17,090 fatalities, since the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged early last year.

A medical worker takes a nasal swab from a delivery worker for COVID-19 testing on Nguyen Van Luong Street in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

A medical worker takes a nasal swab from a delivery worker for COVID-19 testing on Nguyen Van Luong Street in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, September 20, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

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