The largest outbreak of covid-19 that Vietnam has experienced since the beginning of the pandemic is affecting the production of suppliers of large textile and footwear companies, which have had to reduce or paralyze their activity in some of their factories.
According to a communiqué from the Vietnamese Government, the factory of the Pouchen company, with 56,000 workers (the largest in Ho Chi Minh City), supplier of Nike, has had to close because it could not comply with the requirements of the Executive, which demands that the workers sleep in the factory to stop the hypothetical spread of contagion to the community.
Taiwan’s Pouchen is also a supplier to other international brands such as Adidas.
“The big factories that work for big brands can be closed for 15 days, but not much longer, because the brands will go to other countries, they have very large productions. That is a problem for Vietnam if this situation lasts long. It is unfeasible for a factory of 20,000 workers to keep the workers inside,” said Tuesday a businessman of the textile sector who prefers not to give his name.
Nearly 50 % of Nike’s footwear production is located in Vietnam, but the company has not indicated whether this stoppage will break distribution chains and affect the availability of its products in global markets.
The worst affected are in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), which on Friday will mark two weeks of its tightest confinement, with people forced to stay at home except for essential activities and factories forced to close if they are unable to fit them out for their workers to stay overnight.
With 57,000 infections and 245 deaths from covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, Vietnam remains one of the countries with the best numbers, but has been unsuccessfully trying for weeks to control its strongest outbreak, which has overwhelmed its strategy of closing borders and thoroughly tracking positives and their contacts.
With international tourism at a standstill, the country managed to maintain positive growth of its economy in 2020 mainly thanks to the strength of its manufacturing industry and the trade war between Washington and Beijing, which favored the relocation of companies from China to Vietnam.
Vietnam, which recorded only 1,500 covid-19 infections in 2020, is one of the countries in Asia with the slowest vaccination rate, with 4.3 million doses inoculated and only 310,000 immunized with the full regimen, for a population of over 97 million inhabitants.