Monthly Newsletter of September 2021
COVID-19 and ECONOMIC NEWS
As of September 30, 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 787,903 cases of infection in the country hit by the fourth COVID-19 wave (from April 27, 2021) (457,882 cases as of August 31, 2021). The most severely hit areas are Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) with 388,659 infections and neighboring provinces, such as Binh Duong Province with 211,056 infections, Dong Nai Province with 48,595 infections, Long An Province with 32,395 infections and Tien Giang Province with 14,000 infections.
There were 19,301 deaths announced due to the pandemic as of September 30, 2021. On the other side, around 372,745 patients were given the all-clear during the month, raising the number of recoveries to 608,831 during this wave.
Around 42,165,168 doses have been vaccinated as of September 30, 2021. In detail, 32,669,057 people (33.8% of the population) were partially vaccinated and 9,496,111 people (9.8% of the population) were fully vaccinated. Top 5 provinces and cities in providing partially vaccinated are Long An Province (100%), Ha Noi Capital (100%), Binh Duong Province (99.5%), Ho Chi Minh City (98.7%) and Da Nang City (87.3%) while top 5 in providing fully vaccinated are Ho Chi Minh City (50.7%), Long An Province (28.9%), Bac Ninh Province (28.6%), Ha Noi Capital (21.5%) and Dien Bien Province (20.7%).
After undergoing more than 120 days of social distancing, positive signals have been recorded with 11 district-level units of Ho Chi Minh City said they the pandemic has been brought under control. From October 1, 2021, Ho Chi Minh City allows reopening of production and trading establishments in industrial zones, processing and exporting zones, high-tech parks, as well as in districts and Thu Duc City.
The same re-opening plan on October 1, 2021 is applied in the neighboring provinces, including Binh Duong Province and Dong Nai Province while Long An Province had re-opening plan on September 21, 2021.
According to official dispatch No. 1265/CD-TTg of the government, 4 areas including Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong Province, Dong Nai Province and Long An Province are considered as “one area” to continue controlling people from these areas going outside for COVID-19 preventions on a country-scale as Vietnam is still facing risks of COVID-19 for low-rate vaccinated areas in the whole country.
Vietnam’s GDP shrank by 6.17% it in the third quarter, as social distancing and other COVID-19-related restrictions hurt the economy.
In the first nine months, the GDP grew by 1.42% as against 2.12% in the same period last year.
The General Statistics Office of Vietnam labeled the nine-month performance a “big success” considering the current circumstances.
The World Bank pegged Vietnam’s growth at 4.8% this year, expecting the economy to rebound in the last quarter.
Source: Ministry of Health, Online Newspaper of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, General Statistics Office of Vietnam and Vnexpress
NEW LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
1. Decision No. 3328/QD-BCD Promulgation the Criteria for Evaluation of Safety and Prevention Against COVID-19 at Production and Business Facilities in Ho Chi Minh City
The Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) People Committee issued The Criteria for Evaluation of Safety and Prevention Against COVID-19 at Production and Business facilities in HCMC on September 15, 2021. This decision comes into force from September 15, 2021.
A. The Criteria for Evaluation of Safety and Prevention Against COVID-19 at the factories
1. Criteria: Employees
Employees who participate in production shall:
a. Having the “COVID Green Pass” or “COVID Green Pass (with limited access to certain activities)”.
b. Receiving negative result for SARS-CoV-2 test (by rapid test or RT-PCR) before starting to work.
2. Criteria: Testing employees
a. The unit has a plan for periodic testing of employees by rapid test or RT-PCR (combined samples or individual samples) and submit test results to local authorities.
b. Testing frequency according to regulations of health authorities: once every 07 days for normal groups, once every 03 days for high-risk groups (subject to change by time or COVID-19 response scenario of health facilities).
3. Criteria 3: Safety distances at the workplace
The density of employees at workshops is at least 4 m2 per employee; the distance between 02 employees is at least 2 m. Otherwise, there shall be a partition between 02 employees or the employees shall wear face shields.
4. Criteria 4: Inspection, supervision of COVID-19 prevention and control at the factory
a. Staff is assigned to take body temperature, supervise employees wearing facemasks, washing hands, making health declaration at the entrance and in each production area; maintain the safety distance of 2 m and prevent employees and visitors from gathering.
b. Organize inspection and supervision of COVID-19 prevention and control at the unit using surveillance devices (such as surveillance cameras, QR code scanner, etc.) or assign staff to inspect, remind and instruct employees to comply with regulations on epidemic prevention and control.
5. Criteria 5: Medical equipment and supply for COVID-19 prevention and control at the factory
a. Provide adequate medical facemasks for employees every day; place sanitizer where there are frequently touched objects such as ATMs, water dispensers, vending machines, elevators, etc.; place trash cans with lids at convenient locations.
b. There is a contract with a state-owned or private medical unit or assign staff to monitor health of employees according to regulations and instructions of health authorities; formulate internal regulations and maintain frequent contact with local health authorities.
c. Prepare an area/room for temporary quarantine according to regulations and instructions of health authorities.
6. Criteria 6: Environmental hygiene
a. Sanitize the workplace and centralized lodging area at least 01 time/day, the restrooms at least 04 times/day; place sanitizer or soap at the workplace, entrances, exits, goods delivery and receipt areas, eating area, restrooms and centralized lodging area; sanitize clothes, face shields, etc. at the end of each shift (if any).
b. Ventilate the work place; increase natural ventilation in the factory with open doors/exhaust fans; avoid using air conditioners.
7. Criteria 7: Organization of meals for employees
a. Canteen staff shall have their health monitored, maintain hygiene, wear facemasks and gloves while working.
b. Practice distancing in the canteen: arrange alternate break and eating times; provide individual portions; avoid gathering of crowd in the canteen within the same time frame; prevent employees from sitting opposite to each other and talking to each other; maintain a distance of 2 m between 02 employees while eating or install partitions between the seats.
c. Place sinks and sanitizer in the canteen.
d. Sanitize the eating area before and after eating time.
8. Criteria 8: Control of commute and accommodation of employees
8.1 Control of employees’ commute
a. Employees who commute with their own private vehicles have written commitments to adhere to the registered route from home to the workplace (green route).
b. For employees who use the employee shuttle: the shuttle is conformable with regulations on epidemic prevention and control (the vehicle is airy; there is a list of passengers; each passenger has a fixed seat on the vehicle; there are sanitizer and thermometer on the vehicle; the vehicle is carefully sanitized before and after each trip); adhere to the route registered with competent authorities; the driver tests negative for COVID-19 within the last 72 hours; the passengers comply with 5K rules.
8.2. Control of employees’ accommodation
a. Centralized lodging area (centralized hostels, dormitories, hotels, etc.) and private houses of employees are conformable with regulations and instructions of health authorities.
b. There is an updated list of employee’s houses in green zones; list of employees who have frequent contact with external people (drivers, salespeople, security guards, etc.) and people with high risk of infection.
c. There is information technology solution and computer software for management of employees’ commute and accommodation (if any).
9. Criteria 9: Plan for safe production against COVID-19
a. Depending on the scale of operation, select one of the following method: (1) “Three-on-spot” or “Three-on-spot in groups”; (2) “One route – two destinations” or “Extended one route – two destinations”; (4) “4 green” (green employees, green route, green production area, green accommodation area); (4) Combination of (1), (2) and (3); or prepare a production plan that is suitable for the unit and ensure safety and prevention against COVID-19 according to these Criteria.
The plan shall be revised according to reality and evaluation result. Inform the competent authority or local authority for inspection.
b. Prepare a plan COVID-19 prevention and control at the unit, including: establishment of the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Control, COVID-19 teams; plans for handling suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases according to instructions of health authorities; organization of epidemic prevention and control at the workplace according to regulations and instructions of health authorities.
10. Criteria 10: Anti-COVID communications
a. Employees are trained in regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control (newest recommendations of the Ministry of Health, CDC of Ho Chi Minh City; hand washing instructions, 5K rules, how to wear facemasks properly, etc.).
b. Put up posters, hand out fliers about COVID-19 prevention and control in public areas (common working area, canteen, restroom area, ATMs, etc.) and on employee shuttles.
B. The Criteria for Evaluation of Safety and Prevention Against COVID-19 at Office
1. Criteria 1: Employees
Employees shall satisfy the following conditions:
a. Employees of departments that have direct contact with external people shall have the “COVID Green Pass”. Employees of other departments shall have at least the “COVID Green Pass (with limited access to certain activities)”.
b. Employees who return to the workplace for the first time shall have at least the “COVID Green Pass (with limited access to certain activities)” and have an unexpired negative SARS-CoV-2 test result (by rapid test or RT-PCR) according to regulations of health authorities.
2. Criteria 2: Safety distances at the workplace
The distance between two seats in the working room, meeting room, guest room is at least 2 m or there are partitions between two seats; the temperature in the room is not lower than 25°C.
3. Criteria 3: Inspection, supervision of COVID-19 prevention and control at the workplace
a. Staff is assigned to take body temperature, supervise employees wearing facemasks, washing hands; maintain the safety distance of 2 m and prevent employees and visitors from gathering at the entrance of the office.
b. There is a plan for implementation of anti-COVID measures at the office and inspection thereof; results are recorded and analyzed to make necessary improvements (if any).
4. Criteria 4: Medical equipment and supply for COVID-19 prevention and control at the workplace
a. The office that has at least 100 employees has a medical room and medicine cabinet to care for and temporarily isolate employees that are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
b. Medical equipment and supply for COVID-19 prevention and control are available at appropriate locations in the office.
– Equipment: thermometers, sanitizer dispensers, QC scanner, Green Card scanner, etc. at the office entrance.
– Medical supplies: sanitizer is available at: the office entrance, doors of working rooms, meeting rooms, guest rooms, medical rooms and restrooms; each table in the meeting rooms and guest rooms.
– There are other medical equipment and supplies for handling suspected cases according to instructions of health authorities.
5. Criteria 5: Environmental hygiene at the workplace
a. There is at least 01 restroom for every 10 female employees or 15 male employees; at least 01 hand-washing sink for every 10 employees; adequate clean water and soap in the restrooms.
b. Working rooms, meeting rooms and guest rooms are sanitized at least 01 time/week; restrooms and medical room are sanitized at least 01 time/day.
c. The areas are sanitized in accordance with regulations health authorities.
d. There are trash cans with lids for domestic wastes and medical wastes at convenient locations in the working rooms, meeting rooms, guest rooms, medical rooms and restrooms and public areas.
6. Criteria 6: Anti-COVID communications at the workplace
a. Disseminate information, remind employees to implement anti-COVID measures in appropriate manners.
b. Disclose contact information of the person in charge of COVID-19 prevention and control of the unit and contact information of the local health authorities in order to serve exchange of information, feedbacks and comments between the unit and the local authorities.
7. Criteria 7: Plan for COVID-19 prevention and control at the workplace
a. There is a plan for COVID-19 prevention and control at the unit according to instructions of health authorities, Including the plan for handling suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases; plan for screening, testing employees for SARS-CoV-2 as instructed by heath authorities.
b. The plan shall be revised according to reality and evaluation result. Inform the local authority for inspection.
The manufacturers and offices must pass all criteria for re-opening on October 1, 2021.
2. Resolution No. 116/NQ-CP to Support Employees and Employees in Difficulty Due to Covid-19 Pandemic from Unemployment Insurance Fund
The Government issued Resolution No. 116/NQ-CP on September 24, 2021 to support employees and employees in difficulty due to covid-19 pandemic from Unemployment Insurance Fund.
According to the resolution, one-time support for workers who have contributed unemployment insurance from the unemployment insurance fund will be supported for 2 groups of employees as follows:
– Employees participating in unemployment insurance as of September 30, 2021.
– Employees who have stopped participating in unemployment insurance due to the termination of their labor contracts or working contracts in the period from January 1, 2020 to the end of September 30, 2021 and have a reserve period of contributing unemployment insurance.
The one-time support rate is from: VND 1,800,000 – VND 3,300,000 (contribution period from 12 months to under 132 months).
In addition, employer shall receive the reduction in insurance premiums for unemployment insurance as follows:
– Reduction in insurance premium: The employer is entitled to reduce the contribution rate from 1% to 0% of the monthly salary fund of employees who are subject to unemployment insurance.
– Time to be entitled the reduction: 12 months, from October 1, 2021 to the end of September 30, 2022.
3. Resolution No. 107/NQ-CP About the General Meeting of the Government in August 2021
The Government issued Resolution No. 107/NQ-CP on September 11, 2021 about the general meeting of the Government in August 2021.
According to the resolution, The Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs shall coordinate with the Government Office, Vietnam Social Insurance and relevant agencies and localities in building and completing professional processes, providing, receiving and processing public services to support unemployment allowance settlement. jobs for employees on the National Public Service portal in October 2021, which allows employees to submit a photocopy of one of the documents as prescribed in Clause 6, Article 1 of Decree No. 61/2015/ND – The Government amends and supplements a number of articles of the Government’s Decree No. 28/2015/ND-CP.
Departments of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, provincial Social Insurance shall receive and process unemployment benefit application dossiers of employees on the National Public Service Portal instead of directly going to provincial Social Insurance agency to process unemployment benefit application.
4. Circular No. 05/2021/TT-BCT Elaborating Some Content on Electrical Safety
Ministry of Industry and Trade issued Circular No. 05/2021/TT-BCT on August 2, 2021. The circular regulates some content on electrical safety. One of main contents is about training, assessment, grade assignment and electrical safety card issuance.
1. People must be provided electrical safety training
– Persons operating, experimenting on, building or repairing transmission lines or electrical equipment at enterprises.
– Electricity operators and repairers and persons providing electricity services for organizations and enterprises.
2. Training content
The training shall be included theoretical and practical content.
3. Training time
– Initial training: at least 24 hours;
– Annual training: at least 8 hours;
– Retraining: at least 12 hours.
4. Responsibility of employer
– Formulate training and assessment documents and stipulate training time as appropriate to safety grades and work positions of workers;
– Select trainers and assessors according to legal requirement
– Organize training, assessment, grade assignment and electrical safety card issuance for workers after they pass assessment.
– Provide training for whichever part that workers have not passed.
– Manage and monitor training, assessment, grade assignment and electrical safety card
5. Safety grade
There are 5 safety grades from 1/5 to 5/5. Person assigned each grades could perform different levels of electrical task. However, persons assigned grade 5/5 may perform all tasks assigned.
6. Safety card
A safety card will be issued in the following cases:
a) After a worker receives first-time training and passes the assessment;
b) When a worker has a new job;
c) When a work loses or damages their card;
d) When a worker’s safety grade changes.
Employers shall submit required document to Department of Industry and Trade to get the safety card.
This Circular comes into force from September 22, 2021.
OneStepVietnam employees work-from-home, provide remote services to customers and plan to re-open the office in Ho Chi Minh City
From 0:00 on July 9, 2021, all OneStepVietnam employees followed the Directive of the government and the requirements of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City to implement work-from-home to protect ourselves and the community in the complicated situation of COVID-19. OneStepVietnam is considering to re-open the office on October 8, 2021 since OneStepVietnam has allowed to return to work in the office by registering a company’s QR Code and applying all criteria of an office to re-open (according to The Criteria in Decision No. 3328/QD-BCD of Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee as above).
OneStepVietnam team will follow the requirements of the local government to provide on-site services in Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai Province, Binh Duong Province and Long An Province first due to the COVID-19 prevention requirements. Our team will keep customers updated when we are able to provide our on-site services.
During this period, OneStepVietnam still provides our remote services, including consultation and virtual audit (internal audit and audit for customers).
Summary of the remote audit: OneStepVietnam team has been conducting virtual audits for the factories in the North of Vietnam, where the factory operates their site normally with COVID-19 precautions.
OneStepVietnam team – September 2021