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How to Meet the Criteria for Safety and Prevention Against Covid Pandemic

How to Meet the Criteria for Safety and Prevention Against Covid Pandemic

“Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming its consequences will be one of the biggest challenges for businesses when returning to work after a long period of social distancing. The assessment of the appropriate time and plan to gradually stabilize production and business is the top concern of enterprises. As we move towards the “new normal”, in this article, PLF suggests some solutions for businesses to overcome and recover from the pandemic.”

To return to work, businesses need to update and comply with the Government’s regulations and directives on safety and epidemic prevention. According to ‘Decision 3589/QD-BCD’ dated 15 October 2021, there is an eight point criteria in ‘Appendix 05’ to evaluate safety and prevention against Covid-19 at offices in Ho Chi Minh City:

  1. Employees (Depends on working location) (i) Must have “COVID Green QR code” (limited range of activities)”, (ii) Must have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months, (iii) Must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and possess an unexpired negative SARS-CoV-2 test result (rapid test or RT-PCR) as prescribed.
  2. Testing: Employees who return to the workplace for the first time must have an unexpired negative SARS-CoV-2 test result (rapid test or RT-PCR) according to regulations.
  3. Social distancing at the workplace: The distance between two seats in the working room, meeting room, and guest room must be at least 2 meters or there must be partitions between two seats. The temperature in the room must not be lower than 25°C.
  4. Staff is assigned to check body temperature, ensure employees are wearing facemasks, washing hands, maintaining safe distance of 2 meters and prevent employees and visitors from gathering at the entrance of the office. There must be a plan for implementation of anti-Covid measures at the office and inspection thereof. The results of implementation of the plan must be recorded and analyzed to make necessary improvements (if any).
  5. Medical equipment and supply for Covid-19 prevention and control at the workplace:
  • An office that has at least 100 employees must have a medical room and medicine cabinet to facilitate temporary isolation of employees who are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Medical equipment and supply for Covid-19 prevention and control must be available at appropriate locations in the office:
    • Thermometers, sanitizer dispenser, QC scanner, green card scanner, etc. must be installed at entrances and exits of the office.
    • Sanitizer must be available at: the office entrance, doors of working rooms, meeting rooms, guest rooms, medical rooms and restrooms, and each table in the meeting rooms and guest rooms.
    • Other medical equipment and supplies must be available for handling suspected cases according to instructions of health authorities.
  1. Regular cleaning & disinfection of working rooms, meeting rooms and guest rooms must be done at least once per week. Restrooms and medical rooms must be disinfected and cleaned at least once a day.

Trash cans with lids must be placed for collection and disposal of domestic waste and medical waste at convenient locations in the working rooms, meeting rooms, guest rooms, medical rooms and restrooms and public areas.

  1. Information must be disseminated to remind employees to implement anti-Covid measures in an appropriate manner.

Contact information of the person in charge of Covid-19 prevention and control of the unit and contact information of the local health authorities must be disclosed in order to facilitate exchange of information, feedback and comments between the unit and the local authorities.

  1. There must be a plan for Covid-19 prevention and control at the unit according to instructions of health authorities, including a plan for handling suspected and confirmed Covid-19 cases, plan for screening and testing employees for SARS-CoV-2 as instructed by heath authorities.

In addition, businesses also need to consider returning to operation based on other factors of the business such as:

  • Type of operation and business of the company: According to the type of business, the company must make a decision on the number of employees working at the office and the number of employees working remotely. Adjustments to hours, shifts, or rotating work schedules must be considered to limit exposure. The company must assess data security/cybersecurity risks when working remotely/over the internet.
  • Finance: The costs incurred for preparing to return to work must be proportionate to the increase in revenue.
  • Supply Chain: Adjustments must be made to the supply plan to adapt and avoid the shortage of key materials. The company must regularly update, review and adjust inventory strategy to ensure adaptation to future crises, and readiness to serve market demand.
  • Business strategy: Businesses need to develop a specific business strategy to match the response and recovery during the period of the epidemic. Companies must review and set out medium and long-term strategies. New regulations and policies issued by the Government and functional agencies must be updated for adjusting the business plan in a timely manner.
  • Other criteria for employees: Vaccination and health safety of employees must be ensured. Personal circumstances and financial situation are also factors that can affect employees’ work performance and motivation levels.

Currently, the epidemic situation in Vietnam is basically under control but experts say that the risk of an outbreak is quite high as many provinces like Ho Chi Ming City continue to report new infections. Therefore, we believe that businesses need to prepare themselves for the future by utilizing technology to manage activities, promulgating remote work policies, developing work procedures through electronic media, etc. These preparations are intended to ensure that businesses will not be disrupted in case there is an outbreak in the future leading to enforcement of social distancing measures by the government.

Writing time: 18 October 2021.

The article is based on the current laws at the time of drafting as noted above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader accesses this article due to changes in applicable law and specific cases that the reader wants to apply. Thus, the article is for informational reference only.

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