March 20, 2020 / 10:54 AM / 16 days ago

Coronavirus forces 15% of Vietnamese firms to cut production

HANOI, March 20 (Reuters) - The coronavirus epidemic has forced 15% of manufacturing companies in Vietnam to cut production, with the clothese and textile industry hard hit, state media reported on Friday, citing data from the country’s labour ministry.

It has directly impacted 2.8 million workers in the labour-intensive garment and textile industry as firms have reduced shifts and stopped overtime, Vietnam News Agency reported.

More than 500,000 workers in the transport sector and another 500,000 in the tourism sector have also been affected due to travel curbs, the report added.

The coronavirus, which has killed more than 10,000 people worldwide and infected 87 people in Vietnam as of Friday, has led the country to suspend all international flights and impose restrictions on foreign visitors.

Vietnam-based airlines have cut salaries and encouraged employees to take unpaid leave as they struggle with the impact of coronavirus on travel demand.

Exports of garments and textiles, Vietnam’s second largest export earners after smartphones, rose by 18.8% last year to $17.9 billion, according to government’s customs data.

Vietnamese garment makers will face a severe shortage of materials from the second quarter because of disruption to their supply chains, the chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association Vu Duc Giang said. (Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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