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Vietnam's supply chains struggle to shake off COVID impact

Labor scarcity and pandemic rules persist two months after brutal shutdown

Factories in Vietnam's industrial south were allowed to reopen on Oct. 1, but companies say they still face labor shortages, sealed borders and other challenges. (Photo by Rie Ishii)

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Nearly two months on, Vietnamese supply chains vital to the world's phone and footwear industries are struggling to shake the damage from a COVID shutdown that shrank the economy at a record pace.

Factories in the industrial south serving brands from Intel to Toyota to Reebok were allowed to reopen Oct. 1, after hundreds had closed or had staff living on site. But in the stuttering recovery, companies say they still face labor shortages, sealed borders, inconsistent rules, costs of testing and disruptions when even a single worker contracts the coronavirus. Vietnam's rebound will be "more gradual than expected," with the impact felt into 2022, Bank of America has said.

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