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Ho Chi Minh City jobless flee as Vietnam eases COVID curbs

Labor crunch looms, with supply chains requiring months to fully recover

People wearing face masks commute on their motorbikes on Oct. 1. Months after a lockdown was imposed in Ho Chi Minh City on May 31, authorities allowed Vietnam's commercial hub to "gradually" reopen at the start of October. (Photo by Nguyen Doc Lap)

HANOI -- Thousands of migrant workers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's economic hub, fled the city early Friday morning, just after a COVID-19 lockdown was eased. The exodus will hamper Vietnam's economic recovery, as fully restoring the country's supply chains is expected to take months.

After more than 120 days since a stringent lockdown was imposed on May 31, authorities had said on Thursday that the southern city would "gradually" reopen at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

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