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2 Nike Footwear Suppliers Halt Production Amid Vietnam Outbreak

Changshin Vietnam became the second Nike supplier this week to suspend production in Vietnam due to a coronavirus outbreak.

The South Korean-owned shoemaker closed three factories in Dong Nai province near Ho Chi Minh City, Reuters reported Thursday. The factories, which employ 42,000 workers and will remain shut at least until Tuesday, reportedly account for many of the 177 infection cases detected in the province.

According to the Vietnamese news site Tuoi Tre, the company plans to disinfect all its premises, identify direct contacts of the positive cases and continue the rapid testing for those workers have not yet been tested. “Depending on the actual situation, the company will issue further notice to its workers,” Dang Tuan Tu, the company’s trade union president, told Tuoi Tre.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Taiwan’s Pou Chen Corp., a supplier for Adidas and Nike, which didn’t return a request for comment, had suspended operations at its Pouyen Vietnam factory in Ho Chi Minh City for 10 days. Reuters, citing state media, said 49 infections had been detected at the plant.

This is not the first time Pou Chen Corp. has been forced to suspend operations in Vietnam. Early on in the pandemic, local authorities forced the business—reportedly the world’s largest branded athletic and casual footwear manufacturer—to shutter operations at a factory for two days after discovering it was violating social-distancing policies. It quickly remediated and reopened.

Vietnam is currently in the middle of its most serious coronavirus outbreak yet, with more than one-third of the Southeast Asian country’s 38,239 total confirmed cases reported just in the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Only 138 deaths have been attributed to the virus, including 79 in the past month. Just 0.3 percent of Vietnam’s population is fully vaccinated.

Last month, a coronavirus outbreak in southern China was responsible for hobbling the Port of Yantian, one of the country’s busiest shipping hubs. According to Brian Whitlock, senior director and research analyst for Gartner’s logistics and fulfillment arm, the port is responsible for transporting about one-quarter of China’s total export volume to the U.S. Capacity at the port has since returned to normal, but the massive bottleneck created by last month’s restrictions was still continuing to cause delays early this month.