Southeast Asia sees factory shutdowns and massive lay-offs due to Covid-19 outbreak

Author: Nandar Chan, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 8 March 2020

"Idle Factories, Empty Trade Zone Highlight Coronavirus Impact on Southeast Asia," 06 March 2020

A Chinese special economic zone in Laos has fallen silent, workers in Cambodia staged a strike after their factory closed for lack of inputs from China, and Myanmar grappled with plant closures and layoffs, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus cascaded across the region.

In Laos, which has yet to report a confirmed case of COVID-19, the developer of the Boten Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Luang Namtha Province bordering China, has suspended all construction and closed stores and restaurants – largely because few Chinese managers, technicians or tourists are showing up.

Work on the China-Laos railway, which is due to open in December 2021, has slowed...

“There has been no work for more than a week now. We all stopped working because it’s too risky and 

...Lao Airlines executive Bounma Chanthavongsa told local media that the state-owned airline has laid off one 1,000 staff, or half of its work force, after  all flights to China and South Korea were suspended.

In Cambodia, more than 5,000 textile workers have become unemployed in the last two weeks, due to the closure of factories over the impact of Corona virus outbreak...

... Ath Thun, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said 33 factories have closed and more than 17,000 workers have been suspended from their jobs at the request of factory owners as a precautionary measure against possible virus outbreaks.

And Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), also told RFA that more than 30 factories had closed temporarily, affecting about 20,000 workers in early March.

In the Yangon..., three textile and shoe factories in Shwepyithar and Hlaing Tharyar industrial zones closed on Friday, leaving more than 2,000 workers out of job.

 

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