Customs officials in pandemic affected areas


customs officials in pandemic affected areas
Customs officials and employees was doing exercise in the morning at Hai Duong Customs Branch.

“Chorus” of asking for taking care of the children

At 5 a.m, on the first day of the week in mid-May, the alarm bell rang, and Pham Thi Le (a customs official of the General Affairs Team, Hai Duong Customs Branch) woke up. Her job today was not to prepare breakfast for the whole family as usual. She prepared to go to the yard of the branch to exercise with colleagues before starting a new working day.

“Since the fourth outbreak of the pandemic, Hai Duong has faced many complex developments, so the leaders of the department and Customs branch decided that 100% of officials would stay to work and live in the headquarters. Although my house is only about 4 km from Customs Branch in Hai Duong City, I was ready to stay at the headquarters to ensure the prevention and control of the pandemic and follow the instructions of leaders,” Le shared.

Staying at the office with other customs officals and employees generates worries about family, especially concerns about children’s eating and studying.

“When I had to stay in the unit, the family and children had to rely on grandparents and husbands to take care of them. I had an advantage over others as my children are grown up (one in 8th grade and one in 4th grade). However, with the nature of women, I still often call home to share, confide in and motivate my kids,” Le said.

For Pham Thi Thu Bang (Professional Team, Hai Duong Customs Branch), her worry was greater as her children are young (one is two years old, the other five). Bang’s family lives in Van Giang, Hung Yen, about 40 km from the unit. Normally, she goes home after working. However, amid the pandemic, they had to stay at the office, so she had to send their children to their grandparents’ house in Khoai Chau, Hung Yen, because the house in Ha Nam was also a hotspot of the pandemic.

“When I stayed at the office, my biggest concern was tutoring for my older child, and eating for the bab Therefore, besides calling to visit and encourage my children, I also had to regularly ask the teacher to help me when teaching online for encouraging and sharing more with the children,” Bang shared.

In the same situation, Tran Thi Chanh (General Affairs Team, Hai Duong Customs Branch) shared: “My family was in Thai Binh, and I had two small childs, one was in grade 1 and one was in kindergarten. Usually I went to work at the beginning of the week and returned at the weekend, so I had to ask my grandparents and my husband a lot. When the pandemic occurred, my grandparents and husband at home also had a harder time, but everyone tried to overcome it and encouraged me to accomplish job well.”

The Covid-19 pandemic hs affected all aspects of people’s social life, and customs officials are no exception, especially those working in areas with a complex situation. These stories are representative of more than 10 female officials and employees of Hai Duong Customs Branch who are staying at the headquarters. In their story, the common point is that, besides the attention and facilitation of the leaders of the department, the leaders of the Customs branch, the great motivation for them to stay at work is the support, sharing and encouragement of their parents, husbands, children and family members.

Ensure smooth flow of goods

Talking to reporters, Manager of Hai Duong Customs Branch Vu Quoc Duong said after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak again, the Director of Hai Phong Customs Department Nguyen Duy Ngoc directed the unit to arrange 100% of customs officials and employees to stay to work and live at the headquarters (from May 10) to minimise outside contact to both prevent pandemic and ensure cargo clearance for firms.

“Especially, when staying at the headquarters, the branch organised for officials and employees to do exercise in the morning with a duration of 45 minutes. The exercise is carried out on the campus of the unit and meets the requirements on distance and pandemic prevention and control measures as prescribed. Besides doing exercise, the accommodation of customs officials and employees is ensured by the Customs branch because of its experience in staying at the headquarters during the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2021. In particular, 100% of green vegetables were grew by the unit at the headquarters,” Director Vu Quoc Duong said.

To support and solve problems for the business community, the unit continues to increase the use of online methods, especially social networks. Currently, the Zalo group “Hai Duong Import-Export Association” has more than 740 members, including many officials of the Hai Duong Customs Branch to regularly exchange, update and answer problems for firms.

“In case the enterprise has to present dossiers directly, the unit arranged an isolated receiving area, for bonded warehouses and centralised inspection locations, the Customs branch strengthened online supervision through the camera system and other technical equipment. When a shipment has to be conducted physical inspection, the unit arranged the force at the centralised inspection site to ensure the regulations on pandemic prevention. All regulations of 5K in pandemic prevention and control were strictly implemented by the unit,” Director Vu Quoc Duong said.

This is the third time Hai Duong Customs Branch has arranged 100% of officials and employees (41 people) to stay and work at the headquarters (two previous times when the pandemic occurred in a complex manner in early 2021 and mid-2020).

Leaders of Hai Duong Customs Branch further shared that the above solutions were practical actions of the unit to contribute to Hai Phong Customs Department and Hai Duong province to control the pandemic and ensure facilitation for business production and import and export activities of businesses.

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