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HO CHI MINH CITY - Vietnam's position as one of the world's leading garment exporters is under threat as workers flee Ho Chi Minh City - the country's manufacturing  hub - over COVID-19 fears.

Vietnam overtook Bangladesh last year to become the world's second biggest garment exporter, after China, but a third coronavirus wave triggered by the Delta variant coupled with low vaccination rates have seen cases surge five-fold.

Tens of thousands of workers have already left Ho Chi Minh City and the nearby provinces of Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An, to return to their family villages.

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