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Taiwan's Miaoli reports 18 new COVID-19 cases at 4 high-tech firms

ROC Central News Agency

06/15/2021 10:16 PM

Taipei, June 15 (CNA) Taiwan's Miaoli County on Tuesday reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 involving four local tech companies, including for the first time one from flat panel maker Innolux Corp.

Eleven of the new cases are migrant workers while the seven others are Taiwanese nationals, the Miaoli Department of Health said, indicating that the four companies were King Yuan Electronics Co., Accton Technology, Greatek Electronics Inc and Innolux, which is a subsidiary of iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

The new cases on Tuesday, with the majority coming from King Yuan, brought the total number of confirmed cases in Miaoli to 469 since the beginning of a surge in domestic COVID-19 transmission in April, the department said.

According to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), health authorities have been testing migrant workers from six "high-risk" companies in Miaoli's Zhunan Township, where several cluster infections were reported earlier this month.

The testing, which began on Tuesday and will be completed on Wednesday, is focused on 1,400 foreign workers from the companies who are currently in government-designated quarantine facilities.

Miaoli County Magistrate Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said the new confirmed patients were already in quarantine when they tested positive for the disease, hence he urged the public not to panic as the chance of community transmission is low.

According to the Miaoli health department, an Innolux employee was confirmed with COVID-19 Tuesday, the first at the company.

In a statement, the company said the employee was a migrant worker who received a COVID-19 test after displaying symptoms of the disease on Monday and is now receiving hospital treatment.

Six other employees were found to have come into contact with the person and are currently in a government-designated quarantine center, where they will remain for 14 days, Innolux said.

The company said it will continue to monitor the situation closely, adding that its business operations remain unaffected.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Tuesday said the CECC anticipates that up to 10-15 percent of the 1,400 migrant workers currently in quarantine, or between 150-200 people, could test positive for the disease.

Of that group, around two-thirds are employees of King Yuan who entered quarantine after testing negative with COVID-19 rapid tests on June 5-6, Chen said.

The other one-third are employees of five other companies in Zhunan, who began quarantining after testing negative on June 7-8, he added.

Due to the cluster infections in Miaoli, the health minister said the Ministry of Labor on June 6 had instructed Miaoli County government to conduct a survey of local companies that provide dormitories for over 50 migrant employees.

One-fifth of the 1,168 companies have been found to not comply with the government's quarantine protocol, in that they are unable to provide one-person per room in their dormitories in case quarantine is needed for employees.

They also failed to keep track of information on travel history, occupation, contact history and cluster (TOCC) relating to their foreign employees, Chen said.

According to the CECC, TOCC is a mechanism used by authorities in Taiwan for the reference of medical personnel to check patients' travel history, occupation, contact history and clusters via their National Health Insurance (NHI) cards. Miaoli County government has warned companies that failure to make improvements within the next three days will result in them being fined and banned from employing migrant workers in the future.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chen Chien-hua, Chiang Hui-chun, Kuan Jui-pin, Pan Chi-yi and Ko Lin)

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