TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) ratcheted up its anti-pandemic measures on Monday (Jan. 25) as concerns over a Taoyuan hospital cluster continue.
The world’s largest semiconductor foundry put out a notice for workers deemed at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Employees and business representatives with a permit to access the company’s plants will be barred if they visited Taoyuan General Hospital, the epicenter of the new outbreak, between Jan. 6 and 19.
Admission will also be denied if a person's close contacts went to the hospital during that period, reported CNA. Around 5,000 individuals have been placed under quarantine to curb the spread of COVID.
Other pandemic-prevention measures include avoiding visiting medical institutions, cutting unnecessary visits, adopting videoconferencing, and reducing external on-the-job training or exchanges. TSMC employees are also advised against attending gatherings or events.
The new measures come on the heels of similar measures introduced by other tech firms, especially those with factories in Taoyuan, including electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The elevated precautions were prompted by the announcement of two cases associated with the hospital over the weekend, bringing the total number of infections in the cluster to 15.
The chipmaker’s strategic importance has been highlighted by the prolonged U.S.-China trade conflict and the derailing of supply chains by the pandemic. Germany has requested the Taiwanese government’s assistance in ensuring TSMC can increase production capacity for semiconductor chips the European country badly needs for its auto sector.