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Taiwan's TSMC, UMC mull setting up COVID testing sites amid cluster woes

Tech firms scramble to boost screening following migrant worker outbreak

Disinfection at King Yuan Electronics dorm in Miaoli

Disinfection at King Yuan Electronics dorm in Miaoli (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Semiconductor giants in Taiwan such as TSMC and UMC are considering establishing COVID-19 screening centers after a string of migrant worker cluster outbreaks that are hurting the country’s chip production.

TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, said it is assessing the need to set up testing sites, as it has already been carrying out strict anti-epidemic measures and contact tracing since May 19. Also mulling the option is UMC, which has put in place the third-highest level of its COVID restrictions and arranged for high-risk employees to be screened in collaboration with hospitals, reported CNA.

The recent cluster infections reported among migrant workers at certain electronics companies have cast a shadow over Taiwan’s semiconductor capacity. Miaoli County, which is home to many tech plants employing large numbers of migrant workers, is located next to Hsinchu City, which houses the country’s technological hub, the Hsinchu Science Park.

At the center of the infection spike in Miaoli is King Yuan Electronics, which had recorded 238 cases as of Monday (June 6) and placed over 2,000 migrant laborers on paid home leave for two weeks.

King Yuan, which is the eighth-largest outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) vendor by revenue, has projected a 30 to 35 percent decrease in production capacity and revenue for June due to the disrupted operations. IC packaging services provider Greatek Electronics and semiconductor equipment manufacturer Fiti Foxsemicon are also among the companies hit by the COVID wave in Miaoli.

Industry players based in other parts of Taiwan, including ASE Technology Holding Co., Siliconware Precision Industries Co, Nan Ya Printed Circuit Board Corp., and Xintec Technology Co. have also reported coronavirus cases and ramped up disease control.

Updated : 2021-06-23 00:58 GMT+08:00