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Taiwan human rights group condemns COVID stay-at-home order for migrant workers

Miaoli County considers all migrant workers as potential infection sources: TAHR

Virus testing for migrant workers at FITI Group in Miaoli County 

Virus testing for migrant workers at FITI Group in Miaoli County  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A decision by the Miaoli County Government ordering all migrant workers in the region to stay inside because of COVID-19 amounted to discrimination, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) said Wednesday (June 9).

The county has been hit by cluster outbreaks at several major electronics firms, leading to more than 200 migrant workers testing positive for the coronavirus.

TAHR called on Miaoli to revoke its order immediately, as it not only affected the rights of migrant workers but also those of more than 7,000 households dependent on caregivers, CNA reported.

County chief Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) announced the ban on migrant workers leaving home on Facebook without any consultation with the central government’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), TAHR said.

The measure considered all migrant workers as potential sources of infection, without regard to whether they had been listed as contacts or if they had to go into quarantine or self-monitor their health, the human rights group alleged.

According to Ministry of Labor statistics, a total of 22,914 migrant workers lived in Miaoli County, including 15,521 factory workers, 66 sailors and fisheries workers, and 7,383 caregivers.

The indiscriminate order by the county government prevents foreign caregivers from going out to buy food and accompanying their clients to seek medical care at a hospital, TAHR said.