Taiwanese rights advocates yesterday urged authorities to revoke a “discriminatory” ban on migrant workers going outside after a COVID-19 outbreak spread to the nation’s technology sector.
The Miaoli County Government this week imposed a stay indoors order on all migrant workers unless they were explicitly commuting to work.
The order came after four electronics companies reported clusters among their workforce, which includes many low-paid migrants from nearby countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“Taiwanese can go out as long as they wear masks, but migrant workers are subjected to different treatment,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Shih Yi-hsiang (施逸翔) said. “This is an absurd, selective and discriminatory measure.”
“This spate of cluster infections also involve Taiwanese workers. Viruses know no nationalities,” he added.
Several labor and civic groups also denounced the ban.
Taiwan markets itself as one of Asia’s most progressive democracies with a government that promotes and embraces human rights, but it has long come under criticism for how it treats migrant workers.
The nation last year emerged largely unscathed from the pandemic with just a few hundred cases and single-digit deaths thanks to one of the world’s best disease prevention responses.
However, it is battling a sudden surge of the virus as infections, as of yesterday, jumped to 12,222, with 361 deaths after a cluster initially detected among airline pilots spread.
The government has since raised its pandemic alert to level 3 and imposed stricter social distancing rules until June 28.
Clusters have been detected in the nation’s crucial semiconductor industry, which has been operating at full capacity to meet a global chip shortage.
King Yuan Electronics, a leading chip testing and packaging company, and GreaTek Electronics had to suspend some operations after workers tested positive for COVID-19.
Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) defended the ban on migrant workers going outside, saying that the authorities “have no other choice” as many more migrants than domestic workers tested positive.
“High-tech companies form an important economic supply chain and we hope they won’t become a chain to spread the pandemic,” he told a virtual news conference yesterday.
A student at National Chengchi University jumped from the roof of his apartment in the early hours of Sunday after he was allegedly bullied online. The 21-year-old student, surnamed Huang (黃), on Friday last week posted on the university’s online discussion forum asking the public to judge a dispute he was having with a female roommate about rent. An anonymous post on the online forum Dcard appeared on the same day, saying he was the last person to judge others, and that he was “a heavy smoker, lazy, a terrible group member for class projects and a person with a poor
CLASSES HALTED: Cram schools have had to return tuition fees due to mandatory closures and might need to lay off half of their staff because of a lack of revenue The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the education sector, with some cram schools and tutoring centers saying they might soon be unable to pay their instructors due to the extension of a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. The heightened alert level means schools must remain closed, so cram schools and tutoring centers have had to return tuition fees, one cram school said. June is normally the peak season for recruiting new students at cram schools and tutoring centers, but this year many such schools might need to lay off half of their staff due to a lack of
‘WITCH HUNT’: Huang Wei-che’s comments made it seem as if all visitors to Tainan would be a threat and infected people should be fined, an association said Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) should repeal a program to issue rewards for positive COVID-19 tests among people who return to their former home from northern Taiwan over the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights said yesterday. Huang’s “authoritarian behavior” is unacceptable, the association said after he announced that people should notify the Tainan Public Health Bureau of people who travel to Tainan to visit relatives from Saturday to Monday next week and urge them to get tested for the virus. People would receive NT$1,000 if they submit a report that leads to a positive COVID-19 rapid
A person who was on Friday reported as the first in Taiwan to die after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine died of a heart attack, a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) official said yesterday. The deceased, whose sex and age were not disclosed, had coronary artery disease, which led to a fatal heart attack, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, told a news conference, citing the autopsy report. It was the first death listed as a possible adverse event after receiving the AstraZenenca COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the vaccination program on March 22. The