Apple Inc’s local manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) yesterday began weekly testing of staff coming to its headquarters in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城), the first company in the city to screen employees for COVID-19.
Hon Hai, known globally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said that most of its employees are already working from home, but “several hundred” of them have to be on site, such as research and development personnel.
“Our work has not been set back by current measures,” the company said in a news release. “We are doing everything we can to protect workers who cannot work from home so that we can prevent having to disrupt our operations.”
Photo courtesy of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co
Hon Hai has plans to expand the weekly testing program to all of its manufacturing sites in Tucheng and across Taiwan, but the rate at which the program is expanded would depend on the availability of testing supplies, it said.
“We are aware of the importance of coordinating with the health authorities [so] as not to strain the supply of tests,” the company said.
Each employee coming in to work would receive a rapid lateral-flow assay test, which takes about 30 minutes to produce a result, Hon Hai said, adding that if an employee tests positive, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test would be done on site.
If both tests are positive, the employee would be sent for treatment, and if the rapid test is positive, but the PCR test is negative, the employee would be sent home for self-monitoring “to be on the safe side,” it said.
Hon Hai aims to have about 500 employees at its headquarters tested during a span of four weeks, the New Taipei City government said.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) praised the company for proactively working with the government to put testing procedures in place.
Hou, who yesterday visited Hon Hai’s headquarters, encouraged companies with 100 or more employees to provide rapid tests for their staff as a precaution.
There are 1,073 companies in New Taipei City that employ at least 100 staff, the city government said.
Separately, the nation’s technology parks yesterday also set up rapid testing stations to screen migrant workers, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.
Export Processing Zone Administration operations management deputy director Liu Chi-chuan (劉繼傳) said that the goal is to test the more than 10,000 people working in the technology parks before Tuesday next week.
“About 1,600 were tested today, and they are all negative,” Liu said.
Migrant workers’ living conditions put them at increased risk as it is very difficult to socially distance when many workers live in one room in dormitories, he said.
More than 250 workers at four technology firms in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南) have recently contracted COVID-19.
Although the Export Processing Zone Administration is helping to set up and coordinate the testing stations, companies are paying for the tests out of pocket, Liu said.
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