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Taiwanese activists demand government ends ‘discriminatory’ Covid restrictions on migrant workers

Taiwanese activists demand government ends ‘discriminatory’ Covid restrictions on migrant workers
The Taiwan Association for Human Rights has criticized the island’s restrictions on migrant workers, prohibiting them from going outside over fears it could spread Covid after it hit the local tech sector.

The stay indoors measure for migrant workers was announced by the local government in Taiwan’s central Miaoli county, only allowing them to travel directly to and from work until the virus is brought under control.

Condemning the situation, the secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Shih Yi-Hsiang, blasted the specific targeting of migrant workers as “an absurd, selective and discriminatory measure.” 

The vocal criticism was shared by labor and civil rights groups, who equally raised concerns about the ban, with Shih reminding officials that “viruses know no nationalities,” citing how “this spate of cluster infections also involves Taiwanese workers.”

Hsu Yao-chang, the Miaoli county chief, rejected the criticism and backed the prohibitions on migrant workers, arguing that they had “no other choice,” claiming case numbers are higher among migrant workers than domestic citizens. 

Parts of the Taiwan tech sector have been forced to grind to a halt following the outbreak, with King Yuan Electronics Company having to suspend its operations due to workers testing positive for the virus. The island’s semiconductor industry has been forced to boost its operations to the fullest possible capacity as the world faces an international chip shortage.

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The government felt the restriction was required after the island was hit by a surge of infections that saw cases rise from several hundred to more than 12,000.

With Taiwan’s pandemic alert level raised in response to the virus outbreak, strict social distancing measures will remain in place until June 28, at the earliest. Taiwan has rejected Beijing’s offer of vaccines amid a shortage on the island that China considers an integral part of the country.

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