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TSMC puts workers in isolation over COVID-19 outbreak fears

Apple chip producer TSMC has started to instruct workers who visited a hospital in Taiwan to isolate themselves for two weeks, as well as preventing them from entering a factory used to produce Apple's processors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to take up self-isolation for weeks at a time, to prevent the spread of the virus. In one instance of an outbreak at a hospital in Taiwan, TSMC is stepping in to make sure it doesn't affect production at all.

The Central Epidemic Command Center of Taiwan announced on Sunday that anyone who visited the Ministry of Taoyuan Hospital for medical treatment or consultation from January 6 to January 19 will have to isolate themselves for 14 days. Close to 5,000 people are expected to be affected by the isolation order, which also involves an inspection and a week of health management before returning to their normal lives.

In response, Patently Apple reports TSMC has told employees who visited the hospital they will not be allowed to enter the nearby factory during the quarantine period.

TSMC has also taken steps to increase its prevention measures, including requiring employees to update their health declarations, reminding workers of ways to cut down transmission of the virus, and daily body temperature tracking.

The company also suggests minimizing face-to-face contact, reduce the number of guests or visitors to TSMC itself, to work from home where possible, and to avoid entering medical institutions unless necessary. External education and training is also being recommended.

The response is likely a bid to reduce the chance of the nearby factory closing down, one which is used for the production of Apple's A-series chips and Apple Silicon. Apple's suppliers were hit hard by the virus in the early stages, with TSMC keen to avoid a repeat that could hamper production.