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Taiwanese steel plant in Vietnam rejects 400 Chinese workers over coronavirus concern

Friday, January 31, 2020, 14:00 GMT+7
Taiwanese steel plant in Vietnam rejects 400 Chinese workers over coronavirus concern
An infrared thermometer is installed at an entrance of the Formosa Ha Tinh steel plant in the north-central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh. Photo: Tuoi Tre Contributor

More than 400 Chinese workers of a Taiwanese steel plant in the north-central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh have been told not to go back to work after spending their Lunar New Year holiday in China to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Formosa Ha Tinh, the Vietnamese steel business of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, will temporarily refuse to let some of its employees get back to work over concerns of spreading nCoV, Duong Tat Thang, vice-chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, confirmed on Thursday.

The firm has approximately 700 Chinese workers, of whom over 400 went back to China to celebrate the 2020 Lunar New Year, which lasted roughly a week around January 25.

In a bid to prevent the spread of nCoV, these over 400 workers will not be allowed to resume work for the time being.

The temporary ban will last until at least February 15, and can be further extended depending on new developments on the virus’ spread, Thang said.

Before returning to the plant, the employees will be required to undergo a three-step heath examination.

They will first need confirmation from a Chinese medical center that they do not show signs of coronavirus infection within 14 days.

After arriving in Vietnam, the workers will undergo another health check carried out by Vietnamese authorities.

Upon their arrival at Formosa Ha Tinh, their body temperature will be measured before they can resume work.

The firm has already equipped infrared thermometers at all of its entrances to measure the body temperature of all employees.

The Ha Tinh center for disease control previously established three units specializing in the prevention of the new coronavirus.

These units work around the clock and strictly follow the protocols of the Ministry of Health.

Vietnam is among more than a dozen countries and territories with confirmed infected cases of nCoV, which first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

The pneumonia outbreak has killed 213 and infected more than 9,600 people in China as of Friday, according to the Chinese National Health Commission.

Eighty-three cases in 18 other countries have also been reported as of Friday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared on the same day that the coronavirus epidemic in China now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

Three Vietnamese nationals have been infected with nCoV, increasing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to five, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

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