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Taiwan has reported 132 local cases, the third consecutive day with a daily figure below 200 in an outbreak which started in late April. Eight more people have died.
The most cases were again in New Taipei with 65, followed by Taipei at 26 and Miaoli with 18. Miaoli is home to several factories which have recorded outbreaks among their employees with most cases linked to migrant workers who are housed in dormitories.
Taiwan is currently on level 3 restrictions, limiting gatherings, closing entertainment, sport and public venues, and restricting restaurants to takeaway. In some regions beaches and outdoor areas have been closed to the public. The order has been in place since 19 May and was extended to the end of this month.
Health and welfare minister Chen Shih-chung said the number of cases and deaths had started to drop, which was positive, but also flagged high rates of 10-15% positive infections expected as authorities start testing all migrant workers quarantined in Miaoli.
The issue of migrant workers in Taiwan, including the conditions they live in and the rights afforded to them, has been a hot topic in Taiwan in the past week or so. Local governments and some companies are enforcing restrictions and rules that go far beyond the requirements set by the central epidemic command centre.
The Guardian reported on Friday on one company which had ordered workers who lived in their own homes to return to the dorms or face penalties. The company has said it plans to move people out of dorms into hostels and other accommodations to reduce the risk of spread.
But human rights groups have criticised the order, which included a ban on anyone leaving their accommodation except to go to work. A similar order was made by the county government in Miaoli.
Critics pointed to the lack of any similar order on local employees who work alongside the thousands of migrant workers, accusing the local governments and companies of discrimination.
The CECC has reminded local governments to only follow their requirements, but there doesnt appear to be any attempt to enforce this.
Authorities are currently inspecting migrant worker dorms across Taiwan, to ensure they meet disease prevention standards set for this outbreak. Chen told the press conference this afternoon that of the 1,164 dorms with more than 50 residents inspected so far, more than 80% were up to standard, while the rest needed to make changes, according to local media.