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UPDATE 1-Taiwan's TSMC to work in separate teams to minimise COVID-19 risk

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TAIPEI, May 17 (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) said on Monday that from May 19 it will start to operate in separate teams to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infections, after a spike in domestic cases in Taiwan.

The island has recorded more than 700 infections in the past week, a shock for residents used to Taiwan’s relative safety, and the government has tightened curbs in the capital Taipei to try and prevent the numbers rising further.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip-maker, said it had tightened its own rules in respond to the government’s raised warning level.

“TSMC’s primary consideration is epidemic safety protection and the company is monitoring the pandemic development closely to make rolling updates,” it said in a statement.

All non-essential vendors will be restricted from entering TSMC facilities and staff and vendors must avoid moving across its main production sites in Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan, it added.

People should avoid face-to-face meetings, and if they must be held only essential personnel should attend with the number of attendees restricted to 50% of meeting room capacity, the company said.

Training courses should be conducted online, or cancelled, and company recreational facilities will be closed, it added.

Taiwan is a major producer of semiconductors and central to global efforts to resolve a chip shortage that have shuttered some car plants around the world and are now starting to affect consumer electronics. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard, editing by Louise Heavens)

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