06/08/2021, 12.29
TAIWAN
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Covid-19 threat for hi-tech leaders: Taipei remains confident

New outbreaks in four electronics companies. Fears for the production of microchips, the flagship of the national economy. Despite the resurgence of infections, the government expects economic growth of 5.5% in 2021. Director of the Global Taiwan Institute: the 400 daily cases on the island would be seen as an "improvement" in many other countries.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - The new wave of Covid-19 infections is threatening the hi-tech companies of the country, the flagship of the Taiwanese economy.

Foxsemicon Integrated Technology Inc yesterday became the fourth electronic group on the island to register cases of infection. In total, the companies operating in the Miaoli and Hsinchu technology districts have 250 Covid-19 positive workers among their labour force: many are migrants.

To contain the spread of the coronavirus in the two hubs, health authorities have launched diagnostic checks. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world's largest manufacturer of microchips, used in all fields of technology, is based in Hsinchu.

The local semi-conductor industry has an annual turnover of $ 10.3 billion; the global supply of microchips is having trouble keeping pace with the growing demand for electronic tools generated by the pandemic, and Taiwanese production is of increasingly strategic value.

The companies hit by this latest wave expect a decline in productivity this month, which is still difficult to quantify. The situation is also aggravated by persistent drought and continuous blackouts due to overloads on the energy grid.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen is confident it can build a "line of defence" to protect the national hi-tech jewels. Despite the re-emergence of the pandemic since mid-May, Taipei still hopes to grow at the highest rate of the last 10 years, driven by the boom in exports. The National Statistics Office estimates that the GDP of the island will mark a + 5.5% at the end of the year.

Today the country recorded 219 infected and 22 deaths: the numbers have decreased compared to the average of recent days. According to Russell Hsiao, executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute, the concern about the recent surge in infections is understandable, especially in light of the excellent results obtained by the government in the early stages of the pandemic.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Hsiao points out, however, that “in relative terms Taiwan’s daily average of 400 or so cases pales in comparison to the thousands of new cases that many other countries still have to deal with on a daily basis”. He points out that Taiwan's numbers would actually be considered an improvement in countries like the United States, even more so in India, where a real health crisis is underway.

President Tsai is criticized by many for the slowness of the vaccination campaign. Hsiao disagrees: "Saying that the Tsai administration failed because of this uptick in cases is like saying that you lost a baseball game because of one bad inning. It’s not over until it’s over. I am confident that at the end of this pandemic, Taiwan’s record on handling the devastating COVID-19 global pandemic will rank among the best in the world".

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