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Two-tier pandemic: Taiwan opens up, but its migrant workforce still endures onerous restrictions

The Telegraph, Taiwan, 30 August 2021 - Taiwan celebrated a coveted milestone on Wednesday, recording no domestic Covid-19 cases for the first time in a four-month-long outbreak.

But its success in beating back a surge of cases that once peaked at over 600 a day will not be enjoyed by many migrant workers like Maria, a Filipina factory employee, who still faces onerous restrictions on her freedoms despite the rest of Taiwanese society now throwing off the shackles of a soft lockdown.

Like many thousands in Asia’s vast migrant factory workforce, Maria, whose name has been changed, finds herself on the rough end of a two-tier pandemic, where workers who form the backbone of global supply chains for vital goods face far more draconian lifestyle curbs than the wider public.

Rights activists have long flagged the injustices facing fishing crews, construction and factory workers who are being treated like “second-class citizens” by companies rushing to meet production deadlines in pandemic conditions. But their voices are often drowned out by the clamour of consumer demand.

Taiwan’s Covid-19 cases have barely reached double digits since the start of August, but last week, Maria told the Telegraph that she and her compatriots at an automotive and electronics factory in the north of the island had been informed it was still “very dangerous” to go out.

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Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/two-tier-pandemic-taiwan-opens-migrant-workforce-still-endures/

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