The coronavirus is spreading in Taiwan after months without any cases, sparking fears that Covid-19 will grow in a country that managed to avoid previous spikes.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co said that it would enact Covid measures similar to those use by companies in other countries, including operating in separate teams to minimize the risk of whole factories becoming infected.

– Briáxis F. Mendes (孟必思)

The world's largest contract semiconductor manufacturer said that all non-essential vendors will be restricted from entering TSMC facilities, and that travel between its main production sites in Hsinchu, Taichung, and Tainan was heavily restricted.

Last year, Taiwan had fewer than 1,000 cases of Covid-19, 90 percent of which were detected in recent arrivals, all of which were successfully quarantined.

But after 253 days of zero local cases of the virus, loosening restrictions brought the pandemic to the island.

In April, Taiwan reduced quarantine requirements for non-vaccinated pilots and other crew members from five days to three. That month, a Novotel hotel put quarantining pilots and flight crews in the same building as ordinary guests, during a state-backed domestic tourism push.

There, the virus spread from two pilots at China Airlines. By May 7, there were 29 known cases. Ten days later, there were 333 new infections a day.

Panic buying, lockdowns, and a remote work surge have followed.

For TSMC, which employs more than 50,000 people in its homeland, the crisis comes as it also struggles with a profound water shortage, recovers from recent power cuts, and deals with a global chip shortage.

Shares in the company, and rival United Microelectronics, fell as the virus spread.