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Vietnam shuts industrial parks housing Foxconn plants after COVID-19 outbreak

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HANOI (Reuters) -Vietnam’s northern province of Bac Giang ordered on Tuesday four industrial parks, including three that house production facilities of Taiwan’s Foxconn, to temporarily shut down due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

The industrial parks will be closed until further notice, the province’s People’s Committee said in a statement.

“We hope the measure will be in place for just two weeks, but it depends on the situation of the outbreak, said Le Anh Duong, chairman of Bac Giang People’s Committee.

Foxconn on Tuesday confirmed its operations in the province had been suspended.

“Some subsidiaries of the group are cooperating with the local government’s overall anti-epidemic policy in the Bac Giang area of ​​Vietnam,” Foxconn told Reuters in an emailed statement.

It added there was minimal impact to its operations in Vietnam.

In January, Vietnam awarded a licence to a unit of Foxconn to build a $270 million plant to produce laptops and tablets.

Foxconn was moving some iPad and MacBook assembly to Vietnam from China at the request of Apple Inc, a person with knowledge of the plan said in November, as the U.S. firm diversifies production to minimise the impact of Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Bac Giang, which is 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Hanoi, has been an epicentre of a new outbreak of COVID-19 that began late last month, with factory workers among those infected.

The province has recorded 476 infections since April 27, accounting for a third of the overall cases in the country over the period, according to the Ministry of Health.

“The authorities and companies operating in those parks will together establish a new way to prevent the virus spreading inside the factories because we have no choice but to live with the virus,” Duong said by telephone.

Foxconn said its other factories in Vietnam “are still in operation and will be adjusted at any time in accordance with government epidemic prevention measures in the future.”

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Ed Davies and Stephen Coates)

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