Factory workers making goods for the west bear brunt of virus surge in south-east Asia
Migrant labourers tell of being forced to isolate in brutal conditions as Covid wave grips region
It was around mid-May when workers at the Cal-Comp factory in Phetchaburi, central Thailand, heard a small group of their colleagues had tested positive for Covid-19. It soon became clear the virus had ripped through the production lines. A cluster associated with the electronics factory has since been linked to thousands of infections.
Hwan Htet Paing*, a worker from the factory, said he was not told the results of his Covid test, carried out on 19 May. Despite this, he was instructed to quarantine inside a vast hall at his workplace. The floor was covered with tarpaulin sheets and lined with rows of mosquito nets for each worker. Everyone was given a bucket and a cup, and bedsheets to lay across the floor. Fans were handed out to help ease the heat – until the vast numbers of people testing positive meant there were none left.