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China halts operation at Korean chip plant after worker tests positive for coronavirus

·2 min read
People wear face masks at Hongqiao Railway Station amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Shanghai

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese factory owned by South Korean semiconductor giant SK Hynix Inc halted operations on Sunday after a plant worker was found to have an asymptomatic infection of the novel coronavirus, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

The Korean worker based at the plant in Chongqing city since February had departed on Thursday for South Korea, Xinhua reported.

He was tested at Incheon airport in Seoul and confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus on Saturday, it reported.

All factory staff as well as staff and recent guests at the hotel where the worker lived have been isolated and given nucleic acid tests, the news agency said.

"We're cooperating with the local government on their containment efforts, and at the same time trying to resume production as soon as possible," said a spokesman at SK Hynix.

He declined to comment on the impact the suspension would have.

SK Hynix, the world's No.2 memory chip maker, employs about 2,700 workers in the Chongqing facility, including some Koreans.

The city has carried out nucleic acid tests on 3,283 people, with 2,674 found negative, Xinhua said. Almost 500 environmental samples had also been collected, and all found negative.

China reported 11 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Nov. 28, compared with six cases a day earlier, the health authority said earlier on Sunday.

All of the new infections were imported cases, the National Health Commission said in a statement. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 10 new asymptomatic patients, compared with four a day earlier.

As of Nov. 28, mainland China had a total of 86,512 confirmed coronavirus cases, it said.

China's death toll from the coronavirus remained unchanged at 4,634.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton in Beijing and Cynthia Kim in Seoul; Editing by William Mallard, Robert Birsel)