Motorola Singapore: Staff quarantined in 'killer flu' scare

But worker infected with deadly virus has been discharged from hospital
Written by CNET Networks, Contributor

But worker infected with deadly virus has been discharged from hospital

The Motorola night-shift worker infected with a deadly flu-like virus has been discharged from hospital, days after news of her illness caused the worried company to tell over 500 of her colleagues to stay at home. The plant is running at partial capacity at night, with about two-thirds of workers still quarantined at home under orders of the health ministry. However, some staff have been added to the day production line to make up the shortfall, said company spokeswoman Lynn Chan. Last Thursday, the US-based electronics maker decided to tell night shift workers to stay home following news that a female employee was diagnosed with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), a potentially fatal pneumonia-like illness sweeping Asia. The employee is thought to have contracted the disease from a family member and has been on medical leave since 20 March The move to pull all 532 night shift staff from work was a precautionary measure, although the health ministry has advised that only those seated near the infected worker stay home, said Chan. Partial night production at the handphone plant began on 28 March after the facility was cleaned and sanitised. The company said in a statement there were no disruptions to other operations. Still quarantined at home are 305 night workers, according to Singapore's health ministry. Singapore is regional home base for many tech multinationals, and unofficial reports say that several of them have told staff to cancel travel plans to the affected areas. Also many are allowing parents to take leave to care for children affected by the nation-wide school closure. Elsewhere in the region, a possible SARS infection in one of its employees also prompted tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) to shutter the doors of its 300-person Hong Kong office on the same day. HP said it has started cleaning the office - which takes up five floors in an office tower on Hong Kong island - and has also distributed information about the illness to its staff throughout the region. The Hong Kong office will remain shut while the company determines whether the employee suspected of having SARS is actually ill with the disease, said HP spokeswoman Monica Sarkar. If a SARS-related illness is confirmed, HP will keep workers from the office at home during the incubation period of the disease, she added. Singaporean authorities have said that SARS, which have just claimed its third victim in the island-state, has an incubation period of about 14 days. Winston Chai writes for CNET Asia. News.com's Ed Frauenheim contributed to this report
Editorial standards