Intel Corp., the American chipmaker, has confirmed that 70 people working for a construction contractor at an expansion of the company’s manufacturing plant in Leixlip, Ireland, have been infected with Covid-19.
The chipmaker, which recently announced plans to create 1,600 jobs as part of a $7 billion (€5.8 billion) investment, said Thursday that it was told about the outbreak this past weekend. Intel’s plant is in Leixlip, a town about 10 miles (16.1 kilometers) west of the center of the Irish capital, Dublin. The chipmaker said that the situation was “fluid.”
“We understand the number of positive cases to be approximately 70, but it is a fluid situation,” Intel said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “Our contractor is actively working with the relevant Public Health authorities in conducting all of the necessary follow-ups. We are working to support them in whatever way we can — to understand what has happened in this situation and how it can be addressed with corrective measures.”
Leo Varadkar, an Irish politician, played down the outbreak in the context of the number of staff and the size of the site.
“I think it’s important to say, though, that that is a huge site. It’s a multi-billion euro investment. I think there are several thousand construction workers,” he told RTÉ’s Drivetime, according to The Irish Times. “So an outbreak of 70 in a small confined space like a meat plant is very different to a huge site like that.”
Under the current Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger, the American company has committed to increasing spending on new plants and equipment. Intel’s motive is to try to win back leadership in chip manufacturing technology. By sighting the global chip crunch, the company wants to increase capacity to make semiconductors for other companies. The expansion at the Leixlip site, which is said to be the largest in the State and employing some 5,000 workers, began in 2019, Intel said.
“Our construction site remains operational with health and safety as the primary consideration at all stages,” the company said. “Intel is strictly adhering to official public health advice and guidance from the government and the industry.”
Irish broadcaster RTE earlier reported the outbreak.