AU Optronics Corp. ("AUO" or the "Company") (TAIEX: 2409; NYSE: AUO) filed information with Taiwan Stock Exchange's Market Observation Post System on May 6, 2003 regarding a hospitalized employee potentially classified as a suspect severe acute respiratory syndrome ("SARS") case.
This incident so far has no impact on the Company's production or business activities.
On May 2, 2003, one non-operational staff stationed in the non-production area of AU Optronics' Lungtan office building was found to have a body temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) during a mandatory check before entering the office building. The employee was hence immediately advised to seek medical treatment and take voluntary isolation at home.
On May 5, 2003, the aforementioned employee reported to public health authorities due to high body temperature and was hospitalized for medical treatment. As SARS is currently a diagnosis for exclusion, this hospitalized employee is placed under surveillance and investigation until physicians can rule it out as a potential SARS infection case.
Although the employee is not yet diagnosed with SARS and has no prior contact with any suspected, probable, and confirmed SARS cases, the Company took immediate action to disinfect the entire office building and informed all other employees who recently had contact with this employee to take voluntary home isolation as a maximum safety precaution:
1. 20 fellow employees who have been in contact with this particular employee within the past 10 days have been instructed to remain home for quarantine.
2. The office building in Lungtan (Building T) has gone through a thorough sterilization with disinfectants and air ventilation. Employees are advised to use stairways for better air ventilation, while elevators have been temporarily shutdown.
The Company has undertaken a series of strict precautionary measures against potential SARS impact since April 28th, 2003:
1. Avoid business/personal travel. Employees are strongly discouraged from international travel, business or personal. Specific pre-approval must be obtained in advance. Those who return from areas with recent local transmissions of SARS must take a 10-day home quarantine before returning to work and must wear facemasks in work area for subsequent 10 days. In addition, employees arriving from non-affected areas must wear facemasks in work areas for 10 days.
2. Strict entrance control to the Company's premises. All personnel must receive body temperature checks prior to entering the Company’s premises. Those who have a temperature close to or higher than 38°C (100.4°F) will not be admitted.
3. All on-site meetings with outside visitors are temporarily suspended. All indoor training or group activities are postponed or cancelled. Employees are discouraged from taking public transportation systems and conducting personal activities in crowded spaces or areas where suspect, probable or confirmed SARS cases have been reported.
4. All employees are encouraged to wear facemasks on the Company's premises. Employees with a history of exposure to or contacts with probable or suspect SARS cases are advised to take home quarantine for 10 days immediately after the last contact. Employees who remain healthy after the 10-day voluntary isolation period must wear facemasks in work areas for subsequent 10 days when returning to work.
5. Traffic flow segregation - Partitions and controlled access have been set up to separate traffic flow and general activities in the Company's premises to avoid unnecessary contacts between employees working in different zones
6. All indoor public areas are disinfected regularly on a daily basis.
7. Shuttle bus service between different offices and Fabs has been suspended. Employees from one office are prohibited from visiting other offices without permission. Inter-office communications have been maintained through telephone.
8. Personal travel to other areas with recent local transmission of SARS is prohibited.
So far, no other employee have reported as having or suspected with SARS symptoms. The Company's business and operational activities remain normal. AU Optronics is fully committed to take all necessary measures in providing a safe working environment for its employees and wish a speedy recovery to the ill employee and all SARS patients.