Chinese authorities have announced a seven-day coronavirus lockdown in the area around the world’s biggest iPhone factory amid fears production could be severely curtailed ahead of the Christmas period.
Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou, which employs around 200,000 people, produces the majority of Apple’s new phones, including the new iPhone 14.
He was rocked by dissatisfaction with strict measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, with workers fleeing the site over the weekend after complaining about their treatment and arrangements via social media. Nearby towns have drawn up plans to isolate migrant workers fleeing to their hometowns, to prevent the spread of the virus.
Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone in central China said from noon Wednesday it was placing the 415 sq km industrial park that hosts the factory under the ‘static management’ lockdown level. the lowest in China until noon on November 9.
An official statement said residents of the area, about 26 km southeast of Zhengzhou, were not allowed to leave their homes and had to undergo a PCR test once a day. Public transport services are suspended and only approved vehicles are allowed on the roads. Other measures include closing non-essential offices, businesses and services.
The statement said any violation of the rules would be “severely dealt with” by the police and urged people to cooperate to “win victory in this district’s fight against the epidemic”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently won an unprecedented third term as Communist Party leader at the 20th Party Congress, has insisted on a ‘zero Covid’ policy and repeatedly called for ‘struggles’ against political and other challenges.
A nearly month-long lockdown in Zhengzhou had prompted complaints of harsh conditions, sometimes violent enforcement, inadequate medical care and deteriorating mental health.
It has received national attention, particularly after hundreds of Foxconn workers fled over the fences of the factory’s “closed-loop” quarantine system last week. On Tuesday, likely in response to criticism, authorities announced the easing of restrictions, but residents said controls remained tight and Foxconn said it had quadrupled bonuses offered at the plant as it sought to retain staff .
Zhengzhou, the capital of the central province of Henan, has around 12 million inhabitants. Zhengzhou health authorities reported 64 new cases and 294 new asymptomatic cases on Tuesday.
On social media platform Weibo, some have questioned why the restrictions remain in place, just a day after the supposed easing.
“Is everyone back to normal now? Are we back to work? Wasn’t the lockdown lifted yesterday? Is Foxconn also under “static management”? says a message. “Under what conditions will the confinement end? These endless ‘static managements’, these endless PCR tests… Don’t we need to pay off our car loans and mortgages? said another.
Ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source, that Apple’s iPhone production in Zhengzhou could drop 30% next month due to tighter restrictions, but Foxconn was trying to increase production. production at another factory in Shenzhen, southern China. to make up the shortfall.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional research by Xiaoqian Zhu