China: Workers flee COVID-hit iPhone plant, country’s biggest, due to curbs


Chinese authorities in central part of the country are hastily piecing together plans to isolate migrant workers who are fleeing biggest assembly of iPhone in COVID-hit Zhengzhou. The workers are reportedly fleeing the strict coronavirus rules in city that houses biggest iPhone plant in China.  

Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province, reported 167 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the seven days to Oct. 29, up from 97 infections in the prior seven-day period.

The plant is operated by Apple supplier Foxconn, a company based in Taiwan. The plant currently has  about 200,000 workers at its Zhengzhou complex. It has not disclosed number of infected workers. It said on Sunday that it will not stop workers from leaving.

Late on Saturday, cities near Zhengzhou, including Yuzhou, Changge and Qinyang, urged Foxconn workers to report to local authorities in advance before heading home.

Returning workers are to travel “point-to-point” in pre-arranged vehicles and are to be quarantined on arrival, they said in separate letters on their respective social media accounts addressed to Zhengzhou Foxconn workers.

Under China’s ultra-strict zero-COVID policy, cities are mandated to act swiftly to quell any outbreaks, with measures that could include full-scale lockdowns. On Oct. 19, Foxconn banned all dine-in at canteens and required workers to take their meals in their dormitories.

“The government agreed to resume dine-in meals to improve the convenience and satisfaction of employees’ lives,” Foxconn told Reuters in an emailed reply to queries on Sunday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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