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China imposes COVID lockdown on 600,000 people around iPhone factory

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“Getting paid is not important anymore, the most important thing is to survive,” a 30-year-old man working at Foxconn told AFP.

“Getting paid is not important anymore, the most important thing is to survive,” said a 30-year-old man working at Foxconn. AFP.

Chinese authorities on Wednesday imposed lockdowns on 600,000 people in the area surrounding the world’s biggest iPhone factory, as workers complained about haphazard Covid checks at the plant.

All people except Covid prevention volunteers and essential workers “must not leave their residence except to receive Covid testing and emergency medical care”, officials from the economic zone of Zhengzhou airport in central China.

The move comes after footage emerged on Chinese social media last week showing people exiting the facility, which is run by Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn and manufactures products for Apple.

Employees have complained online about poor conditions, a lack of supplies and having to flee the factory on foot to avoid Covid transport restrictions. Foxconn says there are currently more than 200,000 workers at its Zhengzhou plant.

“Getting paid is no longer important, the most important thing is to survive,” a 30-year-old man working at Foxconn told AFP, saying he stayed at the factory because he was afraid of getting worse. the epidemic in his hometown.

“Anti-virus measures on campus are chaotic, HIV-negative people live with HIV-positive people,” said the worker, who asked to remain anonymous.

He said the food provided to employees was “not satisfying”, and complained of a lack of medicine for his sick colleagues.

China is the latest major economy committed to a zero Covid strategy, persisting with instant lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines in a bid to eradicate emerging epidemics.

But new variants have tested local authorities’ ability to quell outbreaks faster than they can spread, leaving much of the country living under an ever-changing patchwork of Covid curbs.

The Zhengzhou city district said on Wednesday that all businesses would be required to work from home, with only “key businesses” allowed to continue operating. He did not specify which companies fell into this category.

Only medical vehicles and those delivering essentials are allowed on the streets.

The district’s more than 600,000 residents will be required to take nucleic acid tests every day, the local government said, warning it would “resolutely crack down on all kinds of violations”.

The Communist Party-run Dahe Daily said Wednesday that local authorities would “thoroughly disinfect” Foxconn facilities, including employee dormitories, over the next three days. Workers quarantined at the factory are expected to show seven days of negative tests before leaving for their hometowns.

The newspaper also reported that the government had promised to provide timely meals and set up a helpline for workers.

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