Central cities China have hastily drawn up plans to isolate migrant workers fleeing to their hometown from the country’s biggest iPhone factory, fearing they could spread the coronavirus after leaving the factory in Covid-stricken Zhengzhou.
Videos shared on Chinese social networks showed people believed to be workers in the foxcon plant climbing over fences and carrying her things along a road. It was previously reported that a number of workers had been placed in quarantine due to an outbreak of the disease.
Foxconn, an Apple supplier headquartered in Taiwan, has about 200,000 workers at the Zhengzhou complex. He did not disclose how many workers have been infected, or how many have left, but said on Sunday that would not stop them leaving.
Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, reported 167 locally transmitted Covid cases in the seven days to October 29, compared to 97 infections in the previous seven days.
Late Saturday, neighboring towns including Yuzhou, Changge and Qinyang urged Foxconn workers to report to local authorities before returning home.
Returning workers were to travel “point-to-point” in arranged vehicles and be quarantined upon arrival, authorities said in separate letters posted on social media to Zhengzhou Foxconn workers.
Photographs and videos circulating on Chinese social media since Saturday appeared to show Foxconn workers returning home, crossing fields by day and along roads by night.
“Some people were walking in the middle of the wheat fields with their luggage, blankets and quilts,” one WeChat user wrote in a post on the social media images. “I couldn’t help but be sad.”
Volunteers from nearby villages distributed food and drink to Foxconn workers. One of those volunteers, who asked to be identified only as Zhang for privacy reasons, was assigned to distribute the supplies his village in Xingyang County had prepared.
He said the people shown in a video he uploaded to the Douyin platform were Foxconn workers because they should have taken that route if they left the facility.
Below The ultra-strict zero Covid policy in China, cities have been mandated to act quickly to quell any outbreaks, with potential measures such as large-scale lockdowns. On October 19, Foxconn banned all meals in canteens and required workers to eat in their dormitories.
“The government has agreed to resume restaurant dining to improve employee convenience and life satisfaction,” Foxconn said Sunday.
“At the same time, for some employees who wish to return home, the [plant] is cooperating with the government to organize staff and vehicles to provide an orderly point-to-point return service for employees starting today.
Disruptions to China’s Covid policies on trade and industry have intensified in recent weeks as cases have multiplied.
Shanghai Disneyland announced on Saturday that it would be operating at reduced capacity. On Wednesday, Universal Beijing Resort was suspended after an infected individual visited.
“We are very aware that in the current situation, this is a protracted battle,” Foxconn said. The situation was being gradually brought under control, the company added, and that it would coordinate backup production capacity with its other factories to reduce any potential impact.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Foxconn’s situation.