Foxconn COVID-19 outbreak inside plant; affects iPhone 14 production

Foxconn COVID-19 outbreak inside plant; affects iPhone 14 production

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A reported Foxconn COVID-19 outbreak in Zhengzhou – known locally as iPhone City – has been confirmed by the company, with some impact on iPhone 14 production.

However, Apple’s primary iPhone assembler says that the number of cases is low, and iPhone 14 production remains “relatively stable.” Foxconn has introduced tough lockdown rules to minimize the spread …


Foxconn is Apple’s primary iPhone assembler, and its Zhengzhou campus is the company’s largest plant. Foxconn’s iPhone production facility has around 300,000 workers, with a great many other Apple suppliers based in the city.

China still maintains a zero-COVID-19 policy, attempting to completely eliminate the virus from the country by imposing citywide lockdowns in response to even a handful of positive tests.

In an attempt to pursue this policy without destroying the economy, China allows what is known as closed-loop production, where staff work, eat, and sleep on the campus during lockdowns. The last citywide lockdown was back in May, a month after iPhone production was halted in an earlier outbreak in Shanghai, but a partial lockdown is now in operation.

Foxconn COVID-19 outbreak

South China Morning Post (SCMP) last week reported that Foxconn had introduced even stricter controls than usual at its Zhengzhou plant, hinting at a COVID-19 outbreak within the campus.

The world’s largest iPhone factory, run by Foxconn Technology Group in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, has imposed tough Covid-19 control policies, such as closing its dine-in canteen, to keep production running normally amid a fresh outbreak that has put part of the city under lockdown.

Foxconn’s Zhengzhou campus […] has banned all eating in and asked workers to take their meals back to their dormitories starting from 3pm on Wednesday, according to a notice on the factory’s official WeChat account […]

Starting this week, Foxconn’s Zhengzhou workers are only permitted to commute along certain routes within the campus, with many entrances closed in a de facto lockdown. 

The company has today confirmed this.

Foxconn Technology Group has confirmed that the world’s largest iPhone factory, in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, is dealing with a small Covid-19 outbreak but said production remains “relatively stable” […]

“For the small number of employees affected by the pandemic, Foxconn, in compliance with local epidemic prevention policies, is providing the necessary guarantees for livelihoods, including material supplies, psychological comfort and responsive feedback,” the company said in its statement.

“Operations and production in the Zhengzhou park are relatively stable with health and safety measures for employees being maintained,” Foxconn added. “At present, the epidemic prevention work in Zhengzhou is progressing steadily, and the impact on the group is controllable.”

Social media reports suggest that many workers are unhappy with Foxconn’s handling of the situation. Posts from inside the plant say that the number of positive tests is rising everyday, and the company is not doing enough to isolate affected workers. There are also complaints about lack of medication and food for those in quarantine.

One employee was being interviewed by the SCMP in a chat app when she had to break off because she’d just been informed her test was positive.

9to5Mac’s Take

It seems scarcely credible that China still persists in believing it’s possible to eliminate COVID-19 from an entire country, let alone the most populous one in the world. Yet a city of 10 million people has been put into partial lockdown over just 23 cases. This latest report suggests that there may be more infections within the plant than outside it.

Closed-loop production helps keep companies operating, but only at the cost of terrible working conditions for staff, unable to return home to their family for weeks at a time, and forced to divide their time between working and hanging out in the their dorms.

We’ve previously seen MacBook Pro workers rioting over lockdown conditions, with the wider population increasingly frustrated by the zero-COVID-19 policy. Yet so far the government is showing no sign of giving up on an approach that is as cruel as it is ineffective.

Photo: Ömer Yıldız/Unsplash

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