China’s COVID-19 outbreaks are getting worse rather than better, with another major manufacturing and export hub under lockdown.
Some 4 million people in Guangzhou have been told to stay home, in what government officials have described as the worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic …
Two weeks ago, Foxconn confirmed reports that there had been a COVID-19 outbreak inside the world’s biggest iPhone plant, in Zhengzhou, China. At the time, the company said that the impact on iPhone 14 production was “controllable.”
However, there were reports of chaotic conditions inside the plant. Staff responsible for taking food and medical supplies to quarantined workers were said to be too afraid to do so, and others refused to leave their dorms to go to the assembly lines. The result, amid a general climate of fear, was that some workers left the plant to return home.
Foxconn fought back by offering substantial bonuses, but as infections spread, the plant was subsequently placed into a weeklong lockdown. It was unclear at the time whether this meant a complete production shutdown, but it later emerged that it was operating at a greatly reduced capacity.
The impact on iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max production was sufficiently severe for Apple to warn that availability of the latest flagship models would be very constrained.
China’s COVID-19 outbreaks worsen
The WSJ reports that a second major manufacturing center is now under lockdown.
China’s manufacturing hub of Guangzhou locked down more of the city as the country struggles to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak in more than six months […] Around four million residents of the city’s Liwan and Panyu districts were told to stay home […]
Authorities in Guangzhou, capital of the export powerhouse of Guangdong province, said the restrictions would remain in place through the weekend in what they have described as the worst outbreak since the pandemic began.
The outbreak has now spread to all 31 of China’s provinces.
Workers are right to be frightened, given an apparent lack of organization in caring for quarantined workers, and high infection rates in a country where vaccination rates are relatively low. Additionally, the effectiveness of Chinese-made vaccines appears to be significantly lower than those used in most of the rest of the world.
The Chinese government persists in believing it can completely eradicate COVID-19 from the country through the use of rapid and wide-scale lockdowns, despite both common sense and the continued spread of the infection showing this to be entirely unrealistic.
The only real solution is that adopted by almost every other country in the world: vaccinating most of the population with reliable vaccines, and boosters as required. This is the only way China can keep its people safe, and its factories operating.
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