China: Migrant workers flee Covid restrictions amid outbreak at iPhone factory; incl. Foxconn's comment
"Chinese cities brace for wave of Foxconn workers from COVID-hit Zhengzhou" 30 October 2022
Cities in central China hastily drew up plans to isolate migrant workers fleeing to their hometowns from a vast assembly facility of iPhone maker Foxconn (2317.TW) in COVID-hit Zhengzhou, fearing they could trigger coronavirus outbreaks.
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.
Apple (AAPL.O) supplier Foxconn, based in Taiwan, currently has about 200,000 workers at its Zhengzhou complex and has not disclosed the number of infected workers, but said on Sunday that it would not stop workers from leaving. [...]
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.
"At the same time, for some employees who want to return home, the (plant) is cooperating with the government to organise personnel and vehicles to provide a point-to-point orderly return service for employees from today." [...]
"We are very aware that under the current situation, it is a protracted battle," Foxconn said.
But the situation was gradually coming under control, it said, and Foxconn would coordinate back-up production capacity with its other plants to reduce any potential impact.
Apple did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment on the Foxconn situation. [...]
Photographs and videos circulating on Chinese social media since Saturday showed Foxconn workers, apparently returning home, trekking across fields in the day and along roads at night. Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the posts. [...]