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iPhone factory trapped, employees fled

iPhone factory trapped, employees fled

Dozens of workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory in China have fled site closures after COVID outbreaks were discovered, according to videos posted on social media.

The factory is located in Zhengzhou (center), is operated by Taiwanese Foxconn Group, and employs more than 200,000 people.

The company said last week that a “small number” of cases had been detected, without specifying how many. She described Internet rumors of tens of thousands of cases of contamination as “completely false”.

Foxconn ensured employees were tested daily and put into confinement on site.

But videos circulating on social media over the weekend showed dozens of workers, some carrying suitcases, fleeing the site by climbing the fence and then walking all the way back home.

Local authorities have asked fleeing staff to register on arrival and then monitor a multi-day quarantine at home.

The Taiwanese group said it was “cooperating with the government to organize staff and vehicles” and allow employees to leave if they wish.

Foxconn, whose Zhengzhou factory is the one that makes most iPhones in the world, said it had faced a “long battle” against the detected COVID outbreak, without specifying how many employees are trapped.

Henan Province, where Zhengzhou is located, officially announced just 42 new cases on Monday.

The NGO China Labor Watch accused Foxconn of hiding the true number of cases among its staff and forcing patients to keep working, citing an internal letter sent to staff as well as testimonies from staff.

Foxconn stresses that “every effort is made” to take care of its workers.

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China is the last major economy to implement a zero COVID policy, which translates into restrictions once positive cases emerge, semi-compulsory PCR tests several times a week or placing people in quarantine from risk areas.

These measures, which led to the unexpected closure of businesses and factories, are weighing on the economy.