- Workers are reportedly fleeing the world’s largest iPhone factory en masse amid a Covid outbreak.
- Photos and videos of workers escaping the compound in Zhengzhou are circulating online.
- Foxconn said it will arrange transportation for workers who want to go home for an “orderly return”.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.
According to reports, workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory in China are fleeing the facility en masse, fearing severe COVID-19 restrictions following an outbreak.
Located in the city of Zhengzhou in the central Chinese province of Henan, the facility employs more than 200,000 employees. She make the majority of the world’s iPhones. The facilities were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak, which led to strict pandemic containment restrictions under China’s Covid-zero policies and deteriorating living conditions, the Financial Times reported Sunday, citing five workers.
A risk of food shortages became a source of concern as only those working on the production lines were provided with meal boxes, Bloomberg said on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. Workers infected with COVID-19, or those who feared leaving their dormitories, were given only basic necessities such as bread and instant noodles, the media reported.
Dramatic photos and videos of Foxconn workers escaping the Zhengzhou compound have surfaced online. One video seems to be the . to show workers carrying bags of their belongings as they go out on foot.
Hundreds of Foxconn employees are said to have fled the factory in China’s central Henan province. It comes after workers raised concerns about inadequate medical care and underreported COVID infections put them at high risk.pic.twitter.com/8XBZa4eGc3
— Bang Xiao (@BangXiao_) October 30, 2022
A video posted by BBC’s China Correspondent Stephen McDonell appears to show workers climbing over fences to escape the facility.
Workers have broken out #Applelargest editing site, escaping the Zero #Covid lockdown at Foxconn in #Zhengzhou. After slipping out, they walk to their home towns more than 100 kilometers away to defeat the Covid app’s measures designed to control and stop people. #China pic.twitter.com/NHjOjclAyU
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) October 30, 2022
Insider was unable to independently verify the videos.
Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Technology Group in China and Taiwan, said in a statement to Insider that it is “deeply aware that the current situation is a protracted battle for the health and safety of more than 200,000 workers in the country.” Foxconn’s Zhengzhou Park.”
The company made no reference to the social media posts. Foxconn said it is continuing to implement pandemic prevention measures in Zhengzhou Park, including establishing a 24-hour hotline for workers. It added that the outbreak is stabilizing and there is sufficient supply of daily necessities.
“For some workers who want to return home, the park is working with the government to organize personnel and vehicles to provide a point-to-point orderly return service for workers starting today,” Foxconn said.
The company will work with its other factories to minimize the impact on production capacity, it said.
The Foxconn outbreak happened as Apple enters the pivotal holiday quarter for retail. Apple has already warned of slowing growth in the fourth quarter, due to a strong US dollar and delivery problems of more expensive iPhone models.
Events at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory could cut Apple’s production by as much as 30% in November, Reuters reported Monday, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, which was sent outside normal business hours.
Foxconn shares are flat Monday, trading at 45.50 New Taiwan Dollars, or $1.41 each, on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.