Much of the city of Zhengzhou, home to China’s largest iPhone factory, applehas been placed on lockdown for five days as authorities take stricter measures to control the growing outbreak of Covid-19🇧🇷
Mobility controls – a euphemism for lockdown – will be imposed in major urban areas of Zhengzhou from Friday until Nov. 29 due to rising coronavirus infections, the Zhengzhou pandemic task force said in a statement on Wednesday. fair.
The city reported 996 cases on Wednesday, up from a total of 813 the day before.
The new restrictions were announced after hundreds of workers at the factory, known as “iPhone City” for its scale, had walked out of their dormitories in protest earlier in the day.
The factory employees Foxconn Technology Group clashed with security agents dressed in white, according to videos of the protest, dissatisfied with the non-payment of wages and fear of greater contagion by the coronavirus.
According to the Zhengzhou government’s directive late on Wednesday, people living in areas designated as high-risk must stay indoors, while others are advised not to leave their residences or compounds unless necessary.
Daily PCR tests will also be performed.
Ronnie Cai, 31, lives in one of the gated districts.
He said there were rumors that tighter restrictions would be enacted before the announcement.
“I just don’t understand how, after fighting the virus for a month, we can really control it in five days,” Cai said.
“I have food that I have previously stored and community officials have said that we can go out to buy food at a specific time, but we have not yet received guidance on how this will work.”
The district where the Foxconn factories are located was not included among the eight to be placed under lockdown, according to the government statement.
Still, the unit is in an area already classified as high-risk, meaning lockdown-like mobility restrictions remain in place.
The company has for some time operated a so-called closed circuit, where workers are effectively confined to their dorms and on the production line, with no contact with the outside world.
The systems allow factories to maintain production amid Covid lockdowns, but the requirement to isolate workers has led to unrest in Zhengzhou and other cities.
Zhengzhou’s measures mark a return to the broad and intensive Covid curbing restrictions that China had implemented before top leaders called for a more targeted approach.
In about a week since China’s National Health Commission issued a new 20-point playbook for tackling Covid with fewer obstacles, the rise in cases has prompted a number of cities to resume the tougher approach.
Shijiazhuang, a city close to Beijing that eased several tests following the new guidelines, had to backtrack within days, effectively putting the city under lockdown.
Battle against the virus
Traffic controls designed to keep non-essential vehicles off roadways will also be in place in Zhengzhou.
The city will fight an “elimination battle” against Covid over the next five days, with not a single family or person lost in a mass testing exercise, state-run Zhengzhou Daily newspaper said.
It’s a marked shift for a city that has been criticized in the past by China’s National Office of Disease Control and Prevention for using widespread shutdowns instead of tighter controls.
Zhengzhou’s measures show the difficulty of applying a softer, more targeted approach to Covid when the goal is still to control outbreaks.
More contagious variants of the coronavirus have made China’s Covid Zero policy, successfully implemented during the initial outbreak in Wuhan, virtually unsustainable without implementing major restrictions.
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