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Over 6 Million In Covid Lockdown In China’s ‘iPhone City’ Zhengzhou After Clashes


More than 6 million people are in Covid lockdown in China's 'iPhone City' after clashes

City center residents cannot leave the area unless they have a negative Covid test result.

Beijing:

China has ordered a blockade of six million people in a city where violent protests broke out at an iPhone factory against Covid’s isolation policies and working conditions.

Hundreds of workers took to the streets around the sprawling iPhone factory in Zhengzhou on Wednesday, confronting staff in protective gear wielding batons in a rare expression of public anger in China. Country.

In the face of the unrest, the Zhengzhou government ordered mass testing and effectively locked down several districts in the central Chinese city starting Friday.

City center residents cannot leave the area unless they have a negative Covid test result and are authorized by local authorities, and are advised not to leave their homes “unless necessary”.

The restrictions will affect more than six million people but do not include the iPhone factory, where workers have been restricted by Covid for weeks.

One worker told AFP the protests began over a dispute over promised bonuses at the factory run by Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn.

Many workers are also angry at the “chaotic” living conditions, said one worker, who asked not to be named.

Foxconn on Thursday issued an apology, blaming a “technical error” in its payment system for the payroll problems and saying it “completely understands” employees’ concerns.

“The company will also make every effort to actively address the reasonable concerns and needs of employees,” it said.

Apple told AFP it had representatives at the factory and was “reviewing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure their employees’ concerns are addressed”.

– Zero-Covid is tired –

The restrictive measures in Zhengzhou are part of China’s national zero-tolerance approach to Covid, which includes grueling lockdown measures, travel restrictions and mass testing.

However, nearly three years after the pandemic, Covid cases are now higher than ever in China.

There were 31,444 infections in the country on Wednesday, the National Health Commission reported, the highest level since the pandemic began.

These numbers are relatively small when compared to China’s massive population of 1.4 billion or the number of global infections at the height of the pandemic.

But under the no-Covid policy, even small outbreaks can shut down entire cities and put people in contact with infected patients under strict quarantine.

The relentless push to push back against Covid-19 has increased fatigue and resentment among sections of the population, fueled sporadic protests and impacted productivity in the world’s second-largest economy. .

The Foxconn protests are among the highest in unrest.

Several cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing have tightened restrictions on Covid as cases increase.

The capital now requires a negative PCR test result within 48 hours for those who wish to enter public places such as shopping malls, hotels and government buildings. Schools across the city have moved to online classes.

Guangzhou’s southern manufacturing hub – where nearly a third of the latest Covid-19 cases were detected – has built thousands of makeshift hospital rooms to house patients.

A series of new rules announced by the central government this month appear to signal a shift away from Covid-19, loosening quarantine requirements for people entering the country, and simplifying the system. Designate high-risk areas.

But China has yet to approve a more effective mRNA vaccine for public use, and only 85% of adults over 60 had received two doses of the vaccine in the country by mid-August, according to health authorities.

Shijiazhuang, a city near Beijing seen as a pilot for testing reopening strategies, reversed most of the easing measures this week.

“The road to reopening could be slow, expensive and bumpy,” Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura, said in a note.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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