China tightens coronavirus measures

Authorities reported 28,883 new local cases for Tuesday, down from 27,899 the previous day, close to April’s daily highs. In Shanghai, the second day of the China Automotive Overseas Development Summit was canceled.

In the city, travelers are not allowed to enter malls and restaurants within five days of arrival. In Beijing, which hit another daily high of 1,486 cases, shopping malls, restaurants, museums and parks remain largely closed.

Food delivery man waiting on the street

Reuters/Thomas Peter

While most countries in the world are trying to live with the virus, China is pursuing a strict zero-Covid strategy

“Worst weeks” since the pandemic began

“The next few weeks could be the worst in China since the first few weeks of the pandemic, both for the economy and for the healthcare system,” said analysts at Capital Economics.

It is unlikely that the authorities will deviate from their strict zero-Covid course in winter, but at the same time there is a considerable risk that the containment efforts will fail. This is likely to cause unprecedented damage to the Chinese economy. The large production centers of Chongqing and Guangzhou have been recording high case numbers for days, which account for the majority of China’s total cases.

Adhering to Zero Covid Policy

China recently changed the approach to its strict zero-Covid policy in order to reduce the burden on the economy and minimize frustration among the population. Cities should take more targeted measures and move away from widespread lockdowns and controls.

However, the latest wave is putting that to the test. Daily mass tests, strict controls, contact tracing and forced quarantine are still part of everyday life for the 1.4 billion Chinese. In factories, but also at universities, the authorities often set up a “coronavirus bubble” – people are then not allowed to leave the premises for weeks.

Hospital construction in Chongqing city


A new hospital is being built in the city of Chongqing due to the increasing number of infections

Riots at Apple supplier Foxconn

Because of the strict rules, there have been protests and riots around the world’s largest iPhone factory. The Taiwanese Apple supplier Foxconn, which operates the plant in the Chinese metropolis Zhengzhou, confirmed the clashes on Wednesday.

“Regarding the violent acts, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar things from happening again in the future,” Foxconn said. The group is the largest private employer in China with more than a million employees at around 30 locations.

Serious riots at Foxconn in Zhengzhou

At the Apple supplier Foxconn, there are renewed unrest in China over working conditions as a result of the CoV rules. Employees tore down barriers in the Chinese industrial city of Zhengzhou and sometimes violently clashed with people in protective suits. The plant is responsible for 70 percent of global iPhone production and employs around 200,000 workers. Due to the pandemic situation, employees work in a “closed circuit” – a system in which employees live and work in the company, isolated from the outside world.

Clashes between workers and police officers

As can be seen in videos shared on social networks on Wednesday and now verified, there were tumultuous scenes around the plant both at night and in daylight. Hundreds of workers gathered and marched against a large contingent of security forces.

Police officers with batons and plastic shields tried to push people back. Clashes ensued. You could also see how some workers were lying on the ground, apparently injured.

Thousands on the run

There had been unrest around the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou a few weeks ago. Thousands of employees had fled for fear of infection or the strict measures.

Foxconn then offered employees higher wages if they chose to return despite the restrictions. But the plant continued to operate in a “closed cycle”. Employees were not allowed to leave the factory premises. As many as 600,000 people were affected by the lockdown imposed around the Foxconn site at the beginning of November.

People wait at entrance to Foxconn factory

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire/Orange Wang

Workers at the Foxconn factory – an entire industrial complex dubbed “iPhone City”

Probably lower iPhone delivery

Foxconn said Wednesday it had received questions from new employees about their salaries. These would be paid out as provided for in the contracts. Rumors that employees have to share their accommodation with infected colleagues are wrong.

The Zhengzhou plant is responsible for 70 percent of the world’s iPhone production and employs around 200,000 people, most of whom are housed on site.

Apple is already expecting fewer iPhone deliveries due to the production disruptions. For example, Apple in California announced in early November that the factory in Zhengzhou was working with “significantly reduced capacity”; The production of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is affected. Customers therefore have to wait longer for the delivery of these devices.

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