Major Chinese city in near-lockdown after record Covid cases and iPhone worker protests
The Chinese city of Zhengzhou, home to the world’s biggest Apple iPhone factory, largely went into lockdown as China reported a record number of Covid cases.
HONG KONG — The Chinese city of Zhengzhou, home to the world’s biggest Apple iPhone factory, largely went into lockdown Thursday amid a growing Covid outbreak, as China reported more new cases nationwide than at any point in the pandemic.
In the previous 24 hours, the number of new Covid cases in China rose by 31,444, the National Health Commission said, beating a record previously set during the two-month lockdown in Shanghai last spring. China has also reported six new virus deaths since the weekend, its first in six months, as it battles outbreaks across the country driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.
The restrictions in Zhengzhou, a city of more than 10 million, came a day after violent protests broke out near a factory there run by the Taiwan-based company Foxconn, Apple’s main supplier. The factory’s iPhone 14 production has been slowed by a labor shortage that began last month, when a Covid outbreak and an accompanying lockdown sent workers fleeing back to their hometowns.
Video shows violent scenes around Foxconn plant in ChinaNov. 23, 202201:01To keep production lines working, Foxconn has offered bonuses and higher salaries to lure workers back and to recruit new employees. In the protests this week, footage of which was posted on Chinese social media and verified by NBC News, security personnel could be seen beating workers who said the terms of their payment had abruptly changed.
Foxconn apologized Thursday for what it called a “computer information input error in the onboarding process,” saying pay was the same as advertised.