China locks down area around world’s biggest iPhone factory amid Covid outbreak

A woman wearing a face mask in Beijing  (AP)
A woman wearing a face mask in Beijing (AP)

Chinese officials have locked down the area surrounding the world’s largest iPhone factory under the country’s ‘zero Covid’ policy.

Access to the industrial zone in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou was suspended Wednesday after the city reported 64 coronavirus cases. Workers left their factory in the zone following the outbreak.

Officials did not say whether the closure of the Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone was related to cases at the Foxconn factory.

The isolation means no one can enter or leave for one week except to deliver food and medical supplies.

Authorities have vowed to “resolutely crack down on all kinds of violations of regulations".

The strict lockdown comes shortly after Apple’s launch of the iPhone 14 and ahead of the crucial Christmas and Lunar New Year sales.

The factory, which employs around 200,000 workers, makes the majority of Apple’s new phones.

Thousands of employees left the factory after complaints people who contracted the virus received no treatment.

Some accused the company of failing to enforce measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Foxconn said Sunday it was using “closed loop management," an official term for employees living at their workplace and avoiding contact with the outside.

The company said ill employees were being treated but did not say if new infections still were occurring.

Areas throughout China tightened restrictions on movement and cancelled airline flights last month after infections surged.

Residents of many parts of the Xinjiang region in the northwest were barred from leaving their homes in August and September.

Also this week, visitors to Shanghai Disneyland were temporarily barred from leaving as part of virus testing the city government said Tuesday had extended to 439,000 people.

The city health agency said visitors on Monday tested negative and were allowed to leave.