Dozens of workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory in China have fled to escape the site’s lockdown following an outbreak of Covid-19 cases, according to footage posted on social media.
Controlled by Taiwanese group Foxconn, the factory is located in the city of Zengzhou (central) and employs more than 200,000 people.
The company said last week that a “small number” of cases had been detected, without specifying how many. She had termed rumors on the internet reporting tens of thousands of contaminations as “absolutely false”.
Foxconn ensured that employees were tested daily and confined on site.
But videos circulating on social media over the weekend showed dozens of workers, some carrying suitcases, fleeing the site over a fence and walking down the road to return home. They return on foot.
Local authorities have asked fleeing employees to register on arrival and then observe a multi-day quarantine at home.
The Taiwan group said it was working with the government to organize staff and vehicles and would allow employees to leave if they wanted.
Foxconn, the Zhengzhou factory that makes the world’s most iPhones, said it faced a “long battle” against the detected Covid outbreak, without specifying the limited number of employees.
Henan province, where Zhengzhou is located, only officially announced 42 new cases on Monday.
NGO China Labor Watch accused Foxconn Group of hiding the true number of cases among its employees and forcing sick people to stay at work, citing an internal message sent to employees and testimonies from employees.
Foxconn has pledged to “do everything possible” to take care of its workers.
China is the last major economy to apply a zero COVID policy, which involves detaining positive cases as soon as they appear, mandatory PCR tests several times a week, or placing people from high-risk areas in quarantine.
These measures are weighing on the economy, leading to unplanned shutdowns of businesses and factories.
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