Home / News / World /  World's largest iPhone factory workers recall Covid horror stories

Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn, the world's largest iPhone factory, workers recall the uncertainty and chaos amid a coronavirus breakout.

Zhang Yao, an employee of the tech major, Foxconn, spoke to news agency AFP under a pseudonym recounting the weeks-long ordeal including food shortages and fear of infection spreading, before he was finally able to escape. In early October, his supervisors suddenly warned him that 3,000 people had been taken into quarantine after someone tested positive for Covid-19 at the factory.

"They told us not to take our masks off," he said as quoted by AFP.

China which has imposed a strict lockdown measures in Zhengzhou city, where Foxconn's factory is located. China is committed to its zero-Covid strategy, with lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines. Local authorities locked down the area surrounding the major Apple supplier's factory on Wednesday.

Multiple workers recounted disorganisation at Foxconn's complex of workshops and dormitories

"Positive tests and double lines (on antigen tests) had become a common sight. Of course we were scared, it was so close to us." Zhang said.

"People with fevers are not guaranteed to receive medicine. We are drowning," another 30-year old Foxconn worker, who also asked to remain anonymous, as quoted by AFP.

Those who decided to stop working were not offered meals at their dormitories, Zhang said. He added that some were able to survive on personal stockpiles of instant noodles.

Another Foxconn employee, 27-year old woman said that a roommate who tested positive for Covid was sent back to her dormitory, after she decided to hand in her notice while in quarantine.

Now the three of us are living in the same room: one a confirmed case and two of us testing positive on the rapid test, still waiting for our nucleic acid test results," the worker told AFP.

Many became so desperate by the end of last month that they attempted to walk back to their hometowns to get around Covid transport curbs.

The company had on Sunday said it was "providing employees with complimentary three meals a day" and cooperating with the government to provide transport home.

China on Friday reported the highest daily count of new local Covid cases in six months.

New locally transmitted cases rose to 3,871 on Thursday, according to regular data released by the National Health Commission, the highest since early May when Shanghai was fighting its worst outbreak and Beijing was scrambling to contain one.

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