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Chinese iPhone factory under lockdown quadruples bonuses for workers who stay

The world’s largest iPhone factory in central China told staff on Tuesday it would quadruple their bonuses if they stayed at the factory.

The world’s largest iPhone factory in central China told staff on Tuesday it would quadruple their bonuses if they stayed at the factory after dozens of workers fled a Covid outbreak at the facility.

China is the last major economy committed to a zero-covid strategy, persevering with rapid lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines in an effort to stamp out emerging outbreaks.

But new variants have tested local officials’ ability to extinguish flare-ups faster than they can spread, leaving much of the country under an ever-changing mosaic of Covid fringes.

Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou has been shut down since mid-October, with the company saying it tests workers daily and keeps them on a closed circuit.

But complaints from employees circulating on Chinese social media are about poor working conditions and inadequate virus protection for employees who are not infected.

“I brought only a handbag, three packs of instant noodles, four bottles of milk, two bottles of water and some bread,” an escaped Foxconn worker named Li Yan, who walked three hours after leaving the facility, told state-owned China Newsweek. . .

Videos shared online this weekend showed Foxconn employees fleeing the company’s campus and returning to their hometowns on foot in an effort to avoid travel restrictions due to Covid.

Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory said on its official WeChat account that starting Tuesday, workers will receive a daily bonus of 400 yuan ($55) for showing up at work – a quadrupling of the previous subsidy of 100 yuan a day.

Employees will also receive additional bonuses if they work 15 days or more in November, up to 15,000 yuan if they are fully present this month.

– ‘controllable’ outbreak –

An unnamed plant manager told China Newsweek on Tuesday that there had been no serious infections so far and insisted the outbreak was “manageable”.

Foxconn – which supplies iPhones to US tech company Apple – has pledged to do more to help workers and organize buses to transport workers back to their hometowns if they want to leave, in what it has called a “long-term battle” against the virus. .

Local authorities in the area around the city asked fleeing workers to register with authorities when they returned home and to quarantine for several days upon arrival.

The southern semi-autonomous area of ​​Macau also announced mass testing of its 700,000 residents on Tuesday after a handful of cases were discovered, leading to the closure of one of its casinos.

It’s another blow to the city’s struggling gambling industry, which was poised for recovery after plans to relax this month’s travel between mainland China and the former Portuguese colony.

China reported more than 2,000 new domestic infections on Tuesday for the second day in a row, as curbs were raised in response to a spate of regional outbreaks.

The southern China manufacturing center of Guangzhou also announced partial lockdowns in several districts on Monday in response to the rising number of cases.

Guangzhou reported more than 520 new infections on Tuesday.

As winter approaches, new outbreaks have also emerged in northern cities near China’s borders with Russia and North Korea.

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