China has locked up nearly a million people near an iPhone factory

China has locked up nearly a million people near an iPhone factory

iPhone production center Zhengzhou shut down one of its most populous counties to tame the virus outbreak, with increasing restrictions across China underscoring the constant threat of disruption facing businesses as the country grapples Covid Zero.
Nearly a million residents of Zhongyuan County have been ordered to stay at home since Monday, except when they need to undergo Covid testing, and non-essential businesses are closed, according to a government notice. The broader restrictions followed the closure of some neighborhoods last week, surprising many people after officials said there would be no citywide closures.
iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Group’s factories are not located in the locked-down district. Company representatives did not immediately respond to Bloomberg News’ request for comment.
The city reported 6 new local cases for Sunday, down from a recent high of 40 on October 9. Nationwide, the number of cases fell to 697, the lowest in two weeks, as outbreaks in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang were brought under control. Beijing announced 13 new cases, and Shanghai 32.
China is clinging to pillars of isolation and massive Covid Zero testing to tame its biggest surge in two months, despite heavy costs. The policy has stalled growth in the world’s second-largest economy and unsettled global supply chains as important manufacturing hubs — from cars, phones and Christmas trees — grapple with intermittent shutdowns and reopenings.
President Xi Jinping on Sunday he signaled that no change in approach was in sight, disappointing investors who had hoped for some signs of easing. During the opening speech twice a decade Party congress in Beijing, he said the strict rules were protecting people’s lives, although Xi avoided mentioning the economic toll.
Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast growth of just 3.3% this year, the second-slowest pace in more than four decades.
Strict Covid restrictions have also caused public displeasure. Censorship went into overdrive late last week, with words such as “Beijing” and “bridge” restricted on social media platforms like Weibo after two banners criticizing Xi and Covid Zero were placed on a bridge in the capital. One read: “We want food, not PCR tests. We want freedom, not blockades and controls.”
While China’s most important cities have so far avoided major shutdowns, officials have instead quietly clamped down on a growing list of activities. Several schools in Shanghai have suspended in-person classes as fears of the spread of the infection grow, according to parents and social media posts. The port city of Tianjin last week announced the closure of one district, and the southern megacity of Guangzhou closed schools in one area.

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