Chinese cities brace for a wave of Foxconn workers from coronavirus-hit Zhengzhou
BEIJING (Reuters) – Cities in central China hastily drawn up plans to isolate migrant workers fleeing to their hometowns from a massive iPhone maker Foxconn’s assembly facility. (2317.TW) In the coronavirus-hit Zhengzhou, fearing returnees could lead to a coronavirus outbreak.
Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, reported 167 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the seven days to October 29, up from 97 in the previous seven-day period. Taiwan-based Foxconn, which employs about 300,000 workers in Zhengzhou, did not disclose the number of infected workers.
Under China’s extremely strict policies on the non-spread of the novel coronavirus, localities are empowered to act quickly to quell any outbreak, with measures that could include widespread closures. On October 19, Foxconn forbidden He ate in the canteens and asked the workers to eat their meals in their dormitories, but they assured that production was normal.
Pictures and videos circulating widely on Chinese social media since Saturday showed Foxconn workers wandering through fields by day and along roads at night. Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the posts.
In an apparent show of support, residents in the vicinity left bottled water and supplies next to major roads with signs such as: “For Foxconn workers going home,” according to social media posts.
A Foxconn official did not immediately comment in response to Reuters inquiries.
“They were Foxconn employees who ran away from the factory and were going home,” one WeChat user wrote in a post about social media photos.
“Some people were walking through wheat fields carrying their luggage, blankets and quilts. I couldn’t help but feel sad.”
Late on Saturday, cities near Zhengzhou, including Liuzhou, Changjie and Chenyang, as well as Weikou District and Shiwa County in Xuzhou City, urged Foxconn workers to inform local authorities in advance of their plans to go home.
In separate messages on their social media accounts addressed to Zhengzhou Foxconn workers, they said the returning workers would travel “point to point” in pre-arranged cars en route, and would be isolated upon arrival.
Xihua County said it is organizing a special vehicle from Sunday to bring back Foxconn factory workers who were originally from the county directly, and assured them that they will not be turned away but that anti-epidemic measures must be observed.
(Reporting by Ryan Wu and Ziyi Tang) Editing by Edmund Kelman
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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