Official working groups have been sent to a giant Foxconn production plant affected by the COVID-19 virus in Central China to strengthen its disease control capability while improving work conditions for its employees, local authorities said on Monday.
The Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone, which administers Foxconn's largest factory, in Zhengzhou, Henan province, said in a notice that teams from the provincial, city and district levels had been sent to guide and supervise the company to tighten disease control measures, stock anti-virus materials, guard against complacency and slackness, and ensure the closed-loop management of production and operations.
The Foxconn plant — a major supplier for iPhone that has about 200,000 employees — has been affected by a developing COVID-19 outbreak in Zhengzhou.
The notice said arrangements have been made for workers willing to return to their hometowns to leave, while care for those staying on company campuses will be ramped up.
Authorities in Zhengzhou and in Henan province have sent 200 nucleic acid testing personnel to Foxconn to help promptly identify who is infected with the virus.
Meanwhile, 400 sanitation and cleaning workers have been allocated to the company to step up disinfection and hygiene at the plant, according to the notice.
In an interview with Henan Daily on Monday, an unnamed senior Foxconn employee said that infection clusters at the factory are under control and no severe cases have been registered.
The company has conducted daily COVID tests for all workers since Oct 10, and it initiated a closed-loop management protocol on Oct 13 — meaning that all workers live in designated dormitories or hotels and only commute between the plant and their living quarters.
Canteens at the plant were closed on Oct 19, but given the improving COVID-19 situation, four canteens have since reopened, Foxconn said.
Subsidies of at least 50 yuan ($6.90) per day have been issued to each worker on duty, the company said. Medical teams from other regions have been sent by the city and provincial governments to meet workers' healthcare needs.
The company added that the plant's production is in a peak period. In order to reduce the risk of workers contracting the virus, other Foxconn production factories will be coordinated to be able to make up for a shortfall if necessary.
The Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou drew widespread attention over the weekend after its workers were seen day and night lugging suitcases and walking to their hometowns in neighboring cities.
Since Saturday evening, a number of counties and cities in the province have announced they were arranging for buses to pick up returning workers from highway checkpoints or road junctions and take them to quarantine facilities in their destinations.
Authorities in the economy zone also said on Sunday afternoon that personnel and buses have been organized to provide point-to-point return service for employees willing to go home.