WATCH: Chinese workers jump fences to ‘dodge Covid lockdown’ at iPhone factory

Screen grabs of videos purported to show Chinese workers jumping fences to 'dodge Covid lockdown' at iPhone factory. Credit: Stephen McDonell/Twitter.

CHINESE workers have been seen apparently jumping the fence of their workplace in a bid to escape the country’s strict Covid restrictions.

Foxconn, one of Apple’s largest suppliers, locked down its biggest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, following the country’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy after an apparent outbreak of the virus.

Videos uploaded to social media show workers apparently scaling the fences and breaking lockdown rules to beat a Covid-19 app that has measures designed to control people and stop this from happening.

According to reports, hundreds of thousands of Foxconn workers were locked inside the plant with no clear idea of how many Covid cases were confirmed at the factory.

BBC journalist Stephen McDonell tweeted videos from the scene, saying: “Workers have broken out of Apple’s largest assembly site, escaping the Zero Covid lockdown at Foxconn in Zhengzhou. After sneaking out, they’re walking to home towns more than 100 kilometres away to beat the Covid app measures designed to control people and stop this.”

Zhengzhou, a city located in central China, has been under a partial lockdown after new laws give cities their own powers to put in place quarantines and mass testing – even when case numbers are low.

Foxconn’s Zhengzhou campus, where around 200,000 workers live on site, was locked down mid-October.

Mr McDonell reported that there are “two big factors” which led to the mass exodus of workers from Foxconn. 

He said: “Rumours going crazy about how they were going to be treated under Covid management and incredible widespread ignorance about the Coronavirus as a disease.

“One rumour running around was that the army was going to impose a giant ‘living with Covid’ experiment in that part of Zhengzhou to see how many of them would die as a kind of test case to see if China should open up if the carnage was not too bad.

He explained that the government has warned of “dire consequences” if rules are broken, adding that Foxconn is now saying that workers will be “permitted to leave if they can take one of the official buses being organised with local governments to take people directly to quarantine facilities elsewhere.”

Mr McDonell reported that the employees were escaping the campus by flagging down passing cars and trucks in the hope that they can reach their hometowns.

“Looks like some of the escaped Foxconn employees have been detained while trying to get home and straight away caught a blast of some sort of anti-Covid spray. China’s Zero-Covid measures are putting massive pressure on the economy, on livelihoods, on social stability” he tweeted.

However, those who helped the workers by offering them lifts have now been put into a “compulsory lockdown”.

“Escaping Foxconn workers have been posting some amazing footage. Here’s a group of them hitching a ride home on the back of a truck,” Mr McDonell said.

“Some truck drivers who gave Foxconn workers (who’d busted out) a ride have now themselves been put in compulsory quarantine. Workers who’ve made it to their home towns are reporting that they’re doing a week’s quarantine in schools and other temporary Covid isolation centres.”

Foxconn is yet to provide an official count of how many employees are infected by the virus.

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Vickie S
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Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.


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