China closes zone around iPhone factory after virus cases
BEIJING (AP) — Access to an industrial zone in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou was suspended Wednesday after the city reported 64 coronavirus cases and workers who assemble Apple Inc. iPhones left their factory in the zone following outbreaks.
The announcement did not say whether the isolation of the Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone was related to cases at the Foxconn factory. It gave no indication of what prompted the closure. It said no one can enter or leave for one week except to deliver food and medical supplies.
Separately, the government reported 64 confirmed cases had been found in Zhengzhou over the past 24 hours. It said 294 asymptomatic cases also had been found in the city of 12.5 million. It did not say how many were in the industrial zone.
Meanwhile, the government of Macao announced the southern Chinese territory it will test its 700,000 people on Friday and Saturday. The government said the mass testing is a precaution after an earlier round on Tuesday found no cases.
The ruling Communist Party is enforcing a “Zero COVID” policy that has closed areas throughout China for weeks to try to isolate every case.
That has kept China’s infection rate relatively low but has disrupted trade and business at a time when other countries are easing anti-virus curbs. Public frustration with the restrictions has boiled over into fights with police in some areas.
In Zhengzhou, everyone in the industrial zone will be tested every day for the coronavirus, the Airport District said. It did not say how many people might be affected.
Areas throughout China tightened restrictions on movement and canceled airline flights last month after new infections surged following the weeklong National Day holiday.
Residents of many parts of the Xinjiang region in the northwest were barred from leaving their homes in August and September. People in Urumqi and other cities who said they had run out of food and medicine posted appeals for help on social media.
Thousands of employees left the Foxconn Technology Group factory starting in mid-October after complaints people who contracted the virus received no treatment. Some accused the company of failing to enforce measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Foxconn said Sunday it was using “closed loop management,” an official term for employees living at their workplace and avoiding contact with the outside. The company said ill employees were being treated but did not say if new infections still were occurring.
Also this week, visitors to Shanghai Disneyland were temporarily barred from leaving as part of virus testing the city government said Tuesday had extended to 439,000 people. The city health agency said visitors on Monday tested negative and were allowed to leave.
Last week, 1.3 million residents of Shanghai’s downtown Yangpu district were ordered to stay at home while they were tested.
AP Writer Kanis Leung in Hong Kong contributed.
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