From iPhone maker to VW, Chinese factories go into bubbles over Covid outbreak

Volkswagen and Foxconn are keeping workers on site at their factories in Chengdu after the Chinese metropolis locked down its 21 million people to contain an outbreak of Covid-19.

The German automaker’s plant, operated jointly with local partner China FAW Group Co., entered a so-called “closed-loop system” on Thursday evening to maintain production, a representative of the agency said on Friday by telephone. company, without giving further details. Foxconn, the largest assembler of Apple devices, is also adopting the method at its factory which manufactures iPads there, according to a person familiar with the decision.

First used during the Beijing Winter Olympics as a way to separate athletes and support staff from the wider population, closed loops or factory bubbles typically require workers to move from the accommodation on site at the factory and vice versa, strictly avoiding contact with strangers. , and be tested regularly for Covid. Companies such as Tesla even had their employees sleep on the floor during Shanghai’s lockdown earlier this year.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is the biggest city to shut down since Shanghai’s deadly two-month lockdown from late March. It also functions as a manufacturing center in southwest China for companies such as Geely Automobile Holdings and Toyota Motor.

Volvo Car AB’s Sichuan plant, now under parent Geely, has suspended production due to the lockdown, Reuters reported earlier. Meanwhile, Hitachi’s two factories in Chengdu that make elevators and escalators are operating at reduced rates due to an order from authorities, Ryuhei Tanaka, a spokesman for the Japanese company, said by telephone.

Shenzhen closes public transport

Major districts in China’s tech hub of Shenzhen on Friday shut down public transport and extended restrictions on public activities as cities across China battled Covid-19 outbreaks that have clouded prospects for economic recovery.

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