The largest iPhone maker in China has reopened, and it's taking extreme lengths to stop the spread of coronavirus

China coronavirus phones

Reuters

  • Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's largest manufacturing partner, has reopened its factories in China and is imposing strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Taiwanese company is determined to stay on schedule for a fall iPhone launch, according to a Washington Post report.
  • Foxconn produces 2 million surgical masks per day to be used by its workforce of over 1 million employees. Workers are barred from facing each other while eating, and have their temperature checked daily.
  • The extreme measures show the uphill battle that companies across the world could face when returning to work amid coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Employees at the largest iPhone factory in China have returned to work in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak - but working conditions are far from business as usual.

The company the runs the factory, Foxconn, began gradually resuming production at its iPhone-making complex in Zhengzhou in early March, according to a Zhengzhou government notice. Foxconn is now ramping up its production in an attempt to stay on schedule for a fall iPhone release - Apple plans to manufacture iPhones over the summer in order to launch the new iPhone on time, Bloomberg reported last week.Advertisement

Foxconn is taking extreme measures to stay on schedule while preventing another COVID-19 outbreak. It's now producing 2 million surgical masks per day for internal use by its 1 million workers, according to a Washington Post report.

Foxconn's cautious return to full production shows the challenges that companies across the globe will face in the wake of coronavirus - if workers at Foxconn or other major Chinese manufacturers are hit with another outbreak, the global supply chain could feel even more dire impacts for months to come. Manufacturers will also have to reassure consumers of the safety of their products.

At Foxconn's "iPhone City" in Zhengzhou, workers are sequestered into groups of 20 and must eat, sleep, work, and travel together to reduce potential transmission of the virus, the Zhengzhou government said in a notice. Workers' temperatures are taken daily, and infrared video cameras track their body temperatures in real-time.
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One worker told The Washington Post that Foxconn has constructed dividers at its cafeteria tables to prevent workers from seeing or talking to each other while eating. QR codes have reportedly been placed on cafeteria seats, which workers are required to scan so the company knows who sat where.

Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company said in a statement to The Post that it was following "all recommended health and hygiene practices ... including the use of nucleic acid tests and chest X-rays when required."Digital Health Pro

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