scorecardThe world's biggest iPhone maker has hired the scientist known as the 'SARS hero' to oversee its re-opening as it resumes production
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The world's biggest iPhone maker has hired the scientist known as the 'SARS hero' to oversee its re-opening as it resumes production

Ben Gilbert   

The world's biggest iPhone maker has hired the scientist known as the 'SARS hero' to oversee its re-opening as it resumes production
LifeScience2 min read
Zhong Nanshan, head of China's investigation in the coronavirus outbreak

STR/AFP via Getty Images

Zhong Nanshan, a scientist at China's national health commission, is sometimes called the "SARS hero" due to his work during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s.

Apple's main iPhone production partner, Foxconn, is slowly restarting production following closures in China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese manufacturing giant, which closed nearly all its factories in response to the outbreak, is taking a major step to reassure workers: It has hired Zhong Nanshan, the scientist leading China's investigation in the coronavirus outbreak, as an adviser. Foxconn has also reportedly offered new employees up to $1,000 to return to work.

Nanshan will act as a consultant to Foxconn for prevention and rehabilitation, in addition to serving as the leader of China's National Health Commission investigation.

In China, Nanshan is sometimes called the "SARS hero" due to his work during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. He is credited with discovering SARS and figuring out how to treat it.

Foxconn's primary facilities are in China, where the majority of Apple's products are manufactured and where the coronavirus has had the greatest impact. The company announced at the beginning of the month it would close all its mainland China plants, and though it initially said it would reopen factories on February 10, it has extended that timeline. Sources at the company told Reuters that it hoped to resume half-production by the end of the month.

FILE PHOTO: Foxconn employees wearing masks attend the company's year-end gala in Taipei, Taiwan January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Yimou Lee/File Photo

Reuters

Foxconn employees wore masks at the company's Lunar New Year celebration in Taipei in January.

Thus far, the coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 81,000 people on every world continent except for Antarctica; over 2,700 have died from the virus, primarily in mainland China.

As a result, major Chinese businesses have either shut down or diverted resources to fighting the outbreak. Foxconn, in addition to halting production, had shifted facilities to manufacturing medical face masks and clothing.

Apple recently announced that its production of iPhones would be impacted by the shutdowns in Chinese manufacturing, and warned investors that quarterly revenues would likely be down as a result.

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