The ongoing lockdown in several Chinese cities is drawing criticism from locals – and growing outright protests. A site of a major Apple manufacturer was also affected. This is reported by Taiwan media.
Shanghai fights Omicron
According to this, at the end of last week, there were clashes with security personnel and probably also the police at a factory in Shanghai, the region currently most affected by the Omicron variant. The facility, which is operated by Taiwan’s Quanta Computer to manufacture MacBook computers, actually operates on what’s called a closed-loop system. Employees are isolated from the outside world – they are only allowed to go back and forth between the workplace and the dormitories that are on the premises.
But apparently that’s exactly what many workers no longer wanted. As the Economic Daily News, which appears in Taipei, writes, “hundreds of employees” reportedly tried, sometimes by force, to cross the barriers around the factory erected by the company and the authorities in order to return in the outside world. The lockdown had previously been eased in some areas of the city, although there are now apparently plans to tighten it again.
Prohibition to return to the dormitories
Quanta Computer plays a central role for Apple: the company holds the exclusive rights to manufacture portable Macs. The current MacBook Pro models, which appeared in the fall, have only been available with some delay, but production is running better again – if there are no riots like the Shanghai one. now. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the strict epidemic control measures, they write Daily economic news Carry on. Quanta is expected to employ at least 40,000 workers. A dispute apparently arose after security guards banned employees from returning to their dorms after their shift. The barriers put in place have been overcome. The protests apparently took place entirely on company premises.
Despite the milder variant of Omicron, China continues to rely on strict lockdowns. Millions of people in several major cities – most in Shanghai – have been stuck at home for weeks. If an infection is detected, people often have to go to cramped quarantine centers that have poor hygienic conditions. There are food supply problems. The leadership of the Communist Party of China believes that the only way to bring the virus under control is to implement a “zero COVID” policy. Another problem is the fact that mRNA vaccines are still not approved in China – locally produced vaccines, however, have a weaker effect against omicrons. In addition, the vaccination rate is low, especially among the elderly. Nevertheless, only relatively few symptomatic corona cases are reported – but they are enough to continue the strict lockdown. It is apparently also being considered for the capital Beijing.