Huawei, Foxconn and other Chinese companies go into ‘closed loop’

Huawei office in Shenzhen, China.

Tech and manufacturing workers will again be banned from leaving their employers’ facilities for a period of time in a Chinese city, in a bid to keep production going, while preventing the spread of cvid-19, according to a report from Bloomberg News. The latest round of lockdowns is in Shenzhen, where the government is bringing some of its biggest companies into a ‘closed loop’ in response to the latest wave of coronavirus of ovid-19. As part of this strategy, employee travel and contact with people outside of their workplace is significantly restricted.

The restrictions appear to apply to many of the city’s top 100 companies, including tech giants like telecommunications company Huawei, iPhone maker Foxconn and chipmaker SMIC. Gizmodo could not immediately verify the Shenzhen government advisory referenced by Bloomberg. Although South China Morning Post in the same way reported that a closed-loop strategy began in Shenzhen on Sunday and will continue for the next seven days, according to “unnamed industry sources with knowledge of the local government directive.”

From the China Morning Post:

Moving to a closed-loop mode of operation, which involves control measures such as locking workers into a compound and performing daily nucleic acid tests, remains the strategy of choice for factories on the continent to maintain production on track, while reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The outlet further wrote that the strategy is only being implemented on company campuses with worker housing and on-site manufacturing facilities. However, reports from previous lockdowns described workers forced to sleep on factory floors. This is not the first time that technology and manufacturing workers in China have been banned from leaving their workplaces in recent months. Tesla’s Shanghai factory, along with other manufacturers in Shanghai, operated under a closed loop in April.

Officials from Huawei, SMIC and Shenzhen did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. In an emailed statement, Foxconn Technology Group said, “Operations are normal at the Foxconn campus in Shenzhen. The government’s epidemic prevention policy is followed to ensure both the health and safety of employees and the optimal operation of production lines.

Shenzhen is a technology and manufacturing hub. The city of nearly 12.6 million people is home to numerous headquarters, factories and facilities of well-known domestic and international technology companies like drone maker DJI, social media company Tencet and ZTE Corp. The city, often compared to California’s Silicon Valley, reported 21 new covid case monday according to the local health commissionand 19 cases in total on Sunday. All of Mainland China reported 966 new virus cases on Sunday.

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