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China breaks record for daily Covid cases as discontent explodes

Social weariness is breaking out again in the face of the covid-zero policy which has kept China subject to the virus and isolated from the rest of the world for two and a half years. He did it once again in the factory that Apple supplier Foxconn operates in the city of Zhengzhou, Henan province. This industrial facility houses the the world’s largest iPhone productionwhich pass into the hands of its 200,000 workers.

Hundreds protested yesterday over living conditions and non-payment of wages. These demonstrations, always a fact extraordinary in China, they have resulted in violent confrontations with security guards clad head to toe in PPE suits, who are popularly known as “dabai,” “big whites,” after their attire.

This same place made headlines at the end of October when, upon detection of a new outbreak of Covid, its employees organized a mass loss. So much so that the regional authorities were forced to mobilize army veterans to keep the production line running.

The Taiwanese company has also attracted workers through generous bonuses, the non-payment of which has caused this new unrest. Foxconn apologized today through an official statement, assuring that everything is due to a “technical error» and that the transactions will be executed in full within the agreed time period.

These mobilizations illustrate the two main threats that, besides the virus itself, China’s health strategy faces. On the one hand, the economic costs; of the global consequences.

Apple, in fact, has already announced delays in iPhone deliveries due to the imminent Christmas campaign. On the other, popular discontent; deepened these days by the comparative rancor of the World Cup in Qatar: thousands of people from every corner of the globe together and unmasked, while millions of Chinese viewers cannot leave their homes.

New record

The protests also coincide with a new daily record of cases since the start of the pandemic. In the last 24 hours they have been 31,444as reported this morning by the National Health Commission: a moderate figure in a global context that has abandoned the accounts, but compromising for a model that continues to aspire to zero. The previous high was on April 13, when Shanghai was going through a traumatic home confinement of more than two months that had already tested the patience of citizens.

On this occasion, however, the infections are not concentrated in one place but spread throughout the country, and the trend continues to point upwards. Some of the most affected cities are Guangzhou, the commercial hub, and Zhengzhou itself, which today began five days of widespread confinement and massive testing. Even the capital, Beijing, which according to local authorities “has reached a critical point”.

Since the weekend there has been a ‘semi-imprisonment‘ which establishes the closure of offices, schools and commercial premises of all kinds. Government action is now focused on opening new quarantine centers and stocking supermarkets, an indication that not only is there no end in sight, but the worst is yet to come.

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