Foxconn to quarantine iPhone workers amidst coronavirus fears

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HonHai/Foxconn to quarantine some workers at its main iPhone production plant for 14 days.
Photo: Apple

iPhone manufacturer HonHai/Foxconn Technology Group plans to re-open its main factory in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou on February 10, but quarantine its returning workers for 14 days in an abundance of caution as the number of cases of the coronavirus grows.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday HonHai/Foxconn company executives had confirmed the move in a statement saying workers returning from outside Henan province will be confined on the campus for 14 days. Any staff reporting to work who reside within the province itself will be isolated for seven days.

The move comes as HonHai/Foxconn cut its 2020 revenue outlook to 1% from 3%. That’s down from a January 22 forecast of 3% to 5%, before the epidemic spread worldwide.

Re-starts expected

Hon Hai/Foxconn said Tuesday it still expects to be able to restart facilities throughout China on schedule. Other key suppliers including LG Display, Quanta (who produce Apple Watches) and Inventec – which produces the Apple HomePod and AirPods – have also said they plan to re-open facilities next week. 

As to whether these companies actually re-start operations next week is debatable. The Chinese government asked factories to remain closed after the Chinese new year holiday and reopen February 10. But the number of virus cases, now at more than 25,000 in China, and the number of deaths at 492 people is continuing to grow with little indication that conditions are subsiding.

A report this week said that iPhone shipments would be impacted if suppliers did not re-open soon.

For now, Apple has acknowledged a level of uncertainty that has now been built into revenue projections for the current financial quarter. The company has also closed offices and all its retail stores in China until February 10.