The coronavirus pandemic might be winding down in the United States, but it’s still wreaking havoc in other parts of the world. And that includes hammering Apple’s supply chain.
According to a Reuters report Friday, Apple suppliers in Vietnam are currently grappling with how best to address a COVID-19 outbreak that left multiple factories operating below normal capacity. As a result, one Apple supplier says it split its workforce in two, working across multiple shifts. This is described as a “temporary solution, for maybe two weeks.”
Reuters quantified the current COVID-19 outbreak that’s hitting the country:
“After successfully containing the new coronavirus for most of last year, Vietnam is now battling an outbreak that is spreading more quickly. More than 3,000 people have been infected in 30 of its 63 cities and provinces since late April.
At least 1.04 million people in Vietnam have had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but just 28,529 have been fully vaccinated, according to official data.”
Trouble in Apple manufacturing hubs
Vietnam is one of the countries Apple has been expanding into for manufacturing as it lessens its reliance on China. Vietnam manufactures several Apple products, including iPads, Macs and AirPods. Closures or slowdowns are unlikely to have too much impact if they’re short-term. But they could become a big problem if they continue for more than a few days. That could wind up having an impact on product availability worldwide, especially when combined with the current chip shortage.
Vietnam isn’t the only place Apple products are manufactured that is currently grappling with COVID. Earlier this month, it was reported that the production capacity of a Foxconn factory in India had been cut by more than 50% due to the pandemic. China also has faced no shortage of challenges as a result of COVID-19.
Hopefully this issue will be resolved sooner rather than later. But doing so will rely on effective large-scale vaccination programs. Right now that’s proving extremely difficult in many places.