AirPods manufacturers sleep in factory ‘bubbles’ to avoid COVID-19

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Apple has big plans for the AirPods lineup.
It's all part of the effort to contain COVID.
Photo: Omid Armin/Unsplash CC

In order to quell the spread of COVID-19, at least one Apple supplier set up coronavirus “bubbles” for employees on its production lines, essentially sealing off workers from the outside world.

According to a Tuesday report by Nikkei Asia, several factories in Vietnam — including one owned by AirPods manufacturer GoerTek — took this precautionary measure as COVID-19 cases ramp up in the country.

“The bubbles were first required in the south but are spreading to places from central Da Nang, where authorities have warned factories that sleepovers may become necessary, to northern Bac Ninh, where AirPods assembler GoerTek has pitched orange and purple tents for workers, according to footage on state TV,” Nikkei Asia reported.

Bubbled employees stay on campus 24/7. (Some other companies appear to be providing transportation to and from home, ensuring people do not set foot outside of these two environments.)

COVID-19 in Vietnam

This comes as Vietnam experiences its worst brush with COVID-19 yet. On Sunday, the country reported a record 5,926 cases. That’s almost four times the figure for the entirety of 2020. Vietnam has vaccinated just 4% of its population due to a shortage of available doses.

Workers for Apple suppliers living on campus isn’t exactly new. Megafactories like Foxconn have long had their own on-site dormitories for people working on production lines. During COVID-19, other manufacturers put quarantine procedures in place at various times. Nonetheless, it’s a reminder that COVID-19 is far from over — especially in parts of the world that have not been fortunate enough to have the kind of vaccine rollout seen in places like the United States.

Apple increasingly focused its attention on Vietnam in recent years as the company reduces its reliance on China for manufacturing.

Source: Nikkei Asia