The daily number of Covid-19 infections in China have hit a record high since the outbreak of the pandemic, despite the country putting stringent curbs — snap lockdowns, mass testing and tavel restrictions — to contain the spread of the disease. As per a Reuters report, China recorded 31,545 domestic infections, with 27,517 asymptomatic cases, on Wednesday, the National Health Bureau said.
Though the number of cases are relatively small in proportion to China’s vast population of 1.4 billion, but under Beijing’s zero covid policy, even outbreaks of small scale can result into shutting down of entire city and place contacts of infected patients into strict quarantines.
Wednesday’s figures exceed the 29,390 infections recorded in mid-April when megacity Shanghai was under lockdown, with residents struggling to buy food and access medical care, the report stated.
The unrelenting policy has caused fatigue and resentment among swathes of the population as the pandemic nears its third year, sparking sporadic protests and hitting productivity in the world’s second-largest economy.
Several photos and videos have shown people fleeing strict quarantine and lockdowns in the country. On Wednesday, several footages went viral of workers at Foxconn plant in central China’s Zhengzhou clashing with security guards after tensions were high at the Apple’s main iPhone-manufacturing plant in China due to ongoing Covid restrictions.
Videos on social media showed workers marching on a road, with some being confronted by guards in white PPE suits. Another clip showed dozens of workers at night confronting a row of police officers and a police vehicle, shouting, “Defend our rights! Defend our rights!”. Many yelled “fight, fight!” as workers forced their way past barricades. At one point, several surrounded an occupied police car and began rocking the vehicle.
According to reports protests started over unpaid wages and fears of spreading infection. Bloomberg quoted a worker saying, “I’m really scared about this place, we all could be Covid positive now.”
One Foxconn employee told the BBC that workers were protesting because Foxconn had “changed the contract they promised”. He said, “Those workers who are protesting are wanting to get a subsidy and return home.”