Production of the Apple iPhone 12 at a Foxconn factory in India has slumped by more than half because workers infected with COVID-19 have had to leave their posts.
The Tame Apple Press is furious as it seems to expect workers to die at their posts making expensive toys for rich kids and that Apple should be the only company in the world that is not slowed down by COVID.
However, its Foxconn plant is in Tamil Nadu is one of the worst-hit states in the second coronavirus wave engulfing India. Officials imposed a full lockdown in the state from closing public transport and shuttering shops, to try slow surging infections.
More than 100 Foxconn employees in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 and the company has enforced a no-entry ban at its factory in the capital of Chennai until late May, one of the sources said.
"Employees are only allowed to leave but not to enter the facility since yesterday. Only a small part of the output is being kept."
More than half of the plant's capacity had been cut, both sources said, declining to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
They did not specify the plant's capacity and it was unclear how many workers were at the facility, which provides dormitory accommodation for employees.
Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker and a major supplier to Apple, said a small number of employees at one of its facilities in India tested positive for COVID-19 and the company was providing them with support, including medical assistance.
"Foxconn places the health and safety of our employees as our highest priority and that is why we have been working closely with local government and public health authorities in India to address the challenges that we and all companies are facing in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis", it said in a statement to Reuters.
India has benefited from Apple’s move to shift some areas of production from China to other markets as it navigates a trade war between Washington and Beijing, with Apple announcing in March it had started the assembly of the iPhone 12 in India.
While Apple’s share of the budget phone-dominated India market is small, CEO Tim Cook said in January that India business doubled in the December quarter compared to the previous year, helped by an online store launch.