Production of iPhones at a Foxconn plant in India has been hit by a surge in Covid-19 cases among employees, highlighting the continued risk of the pandemic to the global mobile industry.
Foxconn’s Chennai facility is located in the state of Tamil Nadu, one of the regions worst affected by a second wave of coronavirus in the country. The state is currently subject to a full lockdown, placing restrictions on citizens and businesses in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
According to Reuters, Foxconn has imposed a ‘no entry’ measure on the factory, meaning that once employees have left the site, they may not re-enter.
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Like in other parts of the world, Foxconn offers employees dormitory accommodation, and the firm has confirmed to the news agency that a small number of staff had contracted Covid-19 – believed to be around 100.
It said it was providing those affected with support, including medical assistance, however it did not elaborate on the impact on output or staffing levels.
However, it is thought the outbreak has had a noticeable effect on production levels. The impact on Apple’s overall supply chain will be minimal because the factory produces iPhones specifically for India, which is a minor market for the company, but the incident reinforces the wider uncertainty that could undermine any market recovery.
Although lockdown measures and macroeconomic challenges have been the main factors behind a slump in sales, factory closures in China during the first phase of the pandemic also contributed. Meanwhile, an ongoing shortage of components continues to affect manufacturers.
Most analysts believe that the market will decline again in 2021, albeit at a slower rate than last year as lockdowns around the world begin to ease, before returning to pre-Covid levels in 2022.
Apple itself has shown no signs of slowing down, with huge demand for the iPhone 12 contributing to record revenues in the most recent quarter.
Apple has been contacted for comment.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.