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Apple iPhone maker Foxconn taps scientist dubbed ‘SARS hero’ to advise on coronavirus outbreak

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Via CNBC

Foxconn employees on the assembly line in Longhua, Shenzhen, China. The company reportedly employed students working overtime at its iPhone factory in Zhengzhou.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has tapped the famed Chinese scientist behind the discovery of the SARS virus in 2003, to advise on the prevention of the new coronavirus as the firm looks to get production back on track.

Zhong Nanshan, who has been dubbed the “SARS hero” by Chinese state media, was credited with finding the correct way to treat the disease 17 years ago. He also spoke out against the official narrative at the time that said SARS was under control.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has killed over 2,700 people, Zhong has been thrust back into the spotlight. He was appointed head of China’s National Health Commission’s investigation into the outbreak.

Now Foxconn has tapped his expertise in respiratory diseases to serve as a consultant for the firm’s prevention and rehabilitation efforts. In a statement on Tuesday, Foxconn said Zhong will give advice and guidance to the company.

Foxconn, which assembles iPhones in China, was forced to keep factories closed for longer-than-expected because of the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday. The company said that it was re-opening factories in a “relatively cautious manner” which would hit its full-year results.

Apple has been impacted too. The iPhone maker said that it does not expect to meet its own revenue guidance for the March quarter because of supply and demand issues.

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“Worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained. While our iPhone manufacturing partner sites are located outside the Hubei province — and while all of these facilities have reopened — they are ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated,” Apple said in a statement at the time.

Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, is located in Hubei province.

Meanwhile, Apple has re-opened more than half of its stores in mainland China, though many of them are operating on shorter opening times than usual.


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