See inside Zhengzhou, the Chinese city shut down by the coronavirus where the world's largest iPhone factory is trying to attract workers with $1,000 bonuses

mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com (Mary Meisenzahl)
Security personnel check the temperature of passengers.

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  • iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is reopening factories after closing them due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The company is offering bonuses of 3,000 yuan ($427) to returning workers and 7,000 yuan ($995) to new workers in its Zhengzhou factory.
  • Now, workers have to decide how much returning to work is worth to them.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Zhengzhou, China, is also known as "iPhone City," for the large Foxconn factory that employed as many as 350,000 people and made half of the world's iPhones. This factory city came to a halt on February 3, when Foxconn stopped "almost all" of its production in China, including at the Zhengzhou location, because of the coronavirus outbreak. At one point, Foxconn even used its factories to produce masks and medical clothing.

The death toll of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, is now more than 2,700, and the virus has infected more than 80,000 people. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a global health emergency.

The outbreak originated in Wuhan, China in December, and spread to 37 countries. Experts are now calling it a "mild pandemic," and theorizing that it could become a permanent virus that humans face, akin to the seasonal flu.

On Thursday, Foxconn announced that factories would "cautiously" open again, and the iPhone manufacturer is trying some unusual methods to incentivize workers to return. New employees are being offered 7,000 yuan ($995) to start work at the factory, while returning employees are offered 3,000 yuan ($427). These are surely enticing for workers at the Foxconn factory, where the average monthly salary was between 2,000 and 3,000 yuan.

To get the payout, though, workers will have to deal with the effects of the coronavirus on every aspect of life in Zhengzhou. Take a look inside the city here.

Zhengzhou is a city of about 9.5 million people in China's Henan province.

Zhengzhou


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Special trains were used to bring hundreds of residents back to Zhengzhou as companies reopened and they returned to work.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Face masks have become a common sight throughout China and other areas affected by the virus, although experts doubt their usefulness in preventing infection for wearers.

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Photo by Li An/Xinhua via Getty

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As people go back to work, usage of Zhengzhou's high-speed railway system has increased.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

The railway maintenance station has started cleaning and disinfecting the air conditioning system on the trains more frequently.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Image

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Maintenance workers disassemble the air conditioning evaporator to ensure clean airflow.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Railways are taking extra precautions. Here, a maintenance worker cleans compartments on the train.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

The bathroom also gets the full disinfection treatment...

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

...and so does the train's carriage.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

High-speed trains have been key to getting workers where they need to go and staffing operations that were shut down due to the coronavirus.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Members of the humanitarian organization Zhengzhou Blue Sky Rescue have been working to disinfect public spaces in the city.

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Photo by Li An/Xinhua via Getty

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Zhengzhou Blue Sky Rescue members have made donations of face masks and disinfection devices, which they've been using in the city.

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Photo by Li An/Xinhua via Getty

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Li Jian is one volunteer associated with the group disinfecting Zhengzhou.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Another volunteer, Huang Jun, helped her husband by wiping disinfectant off his mask.

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Xinhua/Li An via Getty Images

Without knowing how much the coronavirus might require quarantines or disrupt supply chains, stocking up on essentials has been a priority in Zhengzhou.

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Xinhua/Zhu Xiang via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Workers at wholesale markets across the city have stockpiled produce.

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Xinhua/Zhu Xiang via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

With limited travel, access to fresh food was important in maintaining healthy conditions.

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(Xinhua/Zhu Xiang via Getty Images

Grocery deliveries have surged in China as people fear the coronavirus, with as many as 80% of customers requesting contactless deliveries.

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It hasn't been all bad news in Zhengzhou. Early in February, five patients celebrated being cured of the coronavirus.

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Source: Xinhua News Agency

Patients waved at the staff at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University.

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Doctors in Zhengzhou gathered in early February to travel to Wuhan and help with medical efforts there.

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Photo by Li An/Xinhua via Getty Images

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Meanwhile, on February 14, teams of international students formed an emergency response team to combat the coronavirus in Zhengzhou.

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Photo by Li Lijing/Xinhua via Getty

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