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Apple supplier Foxconn says it can hit production targets despite coronavirus outbreak

Foxconn is prepared to "meet all global manufacturing obligations," but is taking care to keep its employees healthy, it said.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone manufacturer Foxconn says China's coronavirus containment efforts won't stop its production.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday expressed uncertainty about the impact the deadly coronavirus would have on its China production, but one major iPhone manufacturer said it's prepared. Foxconn apparently has a plan to "meet all global manufacturing obligations," even as China restricts travel and enacts quarantine measures

"Foxconn is closely monitoring the current public health challenge linked to the coronavirus and we are applying all recommended health and hygiene practices to all aspects of our operations in the affected markets," it said in an emailed statement. "Our facilities in China are following holiday schedules and will continue to do so until all businesses have resumed standard operating hours."

The Taiwanese company didn't offer specific details, but cited its previous experience with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) -- which killed nearly 800 people and infected more than 8,000 in the early 2000s -- as experience in allocating resources to meet its production needs while keeping its employees healthy during such outbreaks.

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It has a facility in Wuhan, the outbreak's epicenter, but most of its iPhone production happens around 300 miles away in Zhengzhou the largest city in China's Henan province (where the coronavirus had infected nearly 280 people as of early Thursday). The device is also produced in Shanghai -- nearly 500 miles away from Wuhan -- by Foxconn competitor Pegatron, according to Bloomberg.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan late last year, and had claimed more than 130 lives and infected nearly 6,000 Chinese citizens as of Wednesday. It's spread in smaller numbers to Europe, Australia and the US.

Pegatron didn't respond to a request for comment.

First published Wednesday at 5:17 a.m. PT.
Updated Thursday at 1:25 a.m. PT: Adds Foxconn statement.