Apple’s employees at a data center in a Chinese city got stuck following the country’s latest COVID lockdown.

Bloomberg reported that the COVID pandemic hit Guiyang city, Guizhou province, forcing Apple’s data center operator to close in accordance with the city’s lockdown.

The Chinese government still insists on its Zero-Covid policy.

Apple’s data center is run by Guizhou Cloud Big Data, a Chinese government-backed partner. It operates the server center that houses all online data generated and stored by hundreds of millions of Chinese iPhone users.

In a notice on WeChat, Guizhou Cloud Big Data said that after the city of 6 million residents imposed the COVID lockdown, it has to operate on a “closed loop” system designed to avoid the virus infections.

The data center revealed that its workers have been barred from leaving the premises. Many of them have been cut off from their families for a week. 

The center said in a WeChat post: “Faced with a dire situation, we need courageous people on the front lines.”

According to Bloomberg, the Chinese authorities sealed off almost all communities in six of 10 districts in Guiyang city this week. The residents are barred from leaving their houses for any reason, except to get COVID tests.

Some people in the city have cried over a food shortage as the deliveries have stalled. 

Guiyang city officials have apologized for their inexperience in coordinating deliveries. 

Guiyang has offered incentives and supportive policies to attract massive server investments from the likes of e-commerce giant Alibaba and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings.

Apple launched the Guiyang data center in 2017. The center handles iCloud storage of emails, photos and videos for Chinese customers. 

However, under Chinese law, Apple was forced to hand control of the data center to a Chinese state company firm, which critics have claimed jeopardizes user privacy and security.

According to the New York Post, this isn’t the first time China’s COVID lockdown has disrupted Apple’s operations.In May, workers at a factory in Shanghai that makes Apple products protested against the city’s lockdown. Video showed that workers clashed with guards and jumped across security barriers.

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