Al Jazeera has learned that many of the factories that have been hit by a new outbreak of coronavirus in China have been shut down and shuttered for weeks, a sign that the pandemic may have hit a “chink” in the company’s armour.
The Chinese government has issued orders that have affected at least two of the top five most profitable firms in China’s garment industry.
It has shut down four of the five most heavily-used factories in the country, and shut down at least a dozen of the biggest factories in China, which makes clothing for the international market.
Al Jazeera correspondent Robyn Bower spoke to two Chinese factory owners who told her that they had been told to shut down the factories for weeks and that they were forced to use the same old equipment and machinery as before the pandemics.
They said they were told to buy new equipment and to take the same steps as before, as well as to keep the windows and doors closed, to prevent infections.
This is not a good fight, said one of the factory owners, surnamed Wang.
He said that he had been forced to shut the factory, but that the government had told him to reopen it after the pandems had been lifted.
The factories have become the epicentre of a new pandemic, and it has already started to affect China’s textile industry.
In recent days, Chinese factories have been reporting cases of coronajetres in the factories, including the most serious type of coronivirus, coronaviral meningitis, which can cause respiratory disease.
It can be fatal.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday that it had ordered that all factories be shut down.
Chinese authorities have also announced a total ban on all public transport in China.
This has caused huge traffic jams in the cities and is also affecting flights.
One factory owner, surnames Wang, said that workers were told not to enter the factories after the government announced the ban on public transport, and workers were also told to wear masks.
He also said that the factories were now required to keep their windows and shutters closed, which are not working.
China’s garment factories are among the world top five manufacturers, with total production worth more than $4.5 billion (£2.3 billion) in 2015, according to the United Nations.
They have a significant number of employees, including many foreign workers.
Chinese authorities have been criticised for their response to the pandemaker, with some workers alleging that they have been treated badly.
They are also facing increasing public pressure to improve their working conditions.
Al Jazeera’s Alia Al-Saadi contributed to this report.