• A Shanghai robotics plant asked workers to isolate and live onsite amid a citywide COVID lockdown.
  • The company said it wanted to keep production running to meet tight delivery deadlines.
  • Shanghai is allowing some factories to use a "closed-loop" system to keep production running.

A robotics factory asked 91 workers to stay at its Shanghai factory through the city's lockdown last week so that it could meet tight delivery deadlines, Chinese state-run paper Shanghai Observer reported on Monday.

Workers for manufacturer Siasun slept on pieces of cardboard in a conference room and staff recreation room at the company's plant in southeastern Shanghai, images published by the paper show.

Executives decided to move workers in soon after municipal authorities said on March 27 they would lock down the city of 26 million to tame the spread of COVID-19, Siasun Vice President Lu Shangwu told the paper. 

Siasun is one of China's largest robot makers, with a market value of about 14.1 billion Chinese yuan ($2.2 billion) as of Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. It primarily makes robots and robotic systems that other factories use for their production lines. 

Lu said Siasun kept manufacturing during the lockdown to prevent "a cascading effect" of supply chain issues down the line. Lu told the paper the most pressing delivery would be for a client in Mexico, and another in Zhangjiagang, China.

China continues to pursue a "zero-COVID" policy marked by strict and sudden lockdowns as it seeks to stamp out the virus altogether.

Following an outbreak of the omicron variant, Shanghai put its 26 million residents into a phased lockdown on March 28.

Siasun is among several Shanghai businesses that have gotten around the lockdowns by having workers live at their place of business. Thousands of bankers and traders have been living in their offices so that business could go on as usual, Insider reported last week.

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