General Motors has imposed a travel restriction on its employees amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, GM spokesman Jim Cain said the automaker is currently only allowing business-critical travel to China and “only then after review of the request and assessment from our medical staff.”
“We are advising our team members to follow official guidance on steps to prevent exposure to and transmission of the virus,” Cain added.
GM and its Chinese joint-venture partner SAIC Motor Corp operate a large assembly plant in Wuhan, which employs roughly 6,000 people. The Wuhan plant produces a number of GM-SAIC models and added the Chevrolet Equinox crossover to list of models built in late 2016. The plant is currently shut down for the Chinese lunar New Year holiday, with employees set to return to work on February 2nd. According to The Detroit Free Press, no GM employees have contracted the coronavirus illness.
Wuhan is also the epicenter of China’s steel industry, making it a common travel destination for employees of automotive companies or suppliers. A number of other automakers have implemented travel restrictions similar to GM, including FCA, Ford and Honda.
Ford spokesman Anderson Chan told The Detroit Free Press that “the health and safety of our employees are of the highest priority” and encouraged Ford employees in China and in North America to “remain calm and informed through official government sources.”
The new coronavirus strain, related to the SARS, is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. At the time of writing, the virus is believed to have infected 2,700 people and killed 81, based on data provided by Chinese officials. As a result of the outbreak, China has placed a lockdown on Wuhan and imposed full or partial travel restrictions on 15 different cities across the Hubei province – which Wuhan serves as the capital of.
Source: The Detroit Free Press