General Motors China will resume production on February 15th following an extended holiday shutdown.
Many manufacturing companies in China halted their lines last month for the Lunar New Year holiday, though the country has been slow to return to work amid the coronavirus outbreak. GM China said this week it would implement a staggered start to production at its various manufacturing facilities starting February 15th. A GM China spokesperson told Reuters the order in which plants return to work would be based on the status of the parts supply chain, which has been affected by the country-wide shutdown brought on by coronavirus, along with vehicle inventory.
The GM China spokesperson also said the company will take action to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as its employees return to work throughout the course of the month. GM’s American arm implemented travel restrictions to the country last month, halting all flights to the country that are not business-critical, and has not said when the ban may be lifted.
In addition, GM China is using some of its manufacturing floor space to produce medical masks to help prevent transmission of the virus. The company said last week that it would set up 14 production lines capable of producing up to 1.7 million masks daily. The World Health Organization has said there is currently a “chronic shortage” of various medical supplies that can help prevent the spread of the virus or treat it, including masks. Foxconn, a major electronics manufacturer that counts Apple among its clientele, has also begun producing masks to help deal with the shortage, while other companies have committed to producing disposable clothing for medical staff.
According to Reuters, the coronavirus epidemic has killed over 900 people in China thus far. The global number of confirmed cases currently sits at 40,710, with 40,171 in mainland China. In addition to the 900 plus that have died of the virus in mainland China, two others have also died outside of the country, including one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.