Hyundai Motor employee tests positive for COVID-19, forcing factory closure

Virus also caused halt to operations two weeks prior, according to reports

Hyundai Motor employee tests positive for COVID-19, forcing factory closure

On Friday, Feb. 28, car manufacturer Hyundai Motor shut down a factory in South Korea after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to media reports.

“The company has also placed colleagues who came in close contact with the infected employee in self-quarantine and taken steps to have them tested for possible infection,” Hyundai Motor says in a news release.

The worker in question was employed at one of the company's five factories in Ulsan, which is less than an hour from Daegu, the COVID-19 epicentre in South Korea. Hyundai Motor employs 34,000 workers there in the world’s biggest car complex which produces 1.4 million vehicles annually, according to reports.

The company added that it is disinfecting the factory but did not specify when production would resume.

According to The Korea Herald, Hyundai Motor also suspended parts of its operations at the Ulsan complex from Feb. 4 to 7 because of a lack of parts caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. This put 25,000 workers on forced leave and partial wages, according to Bangkok Post.

Hyundai – with its affiliate Kia – ranks as the world's fifth-largest auto manufacturer.

A factory run by Hyundai supplier Seojin Industrial reopened on Wednesday, Feb 26. The factory was closed after the death of a virus-infected worker there.

As of March 1, there were 87,137 confirmed COVID-19 cases affecting 58 countries – 3,736 are in South Korea, the most cases reported outside of China. South Korea has also recorded 18 deaths caused by the virus. China has 79, 968 confirmed cases while Canada has 19. Travelling workers have been reminded to protect themselves from COVID-19. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) has also called on Canada’s public health agencies to protect front-line health-care workers from the coronavirus