Hyundai suspends work at South Korean factory for COVID-19 infection

11:17 | 02/03/2020
Hyundai Motor suspended production at one of its factories in South Korea's southeastern city of Ulsan after a worker tested positive for coronavirus, a union source said on Friday (February 28).
hyundai suspends work at south korean factory for covid 19 infection
A Hyundai Thanh Cong factory in Vietnam

The closing dealt a fresh setback to Hyundai Motor, which has gradually resumed production at local plants hit by a Chinese parts shortage in the wake of the virus outbreak.

"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 said in a news release.

The company added that it was disinfecting the factory. It did not say when production would resume.

The factory that was shut down produces sport utility vehicles such as the Palisade, Tucson, Santa Fe, and Genesis GV80. Shares of the automaker ended down more than 5 per cent after the news, while the wider market was down 3.3 per cent.

Hyundai operates five car factories in Ulsan, which has an annual production capacity of 1.4 million vehicles, or nearly 30 per cent of Hyundai's global production. Hyundai employs 34,000 workers there in the world's biggest car complex. A factory run by Hyundai supplier Seojin Industrial had been closed after the death of a virus-infected worker there. It reopened on Wednesday (February 26).

South Korea's tech giant Samsung Electronics shut down a phone factory in the southeastern city of Gumi over the previous weekend after one of its workers tested positive. It resumed production on Monday (February 24).

South Korea has the most people infected by COVID-19 outside of China, affecting companies like Samsung and Hyundai. South Korea on Friday reported 256 new cases, bringing the total number of infected to 2,022, as the world prepared for a global recession.

In Vietnam, Hyundai Motor collaborated with Thanh Cong Group to operate the manufacturing lines of Hyundai automobiles in Ninh Binh province at the annual capacity of 60,000 cars. Deployment of the second factory in Quang Ninh province was pledged in an MoU at the end of 2018, and the project is being reviewed by the government.

By Hara Nguyen

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