Detroit Automakers Restrict Travel To China Amid Virus Outbreak

WWJ News
January 28, 2020 - 8:21 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit’s automakers, all of whom have operations in China, are taking precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The Big Three -- Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler -- are either prohibiting or severely restricting travel to and from China, although none of their employees have contracted the virus.

Ford is prohibiting all travel to, from and within China for employees. Ford is also telling workers coming back from China to self-quarantine for two weeks and essentially work from home as a precaution. 

GM is doing only business critical travel and FCA is delaying travel to China until further notice

Other automakers and suppliers are taking similar precautions.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert says most auto plants in China are shut down for the Lunar New Year, and not scheduled to reopen until next week.

The new type of coronavirus causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath and pneumonia. Thousands of people have been infected and more than 100 have died in China. Nearly all of the cases outside China are among people who recently arrived from there.

Scientists are concerned about the new virus because it is closely related to other diseases including SARS, which killed nearly 800 people.

So far, the new coronavirus doesn’t seem to spread as easily among people as SARS or influenza. Most of the cases that spread between people were of family members and health workers who had contact with patients. That suggests the new virus isn’t well adapted to infect people. 

The virus is thought to have spread to people from wild animals sold at a Wuhan market.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.