Ford is banning all business trips after two of its employees based in China tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that’s sickened over 90,000 people around the world and over 100 in the US. The employees have been quarantined after being diagnosed with the disease and are now recovering, according to Bloomberg.
Ford is prohibiting all travel, international and domestic, until March 27th, and will revisit the ban on a weekly basis, Bloomberg says. The automaker is the latest major corporation to ban or strongly discourage air travel as COVID-19 continues to spread across the world. Fiat Chrysler, another major Detroit-based automaker, is also banning its employee travel and told CNBC that it is closely monitoring the situation. A spokesperson for Ford declined to provide a statement.
Like most major automakers, Ford has a factory based in China, and its supply chain runs through many of the country’s auto supply companies. Previously, the company had only banned travel for its employees based in China. Ford resumed production at its Chongqing-based factory on February 10th.
COVID-19 is having a serious impact on the auto industry’s output, as well as its annual gatherings. This week’s Geneva Motor Show was canceled, leaving many automakers to unveil their flashy, luxury concepts via live streams and digital events.
In the tech world, the most notable cancellations have been Mobile World Congress, which is the biggest smartphone show in the world, and Facebook’s F8 developer conference. Today, Google announced that it’s I/O developer conference in May would be canceled.
Some sporting events have been canceled, too. Both Formula One and Formula E have canceled races in China, and the International Olympic Committee has faced increasing questions about this year’s summer olympics in Japan.