Ford bans business trips, discloses two employees have coronavirus
Ford Motor Co. banned its employees from any air travel for most of this month, taking more extreme measures than some of its biggest peers after two employees in China contracted the coronavirus.
The employees were quarantined after being diagnosed with the virus, officially named Covid-19, and they’re recovering, Anderson Chan, a Ford spokesman, said in an email. He declined to reveal the employees’ location, gender, ages or whether they were factory or office workers.
Effective Tuesday, Ford curbed all business travel - both international and domestic - until March 27, Chan said. The U.S. automaker joins multinational companies including Nestle SA and L’Oreal SA in suspending business trips in hopes of limiting their employees’ risk of exposure to the virus that is slowing economies and sending markets into a tailspin.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also are restricting travel for their employees, but both are still allowing trips deemed essential or urgent. The virus has disrupted business by forcing closures of plants and showrooms, putting a major damper on sales and leading organizers of the Geneva motor show to cancel the annual expo -- scheduled for this week -- for the first time since the World War II era.
Ford resumed production at its factories in China on Feb. 10 and asked employees in the country to work from home last month. Top executives are conducting daily meetings on the virus to keep production flowing and employees safe.
Ford has six Chinese vehicle assembly joint ventures: one near Hangzhou, a pair in Nanchang and three in Changan, according to its website. All of the company’s plants outside China have operated as planned.