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Ford bans air travel after workers in China diagnosed

Two Ford Motor Company employees in China were quarantined after being diagnosed with coronavirus and have made a full recovery, but the company is declining to provide any specific details about the situation or the patients.

“The coronavirus has had the attention of Ford senior executives from (CEO) Jim (Hackett) on down since late January,” spokesman T.R. Reid said Wednesday. “We identified the potential for an issue and the need to be on top of it from the start.”

After confirming two employees had been infected, Reid said Ford continues coordinating safety precautions with Chinese government officials, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ford and its joint venture partners have 10 manufacturing plants in China, none in Wuhan or the immediate area, Reid said. Most of the factories are auto assembly and some build vehicle components.

Airline check in staff wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus at the Los Angeles International Airport, California, on January 29, 2020.

Ford and other manufacturers initially closed operations after the Chinese New Year on Jan. 25 and encouraged employees to work from home.

“That was by government mandate as they tried to get control of the situation,” Reid said. “Folks have returned to offices. We’re applying good health practices in all locations as recommended by Chinese authorities.”

Hackett emailed a letter to employees Tuesday that said the company is meeting daily to “review the effects of the Coronavirus: Covid19.”

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