Ford has closed its Valencia plant in Spain for one week starting on Monday, March 16.
The automaker made the decision after three employees there tested positive for coronavirus. “We have had three positive cases of COVID-19 in the Ford Valencia plant in the past 24 hours,” the company said. The manufacturer added it isolated all employees that had contact with the infected workers, as protocol requires in these cases.
“We are taking quick action to follow the established protocol, including the identification and self-isolation of all employees who had close contact with the affected workers,” a Ford spokesman said. “We will take all other appropriate steps to ensure that risk from this situation is minimized,” the representative added.
The factory was already scheduled to have three non-production days from Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 20. However, with confirmation of the three COVID-19 cases, Ford decided to close the plant for the entire week. The company said it is closely monitoring the situation to determine next steps. The plant’s management will meet with unions on Monday to discuss details on the matter.
The Valencia plant is one of Ford’s largest outside the United States. More than 7,000 workers are employed there, producing over 400,000 vehicles a year. Those include the Kuga compact SUV, Mondeo family car, S-Max and Galaxy minivans, and Transit Connect small van.
In a separate announcement, Ford said it is instructing much of its global workforce to work remotely until further notice, “except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities”.