SEOUL (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) shut down a factory in South Korea on Friday after a worker tested positive for the new coronavirus, disrupting production of popular models such as Palisade sport utility vehicle.
Shares of the automaker ended down more than 5% after the news, while the wider market .KS11 was down 3.3%. The closing dealt a fresh setback to Hyundai Motor, which has gradually resumed production at local plants hit by a Chinese parts shortage in the wake of the virus outbreak.
South Korea has the most infected people outside China, affecting companies like Samsung and Hyundai. South Korea on Friday reported 256 new cases, bringing the total number of infected to 2,022, as the world prepared for a global recession.
“The company has also placed colleagues who came in close contact with the infected employee in self-quarantine and taken steps to have them tested for possible infection,” Hyundai Motor said in a news release.
The company added that it was disinfecting the factory. It did not say when production would resume.
Ulsan is less than an hour from Daegu, the epicenter of outbreak in Korea.
Hyundai operates five car factories in Ulsan, which has an annual production capacity of 1.4 million vehicles, or nearly 30% of Hyundai’s global production. Hyundai employs 34,000 workers there in the world’s biggest car complex.
The factory that was shut down produces sport utility vehicles such as the Palisade, Tucson, Santa Fe and Genesis GV80.
A factory run by Hyundai supplier Seojin Industrial had been closed after the death of a virus-infected worker there. It reopened Wednesday.
South Korea’s tech giant Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) shut down a phone factory in the southeastern city of Gumi over the past weekend after one of its workers tested positive. It resumed production on Monday.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s top carrier, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd (003490.KS), said on Friday it would cut the number of flights to the United States in March, as part of a plan to cut its global capacity by 11% that month.
It plans to check temperatures of passengers traveling to the United States before boarding and said it would not allow anyone with a temperature higher than 37.5 Celsius to fly.
One of its flight attendants who served the Incheon to LA route has tested positive for virus.
Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Gerry Doyle