By on March 2, 2020

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Ahead of a product reveal that was pushed into the online realm after last Friday’s cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show, 150 German BMW employees were told to stay in their homes after an R&D employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employees work at the research and development center in BMW’s home base of Munich. As viral outbreaks grow in western Europe, spurred by a recent outbreak in northern Italy, this story will surely be repeated across the industry — and the globe.

You read earlier today that a Hyundai plant in South Korea has been idled after a worker tested positive. This time, it’s an R&D facility half a world away. In a statement posted by Reuters, BMW said the employees will be quarantined at home for a period of two weeks — the disease’s maximum incubation time, or so most virologists believe.

Pulling a significant number of employees off the job can complicate an automaker’s operations just as much as a factory shutdown, albeit with a significant time delay. Per Automotive News Europe, BMW claims the facility has been disinfected and work continues within. You can bet no one’s shaking hands or leaving their sandwich on a countertop.

Apparently, the employee had not recently returned from any coronavirus hotspot, which doesn’t say anything good about the state of community-level transmission in that country. The first new coronavirus case in a month popped up in Germany last Tuesday, expanding exponentially since. At last report, 158 were infected, and it’s a similar story in neighboring France.

Given the speed of the virus’ spread, it’s difficult to imagine other countries and automakers not having to isolate workforces at nerve centers and assembly plants in the very near future.

[Image: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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5 Comments on “BMW Employees Quarantined in Munich...”

  • avatar

    Who knew being a hermit was actually healthy? Maybe in the end, Hermits will survive and the rest of us will be gone.

  • avatar

    Except for Herman’s Hermits.

  • avatar

    Thats right, pump out that doom porn and get those clicks while you can!

  • avatar
    ========Read all comments========

    By looking at the mortality statistics by age, unless you are over 60, there’s almost no chance of dying from it.
    Mortality rates are highest among those with cancer, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
    So if you are under 60 and healthy, there’s very, very little to worry about. If you are over 60, and particularly if you’re over 70, and have one of the five conditions listed above, then you should take precautions to keep from catching this thing.

  • avatar

    They have closed 3 Disney far east locations… so its officially getting serious.

    My large, international company hasn’t banned travel yet, its just been reduced to “as needed” and requires an extra level of management approval. I know when it comes to germ covered things airplanes are #1 since you have hundreds of people jammed in a metal tube for hours.

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