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Toyota to suspend line in Japan after second worker tests positive

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TOKYO – Toyota is will shut down a line at its Takaoka assembly plant in Toyota City for three days this week after a second worker at the factory tested positive for the coronavirus.

The second worker, a male in his 20s, was tested March 21 and was diagnosed with Covid-19 on March 22, Toyota Motor Corp. said in a press release on Sunday. 

The second employee worked face-to-face on the same production line with another worker who tested positive last week for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. Both men were asked to stay when the first worker was diagnosed. Toyota said more workers were ordered home following the latest test result, bringing the total number of home-quarantined workers to 33.

Toyota said it will stop one line at Takaoka from March 23-25 to disinfect the workspaces and consider further countermeasures to prevent transmission of the illness. Toyota had already disinfected the workstations after the initial infection was suspected March 19. 

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said last week, in his capacity as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, that the country’s automakers would do their best to keep operations humming in Japan despite widespread shutdowns of overseas factories.

Toyota’s Takaoka factory produces the RAV4 crossover, Corolla sedan and touring editions as well as the Japan-market Harrier crossover. It was unclear whether any are exported to the U.S.

“We sincerely apologize for any anxiety or concern that this news may cause for people in the surrounding regions,” Toyota said. “We will do our best to will implement measures to prevent further spread of the virus and provide timely updates if the situation changes.”

Toyota Motor North America said Thursday that it will suspend production at all of its North American assembly and component plants beginning Monday, March 23, though at least April 5, with production tentatively scheduled to resume Monday, April 6. 

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