Honda back to work in Wuhan with temperature checks and masks

2017 Honda Clarity Electric

Honda has resumed pre-virus production levels in the plant located in Wuhan, China after the country removed lockdown restrictions from the location.

Temperature checkpoints and posters telling employees to keep more than a meter apart at Japanese automaker Honda Motor’s reopened plant in the Chinese city of Wuhan show how the coronavirus pandemic has created a new normal on the factory floor.

The plant is a Honda joint venture with Dongfeng Motor was shut in late January when officials ordered a lockdown in Wuhan in a bid to control the coronavirus, which originated in the city last year.

It resumed on March 11 to resume operations in stages and has now returned to pre-virus production levels, Li Shiquan, assistant director of the joint venture’s No. 2 final assembly plant, informed reporters on Wednesday.

Returning workers have been asked to report where they had been since the beginning of the epidemic and temperature checkpoints were installed, Li said.

About 98% of its 12,000 workers have now returned and were putting in over-time to make up for lost production, he said.

The joint venture produced 800,000 cars in 2019.

“We have many customers who are waiting for cars so this week we have arranged for each worker to work 1.5 hours more,” he stated, adding that a typical shift was eight hours.

A sign hanging from the ceiling in the factory noted the goal was 1,237 cars that day, 17% higher compared to 1,060 it usually produced.

Plants at Honda’s Guangzhou-based joint venture with GAC are also running additional shifts, GAC’s chairman Zeng Qinghong informed analysts on its earnings call last week.

The central industrial hub of Wuhan started permitting people to leave the city on Wednesday in what is seen as a turning point for the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

Coronavirus has killed 3,336 and infected 81,907 people in China. Although these figures are heavily disputed and experts say the government has deliberately under-reported the figures.

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