March 15, 2020 / 8:38 PM / 4 months ago

Volkswagen says preparing to suspend production at Bratislava plant

FILE PHOTO: Employees work on Porsche vehicles at a production line of Volkswagen plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) is preparing to suspend operations at its manufacturing plant in Bratislava, the company said on Sunday, after Slovakia declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrinim said earlier on Sunday that there was a potential coronavirus case at the plant, which is the county’s largest private sector employer.

VW did not comment on whether that was the case, but said it would begin a shut-down process on Monday.

“We hoped that the situation regarding the coronavirus would calm down over the weekend, but that did not happen,” Volkswagen Slovakia Chairman of the Board Oliver Grunberg said in a statement, commenting on the general spread of the outbreak.

Earlier on Sunday, Slovakia declared a state of emergency to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Slovakia has 61 confirmed coronavirus cases, up 17 from a day earlier. The country has reported no deaths.

Reporting by Tomas Mrva; Writing by Michael Kahn; Editing by Jan Harvey

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