"Ford temporarily closed a factory in Chicago, United States, on Tuesday after detecting two new positive cases of coronavirus, a day after resuming activity suspended for two months due to the pandemic". On Wednesday a worker at the pickup truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed.
The reopening of auto plants will be a closely watched test of whether workers across a range of USA industries will be able to return to factories in large numbers without a resurgence of infections.
On Tuesday, Ford temporarily closed its Chicago SUV factory after two workers tested positive.
The closure came on the second day that Detroit's auto makers began restarting their US factories, which were idled around March 20 as the new-coronavirus pandemic spread.
Union officials and experts had been concerned about reopening auto plants while the virus remained rife, pointing to difficulties in maintaining social distancing on assembly lines where employees work side by side and in cramped quarters.
Executives and analysts have warned that the industry's restart would be slow and complex, including the risk of infections popping up not only at the vehicle plants but also at supplier factories.
The recently re-opened Ford assembly plant in Chicago had to stop production on Wednesday, the second day in a row operations ground to a halt because of the coronavirus, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Felker said Ford is confident that infected employees of both plants had the virus before returning to work because of the coronavirus incubation time.
The company says all three workers contracted COVID-19 outside the factories, triggering protocols that included sanitizing equipment and isolating employees who came in contact with the affected workers. Ford said its Chicago plant should be running again for Wednesday's evening shift.