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Fiat-Chrysler to reorganize Italy plants amid worries over coronavirus
Last Updated: 2020-03-12 03:12 | Xinhua
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Italian-American carmaker Fiat-Chrysler announced Wednesday it would temporarily close and reorganize three Italian production plants amid the country's coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement came less than two days after the Italian government issued a decree putting severe restrictions on public gatherings or travel in place. As of Wednesday, more than 12,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus in Italy, more than in any country outside China.

Fiat-Chrysler said in a statement that it closed the plants at Pomigliano, Melfi, and Cassino for a few days in order to reorganize the facilities: sanitizing bathrooms along with work and rest areas and reorganizing work stations so that employees can keep a safe distance between them.

The company said the plants would re-open on March 16 with reduced production levels that would be extended until the end of the crisis.

Last month, Fiat-Chrysler closed its production facility in Serbia, the first major factory in Europe to close due to the coronavirus. But that plant was closed because of a slowdown in demand from the Chinese market amid the coronavirus outbreak there rather than for health issues.

Even before closing the three Italian plants, the company had implemented rules limiting non-essential travel by employees and screening visitors to company plants and offices.

The moves came as Fiat-Chrysler moves forward with its plans to merge with French automaker Peugeot, which is scheduled to be finalized this year. Fiat-Chrysler is also moving toward the release of its first mass-production electric car, the Fiat 500-e.

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