Plastic Omnium has three sites in Wuhan

Plastic Omnium has three sites in Wuhan

Plastic Omnium says normally it will re-open its Wuhan sites next week after the China New Year holiday, but the situation currently remains fluid as the coronavirus crisis continues to spread around the world.

The supplier has two production factories in the Wuhan area, manufacturing bodywork pieces and fuel systems, as well as an R&D centre, but it is as yet unclear whether or not its four expatriate staff will be on board a French government repatriation flight thought to depart from the Chinese city this evening (29 January).

Several French manufacturers including PSA, Renault, Faurecia, Valeo and Plastic Omnium are present in the Wuhan region, with the city's millions of citizens on effective lock-down as Chinese authorities mull whether or not to extend the Lunar New Year holiday beyond an already increased date of 2 February.

"There are four Plastic Omnium expatriates and two production sites," [in Wuhan] a Plastic Omnium spokesman told just-auto. "The Quai d'Orsay [French Foreign Ministry] has made a call to all expatriates in China to offer them the benefit of repatriation [by] aircraft.

"The factory [factories are] closed because of Chinese New Year – for the moment I have no information about that. Normally, we will open next week."

According to information from State agencies published by the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Beijing has sent 20,000 pairs of protective goggles and 5,000 medical masks to Wuhan by air from Qingdao in Eastern China. Wuhan is currently facing a shortage of medical supplies, including protective gowns and goggles.

In an extraordinary display of its ability to mobilise huge numbers of people, China has also sent nearly 6,000 medical workers from across the country to Hubei province, in which Wuhan is situated.

The first groups were sent from Shanghai and Guangdong on Jan 24.

In a display of solidarity, Premier, Li Keqiang also visited a Wushang Supermarket in Wuhan inspecting commodity supplies and prices.

He went to areas selling vegetables, disinfectant and medical masks, asking whether supplies are sufficient, prices are stable and if it is convenient for consumers to purchase.

China's Lunar New Year holiday was scheduled to end on 30 January, but the crisis has already seen this put back three days in a bid to block the spread of the virus.

PSA, Renault and Faurecia were not immediately available for comment and neither was the French Ministry of Health in Paris.