Concurrent with separately announced plans to restart passenger car production "step by step", Volkswagen commercial vehicle plants in Hannover, Germany, and Poznan and Wrzesnia in Poland are to gradually start production again at reduced capacity levels from Monday 27 April after a shutdown of what will by then be just over five weeks.

The start-up process will be based on the latest availability of parts, the conditions set out by the German government and the EU plus developments in sales markets.

"Adherence to extensive measures to protect workers' health will always be the top priority," said the automaker.

Production and logistics chief Josef Baumert said: "We have developed a comprehensive package of measures for this and are already working intensively in small teams on preparing the plants, in order, for example, to be able to maintain appropriate distances, to implement higher hygiene standards and, where necessary, to provide protective equipment."

As part of the resumption process the company is extending health precaution measures even further based on the recommendations of the health authorities. Processes in production are being optimised, and rigorous minimum distances and increased hygiene standards also apply in all areas.

The list of measures includes concrete rules on hygiene and maintaining distances, mandatory shielding of mouth and nose in areas where keeping 1.5m apart is not possible, more frequent cleaning, staggering the start and end of shifts in order to avoid contact and encouraging all workers to take their own temperature prior to starting work each day.