The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit automakers hard with plant shutdowns across Asia, Europe, and the United States. Now the disease has now begun affecting automakers in Japan more directly as well.

Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that they will be temporarily shutting down production at their Takaoka I Plant, in Toyota City, Japan after two employees have tested positive with the virus.

When the first case was confirmed last March 19, the Japanese automaker announced that Takaoka plant production line #1 was temporarily halted for disinfection. However, operations immediately resumed within the day. With a second case confirmed now in the same workplace, Toyota has taken more drastic measures by shutting down the production line for a few days to disinfect.

The temporary shutdown of Takaoka plant production line #1 will be held from March 23 to 25. Toyota will be disinfecting the workplace again and “consider any additional countermeasures that may be needed to prevent further spread of the virus”. With a second employee infected within the same workforce, the automaker also ordered more than 17 employees who have been in close contact to stay home. As such, a total of 33 employees of the production line have been asked to stay at home for the time being for being in close contact with the two infected employees.

Toyota suspends production at Japan plant that makes Corolla image

“We sincerely apologize for any anxiety or concern that this news may cause for people in the surrounding regions. We will do our best to will implement measures to prevent further spread of the virus and provide timely updates if the situation changes,” said the manufacturer in a statement.

Toyota’s Takaoka plant production line #1 currently produces the Corolla as well as the Harrier crossover. Now before you get concerned about buying a Corolla, do remember that Toyota Motor Philippines sources its Corolla models from Thailand.

Japan seems to be having good control over the virus in its country. As such, we might not see long-term automotive plant closures, similar to the cases in Europe.