How Nissan's Sunderland plant is preparing for coronavirus as it closely monitors operations across the world

Nissan's leaders are ready to handle any crisis brought on by an outbreak of the coronavirus, it’s top boss has said.

Ashwani Gupta said the firm is keeping a lookout across its world-wide operations as the illness spreads, with car manufacturers elsewhere already facing difficulties in keeping production moving due to supply issues.

As of Friday, March 6, the Government has said 20,338 people have been tested in the UK, of which 20,175 were confirmed negative and 163 were confirmed as positive.

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Two patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died. Both were said to be older people with underlying health conditions.

Nissan's plant in Sunderland employs around 7,000 people.

It was also confirmed on Friday that a Sunderland worker had been diagnosed with the disease.

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The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, where the carmakers’ Chinese operations are based and it closed a plant in Japan for a number of days due to a shortage of parts made in China.

It has said it had also taken steps to ensure work continues by making alternative transport arrangements for supplies, contracting planes, but ensuring no people have been exposed to the risk of contracting the virus.

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A worker in a protective suit takes the temperature of a traveler at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, Friday, March 6. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein.

It is monitoring the situation across as it looked to keep operations moving, track the impact of the virus across the world and support its staff.

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While on Wearside, Mr Gupta said the company had previously overcome issues caused by tsunamis and earthquakes before and was prepared for any concerns.

He said: “Nissan's strength going into a crisis that our organisation is agile, and I’m very proud of that.

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”When it comes to the coronavirus, we have had no response for European operations, but of course in China we have closed the plant but also in Japan where the X-Trail is made.

The Qashqai line at Sunderland's Nissan plant.
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“The priority is people.”

Hyundai has previously closed down its factories in South Korea due to a shortage of Chinese parts, while Fiat Chrysler had said it was looking at halting production of its European plants due to an issue sourcing parts from China.

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Nissan is part of a French-Japanese strategic partnership which includes Renault and Mitsubishi.

Nissan says it is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation.