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Kia to halt 2 domestic plants until weekend on COVID-19 cases

Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's No. 2 carmaker, said Friday it will suspend two plants near Seoul until this weekend following the confirmation of COVID-19 cases there days earlier.

A total of 13 coronavirus cases have been traced to the plants in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, including four family members of the workers.

The plants with a combined workforce of 6,000 remained shuttered Friday for the third consecutive day after the automaker halted their operations late Wednesday in the wake of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Kia said it will decide next week when to resume the plants' operations after keeping tabs on the development of COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

Quarantine officials were conducting coronavirus tests on 151 people who had close contact with the confirmed patients.

The two plants in Gwangmyeong have a combined capacity of 320,000 units a year, and the suspensions are feared to inflict production losses on Kia.

Kia produces the K9 flagship sedan, the Stinger sports car and the Carnival minivan at the No. 1 plant in Gwangmyeong, and the No. 2 plant produces the Pride subcompact and the Stonic subcompact sport utility vehicle.

Kia, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, operates eight plants in South Korea and seven overseas ones with a combined capacity of 3.84 million units. (Yonhap)