Daimler to cooperate in probe after coronavirus found on auto parts

Shanghai, China, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- German carmaker Daimler on Tuesday said it would cooperate with Chinese authorities in a probe into coronavirus found on the outer packaging of some batches of car spare parts in different parts of China.

In a statement sent to EFE, the company said the cases of coronavirus detected among their staff, 11 so far according to state media reports, originated at an auto parts distribution center in Beijing that handles after-sales services for Mercedes-Benz in northern China.

The infections occurred due to the employees coming into contact with an asymptomatic Covid-19 patient, who had arrived from abroad.

The company claimed that it immediately put a part of its staff in quarantine and tested all the workers in their Beijing dealerships.

After cases were detected in the Beijing distribution center, first of them on Dec.26, tests people at such establishments in other parts of China have tested negative.

“Up until now, only few samples collected from the environment were tested positive, which was verified as a result of the contamination from the confirmed case,” the Chinese subsidiary of Daimler said in the statement.

The statement said investigations had “basically ruled out the possibility” of any virus caused by the imported goods.

An expert from China’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) had said the workers who were infected with the virus first contaminated the parts, ruling out the possibility of the virus being transmitted the other way round.

State broadcaster CGTN reported that local regulators have said the Daimler subsidiary, which had quarantined its workers, did not strictly adhere to anti-Covid norms, allowing employees’ meetings and incorrect use of masks.

In response, the German group has closed several dealerships in Beijing, which would be opened “only after we can ensure a safe environment to our employees and our customers with joint confirmation of local authority.”

“Our company reaffirm our promise that we will take all necessary measures to support related authorities on the pandemic control work and thorough investigations,” the company statement said.

The virus had survived on the auto parts for a long time due to the cold weather while they were shipped to different parts of China.

Samples from the Daimler factory that tested positive were transported to Inner Mongolia and Shanxi (north) or Shandong (east). EFE-EPA


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