The coronavirus epidemic has already thrown global trade into disarray while infection cases continue to be reported across the globe. More than 400 coronavirus patients are currently being treated in South Korea with many fearing that the number could rise.
Samsung's manufacturing plans have been hit by this epidemic as well. The company today confirmed that it's shutting down a smartphone plant in Gumi City, South Korea after an employee was confirmed to have the coronavirus infection.
The Galaxy Z Flip is manufactured at the Gumi factory
Samsung's Gumi factory is located some 200 kilometers from Seoul, South Korea. While many of Samsung's phones are made in Vietnam, some of its most premium devices are still manufactured in South Korea. Both of its foldable phones, the Galaxy Fold and the newly launched Galaxy Z Flip, are manufactured at the Gumi plant.
The company has confirmed that its smartphone plant will remain shut down until Monday, February 24. It understandably wants to prevent the virus from infecting other employees. A local news report adds that employees that came into contact with the infected employee have been quarantined. Access to the floor where the infected employee worked will be off-limits until the 25th.
The infected employee is said to be a member of the wireless division that's in charge of smartphone production. Employees at the plant were informed by the company's Emergency Response Task Force by text message that the plant was being closed for the weekend as Samsung takes additional steps to sterilize the workplace.
Samsung advises workers to wear personal masks when they return to work on Monday as a precaution. The company has also recommended that employees refrain from domestic travel and use video conferencing to conduct business. Shuttle bus operations between its headquarters and the Gumi plant have also been suspended.
Since the shut down has been implemented over the weekend, Samsung says that the impact on smartphone production will be minimal. However, the situation is still far from ideal. The company is in the midst of rolling out the Galaxy Z Flip. Any prolonged shutdown of the plant will make it extremely difficult for Samsung to meet the strong demand that it's seeing for the new foldable smartphone.