COVID-19 is the technical term for coronavirus, and we’re fairly certain that by now, you don’t need a further explanation as to what this is. As of the latest situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 2, there were 88,948 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 64 countries, and that includes Germany. We know because WHO lists 129 confirmed cases in the country, but also because one of those cases is a BMW employee in Munich.
According to a report from Automotive News Europe, the infected employee prompted BMW to tell 150 other employees to stay home under self-quarantine for two weeks. The infected individual works in the automaker’s research and development center and was allegedly in contact with approximately 150 others. How exactly the person contracted the virus is unknown, as this individual reportedly hadn’t traveled abroad recently.
Thus far, this is the only case of coronavirus known to affect BMW employees in the automaker’s Munich headquarters. As you might imagine, the affected area was closed and disinfected and BMW operations are reportedly unaffected by the viral threat. The infected employee is said to be doing well; there are no reported coronavirus deaths in Germany and as of March 2, there are 3,043 deaths reported worldwide with the overwhelming majority (2,915) occurring in China. Compared to the number of confirmed cases, the coronavirus mortality rate thus far is 3.4 percent.
Threat of the virus was enough, however, to kill one of the largest and longest-running auto shows for the 2020 season. Media days for the 2020 Geneva Motor Show would have kicked off today, but last week the Swiss government placed a ban on events and gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
It’s unclear if the move was specifically aimed at shutting down the auto show before an international audience of automakers, journalists, and attendees arrived in the country. The decision left many automakers scrambling to set up individual reveal events for a plethora of new cars and concepts that were set to debut at the show.
Eyes are now on the New York Auto Show, which as of now is still slated to take place in early April.