Airbus is set to halt all production and assembly activities in France and Spain for four days; the move comes one day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would enter lockdown for next 15 days at the least.

In a statement, Airbus said that the four-day pause in activity would allow the company ‘to implement stringent health and safety conditions in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing’ measures.

The company’s statement added: “We are doing our utmost to support our employees who are affected by schools and childcare closures by providing them with a maximum of flexibility in dealing with the situation. This includes enabling home office where possible, while at the same time ensuring business continuity at Airbus to meet customer commitments and complying with national regulations.

“Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must declare, seek medical advice and self-quarantine if necessary.”

Airbus is also asking that employees who have returned from high-risk areas to self-isolate for at least 14 days, and restrict travel to only trips deemed ‘business-essential’, all travel to high-risk areas has been halted completely.

Commenting further Airbus said: “We have implemented dedicated and robust monitoring to assess the potential impact of the Coronavirus situation on our business.

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“We remain in close contact with our customers and suppliers and we are working together with them to minimise the impact of these measures on their operations.”

Airbus shares today fell a further 10% as the Covid-19 pandemic suspended the operations of governments and countries across the globe. Since the start of March shares in the company had fallen by 43% at the time of publishing.

Reuters today also reported that Airbus was looking to seek government support if the pandemic were to continue to affect business for several months.

Airbus is the seventh-largest defence contractor in the world, with sales of over $11bn in 2018 to 2019. The company’s defence and space business manufactures components for the Eurofighter Typhoon and large aircraft including the A400M transport aircraft. The company is also part of the European effort to develop a Future Combat Air System (FCAS).