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Ferrari to pilot 'Back on Track' employee screening for coronavirus

The logo of Ferrari is seen on a car during the Prague Autoshow in Prague

MILAN (Reuters) - Ferrari <RACE.MI> said on Wednesday it was piloting a project to conduct voluntary screening of employees and their families for coronavirus once the supercarmaker's factories in Italy reopen.

In a statement, Ferrari said its "Back on Track" plan, developed with a pool of virologists and experts, was designed to create a safe working environment for when its operations restarted.

In March the luxury carmaker closed its factories in Maranello and Modena, in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, in a response to the coronavirus outbreak and a shortage of parts.

It has said it would reopen on April 14, provided it had supplies.

Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, has seen an improvement in infection trends recently and authorities are starting to look ahead to a second phase when lockdown restrictions might be eased.

The lockdown is taking a heavy toll on the already fragile economy, with forecasts of a 6% annual contraction in domestic output deemed "realistic" by the Treasury.

But any reopening of industry is expected to be gradual and subject to a series of conditions being put in place to protect staff from the risk of infection.

As part of the Back on Track plan Ferrari, controlled by the Agnelli family's holding group Exor <EXOR.MI>, said it would offer its workers blood tests, on a voluntary basis, to screen for COVID-19.

The tests will also be offered to cohabiting family members and to the staff of suppliers working at the company, it said.

In a final step, each worker will also be given the opportunity to use an App to receive medical support in monitoring the symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

Ferrari said the App would also be used to track the contacts of those involved in the initiative to enhance health monitoring.

In a letter to Exor shareholders, Exor head John Elkann, who is also Ferrari chairman, said the App, while respecting privacy rules, would help monitor and contain the emergence of any new infections amongst employees.

Ferrari's project is backed by Emilia Romagna and the carmaker said it would be sharing results of its project with the region's authorities.


(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari and Stephen Jewkes, Editing by William Maclean)