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India's Hero MotoCorp extends shutdown at its plants due to pandemic

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May 9 (Reuters) - India's largest motorbike maker, Hero MotoCorp Ltd , extended a shutdown at its manufacturing facilities across India till May 16, a day after Maruti Suzuki India Ltd announced a similar move, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hero's decision was made to ensure safety of its workforce and to break the virus chain, the company said in a statement on Sunday. Hero MotoCorp had suspended its manufacturing operations in April.

India's largest carmaker, Maruti, on Saturday extended a planned maintenance shutdown until May 16.

It was not immediately clear if Maruti's shutdown was to ensure safety of its workers or due to lower demand.

The coronavirus pandemic pushed India's passenger vehicle sales to their lowest in six years, annual data from an auto industry body showed last month, with the sector bracing for further fallout from a recent surge in cases.

India on Sunday reported more than 4,000 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. Cases rose by 403,738, increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million. (Reporting by Aditi Shah and Aishwarya Nair; Editing by Toby Chopra)