Stores close, employees evacuated, travel restricted as virus spreads

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc suspended non-essential travel to mainland China as a coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, killed more than 100 people and infected more than 4,000. Big Chinese companies asked staff to work from home and Walt Disney shut two theme parks.

FILE PHOTO: A police officer wearing a mask stands in front of the closed seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

Here’s how companies have responded to the outbreak:

TRAVEL ADVISORIES/EVACUATIONS/QUARANTINES:

– Facebook told employees who had traveled to China to work from home. Chinese tech giants including Alibaba and Tencent have asked staff to work from home for a week after an extended Lunar New Year break ends on Feb. 2.

– Tiktok owner Bytedance asked employees who traveled during the holidays to quarantine themselves and work from home for 14 days. E-commerce firm Pinduoduo, UBS Group and property developer Country Garden have advised similar action.

– Standard Chartered banned travel to Hubei and restricted travel to mainland China and Hong Kong, and asked employees returning from Hubei to work from home for 14 days. Commonwealth Bank of Australia said all non-essential employee travel to China should be avoided.

– LG Electronics and electric car battery maker LG Chem banned travel to China.

– South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix urged employees to avoid non-essential trips to China as have LG Display and Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota. Honda evacuated around 30 employees and their families from Wuhan on a government charter flight.

– Nissan is planning to send back some Japanese staff working at its JV with Dongfeng Motors in Wuhan and their families on the chartered flight as well.

– Samsung Electronics advised employees who recently visited Hubei to stay at home for seven days.

– Japanese steelmaker Nippon Steel restricted travel to China.

– Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corp, which has 170 staff in Wuhan, advised staff to avoid non-work-related visits to and from mainland China and not to travel to Hubei province. It will monitor staff in China and those who have returned to Singapore from there in the past 14 days.

– Novartis said it is asking staff in China to work from home until Feb. 10 and has suspended business travel to and from Wuhan.

– Nestle (NESN.S) has deployed additional biosecurity measures at its factories, offices and distribution centers in China. It does not have manufacturing facilities in Wuhan.

STORES SHUT:

– McDonald’s suspended business in five cities in Hubei including Wuhan. Starbucks closed all shops and suspended delivery services in Hubei.

– Japan’s Fast Retailing temporarily closed about 100Uniqlo stores in Hubei. IKEA closed its one store in Wuhan.

– Walt Disney temporarily closed its Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks and resorts during what is likely the busiest time of the year.

– Imax delayed film releases in China.

– H&M has closed 45 stores and suspended business travel to and within China, a spokeswoman said. Staff arriving from China are recommended to stay home for 14 days before returning to work.

– Swatch has closed five stores in Wuhan and suspended all travel to and from China.

AIRLINE REFUNDS/CANCELLATIONS:

– Finnish airline Finnair has suspended its routes to Nanjing and Beijing’s Daxing International airport until the end of March, the first European airline to cancel flights to the country.

– Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific and its Cathay Dragon will cut capacity to and from mainland China by 50% or more from Jan. 30 to end-March. The airline will also rebook, reroute or refund tickets booked on or before Jan. 28 for travel by March 31 to or from mainland China.

– Australia’s Qantas Airways said it will offer free refunds for tickets issued worldwide on or before Jan. 24, for journeys to and from mainland China between Jan. 24 and Feb. 29.

– Air Seoul suspended all flights to China and waived refund penalty. Taiwan’s China Airlines rearranged some flights and canceled others.

– China’s mainland airlines, including Air China, China Southern and China Eastern, are offering free refunds across the mainland for tickets purchased before Jan. 24.

– Malaysia’s AirAsia will offer free refunds for tickets booked before Jan. 24, and for travel to and from mainland China until Feb. 15, and return flights between Feb. 16-29.

– Air France KLM is offering to exchange or refund tickets issued for travel to or from China up until Feb. 29. BA-owner IAG is offering the same for tickets until Feb 23.

HOTELS:

– InterContinental Hotels will allow customers to change or cancel stays scheduled up to Feb. 3 across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

– Hyatt Hotels said guests who had booked stays through its official channels and are cancelling due to the coronavirus outbreak, or are Chinese guests outbound to its Asia Pacific hotels, can cancel stays or change dates for free.

BOOKING PLATFORMS, AGENCIES:

– Ctrip, China’s largest online booking platform, said more than 300,000 hotels on its platform had agreed to refund on bookings between Jan. 22 and Feb. 8. Refunds also include flight tickets, cruises and car rents

– Fliggy, Alibaba’s booking site, offered similar refunds.

– Some Chinese tour operators such as China International Travel Service offered refunds and many European tour operators canceled tours to China.

Reporting by Sophie Yu in Beijing, Jamie Freed in Sydney, Ritsuko Ando in Tokyo, Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Ben Blanchard in Taipei, Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo, Heekyong Yang and Jane Chung in Seoul, Josh Horwitz and Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Neil Jerome Morales in Manila, Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong, Paul Arnold and Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich, Laurence Frost in Paris; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh and Josephine Mason; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico