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Sharp, Sony, Panasonic halt Mexico trips on swine flu worry

The deadly outbreak is raising concerns about a pandemic

By Martyn Williams
April 26, 2009 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Several of Japan's largest electronics companies have halted business trips to Mexico after a deadly outbreak of swine flu in the latter country.

Panasonic Corp. stopped business trips to Mexico on Saturday, and Sharp Corp. took a similar measure in the past few days, both companies said. Sony Corp. began asking employees to avoid travel when possible to Mexico City beginning Monday, although its request is short of an outright ban.

Many major electronics companies use Mexico as a production base for the North American market to take advantage of cheaper labor. Both Sharp and Sony have LCD television assembly plants in Mexico, while Panasonic uses the country as a base for TVs in addition to other consumer electronics products.

The swine flu outbreak had killed at least 62 in Mexico as of Friday, according to the World Health Organization. On Saturday, the organization declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern."

Over the weekend, Mexican authorities called on people to avoid places with large crowds in an attempt to stop the spread of the flu and confirmed that suspected cases have begun to appear in other countries. Asian nations, which have experienced avian flu outbreaks in recent years, began screening passengers arriving from Mexico at airports.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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