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Amid Coronavirus scare, Ford asks 10,000 employees in India to work from home

New Delhi: US auto major Ford has asked its 10,000 employees in India, except those in business-critical roles, to work from home with similar steps being taken by Swedish luxury car maker Volvo and Fiat Chrysler India in the wake coronavirus pandemic.

Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India and Mahindra group said they have implemented a slew of measures, including asking employees who had travelled overseas in the past two weeks to impose self-quarantine while all domestic and international travels have now been restricted.

A Ford India spokesperson said, in recent days, the company has concluded that the issue of coronavirus has taken on a different dimension.

The company is continuing to act in real-time to keep its "people safe and help limit the spread of the virus in communities where we live and work".

"Therefore, starting Monday March 16, we have instructed much of our India workforce (over 10,000 people) including Ford India and Global Business Services - except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities to work remotely until further notice," the spokesperson said.

In a similar development, Volvo Car India, the wholly-owned arm of Swedish luxury car company Volvo, also announced work from home as a safety measure for its employees due to the rising number of coronavirus infections in India.

The company which has around 40 employees on its rolls in India said all of them have been asked to work from home with immediate effect while necessary IT infrastructure has been put in place to facilitate business continuity.

Similarly, auto maker FCA India on Tuesday said it has permitted over 50 per cent of its staff in Mumbai and Pune to work from home at least until March 31.The work from home alternative for the engineering workforce in Chennai is under consideration and not in play as yet, it added.

"Although no employee of FCA India has reported or tested positive, we are fully aware of the gravity of the situation and are taking quick, proactive steps every day that are necessary for everybody's well-being," FCA India's President and Managing Director Partha Datta said.

When reached out for comments on steps being taken up by the company in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, a Maruti Suzuki India spokesperson said it has issued WHO mandated advisories on personal hygiene, while asking employees to avoid large gatherings, meetings and events.

Likewise, Mahindra & Mahindra President (Group Communications & Ethics) & Chief Brand Officer, Member of the Group Executive Board Ruzbeh Irani said a group-level rapid action force has been formed to constantly monitor the situation and suggest swift and effective action in case of an emergency.

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