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Home-appliance makers in India halt production under government-ordered lockdown

Home-appliance makers in India have suspended manufacturing until at least March 31 as the national government ordered a lockdown to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus, The Economic Times of India reported March 24, citing company statements.

The local units of South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc., Japan's Panasonic Corp., Hong Kong household-appliance maker Haier Electronics Group Co. Ltd., and India's Godrej Appliances Ltd., have all decided to suspend production of consumer electronic items such as refrigerators and washing machines, the report said.

The Indian government has issued a stay-at-home order for the country's 1.3 billion people for 21 days, with only grocery stores and banks to remain open.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

In a statement, Samsung India Head Corporate Communications Partha Ghosh told the newspaper that the company has "asked employees at our sales, marketing and [research and development] offices across India to work from home." Samsung's local unit reportedly has paused operations at its Noida and Chennai plants, which manufacture products like mobile phones, refrigerators and washing machines.

Meanwhile, Panasonic temporarily closed its Indian production units, including its Haryana facility, that produces washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators and audio products, the report said. A company spokesperson told the news outlet that the company will keep reviewing the situation after it sent its employees home.

An LG Electronics India spokesperson reportedly said the company also suspended operations at its manufacturing sites at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh until March 25 and Pune until March 31.

Haier has also suspended work at its Pune industrial park until March 31, the report said.

Local manufacturer Godrej Appliances, a unit of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd., also heeded to government advice, saying it "decided to suspend its manufacturing operations at both factory locations in Mohali and Shirwal factories, and all operations from its offices, branches and warehouses" from March 22 until March 31.

A spokesperson for Xiaomi Corp. also confirmed to The Economic Times that its facilities in India "will abide by the lockdown orders issued by the state and [Union Territories]."