MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — An outbreak of the coronavirus, a respiratory illness, was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

In an effort to protect its employees, Cargill is advising them to take precautions.

“At Cargill, the safety and well-being of our colleagues is our top priority,” Cargill said. “Due to the ongoing coronavirus (CoV) outbreak, our global security and local country management are recommending that Cargill employees defer or cancel business travel to Wuhan in Hubei Province, where the current outbreak originated. We also have flexible work options and have asked our employees in China offices to work from home at least until Feb. 9, in alignment with CDC guidance. And we are offering support services for any employees who have been exposed to coronavirus or have traveled to Wuhan.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Jan. 27 recommended travelers avoid all non-essential travel to China because of the virus. The CDC on Jan. 27 said five cases had been reported in the United States, and more than 1,000 cases had been reported in China.

Cargill is also supporting those who are working to give aide during the outbreak.

“Cargill has also announced a donation of 2 million Yuan to the Chinese Red Cross to support medical teams and supplies to provide relief and aid to affected communities,” Cargill said. “Additionally, we are sourcing several hundred thousand N95 face masks to help address the severe shortage of these masks in China. Priority for these masks are with our employees and families closest to the Hubei Province, our customers and local communities.”

Cargill has more than 50 business locations and over 10,000 employees in mainland China.

Wilmar’s Chinese operations, a Singapore-based agribusiness, have not been impacted by the recent outbreak of the coronavirus.

The company said it operates more than 350 plants in 65 locations in China.

“There are nine plants in two locations in Wuhan,” Wilmar said. “These are currently shutdown for the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival holidays. We are waiting on instructions from the Chinese government when we can commence operations. We have sufficient inventory to meet normal demands and are working closely with our suppliers and distributors to ensure a steady supply of products.”

Currently, all Wilmar employees in China are safe and the company does not expect the virus to impact its business. The company said it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

As of Jan. 29, the CDC confirmed cases of the coronavirus in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, United States and Vietnam.