MSNBC and United Press International, quoting a Wall Street Journal report on November 17, 2005, cite examples of pandemic planning by prominent multinational companies. First, excerpts from MSNBC:
Multinational companies in a variety of industries around the world are bracing for a possible outbreak of bird flu in humans according to a report in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.
Drawing on their experiences with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, a lethal and fast-moving virus that shut national borders and some corporate offices in Asia for months in 2003, many companies are moving to safeguard operations, protect far-flung staff, and map alternate work sites in case of a quarantine the Journal reported.
According to MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal says Microsoft is finalizing its pandemic plan:
The Journal says Microsoft Corp. is set to roll out its bird flu plan next month. It includes widening access to its virtual private network — the electronic system of online access from home — that will allow its 30,000 workers in Redmond and 7,000 in Asia to telecommute in large numbers.
The software company also will provide preventive education for its 63,000 workers world-wide, and distribute hand sanitizers as a preventive measure.
The report also mentions that Cisco Systems Inc. remains "very vigilant":
The network equipment made at [Cisco Systems'] San Jose, Calif., headquarters can be assembled and tested by its plants world-wide if the Asian plants are shuttered the company said. And Cisco has asked 8,000 of its workers based in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe with bird-flu outbreaks to update their passports in case of mass evacuation.
The UPI article says the Journal also reported:
Hotel chains, including Marriott International, have begun stockpiling respiratory masks for guests and workers. United Airlines has begun to carry respiratory masks on board its planes and has acquired biohazard bags for use by passengers with flu-like symptoms.
3M has increased its production of respiratory masks, and all traveling executives have been given supplies of Tamiflu, in addition to masks and gloves.
The original article in The Wall Street Journal is available online to paid subscribers to the Journal's online edition.