By Kim Hyun-bin The strain of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the globe, forcing local conglomerates to take emergency, precautionary measures. Scheduled overseas business trips by corporate heads are under review and concerns are rising of overseas factories being shut down due to the spread of the variant. The year end is normally when conglomerates make their business plans for the following year, but the pandemic situation is making it difficult for them to plan ahead. Omicron fears prompt Samsung, LG, Hyundai to consider Plan B for CES 2021-12-03 15:28 | Tech The aviation and oil refining industries, which are directly affected by COVID-19, are concerned about a possible recession. On Friday, officials said that Hyundai Motor Group had issued guidelines for employees to refrain from overseas trips to countries affected by Omicron, which include those in Europe and Africa. Samsung Electronics has also raised the bar on taking overseas business trips. Samsung lowered its internal quarantine guidelines in early November in line with the government's "Living with COVID-19" policy of easing quarantine measures, allowing employees to take business trips but with the approval of the heads of their business units. There have not been any changes in the guidelines, but only urgent and essential visits are being approved after the Omicron outbreak. The world's largest electronics trade show, Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2022) scheduled to be held in Las Vegas in early January, is also being looked into to see if local conglomerate heads can make the trip. Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Chairman and SK Chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun and Hyundai Heavy Industries President Chung Ki-sun, all initially planned to attend the CES 2022, but it is currently unclear whether they will now do so. Uncertainty has arisen because the U.S. government has announced strengthened entry requirements. From Dec. 6, the health authorities will require visitors to the U.S. to submit the results of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 received a day before their flights. Since the Omicron variant has been confirmed in Korea, local companies are preparing for a worst-case scenario ― including checking their supply chains situation for key parts in preparation for another possible wave of infections.
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