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Volkswagen to close factories in Mexico to protect public health

A new logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is unveiled at the VW headquarters in Wolfsburg

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - German automaker Volkswagen will temporarily close its factories in Mexico's Puebla and Guanajuato states in a bid to preserve public health, the company's Mexican unit said in a statement on Friday, amid growing worries over the spread of the coronavirus.

The shutdowns will take effect on March 30 and extend through April 12, according to the statement.

The company also pointed to slowing demand and the risk of shortages of parts as factors in the decision to suspend production in the factories.

Another German carmaker also with operations in Mexico, BMW, said in a statement late on Friday that it would extend an already-scheduled Easter stoppage at its factory in San Luis Potosi state.

The stoppage is set to begin on March 28 and will now extend at least through April 19.

The two automakers' decisions follow other measures taken broadly by companies in Mexico, including an emphasis on working from home if possible as well as restrictions on travel and in-person group meetings.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Gerry Doyle)