Wuhan Virus: Tech Giants Close China Locations & Suspend Employee Travel
Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple are among some of the biggest tech giants to have announce travel restriction to and from China as the fatal coronavirus continues to grapple the world.
The deadly virus, which still doesn’t have an antiviral or known cure, has already claimed the lives of over 100 people and spread to at least 18 countries, including Australia, Europe and the US.
The fast spread of the virus, which has been confirmed to spread from human contact, has prompted many countries to warn against travelling to China – with some even banning it.
Businesses with significant presence in China are now following suit by restricting or even banning employees from travelling to the country as health precaution.
Amazon is just one of those global tech giants who have made the move to restrict travel to the country, citing caution and the well-being of their employees.
‘We place tremendous value and focus on the well-being and safety of our employees. Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting business travel to and from China until further notice and encouraging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines provided by international health agencies such as the CDC and WHO,’ a spokesperson for Amazon told Business Insider.
But Amazon also said it would approve some exceptions for essential business travel – with the company telling employees who do travel to affected regions to work from home in the following two weeks. The company also urges employees to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of the virus.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is also restricting employee travel to China, with the exception of ‘business-critical situations,’ he told analysts during an earnings call on Tuesday.
‘We’re taking additional precautions and frequently deep-cleaning our stores as well as conducting temperature checks for employees,’ Cook said.
The company has also shut at least three stores in China to prevent the spread and infection of the coronavirus.
Additionally, Facebook also told Business Insider that it had stopped all non-essential travel to China, with staff based in the country being directed to work at home instead, according to Bloomberg.
‘Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken steps to protect the health and safety of our employees,’ a statement from a company spokesperson said.
Google has also temporarily stopped business travel to mainland China and closed its stores, according to The Verge.
The internet search giant also told the publication it would keep its offices closed in accordance with guidance from the government and is notifying employees who work in China or have family in China to work from home for 14 days.
Finally, Microsoft has also taken similar cautionary steps, by banning non-essential travel to China and advising employees in China to work from home.
‘Based on the evaluation of risk communicated by global health authorities we have advised employees in China to work from home and cancel all non-essential business travel,’ a Microsoft spokesperson told Forbes.